Sonoma State Equestrian Maddison Marnin has just returned from the east coast after attending the National Championship Horse Show, (IHSA), at the New York State Fair Exposition Center in Syracuse, New York. Maddison hails originally from Omaha, Nebraska, but her family lives in San Diego. Riding has always been a big part of Maddison’s life, so competitive riding just made sense when she enrolled at Sonoma State University.
While Maddison is controlling the horse and doing jumps and equestrian functions, she also has to watch her situation and posture.
Full-time undergraduate students of member colleges or alumni who competed in the IHSA as undergraduates are eligible to compete. Riders qualify for the National Championship Horse Show through a point system. During the year, contestants accumulate points at their IHSA local shows to qualify for the Regional Finals in their respective divisions. The top two riders in each class of the Regional Finals move forward to the Zone Finals. The top two competitors in each class at Zones qualify for the Nationals.
IHSA now contains 40 Regions in eight Zones with over 400 member colleges in 45 states and Canada and represents 10,000 members in hunter seat equitation, Western horsemanship and reining. With 10,000 individual riders the top 16 qualify in each division for Nationals. Marnin did a solo ride part of the team aspect of IHSA which gives riders a chance to bond and compete as a group, but every year there are also competitors who are the sole qualifiers from their school and Maddison made the trip to Nationals without the comfort of her team. She placed third in the individual walk and trot championship.
IHSA is a club sport at SSU with about eight competing members. They train out of Petaluma Hill Stables near Santa Rosa with coach Carrie Hover. Marnin found temporary teammates in the other Nationals riders from Zone 8 and her parents also made the long trip to New York from San Diego.
Marnin said. “I admit it’s hard to be there without a team, but I did the parade of teams by myself and it was ‘I am doing this for “Be Sonoma Proud” and I am glad and happy to just be at the Nationals.”