Intercollegiate Dressage Association’s 2012 National Championship Preview

RELEASE: March 19, 2012
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Intercollegiate Dressage Association

Riders from over 20 colleges and universities throughout the United States will converge at the Centenary College Equestrian Center in Long Valley, New Jersey for the Intercollegiate Dressage Association’s10th annual National Championship. Centenary College and their dressage team will host over 100 riders who will compete April 28th and 29th as either part of a 4 member team or as individuals in each of the IDA’s four divisions, Introductory, Lower Training, Upper Training and First Level.

The IDA is comprised of approximately 600 student riders representing 55 colleges and universities in the US and Canada, which are divided into 10 regions. The qualifying teams and individual riders earn their way to the Championship by earning points in IDA sanctioned competitions held throughout the academic year within their respective regions.

Unlike traditional dressage competition where riders show on their own horses, IDA shows require that the host school provide the horses and tack, and riders chose their horses through random draw. This means that they are showing on unfamiliar horses with only ten minutes of warm up time to establish a relationship before entering the show ring.

In addition to the experience being very challenging, it brings a sense of team spirit to the sport of dressage not found anywhere else. “There is such camaraderie among the riders and the coaches,” says Lisa Moosmueller-Terry, vice president of the IDA and Intermont’s dressage coach. “The competition is intense, but there is still such a sense of support from the other teams. We all applaud one another and are happy when the ribbons are well distributed among riders from all the regions.”

Among the numerous sponsors for the event are Thornhill Saddles, Perri’s Leather, Dressage Today, the US Equestrian Federation, SmartPak and Westfield Whips.

The IDA began in 1995 as an informal competition among a small group of colleges and secondary schools in the northeast. Michelle Hoffman, who was a student at Mt. Holyoke during this time was the originator of the IDA concept. She personally drew up the basic structure for the team competition and the guidelines for calculation of team points, which, for the most part, are still in use today.

Johnson and Wales University, Mt Holyoke College, Ethel Walker School, Williston Academy, Stoneleigh Burnham School and Savannah School of Art and Design were all among the first school-sponsored programs seeking to develop dressage as a “team” sport. The rapid international growth of dressage inspired greater development within college and secondary school riding programs. This led to an increase in participation and interest in a more formally constructed national organization.

In the spring of 2001, the first eastern region finals were held at Virginia Intermont College. During the finals, representatives from numerous colleges and secondary schools met to approve by-laws, elect officers and create the structure for the organization that is dedicated to increasing interest and participation in competitive dressage at the college and secondary school level.

The organization began with a handful of college members and quickly grew to include riders from all over the US and Canada. In 2003, the IDA became a college only organization..