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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Star Cornerback Signs With The San Francisco 49ers

4-time pro bowler, Richard Sherman signs 3-year, $39.15 million contract.

The NFL free agency has allowed several teams to cut and others to acquire various key players across the league. Although teams cannot sign unrestricted free agents until the beginning of the new league season, they can sign those who have been let go during the offseason.

One player, in particular, Richard Sherman, has been in the news lately following his release from the Seattle Seahawks.

Once he was released, Sherman issued a statement on Twitter thanking the Seattle Seahawks organization and his teammates.

I would like to say thank you to the Seattle Seahawks organization for taking a chance on a kid that was overlooked by many. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you to the coaching staff, trainers, equipment guys, and office staff for the love and support you have shown me for the last seven seasons. To my brothers, this journey would not have been the same without each of you. It has been [an] amazing ride from beginning to end, with memories to last a lifetime.”

The 29-year-old cornerback has been a standout for the Seahawks since they signed him in 2011. Over the course of his time in Seattle, he had 32 interceptions, 377 career tackles, 3 First Team All-Pro honors, is a 4-time pro bowler and holds lowest passer rating allowed in coverage since 2011 (50.9%). In addition to this, Sherman has been listed in the NFL’s Top 100 5 consecutive years and in 2013 led the league in interceptions (8).

Becoming confident in his abilities and being aware of how much his skill is worth allowed Sherman to look to other organizations to solidify a contract for this season.

After discussions with the Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, Sherman and the 49ers agreed to a 3-year contract that is worth up to $39.15 million.

San Francisco plays in the NFC West, giving Sherman the opportunity to face his former team twice in each regular season in which he mentioned played a major role in his decision. “I’m vengeful that way.”

An article in Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback by Peter King added that the 49er’s general manager, John Lynch and executive vice president of football operations, Paraag Marathe were heavily involved with Sherman’s negotiations.

The Stanford graduate took on the role of being his own agent and brokered his deal. Marathe expressed his appreciation for Sherman’s preparation and stated, "Richard came into the meeting with us having read all the contracts for all the top cornerbacks past and present. [Sherman] studied our contracts and knew who we'd given real guaranteed money to."

With regards to representing himself, "I don't think any agent in the business could have done a better job of negotiating this contract," Sherman said. "As long as I'm content with what I'm making, nothing else matters to me.“

Although he is coming off a season-ending injury, once healed, the 49ers intend to start Sherman in their Cover 3 defense. #25 "doesn't believe there will be much adjustment in joining the Niners or moving to the Bay Area considering his previous time in college at nearby Stanford. The biggest change? Wearing a different team's colors for the first time in his NFL career."

"I've spent a lot of time wearing a red jersey in the Bay, so I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out," Sherman joked.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Being A Collegiate Athlete Doesn't Give You A Free Pass To Be An Absolute Idiot

Let’s be clear for once, shall we? What these student-athletes did was absolutely idiotic.

In my neck of the woods, collegiate athletes seemed to be the overly-sung heroes.

I used to hear stories of the ones who went off from the high school football team to do bigger and better things at bigger and better schools. Football is the talk of my Snapchat feed every week during those short Fall months.

The football players are the top-dog cliché in all teen movies. In such a small part of the country, the collegiate athletes appear larger than life. That power can surely go to their heads.

Bowling Green State University is back in the swing after a week away on Spring Break. It’s the talk of classrooms for weeks beforehand, most of the students headed towards the sunny shores of Florida for some light-hearted fun. It’s the best time to have some fun with your close friends and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, for some members of the university football team, those memories hold really big consequences.

Over the break in Miami, football players from my college were caught in a beach brawl that ended up right on Instagram. The video shows the players in the midst of a physical altercation with others who remain unnamed. The clip shows other beach-goers watching with their phones recording, egging on the fight for their own amusement.

Although parts of the story remain unclear, an investigation is being conducted by the university.

Looking through comments on the video from locals, they don’t seem to care that these players made complete fools of themselves. They were commenting on how this aggression and this “grit” was in a beach fight and not on the field. They talk about their skills as players but not their character as human beings.

Newsflash to all the college athletics spectators: These are students, human beings just like you and me who also make mistakes. When these kids make mistakes, like they will eventually, they need to know that they made a mistake. Now is not the time to talk about the yearly football rivalry. Do not inflate their egos even more.

While we're at it, to the college athletes: You are not the hero that the students and faculty paint you out to be.

Let’s be clear for once, shall we? What these student-athletes did was absolutely idiotic.

They didn’t really know how to switch from the pedestal they’re put on in a small-town school to regular tourists in a large and vast city. Their actions now reflect poorly on the mentality and morality of an entire school.

That small-town mentality that inflates the egos of athletes has given them a trip home into some deep trouble.

To the people out of the country who will read this article and see that video: I am not a student at a school with a football team that sucks. I am a student at a school with an awesome English department.

Cover Image Credit: @dreadhead_wildboy

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