Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Nationals 2011

Ducky Days Require More Than Luck

Forty-five years ago an 18-year-old sophomore at Fairleigh Dickerson University, named Bob Cacchione, began IHSA with the help of his professor, Jack Fritz. Since its inception, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) has expanded from only two competing colleges to now over 375 colleges. Today, IHSA contains 36 regions in eight zones and there are more than 6,000 students that compete in Hunter Seat Equitation.

With the altruistic goal of allowing any college student the chance to ride and compete regardless of their financial position, IHSA essentially cuts out almost all the expense yet still makes competition possible. Regardless of past riding experience, IHSA participants can learn as well as compete in hunt-seat, with classes ranging from walk/trot and Open Equitation divisions to the prestigious Cacchione Cup.

The ultimate goal for the individual as well as a team is to make it to the coveted IHSA Nationals. There is a multi-layered process to achieving that goal. Within each region, schools compete against each other for the high point team position. Also students can compete as individuals for the high point individual position. During the region shows, student and teams accumulate points to compete in the Region Finals. The top three riders at the Region Finals then continue on to the Zone Finals. Then the top two riders at the Zone Finals advance on to IHSA Nationals. The Cacchione Cup is awarded each year to an individual at the IHSA Nationals. Judged as a two-phase class (over fences and flat), the top riders compete in a work-off determined by the judges.

Laura Thompson: A Brief Intro
A recent graduate of Averett University, I am lucky enough to have my own horses yet I also participated in the IDA program at school. IDA is similar to IHSA for the discipline of dressage. I was on the team for three years.

Just like IHSA, the purpose of competing on the IDA team is to make it to the Nationals each year. One of my most memorable college experiences was climbing the IDA ladder and making it to the top. After a successful show season my freshman year, I ended up Region Reserve Champion and made it to the IDA Nationals in Findlay, Ohio. It was both exciting and intense to attend Nationals my first year. All the planets aligned on that Sunday of the Individual Competition and I won!

During my second year at Averett University I became a captain for the IDA team and competed at Upper Training level. Once again, after numerous successful shows, I ended the regular show season as Regional Reserve Champion. Again I was on my way to the 2010 IDA Nationals, this time held in Laurinburg, NC. Competing against the top twelve riders in the nation, I was lucky enough to draw a horse that I was familiar with. Although I ended up third, the experience was just as fantastic as when I won.

Competing at Nationals is an earned honor. As with any rider, I had my ups and downs at some shows, but was able to pull through two years in a row and will always treasure my Intercollegiate National show memories.

IHSA Nationals: Ducks and Don’ts
One of the unique things about the intercollegiate team experience is the horse draw process. Riders do not bring their own horses to compete; rather they draw from a pool of rubber ducks and the horse with the corresponding number on the bottom of the duck is the one they will ride. This is a defining moment for some riders and a big question for others.

Unlike the Intercollegiate Dressage Association which allows their riders a ten minute warm up before entering the show ring, IHSA riders mount their horses and enter the show ring without any warm up. Pre-duck drawing, riders can prepare by watching the horses warm up in the show arena before the show begins for the day. A competing horse list is available with horse’s name, school, height, color, gender, whether spurs are needed and brief notes. No competing student is allowed to ride a horse in the group warm up to ensure that they do not get an advantage of riding their possible mount before their class.

Cacchione Cup 2011: Cohen, Wakeman and Jacobs
With 36 entries, the 2011 Cacchione Cup was the largest in the forty plus year history of the class. The horse draw was a bit crowded; the usual number gathered to duck delegation is nine to sixteen so the Cacchione contenders more than doubled the norm.

Former California equestrian star Shelby Wakeman, one of the numerous successful Karen Healey students, was among this select group. Now a senior at NYU, Wakeman went late in the jumping phase and earned an 86, the top score of the class. After the flat phase, only 0.75 separated the top three riders: Marissa Cohen, a senior from Centenary College, Shelby Wakeman and Rob Jacobs, a senior from St. Andrews. The next morning the three worked-off and Wakeman finished second to Cohen and Jacobs finished third. Wakeman was the most experienced of the three, Cohen had moved up from the Intermediate Level over her college years and Jacobs credits the staff from St. Andrews as his only real trainers, as he did not ride much before attending college. Although each rider illustrated skill, poise and catch-riding capability, Jacobs epitomizes the IHSA way: Learning to ride and achieving the values and rewards of high competitive goals without owning a horse.

