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Tuesday , November 28, 2023

Dear IEA Members and Friends:

We hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend with family and loved ones. IEA is so THANKFUL for all of our members, sponsors, staff and equine partners and it is always nice to be able to take some time to reflect on that gratitude.

As we head into the holiday giving season, we ask that you consider IEA in your year-end giving plans. #GIVINGTUESDAY is today which traditionally kicks off many non-profit organizations giving campaigns. Our 2023-24 Season goal is to raise $50,000 to help fund a variety of IEA programs like SCHOLARSHIPS, IEA BENEVOLENT FUND, GENERAL SUPPORT and the IEA YOUTH BOARD leadership program. Your tax-deductible contribution (of whatever size) adds to the collective effort to support youth riders in our industry now and for the future. Thank you for helping us achieve those goals.

The IEA staff has been busy finalizing membership applications, posting show results, planning post-season competitions, fundraising, and looking ahead to National Finals (already!) coming up in April. We are so excited to see all your show photos and videos on social media - keep them coming - by tagging us @rideiea. Your enthusiasm is contagious and we congratulate those riders/teams that are already qualified for upcoming REGION FINALS in the next few months.

As a REMINDER TO COACHES/SHOW HOSTS - please remember to post/distribute your final show schedules to the IEA Membership Office at info@rideiea.org and/or your attending teams by THURSDAY prior to your show (at the latest). These schedules and communications are vital to parents/riders/coaches who are traveling to your show. We know that hosting a show can be incredibly busy and we suggest having an adult contributing member on your team who can assist with email or text communications so that things run smoothly and everyone is "in the know". Thank you.

The IEA Youth Board Ornament/Mug Fundraiser is winding down with limited quantities left of each. The majority of items are being shipped out THIS WEEK so be on the lookout for those soon. THANK YOU to everyone who has ordered. We will have a full update on that event in the December newsletter. You can still ORDER ITEMS HERE - but hurry before they are gone!

Thank you again for being part of our IEA Community. Good Luck this month and GO GET THOSE POINTS!

IEA Staff & Board of Directors

YES!  I want to make a #GivingTuesday DONATION >>

#MyIEA Spotlight

Riding With Tics by Sammy Willis

Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes me to make uncontrollable noises and movements. Sometimes these noises and movements can affect my everyday life, including horseback riding.

I often will get confusing looks, smirks, or even laughs when I enter school. Every time I jerk my arms or make a weird sound I bring myself unwanted attention. It’s very stressful waiting for the next moment someone will hear you ‘tic’ and decide to retort back with loud snickers as they walk away.

Even then, that is not my everyday problem. Each day I face having to fight my tics to do simple tasks like type on the computer, write math problems, rest, and even horseback ride.

Thankfully I have learned to manage my tics so they are not as seen, but even if you don’t see them, that doesn’t mean I’m not still suppressing them. When I feel my anxiety bubble up or I am in a high pressure situation I work harder to suppress my tics. Because Tourette Syndrome either wanes or waxes as you age, with not a lot of knowledge of which one at which time, sometimes controlling the tics is easy, sometimes they are uncontrollable.

The problem is, tics feel like a jolting shock running through you, with the only way to stop it is to tic. If you suppress all those shocks long enough it gets too much to hold and you end up ticing more. Which is why IEA has been such a great tool for me in managing my tics. Having to focus on forming a quick and respectful bond with my draw on the spot allows for me to train myself to quiet my tics. I need to be focused and be as clear to the horse as possible. I can’t accidentally give the wrong cue or cluck at the wrong time or we both might get confused.

Beyond the arena, the IEA community itself has been wonderful, kind, and caring towards asking insightful questions and treating me equally. Whenever my tics are noticeable, whether it be a group lesson or at a show, riders always ask respectful questions and seem genuinely interested in how I combat Tourette Syndrome.

I want anyone facing difficulties beyond their control to know that there are people out there who care and will respect you. People will be there to stick up for you and learn in any way they can. Some days are harder than others but I have never doubted for a second that my coaches, team, and the IEA community have my back.

