The Interscholastic Equestrian Association named 12 new U.S. Hunter Jumper Association individual champions, two team national champions, and the 2019 Leading Hunt Seat Rider during the IEA Hunt Seat National Finals, held April 26-28, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa.
The Leading Hunt Seat Rider award, as well as the USHJA Varsity Open on the Flat individual championship, went to Riley Babb of Terryville, Conn. The high school sophomore claimed the Leading Hunt Seat Rider title after topping the Varsity Open Championship class on Saturday.
“It shows all the hard work and dedication that I’ve put in with my trainer,” said Babb, 16, who rides as part of the team at TerryAllen Farms under the tutelage of Samantha Borkoski. “She’s put in a lot and kind of shaped me to who I am today. We’ve been doing lots of no stirrups and testing within our lessons and mainly just putting in a lot of riding time to get ready.”
An invitation to compete in the Varsity Open Championship was extended to the high point open division rider from each of the 10 IEA Zones, as well as to the top two riders in the Varsity Open division at the Hunt Seat National Finals.
Babb qualified as both the top rider from IEA Zone 1 and a top rider in the Varsity Open division, and now, as the class winner, he will receive a spot at a 2020 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program Regional Training Session.
“It’s exciting,” said Babb, who has been competing in the IEA for five years and who also claimed an individual championship in the Intermediate division at the 2018 IEA Hunt Seat National Finals. “In the IEA, you get the opportunity to do this without having to own your own horse. It’s refreshing to get on other mounts and do just as well.”
The IEA is a membership partner and affiliate of the USHJA, and, as such, Babb and all of the individual champions were presented with USHJA trophies.
Among those trophy winners were Sophia Olivero and Emma Repenning. Olivero, of Katonah, Ny., earned the USHJA Varsity Intermediate on the Flat championship, while Repenning took the top honor in the USHJA Varsity Intermediate Over Fences.
“It feels so amazing [to have won],” said Olivero, who rides with the Grier School and coach Chrystal Wood in IEA Zone 11. “The horses I drew, I was so lucky to have ridden. They were such great horses, and it was so great of the barns today that provided horses. Everyone in my class did so well. I’m so honored to have won because everyone was such an amazing rider.
“I love that [the IEA] teaches you to be able to get on a horse and to find out quickly how to ride that horse to the best of your ability. It really teaches you good lessons,” continued Olivero, 15.
“It has always been a dream of mine to come and place, and now that I’ve been able to be champion it’s even better,” said Repenning, 15, of Zionsville, In., who rides with the Zionsville Equestrian Team in IEA Zone 5.
The additional USHJA individual championship winners include:
Courtney Craver, Tally Ho SC, IEA Zone 4 – Junior Varsity Novice on the Flat
Raeghan Brousseau, Heartland, IEA Zone 1 – Junior Varsity Beginner on the Flat
Presley Orzen, North Peak Equestrian Team, IEA Zone 10 – Future Intermediate on the Flat
Emilie Smith, Empress Equestrian Team, IEA Zone 5 – Future Novice on the Flat
Lillian Muzzy, Bridges Equestrian, IEA Zone 10 – Future Beginner on the Flat
Matthew Tracy, Briarwood Farm Equestrian Team, IEA Zone 11 – Varsity Open Over Fences
Molly Zygmont, Avon Valley-Cedar Brook, IEA Zone 1 – Future Intermediate Over Fences
Courtney Craver, Tally Ho SC, IEA Zone 4 – Junior Varsity Novice Over Fences
Sadie Koresh, Top Notch Equestrian Team, IEA Zone 11 – Future Novice Over Fences
The 2019 national championship team titles were awarded to HRA Foxtail Farm team as the Upper School champions and the Yinger Equestrian team as the Middle School champions. Claiming the reserve championships were the upper school team from Clover Grove and the middle school team from Hanover Heritage Equestrian Center.
The USHJA offers a Scholastic Membership for all IEA riders and coaches, enabling them to participate in the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge, the HQC Stable Challenge, the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USJA Emerging Athletes Program, and the USHJA Trainer Certification Program.
Find the full results from the 2019 IEA Hunt Seat National Finals on Facebook here. Learn more about the IEA by visiting www.rideiea.org. Learn more about the USHJA Scholastic Membership, exclusive to IEA members, at ushja.org/membership.