The Reserve Champion ribbon Wakeman earned marked the first time a rider from New York University had ever placed as high as second at IHSA Nationals.

Highlights From The August 28, 2010 Blenheim EquiSports Show

With September right around the corner and school starting again for many competitors, it came time to say goodbye to summer and welcome the new fall season. The outdoor grand prix events came to a close in late August at the Showpark Summer Classic as a large group of show jumpers took to the field in the $40,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by California Horsetrader. Medal finals continued with the CPHA Foundation competitors going for the year-end title. The young horses took the outdoor stage as Blenheim EquiSports proudly hosted the Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF National Hunter Breeding Championships, International Hunter Futurity Classes and the $45,000 Wild Turkey Farm Young Jumper Championships.

September started off with some exciting indoor competition at the Showpark All Seasons Summer Tournament. The 2011 FEI World Cup hopefuls and more competed on Thursday in the $30,000 Showpark Jumper Classic, presented by Royal Champion, On Saturday evening the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by EquiFit, inc. was once again a competitive indoor World Cup qualifying class.

Saturday, August 28th, 2010: $40,000 Showpark Summer Classic Grand Prix
Sixty horse and rider couples were eager to gallop onto the grass for the $40,000 Showpark Summer Classic Grand Prix, presented by California Horsetrader. A diverse group of fourteen duos returned for the jump-off and the top six ribbon winners jumped double clean. The speedy pair of Jaime Azcarraga and Celsius bested the rest of the field for the win.

German course designer, Olaf Peterson Jr. created a challenging track consisting of sixteen efforts. With a large field of rookies and veterans alike, Peterson Jr. wanted to design an inviting course to suit the variety of entrants. “It was a difficult field to set for,” he noted. “There were young horses, young riders, and also experienced couples; they all had to be considered.”

Marking the halfway point in the lineup of sixty horses, Azcarraga and Celsius were the thirtieth to attempt the course, and the ninth team to advance to the jump-off round. “This course by Olaf was nice but also difficult,” the triumphant Azcarraga said. “I think the 14 clean says something about the quality of competitors coming to this show. [Showpark] is a beautiful place to bring the horses and compete.”

Fault-free in both rounds and crossing the timers in 37.00 in the jump-off was the gifted eight-year-old horse Bristol (Grey Fox Farm, owner) and his pilot Rusty Stewart for fifth place. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Davis qualified two mounts for the second round but was eliminated on her first ride, Nemo 911. The young hot shot from Los Angeles redeemed herself and finished fourth by turning in a double clear ride aboard Old Oak Farm’s Hannah. Rounding out the top three was the super scopey Chello Z with his partner Josephina Nor-Lantzman. Less than a second away from the winner’s circle was Joie Gatlin who piloted Camaron Hills Quick Dollar (Camaron Hills Farm, owner) to a second place finish.

While there were many vying for the top position, it was the 10-year-old German bred Celsius and Azcarraga’s well thought out plan that secured the win. “With 14 in the jump-off, I really had to go for it,” Azcarraga said. “I took the five strides to the combination and I think that paid off.”

Designer Peterson Jr. had a feeling Azcarraga would give his competitors a run for their money and was happy with the winning ride. “The jump-off was difficult because of the turns, but Jaime was the best and his horse was super careful,” he remarked. “This is a newer horse for Jaime. It was nice to see him win.”

August 28-29, 2010: CPHA Foundation Finals
During the Showpark Summer Classic, equitation riders in three divisions – 22 & over, 21 & under and 14 & under – vied for the CPHA Foundation Championship title.

Kristi Siam riding her own Krosus topped the adult group. Placing third in the first round of the final and first in the second round, Siam’s stellar trips earned her the top prize. Siam trains with Karen Healey.

In the 21 & under division, the talented Cayla Richards, trained by Archie Cox, blew the competition out of the water by winning all phases of the event aboard Presidio. Last week’s CPHA Adult Medal Final winner Adrienne Dixon rode Julie Nagler’s Vincenzo to a second place finish.

