Utah State University is hosting one of North America’s premier college equine shows this weekend, March 16-17, at Utah State University Equine Education Center located at 3580 South, US-89 in Wellsville.
The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association- Western Semi Finals will begin at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
The two-day event is an opportunity for horse enthusiasts to experience one of the largest equine-related events in the country, with 140 riders representing 30 colleges from 16 different states.
Jason Romney, USU professional practice riding instructor and western equestrian team coach, is the horse committee chair for the event. He’s been working with USU equestrian students in preparation for the event.
USU’s western equestrian teams have been regional champions six times during Romney’s time here. He is one of the top reining horse competitors in the nation.
“This is huge, it is really a big deal. It’s putting USU’S equestrian program on the map,” said Kelsey Romney, the show manager. “This is the first time we have held the Western Finals at USU that I know of. This is Jason’s tenth year and this is the first time he’s hosted the event at USU,” she said. “We are thrilled to have horse owners and other teams see the top-notch facilities at USU.”
She said the university’s program is the top in the region.
“I’m not sure on the national level, because I haven’t been to every one in the country, but ours is nice,” Kelsey said. “We are expecting 300 spectators and we are live streaming the event at usu.edu/ihsa.”
USU has five riders competing at the Intercollegiate Horse Show. During the competition at USU, Romney will be part of a documentary film being produced by Netflix.
Competitors at the USU event will come from universities and colleges in New York, Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, Oregon and Utah.
IHSA promotes competition for riders of all skill levels. Riders can compete individually and as teams at regional, zone and national levels.
The association was founded in 1967 by Robert Cacchione on the principle that any college student should have the opportunity to participate in equestrian competition without any regard of financial status, gender or riding level.
Cacchione is expected to be at the competition.