MIAMI, Florida – January 20, 2017 – It was a beautiful weekend in West Palm Beach where sunshine and a light breeze set the backdrop for the 8th annual College Preparatory Invitational (CPI) horse show held at the expansive Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. This year, 140 young riders traveled from all over the country, including as far away as Hawaii to attend this highly anticipated event that included a college fair, an educational seminar and a collegiate format horse show over the three-days.
This year, CPI welcomed leading equestrian retailer Dover Saddlery as Presenting Sponsor of the CPI horse show series. Dover has been a sponsor of the CPI events for many years, but this year the company has increased its involvement in the events, partnering to add value for the student riders at both the CPI Florida and Texas events.
St. Lawrence equestrian team coach and IHSA veteran Mary Drueding, who has coached many riders to national championships, judged the CPI Florida event. As in the IHSA competition format, riders are asked to participate in a draw and compete on unfamiliar horses, both on the flat and over fences as in college-level competition.
United States Military Academy at West Point equestrian team coach Sherry Cashman designed the courses, which featured beautifully decorated jumps donated for the event by The Ridge. Riders at all levels negotiated the courses that featured both straight and bending lines, asking them to consider their pace, maintain accurate striding and encouraging them to demonstrate tidy turns and the ability to jump fences on an angle.
New Elements in 2017
In an effort to attract younger students in 2017, CPI opened the competition up to include 8th grade students which included adding a Walk Trot / Walk Trot Canter division, that quickly filled up. There was a waiting list for the Friday afternoon mounted clinic, featuring Centenary University Equestrian Team Coach Michael Dowling, as the clinician. In order to compliment the online Horsemanship Test, CPI added the opportunity for students to further distinguish themselves – by introducing the CPI Practical Horsemanship Challenge. This tested the student riders through a hands-on, in-barn practicum, working with Cricket Morris of Averett University and vying for a chance to earn a $250.00 scholarship.
The CPI Scholarship and Educational Fund awarded scholarships to the following students:
- CPI Essay Scholarship Award: Sarah Buchholz ’18 – Austin, TX
- CPI Horsemanship Test Scholarship Award: Sarah Lewis ’18 – Windsor, Ontario
- CPI Champion of Service Scholarship Award: Anna Baskevich ’18 – Staten Island, NY
- CPI High Point Rider Scholarship Award: Mackenzie Suffy ’18 – West Milford, NJ
Thirty-five colleges from around the country participated in the CPI College Fair, providing admissions representatives and equestrian team coaches the opportunity to meet with students and watch the competition. Colleges showed their pride with brightly colored and festively decorated tables laden with brochures and fun giveaways. Throughout the weekend, colleges and universities offered opportunities to learn more about their equestrian programs and met one on one to discuss their individual options. Some colleges displayed their IHSA ribbons and trophies, enticing those students who plan to pursue a spot on an IHSA team.
An impressive roster of educational speakers rounded out the weekend with informative discussions about navigating the college selection and admissions processes, what to look for and expect in a college equestrian experience and how to present and distinguish yourself when applying to colleges.
Intercollegiate Horse Show Association founder Bob Cacchione was on hand to speak to the students about the IHSA, which is celebrating its 50th year. He offered a detailed history of the evolution of the IHSA and encouraged student riders to participate in the program. A longtime supporter of the CPI, Mr. Cacchione was visible at the event all weekend, meeting and speaking individually to students, parents and trainers.
“The CPI is about providing young equestrians with an opportunity to educate themselves about their college choices, and to help them find the perfect school for them,” said Lindsay Martin, CPI president. “CPI Florida 2017 was terrific and I’m excited for the future because we’re continuing to evolve the program, we’re expanding our offerings and providing a valuable experience for all involved.”
The second CPI horse show event this year is scheduled for March 10 – 12, at the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas. Student riders wishing to secure an opportunity to compete at the CPI in Texas are encouraged to file their online applications as soon as possible.
About the College Preparatory Invitational
The CPI is a three-day event designed to educate student riders about the different formats of college equestrian competitions and provide riders with resources to help them create their desired college equestrian experience. Riders in grades 8 through 12 have a chance to win scholarships in hunt seat equitation competition and participate in educational presentations throughout the event. In an effort to encourage academic excellence and embed social integrity as a lifelong commitment to the equestrian sport, the CPI Scholarship and Educational Fund also awards riders the opportunity to win scholarships for academics and community service. To learn more about the CPI, please visit http://www.collegeprepinvitational.com.
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