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2018 IHSA National Championships


By Carrie Wirth, EQ Media, with contributions by Nancy Brannon

Harrisburg, Penn.—The 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) began Western and Reining competition Friday, May 4, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, featuring AQHA Team Open Reining and Individual Open Western Horsemanship.

Friday Highlights: The University of Wisconsin River Falls notched their first win in AQHA Team Open Reining with Danielle Paulson the leading rider. This was Paulson’s first time qualifying for IHSA Nationals. In second place in Open Reining was the Middle Tennessee State University team, with Mary Wade the leading rider.

Saturday Highlights: Morgan Knerr Wins NRHA Individual Open Reining. Morgan Knerr from University of Findlay and her best friend, Tyler Kirby from Ohio State University were tied at 148 points after their first reining run. The judges asked the two top contenders to swap horses and return for a showdown. Knerr, who rode Karen Black’s Brie in the first round mounted up on Gunny, also owned by Black. In the end, the judges gave Knerr the top prize.

Sunday Highlights: The University of Findlay was awarded the AQHA Team National Championshipand took home the trophy after a stunning victory over talented teams from across the country. Ohio State University was named reserve champion. Connor Smith, the St. Andrews University senior from Gastonia, North Carolina, won the Team Open Western Horsemanship and earned the AQHA High Point Western Rider.

Western Special Awards: Harley, from Middle Tennessee State University, was awarded the SmartPak Most Popular Western Horse Award.

Mid-South Riders Wrap Up
Intermediate Western Horsemanship (Team) - Third: Luke Brock, Middle Tennessee State University
Advanced Western Horsemanship (Team) - Fourth: Steven Todd, Middle Tennessee State University
Advanced Western Horsemanship (Individual) - Mary Cornett, Mississippi State University, MS
Open Reining (Team) - Second: Mary Wade, Middle Tennessee State University, TN
Open Reining (Individual) - Fifth: Alexandra Britt, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, TN
Alumni Western Horsemanship - Sixth: Emily Kopko, Middle Tennessee State University, TN
Alumni Reining - Fifth: Emily Kopko, Middle Tennessee State University, TN
The Hunter Seat Championships began on Thursday May 10, 2018, also at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Nearly 450 students from across the U.S. and Canada qualified to compete at the event.

Thursday Highlights: The opening class of the day was Open Equitation Over Fences. Centenary University junior, Michael Andrade earned the national championship aboard Skidmore College’s Clay.

Friday Highlights: The first two phases of the coveted USEF/Cacchione Cup, Equitation Over Fences, and Equitation on the Flat took place on Friday.

In the USEF/Cacchione Cup Equitation Over Fences, Mollie Kowalchik, captain of the Mount Holyoke College team, produced the leading round aboard Collins, owned by Cazenovia College.

Going into the flat phase, Kowalchik was two points ahead of the pack, with Halle Kutsche from Kansas State University in second. Both riders maintained their positions after the flat phase with only one point separating their scores. The top 10 riders returned for the work-off phase Saturday morning.

Saturday Highlights: The Skidmore College Thoroughbreds maintained a lead throughout the show and finished with 30 points, earning them the right to take the Collegiate Cup home to Saratoga Springs. Reserve champions Savannah College of Art and Designwere just two points behind, and Stanford University was third with 22 points.

Sweet Briar College’s Makayla Benjamin Wins USEF/Cacchione Cup. Judges Diane Carney and Tony Sgarlata determined the format of the final work-off phase of the USEF/Cacchione Cup. In a challenging course over fences, Makayla Benjamin, a senior at Sweet Briar, went from eighth place in the top 10 to win the championship. She drew Collins, who was reserve champion Mollie Kowalchik’s draw in the first phase.

Michael Janson, from Boston University, nabbed the win in the Collegiate Cup Open Equitation Over Fences.

Hunter Seat Special Awards

Skidmore College’s Clay, who produced many top rounds, was awarded the SmartPak Most Popular Hunter Seat Horse.

Mid-South Riders Wrap Up
Novice Equitation Over Fences (Individual) - Sixth: Erin Buckley, Maryville College, TN

Intermediate Equitation on the Flat (Individual) - Tenth: Emory Barnes, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), MS

Intermediate Equitation Over Fences (Individual) - Fourth: Emory Barnes, University of Mississippi

USEF/Cacchione Cup - Phase I: Kelsey Sloan, MTSU – 69.00 points. Phase II: Kelsey Sloan, MTSU – 84.50 points; total 153.50

In Hunter Seat Standings, Savannah College of Art and Design, GA was Champion team in Zone 5.

In Western Standings, Middle Tennessee State University was Champion team in Zone 5.

At IHSA Nationals, Middle Tennessee State University was third in AQHA Trophy Western Team.

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