March 2021 - Association News: IEHJA
Written by by Patti Schooley
Monday, 01 March 2021 19:06
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Meet the 2021-2023 IEHJA Board of Directors

by Patti Schooley

IEHJA members elected a new Board of Directors to serve a two-year term that began in January 2021 and runs through December 2023. Serving as a director is not only a labor of love but a huge commitment of time, resources, and a desire to improve the number and quality of county level horse shows. It is not an easy job; directors are all volunteers and most have day jobs either in or out of the horse industry; some are trainers, some are also show managers, some work in tech and all own horses. As a board, the directors are involved in the management of the association and each chair a critical committee that when combined make up the business of IEHJA.

You may wonder what type of person wants to take on this responsibility, commit themselves to making the competitors experience better, often reducing the amount of time they spend with their own horse(s). They do it to meet the stated goals of IEHJA: To provide competitive horse shows that are well regulated and geared to all riding levels, emphasizing proper horsemanship and horse care, good sportsmanship, and a fun family environment.

Meet the Directors

Gretchen Clark
President, IEHJA, Chair Championship Year End Show and Co-chair Annual Awards Banquet

Gretchen has served on the IEHJA board of directors since its inception and is its long-time president. Gretchen was prompted to help organize IEHJA because the Inland Empire lacked any type of horse show association. IEHJA was created to represent both the riders and the trainers, provide sanctioned, competitive, and well-regulated horse shows via adopted by-laws and rules, create a points system and annual awards. As president organizes the monthly board meetings, directs the committee chairs, addresses member problems and concerns and is the “go to” person for all things concerning IEHJA. She has the difficult but rewarding job of  Championship Year End Show manager. That job includes everything from securing the venue, scheduling classes, creating the program, ordering prizes, ribbons medals and even stall shavings. If there is a job to do Gretchen does it or assigns it to be done. During the show she is in constant demand resolving problems big and small. She plays virtually the same role for the Annual Awards Banquet. These two events are the major activities funded by IEHJA and each draw hundreds of participants. When not involved in the business of IEHJA ( a full-time job in of itself) she owns her own training facility and produces the Showcase Show Series. Gretchen personal goals as a director has been to increase association membership, offer quality horse shows and medal classes and gala annual awards banquet to honor both competitors and trainers. She brings 40 years’ experience as a trainer and horse show manager and encourages members to share their thoughts, ideas, concerns or complaints with her.

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Lynn La Caze
Chair, IEHJA Website

Lynn is the newest IEHJA director, elected to her first term in 2021. She has the technically challenging assignment of managing the website. The website is IEHJA’s major communication tool for members and nonmembers alike. It provides tabs for IEHJA by-laws and rules, show calendar, updates and general information, member photos, forms, and membership application. Lynn manages this “frontside’ that everyone views but also the “backend” that allows IEHJA to collect monies, send the correct form to the various types of members, interface with the website host and so much more the average person rarely considers. Lynn maybe new to IEHJA but her enthusiasm and energy is up to this challenge. She was drawn to horses at age 11 and the equestrian lifestyle has been the center of her life ever since. She ran for the board of directors because of its grass roots nature that promotes quality horsemanship principals for all ages. One of her personal goals as a director is to liaison with riders in inland San Diego County and encourage participation in IEHJA. Lynn stresses that IEHJA is there for the riders and the board of directors is here to serve your needs. Never hesitate to reach out with any suggestions, we would love to hear from you.

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Patti Schooley
Secretary, IEHJA and Chair of the Publicity and Marketing Committee

Patti is serving her fourth two-year term on the board of directors and continues with her roles as the secretary and the chair of the publicity and marketing committee. Both positions have been a “learn as you go” proposition as she little experience doing either. While taking the monthly meeting minutes is not difficult, it is sometimes hard to read her own handwriting and make sense of the discussion. Publicity and marketing are much more challenging; writing creatively can be torturous and asking sponsors for donations of goods or financial support intimidating. She is getting better at both. Patti has had horses from a young age, generally back yard quality and she only trail rode. She got her first English saddle at 29 and started taking formal lessons at age 60. She began jumping at 62. Her horse “Beckett” competes regularly at IEHJA sanctioned shows, usually with a young barn associate aboard. She takes pleasure in watching young riders develop and progress in their show careers. Her personal goal as a board of director member is to secure more sponsorships for IEHJA .

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Joan Romo
Chair, USHJA and Co-chair Annual Banquet Committees

Joan has served on the IEHJA board of directors for ten years. She is the Chair of the USHJA committee which provides horse show rules and guidance for local equestrian associations. USHJA also offers affiliate memberships which provides associations such as IEHJA participation in its programs. Included are medal classes, regional competitions, scholarships, and horsemanship awards. As Chair, Joan liaisons with USHJA staff to ensure program compliance and annual program updates. As Co-chair of the Annual Awards Banquet Joan works with Santa Anita Racetrack to secure venue site, menu, banquet tickets invitations and program. Joan has a long career in the horse industry as a rider and trainer in both the hunter jumper world and major western competitions. She travels from her home base in Montana so her riders can compete in the IEHJA Championship Year End Show. Her personal goal as a board of director member is to expand IEHJA membership and increase participation in USHJA sponsored programs. Joan is passionate about IEHJA because it offers a chance for riders of all levels to compete at affordable prices with reputable judges. Joan states “as an association IEHJA strives to move forward with the times in an ever-changing world.”