In the youngest age division, Alexandra Ladove topped the class of 24 in the tack of her partner Littlewood, clinching the win in each phase of the competition under the direction of her trainer, John French.

EquestriSol News: September 30, 2010

If I had a million dollars…
With two $1 Million Grand Prix events taking place in September, equestrians from across the country were vying for their piece of the pie. As part of HITS-On-the-Hudson in Saugerties, NY, the coveted top prize in the first ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix was awarded to McLain Ward and his stellar mare Sapphire (McLain Ward & Blue Chip Bloodstock, owners). Ward and Sapphire rode double-clear after second place duo, Charlie Jayne and Athena, the other clear team from the first round, pulled a rail in the jump-off. Fresh off his $250,000 FTI Grand Prix win at the Hampton Classic, this event was Ward and Sapphire’s last competition together before making the trip to Kentucky to compete in the WEG.

Representing the West Coast, Duncan McFarlane piloted the eight-year-old Mr. Whoopy to an impressive eighth place finish, dropping just one rail on course, and Helen McNaught rode Caballo to the thirteenth position with an eight fault score.

The Spruce Meadows Masters Tournament also boasted a $1 Million event this past Sunday with Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios designing the CN International Grand Prix. Three West Coast riders earned spots among the top ten finishers. Second place was none other than California’s own Richard Spooner and his 12-year-old partner Cristallo (Show Jumping Syndication Int’l, owner). Rich Fellers aboard Flexible (Harry & Mollie Chapman, owners) finished seventh and the young Karl Cook of Woodside aboard Uno De Laubry (Signe Ostby, owner) brought home the eighth place ribbon.

The WEG is here!
The long awaited World Equestrian Games are well underway in Lexington, Kentucky. We are not only pleased to be here but were honored to attend the Opening Ceremonies. There was plenty of exceptional talent, but the Friesian team of ten was simply magnificent. Watching ten jet black steeds all dressed in white polos prance in perfect sync and perform a dressage drill without a hitch while their manes flowed freely was a joy. We also took a few iPhone photos that show some of the fun. We will of course be back with bells on for the week of show jumping and look forward to some shopping time. Can hardly wait for the Final Four on Saturday, October 9th. Should be a sight to see!

We enjoyed interviewing Guy Thomas. He’s a multi-faceted individual and we wish him the best of luck next week. Even though he is representing New Zealand, he also represents California. And of course, it goes without saying – GO USA!

Here’s a video of the Friesians during the opening ceremony from “DreamGait”.

West Coast Congrats
West Coast Win – Nations’ Cup News
Congratulations to the United States team of Rich Fellers/Flexible, Ashlee Bond/Cadett 7, Richard Spooner/Cristallo, and Beezie Madden/Coral Reef Via Volo, for clinching the win in the 2010 Nations’ Cup during the Masters Tournament at Spruce Meadows. Coached by George Morris, the team edged out Ireland and Canada who finished second and third respectfully. Considering Fellers, Bond, Spooner all call the West Coast home and Madden’s mount, Coral Reef Via Volo, is owned by Coral Reef Ranch and Gwendolyn Meyer, the team certainly represented the region well.

West Coast USEF Talent Search
Preparing our high-level equitation riders for the jumper arena, the USEF Talent Search tests flatwork skills, how a rider handles gymnastic exercises and their mastering of a jumper type course on the field, including an open water element. One of the most challenging medal finals, the top four are required to each ride one another’s horse to determine the top placings. Riding under the tutelage of Karen Healey, east coast equestrian Taylor Ann Adams bested the field for the win. With scores well into the 80’s on each of the final four horses she competed on, her consistency and style paid off. Second went to Jocelyn Neff, another Healey student. Rounding out the top four were Jennifer Parker, trained by Benson Carroll and Caroline Ingalls, who rides with Hap Hansen.

Highlights From The 2010 Blenheim EquiSports ASPCA Maclay West Coast Regional Finals

Saturday, September 18, 2010: ASPCA Maclay West Coast Regional Finals
The ASPCA Maclay championship class was first held in 1933 at the National Horse Show and has since remained one of the most coveted events for junior riders (ages 17 & under) throughout the country. The goal of the prestigious competition is to inspire young equestrians to not only develop superior horsemanship skills, but also encourage respect and compassion towards their equine cohorts. In order to qualify for Saturday evening’s West Coast Regional Finals, junior riders must have earned 25 points as of August 31, 2010. Best of luck to all who earned a spot in the finals, held in November at the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament.

