#It has been a year of achievements for Bahamas Equestrian. This summer the National Equestrian Federation achieved another milestone by expanding its youth scholastic riding programme to partner with the US-based Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) and become the first international regional affiliate in the IEA’s history.
#Bahamas Equestrian considers it a tremendous honour to have been chosen by the IEA as their first international partners.
#Both organisations emphasise promoting riding as a sport for all and as a pathway to educational opportunities. The launch of the partnership was originally scheduled for October 2020, but unfortunately has been postponed until the 2021-2022 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
#The IEA is the largest interscholastic equestrian league in North America with over 14,500 members in 46 states. The Bahamas has been designated Region 13 of IEA Zone 4 (which covers Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee). Local trainers Mrs. Erika Adderley-Coello of Mariposa Stables and Mrs Kimberly Johnson of Camperdown Equestrian Centre were appointed as Region President and Region Vice-President, respectively.
#Unfortunately, this exciting development faced a major roadblock with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the IEA competition season already underway in the United States, The Bahamas region officials were forced to make the difficult decision to postpone participation until next season.
#“We were disappointed to have to cancel this year’s participation in the IEA as the new Region 13 due to COVID,” said Region President Erika Adderley-Coello.
#“We are grateful that IEA officials agreed with us [in] postponing our start to next season.”
#Through its affiliation as an IEA Region, riders in the Bahamian Interscholastic Equestrian League will travel each year to compete against riders from all over North America.
#The relationship opens the way to multiple educational opportunities, such as access to thousands of dollars in IEA College Scholarship Awards, and participation in the USEF Equestrian College Search Programme.
#One young rider, Mila Sands, has already benefited from the Equestrian Bahamas-IEA partnership.
#Sands, a 10th-grader at Queens College, was a part of the Bahamian team that rode at the IEA Zone 4 Invitational in Conyers, Georgia, in February.
#Her sterling performance earned her the Steward’s Award: a fully-paid, week-long summer experience at the prestigious Chatham Hall School in Chatham, Virginia. Sands was unable to attend this summer because of the pandemic but was granted an extension to attend in 2021.
#Equestrian Bahamas and the Interscholastic Equestrian Association continue to share a common mission of promoting equestrian sport to school-age riders and providing competitive and educational opportunities. Riders and coaches look forward to participating in the IEA next year!