What is the IHSA?

The IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) is an association founded on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her financial status or riding level. Competition is based on catch-riding donated horses in both hunt seat and western disciplines. Students ride horses that are furnished by the host college and chosen by drawing lots. The use of personal tack and schooling is not permitted. The theory behind this structure is to equalize variables of the competition and to test the horsemanship of the contestants. Classes range from walk/trot for the first year students to Open Division for more experienced riders.

Today, the IHSA is an organization that encompasses 29 Regionsin 9 Zones with more than 300 member colleges in 45 states and Canada -- representing more than 6500 riders in both Hunter Seat Eqiutation, Western Horsemanship, and Reining. Cal Poly Pomona competes in Zone 8, Region 2.

For more information, please visit the official IHSA website

Can I bring my own horse?

Yes, but having your own horse is not necessary to be on the team. If you board your own horse on campus, you are more than welcomed to ride it at our lessons or bring it to our shows if it is suitable for our program. If you are interested in leasing or donating your horse to our team, please contact Jen Earles

How much does it cost to be on the team?

Yearly membership costs are very minimal, however, we require that you participate often, as we are a student-run team. Annual fees of $75 ($40 IHSA membership + $35 team dues) allows you to ride in practices and participate in events throughout the entire academic year. As a member, you will be required to do chores once a week on any day you prefer. Chores include cleaning stalls, raking isles, checking water, sweeping the tack room, taking out the trash, and cleaning crossties, which takes approximately thirty-minutes. In order to fundraise for the upkeep of our horses, we require all members to particpate in our annual Pumpkin Festival hot-dog fundraiser, and to help out at horse shows and other Ag events (4-H field day, FFA judging competitions, clean-up day, Equine Affaire).

What equipment is necessary for lessons and shows?

Everyone must wear boots when present in the Horse Center. For hunt seat practices, riders must wear ASTM-SEI certified helmets, field boots or paddock boots and half chaps, breeches or jeans, and gloves. For western practices, riders usually wear jeans and boots. The team owns several riding helmets to use for lessons and shows.

For shows, the following list of clothing are preffered:

Hunt Seat: GPA or Charles Owen helmet (No striped helmets allowed),long sleeve light-colored ratcatcher, navy hunt coat, Tailored Sportsman beige breeches, tall boots.

Western: Black felt hat, blouse (the team owns many), belt, black showmanship pants, black fringed chaps, boots

What are the committments to being a team member?

Because our team is strongly based on being student and volunteer operated, we must fulfill a lot of responsibilities in addition to the care of our fifteen horses. It is vital to the team (and as a team) to participate in fundraising, clean-up days, doctoring horses (when needed), holding horses for the farrier, and helping out at the horse shows and field days to keep the team running. Participation in practices, and weekly chores are very important, especially as they factor into decisions into those who competes at horse shows, as entires are limited. Both beginner and experienced riders alike have gained invaluable horse handling experiences as well as a stronger bond with the team. :-)

How does the team travel to horse shows?

All region horse shows take place in Southern California. All Cal Poly Pomona hosted shows take place at at our very own W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center. Other region horse shows take place at Sweetwater Farms (USD and UCSD), Elvenstar in Moorpark (UCI/UCLA) and The Paddock (USC). For shows in Sweetwater Farms, the team hauls down 5-7 hunt seat horses for the weekend whlie staying in a local hotel (usually La Quinta Inn- paid for by the team) and having a team dinner at Pat & Oscar's (paid for by team). Riders who are not showing are still welcomed to come and participate, as this is where many team bonding experiences take place.

What schools do the team compete against?

Cal Poly Pomona competes in Zone 8, Region 2, which include USC, UCSD, USD, Arizona State University, CSUF, UCI, UCLA, UCSB, Claremont, Whittier, and University of Arizona.

Does the class get credit for being on the team?

Students get 2-unit credit for enrolling in AVS 299A withour advisor, Jen Earles. Grades are based on weekly participation in meeting attendance, quizzes, assignments, chores, attending practices, and helping out at shows.

How often can I ride?

Members are welcomed to ride as many times as they want in both hunt seat and western practices. Practices take place 2-3 times per week, per discipline. On off-practice days, experienced riders may sign up for the riding schedule, which entails taking an assigned horse out on a light hack or turn out.

Do I need to be a full time student?

Any Cal Poly Pomona student may participate, however, those who are competing must be enrolled in 12 units or more at the time of the show. Students who are not full-time are still welcomed to ride in practices.

Does the team fundraise?

Yes! A significant part of the team's funding are based off fundraising and sponsorships. Our annual fundraisers include the Pumpkin Festival hot-dog barbecue fundraiser and selling Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough. The person with the highest amount of Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough sold will win an all-expense paid trip to Zones, Semi-FInals, or Nationals.

Where are the facilities located?

All practices and home-hosted shows take place on campus at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center.

What are the divisions that you show in?

The IHSA show circuit offers all levels of riding, based on riding and showing experience. New riders are placed into divisions based on their past riding experiences and riding evaluation each year at orientation. The following divisions are:

Hunt Seat:

  • Open Equitation over Fences
  • Intermediate Equitation over Fences
  • Novice Equitation over Fences
  • Open Equitation on the Flat
  • Intermediate Equitation on the Flat
  • Novice Equitation on the Flat
  • Walk-Trot-Canter
  • Walk-Trot
  • Alumni


  • Reining
  • Open Horsemanship
  • Advanced Horsemanship
  • Novice Horsemanship
  • Intermediate Horsemanship
  • Beginner Horsemanship

IHSA logo