Thirty-nine leading West Coast junior equitation riders competed in Blenheim Farm’s covered arena on the evening of September 18th. With thirty returning for the flat phase and five for the work-off, it was 16-year-old Kylee Arbuckle aboard Kimberly Lynch’s D’Anconia Copper, who finished on top.

Scott Starnes’ course of fourteen obstacles asked the riders to commit to a flowing pace while riding the track. Eighth to compete in the over fences phase, Arbuckle (Karen Healey & Devon Gibson, trainers) showed mastery of the course and rode her mount with style and poise, earning her a spot in the top ten of the flat phase.

Following the jumping portion of the competition, the top thirty riders in the class were called back to work on the flat, divided into three groups of ten with the highest scoring riders flatting last.

Judges Kip Rosenthal and John Roper then chose their top five and asked them to return to the ring for a work-off. In reverse order, the juniors were asked to jump several jumps, including a trot jump and a rollback turn as well as to demonstrate two simple changes through the walk before returning to the line-up. Sitting second after the over fences and flat phases, Arbuckle had the advantage of watching three riders test before her, Audrey Coulter (Mary Manfredi, trainer), Clementine Yost (Benson Carroll, trainer) and Morgan Geller (Peter Lombardo, trainer). She clearly commanded the work-off requirements, having the most solid ride of the five. Sitting first after the first two rounds, Theodore Boris (Karen Healey, trainer) was the final junior to tackle the test. Unfortunately, he missed to the jump after the rollback turn, leaving the win open for Arbuckle.

“[Kylee’s] work-off was great,” commented Arbuckle’s trainer of three years, Karen Healey. In addition to being happy with her student’s test, Healey was also glad to see that Arbuckle’s over fences trip was scored properly despite pulling a rail on course. “Her first round was scored just how it should have been – as if the rail didn’t come down – and then four points were taken off of her [final over fences] score.”

Although winning is glorious, earning a place in the top fifteen will hopefully earn a spot in the prestigious finals in Syracuse this November. Once the final regional competition of eight throughout the country is complete, the exact number of qualified riders per regional will be announced.


It’s time to gear up for a “suite” show in Sin City. All of the exciting event details are coming together for the Las Vegas National at the beginning of November and you don’t want to miss out. With a new VIP Lounge, fabulous Vegas parties with sweet deals for VIP and a show schedule spanning several divisions, there is no reason not to treat yourself (and why not bring your horse) to a place that offers a suite room right above your barn. Not to mention the nine restaurants, casino, theatres, shows, bowling alley and shopping just at South Point alone, with the Vegas Strip a free shuttle ride away.

Wrap up the competition for the year with the new show series here in San Juan Capistrano in December. The Blenheim Holiday Classic I runs from December 2nd – 5th, followed the next week by the Blenheim Holiday Classic II from December 9th -12th.


Conversations With Equestrians: Karen Healey

Karen Healey talks about what it takes to win
By Jackie McFarland

In our last horse show issue (LA National, November 2008) we spoke with Susan Artes about Sophie Benjamin. Sophie’s success is wrapped up in a series of key values and beliefs including commitment, never quit, hard work, focus, graciousness, guts and so on.

This issue we spoke with Karen Healey. Well-known for her success in all arenas, Karen has a keen eye for developing horsemen as well as for finding the right horse.

Although not her ‘official’ trainer, Karen worked with Sophie in the equitation arena, including her in lessons, keeping her on horses, referring her catch rides, and helping her at the rail. Sophie credits Karen for providing her with the fundamentals and finesse that both led to her success in the equitation ring, and also in the jumpers.

JM: As Sophie’s mother explains, it ‘took a village’ of great people to open the doors for Sophie’s growth as a rider and a person. How did you meet Sophie?

KH: Sophie came to me at age 10 – I gave her a horse to ride for the Onondarka Medal Finals, which she won. They were a great match; she bought the horse and rode with me for some time. Last spring she rode a green horse for me and did a great job and won several classes.