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Jessica Abbott
Clark Vice President, IEHJA and Chair, Membership and Points Committees, Co-chair annual Awards Banquet

Jessica chairs two of IEHJA’s most important committees; membership and points. Both require refined administrative and computer skills to maintain constantly changing data basis, a complete grasp of horse show management and classes offered, and a complicated pointing system. Jessica is so familiar with IEHJA riders she can match member names to their horses, trainers, shows attended and classes competed in without notes! Jessica receives all on-line member applications and reviews for completion, sends out membership cards, records rider horses and answers member questions. She carefully points every IEHJA sanctioned show and provides year end standings. The latter leads into her role on the Annual Awards Committee where she organizes the awards presentation. Jessica started out as a horse crazy kid with backyard horses and has gown into an accomplished rider and trainer. Her love for horses and community involvement led her to run for the IEHJA board of directors. Her main goal is to make IEHJA the best it can be for its members and to keep the organization growing. She believes that IEHJA is a great place for riders to learn and grow into experienced horsemen and women. Jessica states “ We are all here for love of horses and our sport”.

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Jasmine Wheatley
Co-chair Publicity and Marketing and Social Media Committees

Jasmine is serving her second two-year term on the IEHJA board of directors. As the second youngest board member it is appropriate that she co-chairs the social media committee. IEHJA sites can be found on Facebook and Instagram providing direct communication to our members and the public. Show photos, updates and notices, changes to the show calendar, banquet and year end show information are posted to these platforms. IEHJA members also tag their barn, show and personal photos. Jasmine’s publicity and marketing activities include interacting with potential sponsors and vendors and publicizing IEHJA activities in traditional media outlets. She uses her creative talents to decorate the Santa Anita Racetrack Annual Awards Banquet venue. Jasmine started her horse career at seven becoming her barns unofficial catch rider. Not having a horse of her own she rode any horse available no matter their training. This experience  served her well as she matured as a rider and began showing other people’s horses. She has become an accomplished competitor and trainer. Jasmine is all about the IEHJA member experience. Her personal goal as an IEHJA board of directors’ member is to enrich the member experience via horse shows, sportsmanship, and support of other riders. Horse shows should be competitive but fun and provide as much for the walk trot rider as the 1m jumper.

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Susan Smith
Treasurer, IEHJA Co-chair Championship Year End Show

Susan has the unenviable position as treasurer which means she must keep the rest of the board living within the association’s financial means. IEHJA makes its revenue from membership, sanctioning and horse show fees. Financial and merchandise sponsorship are also critical in supporting the Year End Show and Annual Awards Banquet. Susan keeps track of all our income and pays the bills. Some readers may wonder what type of bills IEHJA has. They include such items as insurance, prizes and awards, venue deposits and final payment for the Year End Show, judges and officials plus the Annual Banquet site and food. Covid restrictions and show cancellations has made her job that much harder. Susan has served on the IEHJA board for ten years acting as treasurer for the entire time. Because she does such a good job, is honest and hard working the rest of the board will not let her change assignments! Susan has been involved in horse for “a really long time” riding as a junior and amateur and has 31 years’ experience as a trainer and coach. Being a board member allows her to give back to the equestrian community. Susan states “ IEHJA is the ultimate grass roots organization. By producing quality shows and opportunities we help launch new equestrians into the world of hunters and jumpers and offer competitive experience for county level exhibitors.

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Devynn Sibley
Chair By-laws and Rules and Co-Chair Social Media Committees
Devynn is serving her second two-year term on the IEHJA board. She is our youngest board member and brings a young rider perspective to the board. Devynn has risen through the ranks of junior and amateur rider competing from county level to “A” shows. She is an accomplished horsewoman and is always ready to help a fellow competitor. Devynn is a natural on the Social Media Committee because she “speaks Instagram” and knows how to navigate all social media platforms. She is the board’s go to person for posting on social media.  In complete contrast is her Chairmanship of the By-laws and Rules committee. This old school assignment requires thorough knowledge of USEF and USHJA rules for overall horse show guidance and intimate knowledge of the IEHJA By-laws and rules. Annually she reviews IEHJA’s by-laws and rules and prepares changes and updates for Board approval. She ensures that IEHJA members and show managers are aware of any changes via the Social Medial Committee. Devynn’s personal goals as an IEHJA board member include increasing the number of photos and other information posted on all media platforms, having more members tag IEHJA on their own Instagram posting, expanding the number of classes offered at IEHJA sanctioned horse shows and increasing association membership.

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Allie Sibley
Chair, Show Management Committee

Allie is not only the Chair of the Show Management Committee but is also mother of Devynn and team barn mom to many!  Allie is a “show parent” and knows what it takes to a fund horse and riders’ pursuit of ribbons . She knows the time and dedication it takes to become proficient rider and the impact it can have on the family. Its why Allie is an ardent supporter of IEHJA’s mission to provide horse shows that are “affordable, well regulated and judged”. Allie applies her horse show management knowledge to her committee duties: she inspects venues, reviews class schedules for compliance with IEHJA rules, provides forms to individual show managers, compiles the annual IEHJA show calendar, seeks out new shows to sanction, handles changed or conflicting show dates, complaints and many other administrative duties. She attends more horse shows than most and can always be seen cheering on Devynn and other IEHJA riders. Allies personal goal as an IEHJA board member is to increase the number, type, and venues of IEHJA sanction shows, expand the number of classes offered in sanctioned shows, encourage more participation in medal classes and expand IEHJA membership.

Now you have met our 2021-23 board of directors. The board invites you to visit our website at for complete association information. The board of directors welcomes your input, comments, and complaints. Also, barn and show photos can be uploaded to our site. Check out our show calendar and plan your next competition. Come join us!