The Interscholastic Equestrian Association board of directors has voted to officially include dressage in their program beginning in the 2019-2020 season.
IEA dressage riders in middle school and high school who have at least one year of riding experience can compete on teams in dressage test classes as well as dressage seat equitation classes.
For the past three years dressage was offered as a pilot program, allowing riders to participate in a limited number of scrimmages across the nation. The first two years of the pilot program allowed riders and teams to hold dressage shows in the IEA draw-based format at a reduced membership cost. The program has been an overwhelming success, and participants tripled over the three years.
During the 2017-2018 season, IEA hosted a dressage finale at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio—a culminating event that was open to both IEA and non-IEA dressage riders regardless of points or past participation in scrimmage horse shows. Nearly 70 riders from 10 states participated in that inaugural event.
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, IEA formalized the membership application process for dressage riders and teams and held official horse shows in more than 15 states. Fewer than 100 riders participated in the first year of the pilot program, but the number of dressage riders in 2018-2019 increased to more than 300 active participants and nearly 100 teams.
“The growth and excitement surrounding the dressage program has been amazing,” said IEA Dressage Zone Administrator Emily David. “I couldn’t be more grateful for the amount of people that have stepped in and are so involved in this program from within and outside the IEA. I know it is going to grow fast and have a really bright future.”
On April 13-14, 2019, IEA will again host a dressage finale at Otterbein University in celebration of the three-year pilot program. This finale will include dressage riders and teams that have earned a specific number of points or are in the highest percent of participating teams in their zone. In future seasons, dressage will hold a national finals event similar to the hunt seat and western national finals.
Registration for the 2019-2010 season for all disciplines will begin June 1, 2019 at www.rideiea.org. Shows will run September 2019 through June 2020.