Seen here at the Western Michigan show earlier this month are, from left to right Saghi Mostaghim, Emma Soever (who is team Vice President
of Competitions), Erin Bell, Bethany Cowbrough, Holly Hayman (Vice President of Events), Kimberly Wallace (Team President), Shelby Geiger, Andrea Millman and Timothy Galang of
the University of Western Ontario. When Open Fences kicks off at Con Brio Farm in Arva, Ontario this Saturday at 9:30AM (where Western Ontario is hosting) it will mark only
the second time in IHSA history that a show has taken place in Canada (Photo courtesy Emma Soever/University of Western Ontario Equestrian Team).
SECOND-EVER IHSA SHOW TO TAKE PLACE IN CANADA ON OCTOBER 31ST; THIRD-AND-FOURTH-EVER A WEEK LATER
Some may not know this, but three IHSA regions currently include schools from Canada, and at
one time a fourth region did as well. Zone 2, Region 2 includes Ottawa University, Brock
University and Ottawa University. Zone 8, Region 4 includes the University of Victoria,
the University of British Columbia, Douglas College and, starting this season, Vancouver Island
University. And Zone 6, Region 4 includes the University of Western Ontario, a school which
will make history this October 31st for hosting only the second IHSA show ever in Canada.
Since the IHSA was formed in 1967 only once to date was a show hosted north of the US border.
This show took place in the early 1990's and was hosted by several Zone 2, Region 2 schools.
Sadly this particular show ran very long, and became even more of a nightmare for many of the
US teams who found themselves stranded in western New York state due to a blizzard. The subject
of a Region 2 show taking place again in Canada went on the back burner for several years (in
part because all the Canadian schools including Humber College left the IHSA at some point).
The weather may not be as much of a factor in Arva, Ontario, through it will rain the day
before. The entire state of Michigan (please have your passports ready at the border) will
travel to the newly-constructed Con Brio Farm in Arva, Ontario for a halloween show. We asked
Emma Soever of the Western Ontario team if there were any difficulties planning the show since
it would be outside the US.
"I don't think we had to plan much farther ahead than any other schools in planning our
show," said Soever, who is also Vice President of Competitions for the Western Ontario team.
"This is our first year in the IHSA and we committed to hosting a show last spring once we
heard we had been accepted into the region. We went to go watch Regional and Zone finals last
year in order to learn about how the shows work, so we were prepared to host one this year.
As soon as we came back to school in September we got underway with planning for our show."
"Although this will be the first IHSA show we host, we have some experience hosting similar
shows. We have successfully hosted the Ontario University Equestrian Association (OUEA)
finals horse show for the past two years. The OUEA is a new and growing organization, with
ten member universities. It is modeled after the IHSA."
|We had difficulty blowing the picture up without blurring it, but in this photo is the University of British
Columbia team at a 2008-09 Zone 8, Region 4 show. UBC will host back-to-backs on November 7th and 8th as the Zone 8, Region 4
season opens north of the border (Photo courtesy Holly Walker/University of British Columbia Equestrian Team).
"Our team is different from most schools in our Region in that we don't have a coach
who accompanies us to competitions. Many of our riders have their own horses and
coaches. Those who do not take lessons with one of two trainers in the area who we are
affiliated with. These coaches are not involved with our competitive team or with
planning our show. They have, however, generously donated horses for our show."
The second IHSA show ever to be held in Canada almost took place earlier this year.
In the fall of 2008 it was announced that the Canadian schools in Zone 8, Region 4 were
planning to host a spring show. However Equisure, which insures all IHSA shows in the
US, was unable to insure that particular show at the time.
"The possibility of (the) U(niversity of) B(ritish) C(olumbia) hosting a show has
been in discussion for a couple years now, but costly insurance quotes have previously
held back the team from organizing a show," says University of British Columbia Coach
and Equestrian Club President Holly Walker. "Last February, Kasmira Cockerill, at the
time the UBC Equestrian Club President and IHSA Coach (and now the UBC Equestrian Club
Treasurer) and myself began looking into what it would take to put this on. Insurance
was obviously our first concern. Equisure will not cover IHSA shows in Canada so we
did our research and have gone through Capri Insurance and Horse Council BC to insure
the show and the individual competitors. It is a little more of a complicated process
as its not as simple as just buying independent insurance for the event. We also need
all riders at our show to join the Province Equine governing agency, Horse Council BC
to ensure they are independently insured in Canada. Complicated or not, it just
amounts to a few extra waivers and more coordination and creativity with finances on
our end, a small price to pay for the first IHSA BC Horse Show!"
On November 7th the University of British Columbia will host the Zone 8, Region 4
season opener at Southlands Riding Club in Vancouver. The next day they will host
another show, becoming the first Canadian school to host back-to-backs.
"We were the first Canadian Team to compete in our region and are proud to be the
first to host an IHSA show," adds Walker. "As well as our IHSA Team we have an IDA
Team going into their third year of showing. We really value the accomplishments we
have made so far, as it takes extreme dedication from our members because UBC only
recognizes our riders as Club Members not as Athletes. We do not receive any
funding from the UBC Athletic Department therefore we are completely funded by our
own initiatives. A great group of people and committed members have allowed for our
team to grow in such a short time."
"The local horse industry has been very supportive of our upcoming horse show
which we are extremely grateful for. We have booked the indoor arena at a beautiful
riding facility (Southlands Riding Club) that is only minutes from UBC and an icon
in the Vancouver horse community. Our two judges, Tamara Hall and Phyllis Attrill
have also been very helpful and accommodating and really represent the great talent
of riders and judges we have in Canada. Thunderbird Show Park, The Dog & Pony Shop,
Greenhawk and Miss Filly have donated beautiful items for both our horse owners and
competitors. Our Regional President, Carrie Kolstad, has been very encouraging and
supportive throughout the entire process and has worked tirelessly to create a
network between the Canadian and US teams."
|Though they have never hosted an IHSA show, Ottawa University has scored the most points overall of the Canadian schools at IHSA shows since
the start of the decade. The GiGi's scored 23 points when this photo was taken at the October 25th Rochester Institute of Technology
show. From left to right are Jordan Fulcher, Emily Marcogliese (who was a winner in advanced walk-trot-canter), Christina Stringer,
first year Head Coach Lauren Hunkin and Jordan Grendal. Ottawa is one of three Canadian schools competiting in Zone 2, Region 2 and
historically make it to the most Region 2 shows each season.
While insurance was an issue for UBC last season, there does not seem to be an
insurance problem in Western Ontario. "As far as insurance goes I believe
everything is okay," says Soever. "Our Regional President submitted the insurance
application about a week ago and we have not heard of any issues."
Soever also points out that though this is their first year showing IHSA the
club itself has been active since 2005. "This is our club's fourth year and we
have grown considerably over that time. Our club consists of just over 100
members, 27 of whom are members of our competitive team."
The University of British Columbia team has been around about as long, and
Walker notes that the percentage of Canadian schools in Zone 8, Region 4 have made
it imperative that some shows are hosted north of the boarder.
"Four Canadian Schools now make up one third of the teams that compete in our
Region. Every year the number of Canadian teams increases and we feel that the
future of our Region will rely on the hosting of shows in Canada. With the show
dates quickly approaching Kasmira and I could not be more happy about how our show
is shaping up and we are excited that it will be the first representative Canadian
show in our region. Hopefully not the last!"
With both Zone 6, Region 4 and Zone 8, Region 4 picking up the ball and running
with it across the boarder one wonders when Zone 2, Region 2 will find another of
their shows taking place outside the USA?