The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), Inc. was established in April 1999 with the purpose of promoting competition for riders of any skill level regardless of financial status. Students compete individually and as teams members at both Regional and National levels. For all who take part, these IHSA competitions develop sportsmanship, team enthusiasm and horsemanship.
The IHSA's competitions are affordable because individual colleges host each event and provide the horses. However, this is not the only unique aspect of IHSA competitions. Not only are riders not allowed to use their own horses, but personal tack and schooling/warm ups are not permitted.
Horses and riders are paired up randomly by drawing. This enables riders to compete on an even keel and truly test their horsemanship ability.
Levels range from beginner walk-trot through advanced open equitation competition. At the more advanced levels, competition includes jumping as well as flat work. Riders advance through the levels by accumulating points at the horse shows.
In addition to qualifying individual riders for nationals, each team strives to be the high point college representing the region at the National Horse Show. This is accomplished in the same manner as individual competitions. However, the coach of each college designates the "point rider" in each division. At this time, the "point rider" is not only competing for themselves but they are representing the college as well. Like individual competition, the three best teams go on to compete at the zone finals. From there, the top two teams from each zone compete at Nationals. The National Team Championteam is awarded the Cacchione Cup.
The IHSA is a recognized member of USA Equestrian (USAE) and the American Quarter Horse Association. Because of this, the IHSA is actively involved with the top professionals in the industry and all horse shows are judged by USAE/AQHA recognized officials.