Intercollegiate equestrians recognized for dedication to community service

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IHSA RibbonsNot every champion is created in a show ring, but the center of the Hunt Horse Arena, at the 39th IHSA National Championships at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, is exactly where the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association honored eight teams with Community Service Project Awards for their efforts championing efforts to help their community.

Coach Megan Taylor from University of the South saw one hundred percent participation from her team from in raising funds for Horses in the ‘Hood, a California-based organization that teaches at-risk youth the basics of horsemanship. The Tennessee Tigers raised money to help send two young people to summer camp.

The Drew University Rangers equestrian team, coached by Karen Sykes, volunteered with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, including working on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Towers.

Thanks to the success of their third annual “Healing Hooves” fund raiser, the Goucher College riding team, coached by Patte Zumbrun, raised $11,000 to benefit not one but five therapeutic riding programs in the Maryland area.

After a June tornado and October blizzard delivered a double whammy to historic Forest Park Zoo in western Massachusetts, hunter seat and Western riders with Mount Holyoke College volunteered 250 hours to clean up and restore the beloved Springfield attraction. Thanks to the Lyons’ efforts, coach C.J. Law says the zoo saved $2,000 in recovery expenses and opened on time for the season.

Members of the Colby Community College team, coached by Shanda Mattix, volunteered their help organizing children’s programs at Kansas Equifest. Over the holidays, the Trojans also raised more than $1500 for the Salvation Army as bell ringers.

To further encourage young people’s involvement with animals, coach Anne Brzezicki’s IHSA team with Middle Tennessee State University rallied to help at the four-day State FFA (Future Farmers of America) Judging Clinic for high school students, and hosted 4-H and FFA clinics and educational events throughout the year.

Coach Michael Dowling and the Centenary College Cyclones hosted a Bowl-a-thon to support Jack’s Kids, an organization that raises money for children and the families of children facing terminal illness.

And finally, rallying to help those who could not help themselves, Gettysburg College riders volunteered their equestrian expertise in the care and training of a herd of young, abandoned Thoroughbreds seized last winter by the Adams County (PA) Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA). In addition to an IHSA Service Award, coach Janice Grooms and the team earned a clinic with U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Silver medalist, Peter Leone, hosted by Goucher College.

About the IHSA Service Award
IHSA Community Service Awards have been created to recognize IHSA teams whose participation in service projects helps give back to their community. These inaugural awards have been created to bring special recognition to the volunteer efforts of IHSA teams, and to encourage more teams to participate. The award aims to build team spirit and leadership skills, develop bonding experiences, and increase awareness of equestrian teams and IHSA on campus and within a community.

The IHSA Service Awards will be presented annually at the IHSA National Championships in three divisions: IHSA teams of 1-15 riders; teams of 16-30 riders; and teams of 31 or more riders. Hunter seat and Western riders from the same school must be counted on the team and should participate together on the project. Service Awards will be presented to teams at Regional, Zone, and National levels. At the IHSA National Championships, the three winning teams will receive possession of a perpetual trophy for the year and a smaller, keeper trophy to retain. IHSA alumni in each region are encouraged to participate as a team or participate with their undergraduate team, if appropriate. Service Award-winning teams will also earn a clinic with U.S. Olympian, Peter Leone, who has expressed his commitment to the project going forward.

About IHSA
The IHSA mission is to promote competition for riders of all skill levels, who compete individually and as teams at regional and national levels. IHSA is based on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of financial status or riding level. More than 400 educational institutions in the U.S. and parts of Canada have teams belonging to IHSA, including student academic clubs, JV, and/or varsity programs. Learn more at /redirect.php?location=www.ihsainc.com.

Further Reading
College and University Equine Studies Programs
Is Your Horse College-Bound

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