The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), in conjunction with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), awards a student rider the National Sportsmanship Award each year. This year’s award was presented to Olivia Barden, a Senior from Parker, Colorado.
The national award winner is selected from a group of riders who earned a Sportsmanship Award at a local, regional or zone IEA show during the 2017-2018 season. These winners were then invited to submit an application for the National Sportsmanship Award. The student riders submitted a resume, composed a 250-word essay explaining how horses and/or equestrian competition have influenced his/her life and three letters of recommendation.
“My participation in IEA the last five years has provided me with experiences that reach far beyond riding and competing: developing an even deeper appreciation for horses, teamwork, sportsmanship and the value of embracing any experience, as well as learning a lot about myself and the things I value,” said Barden, “As a graduating high school senior, it is certainly bittersweet that my IEA career is concluding, but I look forward to taking these amazing lessons I’ve learned and applying them as I begin my college career.”
Barden is a rider on the Front Range Equestrian Team of Golden, Colorado (coached by Shaun Clark and Tracye Ferguson), will receive a five hundred-dollar ($500.00) scholarship from the IEA, a lifetime membership to the IEA and a nomination by the IEA to affiliates’ sportsmanship award programs. The IHSA will award Barden a five hundred-dollar ($500.00) scholarship, a keeper trophy and her name engraved on a perpetual Sportsmanship Award trophy. If Barden attends a college with an IHSA program, that scholarship amount will be doubled to $1,000.
An Honor Society graduate of Legend High School, Barden plans to attend Colorado State University this fall. In addition to riding with IEA for the past five years, she also served as the IEA Zone 8 Youth Board Representative during the 2017-2018 season. Outside of the IEA, Barden shows her own horse, Schatzi, in Hunter/Jumper Equitation classes and is a member of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), Colorado Hunter Jumper Association (CHJA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC).
“Good sportsmanship is a tenant in the IEA and this award is held to high regard. Choosing the National Sportsman from the pool of amazing candidates is always a difficult decision. Olivia is a proven leader, outstanding equestrian, and her sportsmanship and dedication to IEA is something to be envied,” commented Roxane Durant, IEA Executive Director.
“Throughout the history of IHSA,” said founder and IHSA Executive Director, Robert E. ‘Bob’ Cacchione, “I have always been impressed by the caliber of sportsmanship and teamwork exhibited by our student athletes, who strive to succeed in the arena as well as the classroom. Our partnership with IEA is rooted in our shared values and a commitment to recognize athletic excellence, integrity and service.”
Nearly 750 IEA riders were eligible for the National Sportsmanship Award. Among the 135 finalist applicants, the top eight winners are:
First Place: Olivia Barden, a Senior from Front Range Equestrian Team (Zone 8).
Second Place: Lily Andersson, a Junior from Far West Farms (Zone 10).
Third Place: Erin O’Callahan, a Junior from Four Winds Equestrian (Zone 1).
Fourth Place: Maggie Klau, a Junior from Cornerstone Farm (Zone 8).
Fifth Place: Shaney Enck, a Sophomore from Western PA Equestrian Team (Zone 11).
Sixth Place: Devin Adams, a Senior from Halfmoon Valley (Zone 11).
Seventh Place: Emme Warren, a Senior from Findings Farm Equitation (Zone 3).
Eighth Place: Alexandra Davis, a Freshman from Maple Ridge Equestrian Team (Zone 5).
Now entering its 17th year, the IEA has nearly 14,000 members across the United States riding and coaching Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. The non-profit (501(c)3) IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels.
For more information, please visit www.rideiea.org