My parents, especially my dad, have always been big into participating in extracurricular activities, clubs, and those sorts of things, so I’m not surprised at the large amount of organizations that I have been a part of over the years. At the time, I’m sure I begrudgingly joined because
my dad my parents made me, but each one had an impact on where I came to be in the horse world.
This was the first one I can remember signing-up for when I was 12 and I specifically remember trying to talk my parents out of making me do it. My cousin was a member of the local group and I imagined them all sitting around doing arts and crafts—something I wanted nothing to do with. I eventually became a member of the local horse branch as well, Silver Spurs, and was a member until they kick you out at 18. Angel was my “4-H horse project” pony and we went to numerous horse shows over those six years. From putting on fundraisers for our club to showing at Eastern States Exposition to going to the regional Quiz Bowl competition, a lot of my horse knowledge came from doing 4-H. As embarrassed as I was to be a member back then, it was well worth it and I gained incredible experiences.
Interscholastic Equestrian Association
IEA was totally out of my comfort zone and I was completely lost. I was in Intermediate, probably a division higher than I should have been at the time, and at my first show I accidentally dropped my reins mid-course. Thank goodness the pony I was on, a cute little Appy named Mia, was a saint and did our rollback with her rider flopping around like a fish. In my last season I placed 6th in every single class, including the one I fell off in. I only did IEA for a few years and only went as far as regionals, but it set me up for IHSA in college.
New Hampshire High School Equestrian Team
I started doing NHHSET in seventh grade, the youngest grade you could be in to participate, and was a member until I graduated high school. Because all of the classes were individually judged patterns (similar to the way a dressage test is set up and judged), I attribute a lot of my love for equitation tests to NHHSET. My public school’s high school had a team that the seventh and eighth graders could ride on and when I switched to private school in ninth grade, I started a team there. My mom eventually became president for a few years, so I had my hands in the back of the organization as well, inadvertently learning all about how a non-profit is run, how to put on horse shows, and so on. We called it the “High School Rodeo” (though I’m not sure that was an affectionate term) and I was sad to leave my senior year, nut Angel and I had ruled NHHSET for a few years and it was time to graduate.
American Morgan Horse Association
Because I had a Morgan, I was a member. Angel and I did the Open Competition Program and have a bunch of certificates that came with giant ribbons for year-end awards as well as a fancy bronze medal for their Morgan Medallion Awards.
Intercollegiate Horse Show Association
IHSA was basically IEA but harder. I started out in Advanced WTC and ended in Open Flat/Intermediate Fences. I was my team’s captain for a few years and spent the majority of college at the barn. I loved being a part of IHSA as an organization and would recommend it to anyone, I met some of my best friends through being a member, but I am definitely left with some scars from my team and my region. I wish I’d loved it more.
United States Equestrian Federation
With IHSA came a membership with USHJA and USEF. I’d been a member for a while, though I haven’t re-upped my membership in a few years since I was on an island for the majority of show season the past few years.
New Hampshire Hunter Jumper Association
You probably already knew this on from my show recaps. While I will be doing less of their shows this year, I’ll still be a member for Finals and potential year-end award things.