Equestrians slated for major Coolville sporting event

COOLVILLE – Hundreds of students in grades 6 to 12 will participate in a sporting event sanctioned by the Interscholastic Equestrian Association at the Stonegate Equine Facility in Coolville.

More than 500 students from Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky and Pennsylvania will compete in the two-day event on Saturday and Sunday, said Michael Hiehle, an organizer of the sports competition and a manager at Stonegate.

The competition begins at 8:30 a.m. both days and ends when the sporting competitions are completed, he said. The Interscholastic Equestrian Association was established in 2002 when the first sporting competition was first held. It represents students in grades 6-12 and has more than 8,000 members in 32 states.

The non-profit IEA supports three horse sports disciplines, hunt seat, western and saddle seat. Participants don’t have to own a horse because competition horses are provided at each sporting event. Participants will be assigned a horse by raffle, Hiehle said. They can compete in two events each day and each day will be treated as a separate sporting competition, he said.

“They’ll have to ride whatever horse they draw,” he said.

Ribbons will be awarded in each category to the first- through sixth-place finishers, Michael Hiehle said. The sporting competition is judged both days, he said.