We can always learn more, including myself. That’s what is so great about diversity, it gives us an outlet to people’s lives we may not experience on our own. And in doing so we create a more understanding and accommodating community that is there for each and every person.

#MyIEA highlights member stories from across the nation on how IEA has impacted their lives. Want to submit a story or learn more? Email montana@rideiea.org.


IEA is extremely honored to have received the 2023 Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) PARTNERSHIP IN SAFETY AWARD during the CHA International Conference banquet in Fort Collins, Colorado last month.

Thank you to CHA for recognizing IEA as an industry leader in developing and prioritizing safety protocols within our youth equestrian programs. Past award winners include American Paint Horse Association (APHA), American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), Troxel Helmets, Kentucky Horse Park, American Horse Council, Equisure, Houghton College and many others.


The following stories/press releases were released since the last e-newsletter.



The IEA BENEVOLENT FUND aims to provide equitable access to equestrian sports through a Financial Assistance Program for young riders in grades 4-12 who need additional funding support to enable them to take lessons and compete in the IEA addressing the need for inclusion and equal opportunity in the equestrian community. Financial Aid provides support for membership fees, monthly riding lessons, 5 shows of entry fees, plus potential travel money and entries for post-season finals. The Benevolent Fund also provides emergency funding for IEA coaches battling an unexpected event that impedes their ability to work such as illness, accidents, barn fires, natural disasters, and other tragedies that translate into a loss of personal business income.



Join us next April at beautiful Tryon International Equestrian Center nestled in the foothills of North Carolina for 4 days of exciting Hunt Seat and Dressage competition on April 25-28, 2024!

More than 900 middle school, high school and collegiate riders will gather for National Titles as IEA not only hosts our own National Finals, but for the first time will also host the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) National Championships as well!

IEA loves to see TEAM SPIRIT at our horse shows. And we see A LOT of it!

HOWEVER, as a friendly reminder… TEAM LOGOS & IDENTIFIERS must be kept out of the competition arena.


Team identifying logos or names may not be worn while competing. Promotional logos for businesses, corporations, or associations other than IEA may not be worn while competing.

IEA strives to ensure fairness for all competitors and we appreciate your attention to this rule. This includes team or farm logos or text on shirts, helmets, lapels, bows or other show apparel.

NOTE: Team COLORS/COLOR SCHEMES are allowed as far as ties, bows, hair ribbons, western shirts, vests, etc. - just not logos, names, or other identifying text. Personal monograms/rider initials are also fine when used discretely on collars or cuffs.

If you have questions about this rule, or any other IEA rule, please email info@rideiea.org and we will forward your question to the appropriate department. Thank you and good luck to everyone showing this month.




Interscholastic Equestrian Association


Membership Office

4 Railroad Avenue

Wakefield, MA 01880

Hours: Monday - Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm EST

Phone: 877-RIDE-IEA | 877-743-3432

Fax: 508-597-7373

www.rideiea.org | info@rideiea.org

Marketing & Communications Office

509 S. Otterbein Avenue, Suite 9

Westerville, OH 43081

National Office (Send Donations Here)

P.O. Box 809

Chagrin Falls, OH 44022




  • President: Amanda Garner
  • President Elect: Katie Schaaf
  • Secretary: Samantha Fleming
  • Treasurer: Christy Landwehr

Founding Board Members & Designees:

  • Designee for Roxane Durant (Founding Member)Hannah Bentz 
  • Designee for Wayne Ackerer (Founding Member)Nancy Arledge


Members At Large:

  • Dustin Boehmer
  • Leah Fiorentino
  • Katie Morehead-Oman
  • Cathy Muzzy 


Non-Voting Members:

  • Roxane Durant
  • Susan Wentzel
  • Kathryn Quinlan
  • Simon Towns

Director Emeritus:

  • Timothy J. Boone
  • Myron Leff

Follow us at @rideiea and #rideIEA

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The IEA was established to provide competitive and educational opportunities through equestrian athletics. Good Horsemanship and honorable participation are priorities at every event. It is the responsibility of all attendees to foster a spirit of belongingness, an atmosphere of community enjoyment, and a mutual respect for all participants and their equine partners.