Friday, October 16, 2015

Flash Back Friday: The Really Real IEA Experience

As much as I love #tbt, Thursdays are for fashion, and the day that I'm flashing back to is a Friday.

Just over a year ago, I joined an IEA team, and I will always consider it one of the best decisions of my riding career. I was super hesitant at first. I had only ever ridden at one barn. I knew of people on the team already who were much better and much younger than me. I wondered how I was going to balance it with my regular lessons. Plus, the cost, the location of the barn, and the location of the shows didn't make it an easy decision.

Willow, my o/f draw from the first IEA show
I eventually caved to Miss S's persuasion, took a break from lessons with her, and joined the team. Even after the first lesson, I was still unsure, but I kept up with it, and I'm glad I did. Within the first month, I had a major turning point in my riding (and I remember that exact moment clearly). I became stronger, both physically and mentally.

And I had an awesome, energetic, supportive team.

I didn't get the tall boot memo

But I did get the paddock boots & half chaps memo
And I had a lower leg at some point.

And winning a grooming tote was pretty cool too.

Smiling even though I was freezing my butt off
Not to mention the amount of one on one time that I got to have with Baby as a result of not taking any lessons on her. It taught me how to deal with problems on my own (i.e. running off, rushing fences), and we built up a much better bond in that time. I could go on for days about how great that was.

Bond not always present
I honestly felt like I was on top of the world.

I am aware that success in riding is mainly based on the quality of the training. Joining an IEA team alone won't turn you into a Grand Prix show jumper . . . although having a Corbinator can aid in that. With that being said, if you are in middle or high school, I highly encourage you to join a team, and if there isn't a team around, look into starting one. There is a lot to learn from having to effectively ride a wide variety of horses while sitting pretty.


  1. I wish they had IEA when I was in middle and highschool.

  2. love this post (and the gifs, esp that one of baby lol) - and am also really wish i could have ridden in the IEA too. the IHSA was perhaps a similarly defining experience for me too, tho maybe in different ways.


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