Lady Flames Hunt Seat, Western riders qualify for first IHSA National Championships in three years
Liberty University’s Hunt Seat and Western equestrian teams both qualified one rider for the 2022 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championships at their respective Zone 4 and National Semi-Finals events held this past weekend and last month.
Senior Western rider Faith Dantona was the overall champion out of 12 riders in reining and finished fifth out of 10 riders in horsemanship on March 19 in Morgantown, W.Va., one of three National Semi-Finals locations.
“We’re very excited about her moving on to nationals,” Flaig said.
This past Saturday at St. Andrews (N.C.) University, Lady Flames Hunt Seat senior Juliana Gorena was the Zone 4 Champion in the Limit Flat event, competing in a field of 10 riders from five regions.
Meanwhile, senior teammate Nadia Cooper narrowly missed qualifying for nationals in the Cacchione Cup, finishing fourth out of five riders in competing in that event at the Zone 4 show, where she also placed fifth out of 10 riders in the Open Flat competition.
Both the Hunt Seat and Western divisions of the 53rd annual IHSA National Championships are set for May 5-8 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa. They will be the first national shows held since 2019, with the past two canceled by COVID-19.
“With it being the final show of the semester, we are fortunate that we have riders who have qualified to go on to nationals,” said Flaig, who last accompanied Hunt Seat rider Amber Gayheart to compete in the Cacchione Cup in 2019. “We are so proud of our riders’ accomplishments this year and can’t wait for nationals.”
Dantona will be one of 12 riders (four from each of the three Western Semi-Finals) to compete in the IHSA Reining championships. Gorena will ride in a field of 16 Limit Flat contestants (two representatives from each of the eight Zone finals) at the Hunt Seat nationals.
“They are both very dedicated students who work hard and are putting in all the preparations that they can over the next two weeks, with augmented practices scheduled in around their studies,” Flaig said.