The Inter-School Horse Show series (ISHS) is the official horse show series for Maryland, D.C., and Virginia middle and high school equestrians and equestrian teams. Our unique show format makes horse-back riding more affordable and accessible to young riders, and our series gives 5th-12th grade equestrians of all experience levels the rare opportunity to compete as a team and represent their school in the show ring. We emphasize good sportsmanship and teamwork, and strive to create a positive, encouraging community that celebrates the hard work, dedication, and athleticism of our riders.
We always welcome new schools to join the ISHS, and now also invite individual riders to compete in our series independently from their schools. Click here if your school is interested in starting a team, and click here for more information about competing as an individual.
OUR STORY: STRAIGHT FROM THE FOUNDER'S MOUTH
Before we started ISHS in the 1994-1995 school year, only the schools that has equestrian facilities on campus were able to offer the sport of horse-back riding to their student athletes. Many local middle and high school students were dedicating just as much time and effort to riding as their "traditional" sport-playing classmates, yet their schools did not recognize them as athletes because the riders were not competing through their school's athletic program.
As a result, riders were not acknowledged at their school's sports banquets, their show results were not announced at assemblies, they were not highlighted in their yearbooks, and-- most importantly-- the riders were not able to experience being on a team and representing their schools in the sport they love.
My oldest daughter, Jenn, faced these realities when she was in 8th grade. Jenn, an athlete, wanted to participate in a school sport, but she was not interested in the standard sports which her school offered. She was a horse-back rider and she didn't feel she should compromise herself just so her school would respect her as an athlete.
Jenn and I decided to approach her school's athletic director about forming an equestrian club. After voicing some apprehension, we were finally given the go ahead to start a club. Within just a few short weeks, we had 30 young riders attending our meetings.
The school's athletic director, who was very encouraging but also very green about the horse world, then asked if I would be taking the riders to a "game." I told her the correct term was "show" and that I couldn't take them to one because, frankly, there wasn't one. She responded only with, "I'm sure you'll think of something." So, in the winter of '95, I called the manager of the Potomac Horse Center, Renne Terselic, and set up a meeting to pitch my idea of starting a team-driven show series for local middle and high school equestrian teams.
Finally, on May 21, 1995-- days before summer vacation started-- we held our first ISHS "Spring" show. We were thrilled with the turnout-- 5 schools and 25 total competitors! Fast forward 20 years and we now host shows from September through April and have an average of 100 riders per show. We are proud to say that area schools have embraced the sport and, through their partnership with ISHS, we have enabled over 40 schools in MD, VA, and DC to officially offer horse-back riding in their athletic programs.
We could not have accomplished any of this without your help and support throughout the years. Thank you to all the students who have participated in the series, and to their parents for their hard work, encouragement, and for helping make their horse-crazy kid's dreams come true. Thank you to our host barns and staff who work tirelessly to ensure the shows are fun, exciting, and safe for our riders. Thank you to Cheryl Beauregard, who has sat with me in the dead of winter with so many layers of clothing on you could hardly see her face, for all of her hard work; and to Michelle Beauregard, a former ISHS competitor, for managing our website and promptly and patiently posting each school's score after each show.
Finally, thank you to my fabulous announcers-- Stacie Benes and Carolyn Raskauskas who, in addition to keeping the shows stay on track, keep their sense of humor as they face either the heat or more often the bitter cold weather throughout the day! (Carolyn, my youngest daughter, is also a former ISHS equestrian who competed in ISHS' equitation classes on her show jumper, Andiamo. She definitely pumped up the volume in her Hunter classes on that speedy horse!)
Thank you, thank you, again and again! We still love putting on the shows after all these years, and can't wait to see you at the next show. Good luck to all of our competitors!
ISHS Founder and Show Organizer