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Riders Triumph during the Third Day at the 2016 IEA National Finals

April 23, 2016, Lexington, Kentucky - After two days filled with rigorous competition, the third day of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals highlighted individual awards and saw the start of the team competition, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday.
Classes included Hunt Seat Team and Western Individual competitions. Of the Hunt Seat classes, three required further testing of the top contenders to determine a clear winner. Testing required the requested participants to switch horses and repeat the same course.  Over the course of the day, the Leading Hunt Seat Rider and Champion Western Rider were named. These are the IEA's most prestigious individual awards.  The contenders for the Hunt Seat Leading Rider are determined by combining the scores from the Varsity Open Over Fences and the Varsity Open on the Flat Individual classes. The riders with the top combined scores then compete in the Varsity Open Champion class. Kayla Lott from Camarillo, California, was named the Hunt Seat Leading Rider and was also the highest placing senior, for which she was awarded the 10th Annual IEA Co-Founders College Scholarship of $1,100.  The fund also granted the second highest placing senior, Ashley Sprinkle, from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, a $500 scholarship. Ashley was the Reserve Varsity Open Champion. The Western Leading rider is verified after the Varsity Open Reining and Varsity Open Horsemanship classes. The scores from these two classes are compiled to award the Champion Western Rider. Ellexxah Maxwell, from West Mansfield, Ohio, won the Varsity Open Horsemanship and was crowned the 2016 Champion Western Rider. 

In addition to competing individually, IEA Teams compete for points during team classes. The top six riders in each class accrue points for their team, and, at the end of the show, the Leading Hunt Seat and Western Teams are awarded. Team competition continues throughout the weekend and Champions will be crowned on Sunday. 
Exhibitors and attending IEA members also had the option of taking the Holy Innocents' Horsemanship Test and the Horseman's Knowledge Test, both provided by the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC).  In the evening, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) provided a dinner for the participants, their teams and their families. Lots of shopping, a speaker symposium, college fair, educational opportunities and games were available at yesterday's show.
"Every year we are amazed how the quality of rider and competition intensifies, and this year continues the trend.  Judges are impressed with the skill and finesse exhibited by our riders," stated Roxane Lawrence, IEA Co-founder/executive director.
Saturday's show will include Western Team Finals in the morning, the Parade of Teams, the 9th Annual Tim Boone Lifetime Achievement Award, the Holy Innocents' Horsemanship and Horseman's Knowledge Test Awards, and will finish off with Hunt Seat Team Semi-Finals in the afternoon/early evening.
Friday's Hunt Seat and Western Winners:
Varsity Intermediate Over Fences 2' Team
Elizabeth Trexler from Chatham, Virginia who rides for Chatham Hall in Zone 3
Future Intermediate Over Fences 2' Team
Mary-Grace Segars from Canton, Georgia, riding for BritMohr Farm in Zone 4
Varsity Open Over Fences 2'6" Team
Josie Elliott of Lexington, Virginia, riding for Clover Grove in Zone 3
Varsity Open Championship
Varsity Open Championship Class - Hunt Seat Leading Rider
Kayla Lott from Camarillo, California, with Elvenstar in Zone 10
Junior Varsity Novice Over Fences X-Rails Team
Amanda Kray from Painesville Township, Ohio, riding for Double Deuce Farm in Zone 5
Future Novice Over Fences X-Rails Team
Laurel Smith from Halifax, Massachusetts, competing with Cranberry Equestrian Team in Zone 1
NRHA Varsity Intermediate Reining Individual
Nicole Ellis from Clemmons, North Carolina, riding with Central Carolina - NC in Zone 3
AQHA Future Novice Horsemanship Individual
Annalia Evans from Conyers, Georgia, riding with King Show Horses in Zone 4
AQHA Junior Varsity Beginner Horsemanship Individual
Anna Hollenack from Dublin, Ohio, and with Autumn Rose Farm Equestrians in Zone 5
AQHA Future Intermediate Horsemanship Individual 
Chloe Stephenson from West Jefferson, Ohio, competing with Autumn Rose Farm Equestrians in Zone 5
Varsity Open Horsemanship Individual
Ellexxah Maxwell from West Mansfield, Ohio, riding with Autumn Rose Farm Equestrians in Zone 5
Champion Western Rider
Ellexxah Maxwell from West Mansfield, Ohio, riding with Autumn Rose Farm Equestrians in Zone 5
Leading Crossover Rider
Meghan Moran from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, riding with both Hillside Meadows and Grazing Field Farm in Zone 1

Founded in 2002, the IEA has more than 12,500 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. 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. There is no need any rider to own a horse because the IEA provides a mount and tack to every rider at every event, including the National Finals.  For more information, please view the IEA website at:
All photos by McKenzie Yates for IEA. Photos may only be used in relation to this press release.