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Day One of Competition Makes for Exciting Start to the 2017 IEA Hunt Seat National Finals


Friday, April 21, 2016 – Lexington, Virginia - Individual competition got underway at the 2017 Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals where more than 380 riders from across the nation converged on Lexington, Virginia to compete for National titles.  In addition to competing individually, IEA Teams compete for points during team classes which will take place tomorrow.


The day began with schooling of horses and rider walk-through of the jump course prior to the start of the competition.  Ringmaster Ed Nowak gave an impressive rendition of our national anthem on the brass horn used in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.  Nowak continued to impress throughout the day with his playing as he introduced each class into the ring.  Waldron Arena at the Virginia Horse Park provides an excellent venue for both our exhibitors and observers and jump courses designed by Bill Yeager of Partridge Run, LLC made a colorful backdrop in the brightly lit arena.  Announcer, John Bahret kept the classes running smoothly as he effortlessly called out instructions to riders, made special announcements, and made light-hearted comments that added to the fun of the day.  The IEA Youth Board assisted in the presentation of awards along with Executive Director, Roxane Durant, NCEA Executive Director, Leah Fiorentino, and IEA Chief Operating Officer, Myron Leff.  Photographer Ron Schwane had his hands full as he toted multiple cameras around shooting photos of riders and award winners.  Throughout the day, viewers from around the globe turned into for the live stream with viewers in 46 states and 25 countries on his first day of competition.  The day concluded with a rider party sponsored by USHJA. 



Friday’s Hunt Seat Individual Winners and Awards:

  • Varsity Open Over Fences 2’6” – Individual Final Dominika Silvestri from Cornerstone/Hidden Pond in Zone 1 


  • Varsity Open on the Flat – Individual Final Natalie Nordyke from The Ethel Walker School in Zone 1  


  • Varsity Intermediate Over Fences 2’ – Individual Final Keilty Archibald from Woodside Equestrian Team in Zone 10  


  • Future Intermediate Over Fences 2’ – Individual Final
    Emmanuelle Greenberg from Carriage Hill Farms in Zone 4  


  • Junior Varsity Novice Over Fences X-Rails – Individual Final Olivia Bransford from Childress Rodgers Stable in Zone 5  


  • Future Novice Over Fences X-Rails – Individual Final Grace Gamper from All’s Well at Woodbrook Farm in Zone 3



Celebrating its 15th Anniversary, the IEA has more than 13,500 middle and high school student-riders across the United States.  The IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions.  Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels. The IEA is open to public schools, private schools, and barn teams.

More than 500 estimated, qualified riders will compete, both as teams and as individuals, for national championship titles in over fences, under saddle, horsemanship and reining classes throughout the three days in Lexington, VA and three days in Oklahoma City, OK.   To learn more about the IEA and the 2017 IEA National Finals, please visit