What you need to know about the IHSA

What you need to know about the IHSA

A guide to Intercollegiate Horse Shows

Dartmouth equestrian kicked off our season this weekend with double-header horse shows at Middlebury and the University of Vermont. I personally love being a part of the equestrian team because horses are a great break from my hectic life as a Dartmouth student. I joined the team because I really wanted horses to be a large part of my college experience. Up until college, I spent a lot of time riding, but never really got a chance to horse show because I never had my own horse. Intercollegiate horse showing is much different than the average horse show. Here are a few things most people don’t know about the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.

1. Students draw random horses that they usually have never ridden.

This is probably the largest difference between intercollegiate horse showing and regular hunter/ jumper horse shows. Unlike most shows, where riders bring their own horses to compete on, in the IHSA riders draw random horses to ride. Usually the horses are owned by the host school and the riders most likely have never ridden the horse they draw. Getting on a horse you have never ridden is a game changer compared to normal horse shows where the riders get to ride their own horses that they work with on a daily basis. I really like the challenge of having to figure a new horse out and get it to jump around a course of fences smoothly without really knowing it. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be a little bit luck of the draw as to which horse you get, which can occasionally be slightly frustrating. One great thing about this system though is a lower cost for the girls showing. Bringing horses to each competition gets very expensive and by riding the host school’s horses, expenses are significantly decreased.

2. Riders are judged on their equitation.

In English, that means riders are judged on how nicely they look on a horse. Some specific things a judge tends to look for when judging a rider is his/ her leg position, shoulders, subtleness, and overall ability to get the horse to jump all the appropriate fences. The judge is supposed to consider which horse a rider is on and distinguish rider ability without considering the quality of the horse. Unfortunately, it can be a very subjective sport and some judges look for a certain style or rider characteristic more than others.

3. It is a team sport.

Though riding horses is an individual sport, in the IHSA it is also very much a team activity. Individuals compete for their school and in each division one rider from every school is considered the “point rider”. Only the point riders’ results for the day get considered when calculating a school’s team results from a show. This point system allows smaller schools to compete on an even playing field against larger schools. It also makes for a very close team dynamic because everyone has a common goal to represent their school in the best way possible. Some of my closest friends at Dartmouth are people I know through the equestrian team. I couldn’t ask for a better group to spend all of my weekends with.

4. There are classes offered for all riding abilities.

One great thing about Intercollegiate equestrian competitions is that there are divisions, also referred to as classes, offered for riders of all levels. From walk/ trot all the way up to open fences there is a class for all levels and abilities.

5. There are jumping and flat classes.

IHSA horse shows are divided into two sections, jumping and flat classes. The jumping classes are in the morning and usually consist of three divisions. The first division is open which is the most advanced division. The most experienced riders usually show in open and the fences are usually set at the highest height of the show for this division. There are also intermediate and novice fences. These classes have lower fence heights but are relatively similar to the open jumping division. Riders go in the ring individually and are expected to navigate their way around a course of predetermined jumps. In the afternoon, there are open/ intermediate/ and novice flat classes. These classes are usually many of the same riders from the jumping divisions and riders are expected to ride the horses they have drawn at a walk, trot, and canter. Flat classes are done in larger groups with usually about 5-10 riders and horses in the ring at a time. Riders must have the proper position and be able to leave a lasting impression on the judge despite the larger crowds. After the first set of flat classes, there are more flat classes that tailor towards lower level riders that are not ready to jump yet.

6. Riders can compete all the way up to a national level.

Inter collegiate horse shows are not just local. If riders compete all year successfully they can have the opportunity to advance to regionals, zones, and even nationals in their respected division. Dartmouth also competes in the Ivy League championships every spring.

7. Varsity Coed sport.

Many people don’t know that Dartmouth equestrian is a varsity coed sport. Though the sport is definitely dominated by female athletes, equestrian is one of the only Olympic sports that is coed. Most people don’t know that the equestrian team gets the same support as any other D1 team such as access to the varsity gym and collaboration with tutors.

If you want to find out more about IHSA showing and the Dartmouth equestrian team make sure to come watch our home shows at Morton Farm on October 23rd and November 5th.

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20 Signs You Were A High School Cheerleader

You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."

Cheerleading is something you'll never forget. It takes hard work, dedication, and comes with its ups and downs. Here are some statements that every cheerleader, past and present, know to be true.

1. You always had bobby pins with you.

2. Fear shot through you if you couldn't find your spankees right away and thought you left them at home.

3. You accumulated about 90 new pairs of tennis shoes...

4. ...and about 90 new bows, bags, socks, and warm ups.

