Meet Madison, a Cal Poly State University senior.
The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, or IHSA, offers college student-equestrians a way to compete without having to own their own horse. With both western and hunt seat divisions, the IHSA has been developing young talent for 50 years now by offering friendly college versus college competition. With the IHSA National Finals quickly approaching, we wanted to spotlight just a few of the riders who will be making their way to the Kentucky Horse Park in May.
Name: Madison Quintanar
Year in School: Senior
University Name: Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
Area of Study: Animal Science
Years in IHSA: 2
Nationals Division: Individual Open Reining
Madison Quintanar began riding at the young age of 6 but as it often happens, life took her away from the saddle until a mentor encouraged her to begin riding with her trainer when she was 15. It was at that point in her life that she fell in love with riding reining horses. She continues to compete her main show horse to this day in the NRHA Rookie and AQHA Amateur circuit.
That prior experience led Madison to seek out Cal Poly’s equestrian team her freshman year. After making the show team at tryouts, she competed her freshman year. She opted to take a few years off, but rejoined the team the beginning of her senior year which has given her the opportunity to qualify for Nationals this year.
It’s never an easy task to balance school, riding her own show horses and riding with the IHSA but with Nationals on her mind she made it work. In preparation for this year’s show season, Madison continued to attend shows with her trainer, Bud Lyon, in Texas as well as training at home when she returns to Thousand Oaks, California.
In order to keep her grades in top notch form, she totes her school work with her wherever she goes and uses all of her free time to focus on school. According to Madison, one big factor that has made all of this possible are the professors at Cal Poly. “My professors have also been super understanding that horse showing is my passion and they have been supportive! I could not have done it without supportive professors.”
Madison attributes her time in the IHSA as a huge factor in boosting her confidence, not only in herself but in others. “It can be incredibly challenging to overcome obstacles if you are fearful or unsure of yourself or in others, but if you can find the confidence in yourself and others, obstacles may seem just a little smaller,” she says. That confidence has helped her place faith in the horse she draws, her team, and herself which has led her down a positive pathway. Her favorite IHSA memory, taking her first blue ribbon home her senior year, is a direct reflection of how that shaped her as a rider.
IHSA has given Madison many opportunities, but what she is most thankful for is how it changed her overall. “IHSA has made me not only a better showman, a more patient rider, and a more confident horsewoman, but IHSA has also made me more of an opportunist. There is nothing like jumping on a horse you’ve never seen in your life and trusting that they are going to take you to the top.”
Knowing how much riding in the IHSA has impacted her life, she also encourages other riders to take that step. “Nowhere else will you get the chance to learn from so many different horses, to use this as an opportunity to look in the mirror as a showman, and find what you need to do to be better, to be the best that you can. This program is once-in-a-lifetime. Take it. Learn from it. And enjoy the heck out of it.”
The Horse Nation family wishes Madison and all of the other qualified riders the best of luck at IHSA Nationals at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Drop on by May 4-7th to watch some of the country’s young talent show off their years of hard work on horses they have never sat on before. A true test of any rider’s abilities, IHSA Nationals offers both western and hunt seat competitors at the top of their game a place to compete without owning their own horse.
If you are interested in more information on the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association, check out the website and follow on Facebook. And don’t forget to keep reading Horse Nation for more exclusive rider profiles for those who have qualified for IHSA Nationals!
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