IEA stands for the interscholastic equestrian association and there are 3 disciplines: hunt seat, dressage and western. In today's special post I will be going over the details of Hunt Seat in IEA. I did IEA hunt seat for my junior and senior years of high school! Last year the team made it to nationals and this season unfortunately got cut short because of the virus. I learned so much about riding and going with the flow during IEA. Some shows I would go from jumping a push ride hunter to flatting a speedy little pony. One of my favorite things about IEA is the team atmosphere. A lot of times equestrian isn't seen as a team sport, but in IEA everyone on your team is rooting for you and it builds such a great sense of community. I highly recommend joining a team if there is one around you, or you could start a team!


What does a show day look like?

Horse draw (live)

The horse draw can be very overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it really isn't too bad. What usually happens is the riders in the class line up in a random order (usually tall to short) and the person working the draw table checks roll by calling out your number (your are given your number at the beginning of the day). After the roll call, your number will be called and you will pick a random object (popsicle stick or other goodie) with a number on the back of it. You will then read the number on the back of your goodie to the steward and the people working the draw table and they will tell you which horse you have. After you are told the horse you will be riding, you return back to the lineup. While at the draw table it is important to be in full show attire minus your gloves. You draw a new horse for every class (over fences/flat).


Once your class is called the riders enter the horse holding area. Often, a horse is used more than once for an over fences class, so if you are the second person riding it, you will have to wait to get on. If it is a flat class, usually everyone gets on at the same time. If it is an over fences class it depends on the show and how it is being run, but usually you get on when there are 2 to 3 rides ahead of you. It is important to remember that only the person working the horse holding area and steward are allowed to adjust the girth.


Over fences: There is a set warmup course that may or may not be in a different arena than the show ring, depending on space. The rider is given a warm up pattern of 2 jumps to complete right before entering the show ring. If your horse stops at a jump, you do not get to circle around and try again, you have to go to the next jump or get ready to enter the ring.

Flat: There is no warmup for the flat, you just walk into the ring on your horse with the rest of the class and track left

In the show ring

Hunt Seat is judged on the equitation of the rider and how you work and communicate with the horse you draw. An over fences class consists of one jumping round that is judged and a flat class is a typical flat class where the riders are asked to do a set of tasks. What is asked of the riders varies from level to level. It is also possible to see an equitation tests in the flat class as well.


Show season and points

Regular season

Each rider is eligible to compete in 5 shows for points to try to qualify for points. If you go to a show over the weekend, each day of the show counts as its own separate show. For example if you show Saturday/ Sunday, that is 2 shows.


After acquiring 15 (this is the number for zone 7, but it may vary depending on your zone) points you will be able to qualify for regionals. The first day is individual day and the second day is team day.


In order to advance to zones, you need to get certain placings at regionals. This can be first through second or first through third, depending on the size of the region and zone. The first day is individual day and the second day is team day.


In order to qualify for nationals you need to get first (or second depending on zone size) at zones in your class. For an entire team to qualify for nationals, you will need to win team day.

Point system

1st: 7 points

2nd: 5 points

3rd: 4 points

4th: 3 points

5th: 2 points

6th: 1 point



My school's team practiced twice a week, the first lesson being on the flat and the second one being jumping. We would be assigned school horses to ride and would not ride in any of our own tack to mimic what a show feels like. Every barn does practices a little different, so I recommend talking with your coach ahead of time to figure out what your practices will look like.


I hope you guys were able to find some value in today's post! IEA can be super confusing and complicated, but once you get the drill it isn't too bad. Joining my school's IEA team was an invaluable experience and I learned so much. I personally do not compete in the equitation with my own horse, so I feel like IEA really kept me accountable for my equitation, even on cross country!

Best wishes