5. When you hear certain songs from old cheer dance mixes it either ruins your day or brings back happy memories.

6. And chances are, you still remember every move to those dances.

7. Sometimes you catch yourself standing with your hands on your hips.

8. You know the phrase, "One more time, ladies" all too well.

9. The hospitality rooms were always one of the biggest perks of going to tournaments (at least for me).

10. You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."

SEE ALSO: How The Term 'Cheerlebrity' Destroyed Our Sport

11. If you left the gym at half-time to go get something, you better be back by the time the boys run back out.

12. You knew how awkward it could be on the bus rides home after the boys lost.

13. But you also knew how fun it could be if they won.

14. Figuring out line-up was extremely important – especially if one of your members was gone.

15. New uniforms were so exciting; minus the fact that they cost a fortune.

16. You know there was nothing worse than when you called out an offense cheer but halfway through, you had to switch to the defense version because someone turned over the ball.

17. You still know the school fight song by heart and every move that goes with it.

SEE ALSO: Signs You Suffer From Post-Cheerleading Depression

18. UCA Cheer Camp cheers and chants still haunt you to this day.

19. You know the difference between a clasp and a clap. Yes, they're different.

20. There's always a part of you that will miss cheering and it will always have a place in your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Doug Pool / Facebook

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22 Things Texas A&M Could've Spent $75 Million On Instead of Jimbo Fisher

I know a National Championship sounds pretty cool, but so does a Whataburger on campus...


Okay people, don't get me wrong. I love Aggie Football, and I'm so excited to see what new coach Jimbo Fisher does with this team. I lost my voice yelling at the Clemson game, and I'm excited to see how the team does this year in the SEC.

But I think we all need to calm down a little bit.

Jimbo Fisher is just a football coach.

Hopefully, you're still reading this article after that sentence. I love football, and I know Texas A&M; University loves football, but I also think I'm going to need to see a little more long-term evidence (Like our record come November!!) before you'll see me chanting Jimbo's name along with everyone else in Kyle Field.

And so even though I promise I'm every bit excited to have Jimbo as the next Aggie, I thought it might be fun, and maybe give us a little perspective, to take a minute and daydream about some other ways Texas A&M; could've used the $75 million they shelled out to get their head coach.

1. Buy a pair of Crocs for every student.



Since students have to walk so much across TAMU's massive campus, you might as well provide them with some comfortable and fashionable footwear to get there!

2. Build another hotel.

Who needs more student housing?

3. 50 by 25.

Why shoot for 25,000 students in TAMU engineering by 2025 when you could have 50,000?! The more, the merrier, am I right?!

4. Make Kyle Field indoors.

Oh, you mean we just got a new stadium?

5. More. Parking.

Good luck finding room on campus for another garage to overcharge students for though...

6. A private suite for Reveille.

I'm sure the Corp dorms are lovely arrangements, but she is the queen of Aggieland, right? Maybe it's time she was treated like it.

7. A Starbucks in every building.

So that way you can get your coffee before you have to wait in line at the one in Evan's Library!

8. Put a Whataburger on campus.


This one would help the school make even more money, so they can hire Jimbo all over again.

9. An express train to Dallas/Austin/Houston/anywhere more exciting than College Station.

To make up for the lack of things to do in the BCS area.

10. Even more parking.

In case you didn't get the idea. Parking is an issue!!

11. Install confetti and fireworks under the Century Tree.

...And an alarm that goes off if you try to walk under it alone.

12. Somehow fix the traffic?!

I'm not really sure how we could make this one happen, but I'm sure with $75 million they could at least make it so it doesn't take me 25 minutes to get from George Bush to University.

13. Replace all the Ofos with mopeds.

14. Wipe Blocker Building off of the face of the earth.

It would be the perfect spot for the next hotel!

15. Pay the janitorial, food services, and other employees of Texas A&M a little more money.

They definitely deserve more for having to put up with 60,000 college students waiting in line for Chick-fil-a every week. (P.S. to the lady at Smashburger who knows me by name, you're a rockstar and so underappreciated!!!)

16. Install an elevator in Heldenfels.

17. Make Breakaway every night of the week.

**Insert T.A. saying "Howdy" here**

18. Renovate the dorms so they are at least livable.

Or at least greatly reduce the price students pay for the shoeboxes they call rooms.

19. Cover the seal on Military Walk in solid gold.


20. Give the cats at Heldenfels a home.

Maybe the squirrels too?

21. Add six more floors to Evan's Library.

People will probably still have to sit in the floor of the MSC during meals though...

22. To ensure that the Aggie band and the yell leaders stay exactly the way they are.

Because no matter what the football team does, we can always count on winning halftime, and the Aggie band and yell leaders never letting us down!

I really hope Aggie football does great things this season, and I hope Jimbo Fisher has a lot of success here at Aggieland. But I also think we should all take a step back before we throw someone who, at the end of the day, is just a football coach onto too high of a pedestal.

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