The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association hosted a dinner and award celebration for their inaugural IHSA Hall of Fame induction in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 4. The individuals selected for induction have had outstanding competitive achievement in the IHSA and beyond, have made exceptional contributions to the IHSA or have had success or significant impact in equestrian sport or the equestrian industry. IHSA board members and friends and families of the inductees were on hand for the event.
Eddie Federwisch, IHSA board member and director of the equestrian program at Savannah College of Art and Design (Georgia), served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. Four coaches were inducted at the event. Sally Batton, retired coach of the Dartmouth(New Hampshire) Equestrian Team, J.T. Tallon, (1953-2015) coach of the Southern Seminary and Randolph College (Virginia) teams, Cindy Ford, retired coach of the Skidmore (New York) Equestrian Team and Cindy Morehead, retired coach of the University of Findlay (Ohio) Western Team were all honored at the event.
Batton and Ford thanked Cacchione for founding the organization. “My whole career is thanks to you, Bob,” Batton said.
Ford echoed the same sentiment. “If it weren’t for Bob, none of us would be sitting in this room right now,” Ford said. “This organization is so important to the horse industry.”
One IHSA athlete was inducted. Beezie Madden was the 1984 IHSA Cacchione Cup winner as a member of the Southern Seminary team. After graduation, she began her grand prix jumping career and has been at the pinnacle of the sport ever since.
She talked about how the team component of IHSA exposed her earlier on to the kinds of pressures she would face riding for her country and for sponsors. “I had the opportunity to compete on a team for the first time,” Madden said. “With that comes learning about team camaraderie, team pressure. It’s a whole new set of pressures to deal with, trying not to disappoint your teammates and a whole different kind of pressure of trying to produce results for your college.”
Cornell University (New York) Equestrian Team’s beloved “big red horse” Clifford, who served the team for 14 years was the sole inductee in the horse category. The 1996 chestnut warmblood gelding was every IHSA rider’s favorite draw. Donated by a client of Gary Duffy, he helped teach riders of all levels. Joanna Novakovic, head coach of the Cornell team, accepted the honors.
The IHSA’s two founders, Robert E. “Bob” Cacchione and John H. “Jack” Fritz (1925-2012) were honored as the final two inductees. Fritz, a leader in equestrian governance, was the equestrian coach of Fairleigh Dickinson Madison (New Jersey), one of two inaugural teams that competed at the first IHSA horse show in 1967. He served as an adviser and mentor to Cacchione in the early days of the IHSA.
Cacchione’s brother Tom Cacchione introduced Bob with a poignant speech. Just 18 and a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University when he launched the program, Cacchione made the organization his life’s work and passion. He served as IHSA executive director for over 52 years and now serves as founder emeritus. Cacchione has been recognized for his commitment to college riding with the IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award, the USHJA Presidents Distinguished Service Award, USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Centenary College, the Equine Industry Vision Award and most recently, USHJA’s William J. Moroney Visionary Award.