BRISTOL, Va. - This past weekend, the Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Team earned its third win of the season as it closed out the fall in a Zone 4-Region 5 show at home. The show was highlighted by consistent riding across the board, as none of the Wasps 16 riders finished worse than third as they posted 14 wins on the day and earned both individual honors.
This past May, the Wasps dramatically captured the IHSA Collegiate Cup. It was the first IHSA team crown under the E&H moniker and fourth in program history (2004, 2005, 2007). Overall, the Intermont Equestrian program has won 21 national championships since its establishment under Virginia Intermont College.
Watching this weekend's dominant rides was one of the biggest names in the equestrian world – IHSA founder Robert "Bob" Cacchione. While attending Farleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, in 1967, Cacchione developed the prototype competition program with the help of his professor and renowned horseman Jack Fritz.
Launched with just two colleges competing in hunter seat equitation, the IHSA was praised for its innovative competition format and quickly caught on. The IHSA now encompasses 40 Regions in 8 Zones with over 400 member colleges in 45 states and Canada and represents 10,000 members in hunter seat equitation, Western horsemanship, and reining.
"In my travels, I like to come and honor the national championship-winning team, and I'm very proud of this entire team," said Cacchione. "This team here has incredible coaching, and the way they work with the students is incredible and is part of the reason that Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry has become a powerhouse."
Cacchione says the association was founded on the principle that any college student should have the opportunity to participate in equestrian competition regardless of financial status, gender, or riding level while emphasizing learning, sportsmanship, and teamwork.
In addition to Cacchione, another big name in the equestrian world was at this weekend's event. USEF "R" Judge Scot Evans served as a judge at the show and spent the subsequent two days providing feedback and guidance to team members during a clinic.
Evans hosted six clinic sessions over two days. His impressive and well-rounded background of close to three decades in the equestrian world, combined with his ability to communicate his knowledge to every student present, made for a great hands-on learning experience.
RELATED - Scot Evans Clinic Photo Gallery
"From years past, Scot has been a part of this program for a long time," said Heather Richardson, IHSA & ANRC coach. "To have him come here, it's a benefit to the students as competitive collegiate riders, but it's also something that can help them the rest of their lives as a horseman. They are getting tools that will help them in the professional world, making connections, and mastering skills to hone their craft better."
Evans has experience as a show hunter, show jumper, and hunt seat equitation judge. Additionally, he has extensive experience in the commercial aspects of the equine industry. Evans has produced a series titled "The American System of Forward Riding and the Three Masters" featuring George Morris, Rodney Jenkins, and Buck Brannaman.
He is a founding member and former President of Equestrian Aid. He is active on the nationwide hunter-jumper "A" circuit and popular as a judge, clinician, and public speaker.