November 2020 - IEHJA Update
Written by by Patti Schooley
Thursday, 29 October 2020 23:41
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association news

Resilient riders look forward to an exciting 2021 show year starting in December

by Patti Schooley

The 2020 show year has been like no other. It started out with high hopes and a full calendar of show dates. Venus were ready, horses schooled, and riders well turned out with new boots and coats. Then Covid 19 blasted into all our lives and little has been the same, especially the how, when, and where of Southern California’s horse show world.


The state’s “stay at home” order shut down the winter/spring show calendar while national, state, and local horse show organizations tried to figure out new Covid restrictions. Questions were asked: Can a horse show, at any level, be organized to protect the health of riders, show managers and volunteers and still be successful? Where do the “barn moms and dads “ go if no spectators are allowed on show grounds? Masks, yes or no? Further complicating matters were the 58 different county health departments each with its own set of rules or guidelines.


IEHJA, along with other local horse organizations, in adherence with USHJA and USEF guidelines, developed the safe procedures necessary to re-boot the horse show season. Show managers across the region had to determine the financial and competitive viability of their show dates. Of the 27 IEHJA scheduled shows, only four were held in the early winter months. The spring shows were all cancelled. June saw the first three safe and successful IEHJA sanctioned shows. The Southern California summer heat always limits the number of venues hosting competition with riders eyeing fall shows to prepare for the November IEHJA year-end show. Unfortunately, the latter fell victim to fallout from Covid 19.

In a letter to IEHJA members, President Gretchen Clark stated……”many shows have been cancelled or rescheduled, lessons have stopped, and finals have been cancelled or changed. Many riders have not been able to attend shows to earn points or qualify for medal finals or year-end awards.” She further discussed the dilemma faced by the IEHJA Board of Directors regarding holding the year-end horse show by stating “The board did not come to this decision lightly. This year our memberships were down, approved shows cancelled, and sponsorships did not come in as usual. The board ultimately decided to cancel the year end show for 2020. Points will be counted for the 2020 show year and awards will be presented.”

The IEHJA board knew its members would be disappointed and looked for ways to positively close out the show year. IEHJA medal classes are hotly contested and riders look forward to the year-end finals. With the help of show manager Chris Willson, the 2020 IEHJA Medal Finals were set to be incorporated into North Inland County Horse Show scheduled for October 16-18 at Galway Downs.

Speaking of winners, congratulations to every rider that competed this year in an IEHJA sanctioned show. It took courage and determination to compete with the new COVID restrictions. Nine summer/fall shows will have been completed by the time this article publishes; that is a lot of classes ridden, champions and reserve champions awarded, and medal classes completed. Diverse show venues from Galway Downs, Willowbrook Riding Club, Showcase Training Stables to Sweetwater Farms hosted these pointed shows. Thanks to the many show managers, volunteers, trainers and moms and dads that went above and beyond to ensure safe competitions.

IEHJA members are looking forward to the start of the 2021 show season. It begins with the North Inland County Show Series on December 11-13 at Galway Downs. We are all now “seasoned competitors” under COVID restrictions. We expect only good surprises in 2021, like winning the blue ribbon or moving up a division! See you all at the next show.

For horse show results go to the IEHJA website at or