IEA Program Overview


The mission of IEA is to introduce students in middle and secondary schools (grades 6-12) to equestrian sports, to develop an understanding and appreciation of equestrian sports through organized student competitions, to provide students with organized competitive events and to provide additional equine educational opportunities.  The IEA provides membership and event structure for students to participate in Hunt Seat and Western competitions. Competitions are offered for riders able to walk, trot and canter in a group.

The IEA was founded on the principle that any middle school or high school student should be able to participate in horse shows, regardless of their financial status or riding level.  The IEA attempts to eliminate the expenses of students owning horses and allows more students to compete. Students ride horses that are furnished by the host barn and chosen by drawing for horses.  The use of personal tack is not allowed and limited schooling is permitted. The theory behind this structure is to equalize variables of the competition and test the horsemanship of each contestant. The IEA is an affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation, the United States Hunter Jumper Association, and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.  

New Canaan Mounted Troop is a member of the Zone 1 Region 7 Hunt Seat Equitation division for both middle school and high school. At the beginning of the school year, each team starts with a goal of accumulating enough team points to qualify for their Regional Finals in February.  The regular competition season is from September through January with each Region hosting its own finals on a weekend during February.  Winning teams then move on to Zone Finals which will take place in March, followed by the National Finals in April.  The riders show in a draw-type format that “levels the playing field,” and prepares them for intercollegiate riding and scholarships.  Through the IEA, students may also have the opportunity to earn scholarships towards their college education. Many school teams offer their students an opportunity to earn letter jackets and achieve other types of school recognition.  In addition, last year’s IEA riders were offered over $225,000 in college scholarships.  

Registration is first-come, first-served. The team is limited to 20 riders.

Register Now!


Important note: Participants MUST participate in NCMT’s Horsemanship Program (either 1 or two lessons a week) to be eligible for the IEA team.

Each rider will be required to attend one team practice per week.  This is in addition to their regularly scheduled weekly lesson(s) and should NOT be scheduled on their regular lesson day.  We will not have the ability to schedule makeup lessons. The available lesson times are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:45 p.m.-7:45 p.m. You will be able to select lesson day preferences on the registration form.

Riders need to commit to five shows per year, which is the maximum number of shows as governed by the IEA. We are accepting riders on a first come, first-served basis.   The fee per rider is $3,175. This includes registration, information clinic, team practices, training & horse show fees.  It does not include any personalized team gear you may want to purchase nor does it include transportation to and from the horse shows or fees should the rider qualify for regionals or finals.  

The IEA fees can be paid in full or in two installments: 50% with registration and remaining balance due 120 days from the first installment. Payment must be made by the due date or the rider cannot compete.  

Once your membership is confirmed, your trainers will tell you which division you will be showing at. Then each rider MUST register for themselves on the IEA website at . There is a $60 membership fee that must be paid online. Horse show entry fees will be paid by NCMT directly so no payments will be required by riders on the day of shows.

Fast Facts

  • No need to own a horse to participate. Classes are offered in four ability levels: beginner, novice, intermediate, open. Any combination of ability levels on a team is permissible, but it is advantageous to have at least one rider in every class to be competitive as a team. Riders in grades 6-8 are eligible for Middle School Teams while riders in grade 9-12 compete at the High School level.
  • Points are tracked for individual rider accomplishments AND for overall, team accomplishments. Individuals and teams earn points to qualify for regional, zone and national finals.
  • The competition season starts September 1st and ends at the National Finals in late spring/early summer.
  • Students ride horses that are furnished by the host barn and chosen by random draw. The use of personal tack is not allowed and limited schooling is permitted. This equalizes competition variables and tests the horsemanship of the contestants.

How It Works

  • Horses, saddle and tack are all provided to the students  by the host teams. Rider and horse have a short opportunity for a warm up in the over fences classes, essentially, the horses is new to the rider, and the scores are based upon horsemanship, not the horse. The competitions involve six classes jumping over fences no greater than three feet and numerous flat equitation classes.


  • Students compete as a team and individually.  Each rider attends 5 shows during the regular show season.  A rider may make it all the way to the National Finals as an individual even if their team does not.  Team competition results are based upon the accumulated points of each team’s designated “Point Rider” for each of the Upper School Middle School classes.  The points are posted during the show, so we can all see where the teams stand.


  • Because riders are competing on horses that they are unfamiliar with, riders will be competing at a level lower than they normally would.  We prefer to place riders in the lowest possible division where they will be most confident and competitive. If you have questions about your placement, please speak with one of the coaches prior to registration.


  • When, through no fault of the rider, a horse performs so poorly that it is impossible to fairly judge the rider’s ability, a re-ride may be granted. A re-ride must be requested before the lineup in a flat class or before the last horse leaves the ring in an over fences class. Only the coach of the rider involved may request a re-ride. Although they may confer with show management and the judge, only the show steward may grant or deny a re-ride.  Horse shows are one day shows that generally do not involve overnight travel. Some shows may be far away and the coaches and riders may decide to stay overnight. Coaches’ accommodations will be divided equally among all riders showing.  Hotel rooms are booked together ahead of time so that everyone can stay close together.


