The Interscholastic Equestrian Association student-riders competed in the Western discipline during the National Reining Horse Association Derby. The NRHA and the National Reining Horse Youth Association are affiliates of the IEA and sponsored the event.
Local student Ryan May, was one of the competitors who qualified and competed at the IEA Western Regionals held in Oklahoma.
Representing the Ocoee Equestrian Team, which rides and practices out of Bay View Farms in Ooltewah, May took home fifth place in both his Open Reining and Open Horsemanship divisions.
The finalists represented 33 teams from seven zones throughout the United States. Individuals and teams participated in multiple competitions during the 2011-12 regular season shows, regional and zone finals to qualify for the IEA National Finals competition.
Riders competed in reining and horsemanship contests. The IEA format requires that riders compete in unfamiliar tack on unfamiliar mounts; therefore, each rider draws a horses the day of competition and enters the arena after a brief, if any, warm-up.
“This was the first time the IEA and the NRHA organizations teamed together to hold our finals. It was fun being a part of the renowned NRHA Derby event. Our members, parents and coaches are overwhelmingly pleased with the support of the NRHA. We are especially grateful to the owners/trainers that supplied the high-quality horses,” said Roxane Lawrence, IEA co-founder/executive director.
The Ocoee Equestrian Team is now accepting new riders for the 2012-13 team.