While most sports activities have canceled or rescheduled, the Zone 4 Finals for the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (www.rideIEA.org) was able to go on as planned just prior to the beginnings of quarantine. Interscholastic equestrian teams across the nation compete all fall to send individual riders and whole teams to post season competition. Hayden Center, a freshman at Florida State University School (FSUS), has competed on both the Tallahassee Riding Academy team which is open to any middle or high school student across our region and the FSUS Equestrian Team. She qualified to continue on to post season competition by earning enough points throughout the IEA regular season.
“Hayden has been a valuable team member for both TRA and FSUS and we are proud of her achievements” said Janet Cawley, one of the coaches for both teams. “We are excited to see how she continues to improve over the next three years and possibly as an equestrian athlete in college!” Coach Cawley continued. While Hayden had her eyes set on returning to IEA National Finals, where she finished fourth two years ago, the Covid-19 crisis ended her dreams this year. “I am excited to have three more years to try for Nationals and to help my team get to post season competition” exclaimed Hayden. “Even with Nationals off of the table, winning at Zone Finals was a big achievement!” said Miss Center.
Equestrian athletes compete on unfamiliar horses during IEA competition which is modeled after collegiate riding. Many Tallahassee equestrian athletes have gone on to ride with both NCAA Equestrian Teams and IHSA Equestrian Teams. Interscholastic competition includes Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage. The Tallahassee Riding Academy, FSUS Equestrian Team, and the Maclay Equestrian Team are based out of Cavallo Farms, a local hunt seat equestrian center that offers lessons for all ages and levels.