  • To help cover some of these expenses we will have fundraising efforts throughout the year. We will be looking to team members and parents for their ideas and support in these areas.


  • IEA shows require proper horse show attire.  Tan breeches , black well-fitted tall field boots, long sleeve show shirt, navy or black jacket, approved helmet, black leather gloves, belt, hair nets.  Other useful items:  Boot polish, brush and cloth, Layers and layers of warm clothing for winter shows! Towels (to use as a boot rag) Food & Snacks, are usually available for sale at the show as well.  


**Personal Conduct of Exhibitors, Coaches, and Show Personnel:  It is expected that exhibitors, spectators, and coaches will behave in a manner that reflects the dignity of the sport.  Ill-mannered conduct will not be tolerated. The show management may expel any person whose behavior is deemed dishonest, unethical, unsportsmanlike, or detrimental to the health, safety or well-being of any horse, person, or the Association during the progress of the show.  The use or possession of alcohol or any illegal substance at a competition or event by the riders, members, exhibitors or coaches is strictly forbidden on the show grounds, and any participant apprehended with such materials will automatically be suspended from the show and membership in IEA.

Register Now!

A Typical IEA Horse Show Day

Most shows begin at 6:30 or 7:00am with the horse warm up.  During the warm up all of the horses that will be showing that day are ridden either on the flat or over fences depending on which divisions they will be doing that day. Riders and coaches are able to watch the warm up while the announcer introduces each horse. The warm up gives the riders and coaches the opportunity to get to know the horses a little before the competition begins.

During the morning warm-up, we will be taking careful notes on the horses.  The notes will include how many strides the horse gets in the lines, if the horse appears difficult to ride in any way, if the horse is lazy or quick, or any other information that might be helpful to our riders.  The warm up is followed by the course walk. All riders who are showing over fences need to walk the course with a coach. Riders should pay attention during the warm up so that they can discuss the course and what parts might be challenging.  All jumping riders will need to learn the warm-up pattern. The pattern usually is the same at all the shows.

The horse draw should be posted shortly after the course walk.  One of the coaches will check the horse draw to find out what horse you are riding.  The coach will also find out if the horse is being ridden in a class before your class. If your horse is being ridden in an earlier class, it will be to your benefit to watch how that horse goes in the earlier class.

The show starts around 8:00 – 9:00 am and may run as late as 5:00 – 6:00 pm, on occasion the shows end as early as 1pm.  Throughout the day, the team will have one rider assigned to recording the results for the day. This person could also be a parent but needs to be someone who can carefully and accurately record each and every class.

Riders should be fully dressed several classes before their class so that there is no rush to get ready. Rushing makes everyone nervous and is not a good plan for show day!  Being ready ahead of time allows you time to focus on watching the show and planning your strategy with your coach.

IEA shows are very different from regular horse shows in that the horse is tacked and ready for you.  The host team has handlers that tack and hold the horse throughout the show day. The IEA rules do not allow anyone but the handler to adjust tack other than to shorten or lengthen the stirrups on the saddle.  If there is a question or an issue, ask the handler to address it or have your coach address it with the handler.  You can also ask the handler how the horse has been going. After your class, your horse will be taken by your handler again.  Please be appreciative to your horse handler, the horse and the host team! Please pat the horse after your ride and thank the horse handler.  Poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated!

The points will be counted and awarded as follows:

First place 7 points Fourth place 3 points

Second place 5 points Fifth place 2 points

Third place 4 points Sixth place 1 point


Each Team will designate one rider per class to compete for points toward the team

Championship.  Point riders may be selected from any section of Classes 1 through 12. Only one rider may

be selected from each class regardless of the number of sections. Point riders must be registered with the scorekeeper or secretary before the first draw. Teams who fail to register point riders prior to the first draw shall have the first eligible riders listed on their entry blank designated by the show as point riders.

  • After the draw has occurred, point riders may only be substituted for extraordinary circumstances, such as injury during the show. The show steward must approve this substitution, and the class must be re-drawn. Once a class has started no substitution can be made under any circumstance.
  • At each regular point show, the total points as awarded to each team’s designated point riders, will determine the hierarchy of team rankings.
  • Team rankings at each regular point show will be awarded as follows: Champion – 7 points;

Reserve Champion – 5 points; 3rd place – 4 points; 4th place – 3 points; 5th place – 2 points; and 6th place – 1 point.

  • In the case of a tie for the team championship of a regular show, The team with the most blue ribbons over fences wins the tie
  • If an ineligible rider is used as a team point rider, the team will lose that score and one more score will be dropped, regardless of the size of the team. This penalty applies for each class in which the rider was used. The score to be dropped will be the lowest score greater than zero.



  • Hunt Seat and Western Teams qualify for Regional Finals by accumulating twenty (20) points during the competition year.


  • Riders in Hunt Seat qualify for Individual Regional Finals by accumulating a minimum of eighteen (18) points in that class during the competition year.
  • Hunt Seat and Western riders may not show in more than five (5) regular point shows per class per year. Riders will qualify separately for each class within their division.

For more information & current schedule visit the IEA web-site at:

For more information on our Zone 1 IEA visit their web-site at:

Register Now!