JM: Sophie quietly took the East coast by storm winning the 2008 USET Talent Search. She rode a horse named Sir Neel who came from you. Tell us about Sir Neel and how you matched him with Sophie early on.

KH: Elizabeth Dickinson had a very nice horse to sell who was a little green and I knew that Sophie needed a horse for her final junior year. She always had talent and feel, and as she matured she began to understand the process involved in making a horse. In developing young horses, there is no instant Jell-O; if you don’t enjoy the process, you will not achieve the results. Sophie took the time and continues to do so, and her results show it. She has experienced many ups and downs, good days and bad days.

JM: We titled this “what it takes to win.” Can you explain how you instill this in your students?

KH: Dedication, dedication, dedication. And then some talent (she laughed) and the right horse. When it comes to a big win – the sun and the moon and the stars need to be in the right place. Probably 15-20 kids have the ability and desire to win a major finals, only one will have the right horse, the right course, and the right luck on that day. Even if it doesn’t all fall into place, it doesn’t mean you’re any less of a rider – your entire junior riding career is more important than one day.

JM: As you mention, success is in part matching a rider with the right horse. That’s true in a purchase but even more interesting in catch-ride situations. How did you decide to match Hannah Selleck with WC Swing –winners of the 2008 USEF Talent Search West – and Catherine Newman with Class Action – winners of the 2008 WIHS Equitation Finals?

KH: Two entirely different scenarios. Hannah had winning the USET Talent Search as a goal. Last year (2007) we didn’t have the right horse. In my opinion Carol’s horse, WC Swing, is a world-class equitation horse – particularly for that class. That was a distinct decision – I believed this pair had all the qualities to win and Hannah had been close many times. Matching a great horse with a rider that has both feel and style. That was a calculated decision to winand it paid off.

Navonna’s horse, Class Action, was a pre-green horse in August. My big goal was to give him miles at Indoors. I had worked with Catherine before; she is a tremendous talent and a great kid. This was clearly a win-win, a nice horse and she would give him a good ride. Otherwise the horse was going to do nothing for three weeks and then do the Maclay finals. In this case I had no expectations to win – but she suited him beautifully and he rose to the occasion. The stars were aligned! It is true, if you pair a world-class horse with a top rider – you greatly up your chances for the stars to align. And the results were more than a win; it also gave him solid experience in the ring.

JM: What advice can you give to up and coming equitation riders with medal final aspirations?

KH: Stick with a program and believe in it. There are many good trainers – find a trainer and a program that you believe in. Evolving through a program is essential. Even with the greatest talent – you
still need to grow through learning the process.

Be realistic. Take what you can from the day. It’s not about winning every class but to learn from your mistakes – sometime the most disappointing days are the most important for your riding. So persevere, continue, you have to like the work, the ups and the downs and be able to put it in perspective.

Most top trainers will take the time to help talented kids. If they are really willing to work, we are willing to step in. Dedication and desire and a work ethic really go a long way. That approach can take you further than just plain talent. Having those attributes can go a long way to taking you to the top.

EquestriSol News: December 24, 2007

Waldenbrook Farm had another fantastic year, illustrated by their ad campaign and web site. We welcome both Karen Healey Stables & Acres West – look for their ads in your favorite magazines and a new web site for KHS is in the works. We’re excited about the new IPPOS ad campaign and also welcome Hey & Hey Attorneys at Law who will have a new ad campaign in 2008.

Emerald Glenn – An Equestrian Community is developing literally and virtually. They are clearing the area for the new equestrian center and taking lot reservations. Next phase coming during winter 2008.

Developing a great relationship with Oaks-Blenheim via our newsletter at their shows, we are proud to continue the newsletter and more in 2008. From ads to web and various projects in-between, we are looking forward to working with the Blenheim Equisports management team. Speaking of EquestriSol Newsletters – we are the exclusive newsletter at HITS-Thermal and plan to hit AZ as well.

We are also proud of our affiliation with this group, we truly believe they are going to make this Thermal a circuit to remember. Although there is a lot of buzz about what’s happening out there, it is due to the investments of numerous show managers over the last few decades (or so) that has given the west coast a chance to host better horse shows, develop stronger riders and aim to be competitive nationally and internationally. Yes, the horses and riders who attend these shows deserve the best and we envision this year to be one where exhibitors and managers come together.