The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) began a search in the spring of 2021 for members to participate in their new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee. The DEI committee will ensure an environment that warmly embraces people from under-represented and under-served communities and advances IHSA procedures and practices. The goal is to celebrate all IHSA members and followers and take an active role in promoting inclusion and equity in the organization. After an overwhelming response of interested members, the IHSA DEI committee is pleased to announce its formation.
“Our goal is to have a voice for all races, the LGBTQIA community, the autistic community and other neuro-atypical members,” said Tara Lowary, IHSA DEI committee chair, IHSA board member and IHSA coach at Bennington College. “Our selections for the committee each bring a different and powerful voice to represent the target communities.”
The members of the IHSA committee include Lowary, co-chair Jennifer Smith, IHSA board member and director of the equestrian program at Goucher College; Jane DaCosta, executive director of the Metropolitan Equestrian Team and IHSA alumna and member of the USHJA Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Committee; CJ Law, IHSA board member and Director of Intercollegiate Coaching, Varsity Hunter Seat Team Coach at Mount Holyoke College; Michael Dowling, IHSA board member and assistant professor of Equine Studies and IHSA coach at Centenary University; Tattie Singer, partnership manager at Horse & Country and IHSA alumna and Lana Ciaramella, J.D., IHSA alumna and Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Hunt Seat Zone 2 Administrator.
“This committee is dedicated to engaging the IHSA community to cultivate a positive, educational and engaging conversation by working together for an environment where we all can feel a sense of belonging,” DaCosta said. “In my opinion, based on experience as an IHSA member, alumna and coach, the IHSA has always promoted diversity, equity and inclusion. But now, we have a platform to show the world how much better we can be if we all work together for a better future.”
The committee plans town hall-style meetings to include more people in the coming months. To communicate directly with the IHSA DEI committee, contact them at [email protected].
“We are so pleased to welcome the DEI committee to engage the membership and continue in the tradition of inclusivity of the IHSA,” said IHSA Executive Director Peter Cashman.
About the IHSA
The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) welcomes men and women of all riding levels and offers individual and team competition in hunter seat equitation, Western horsemanship and reining at more than 400 member colleges and universities. Membership in IHSA means that college students can participate in horse shows regardless of their experience or financial status. Students compete at eight levels from beginner through advanced with suitable, provided horses, eliminating the expense of horse ownership.
Founded in 1967 by Bob Cacchione, it is the oldest and largest intercollegiate equestrian organization with 10,000 members in 47 states and Canada. IHSA college and university team participation is represented through various programs, including varsity athletics, academic departments and club sports. IHSA offers valuable hands-on experience and professional development in multiple facets of the equine industry. Many IHSA teams participate in service projects, giving back to their communities. Through the IHSA, students enhance their college experience and develop the tools that help build successful careers.