Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Content

CPI Days 2 & 3 – Showing Toward Success

Students who compete as part of college teams are part of what is known as the IHSA. The IHSA began with 40 riders and just two colleges; today it includes over 10,000 riders from more than 400 colleges in 39 regions. The IHSA is unique in that students are assigned an unknown horse at random, essentially leveling the playing field and making showing accessible to all. Once assigned a horse, students enter the area and jump a course of fences with hardly any time to get a feel of their horse beforehand. Flat classes are also held, but very rarely does a student draw the same horse for both (a lucky thing when it does happen).

A very similar high-school format also exists, known as the IEA, but for students who are not on an IEA team, the college experience is very different than the horse showing they are used to. Days 2 and 3 of the CPI are filled with a full college-format horse show, providing a chance for students to experience this format before they encounter it in college. Bob Cachione, who created the IHSA, is a strong supporter of the CPI event. We sat down with Bob to hear his full thoughts on the program (Read his full interview, about the CPI, IHSA and more, here):

Dover: How do you see the CPI helping students to prepare for their college search and experience?
Bob: I think it’s an incredible experience. I was at the very first one of these when they had it, and there were under 50 riders and five colleges that showed up. Today, you have over 150 riders from all over - you have half a dozen riders from Hawaii on this one! And you have over 35 colleges represented here today from all over the country. What a great opportunity. Not only for the riders to experience riding different horses, picking them out of a hat, in front of a professional judge and having that experience, but at the same time they and their parents going around the arena and visiting many, if not all, of these 35 colleges. They’re seeing the difference between small colleges, middle-sized colleges, large colleges and what kind of programs are available today…. Bravo. This is a home run.

What do you enjoy most about this CPI event?
You have the professional judge, you have the professionalism of the organization. [The organizers] that really pull it together and make it happen…that really expand this and expose this to the youth in the horse community out there. More and more young students and parents are reading about this [event] and seeing this not only in news print but in social media, and are coming aboard on this because it really means a lot to them. When a young rider gets into college, those next four years of life are very important for the rest of their life going forward, and this is now becoming a major player for those young riders.

While Bob spent a period of time with us answering questions willingly, he dedicated his entire weekend to taking the time to talk to as many of the attending kids as possible. This genuine interest from many of the mentors on site made time spent networking throughout the show days a great way to pass time between classes.

As the show progressed, students who were not currently riding wandered along the rows of college tables, asking questions and gathering information about schools they may be interested in attending. College representatives all had a view of the ring from their booths, allowing them to watch the performance of the riders with whom they’d spoken. Students could also be found leaning along the railings of the ring or sitting in the bleachers, rooting on and supporting friends they came with and friends they made at the event alike. Some participants went down to the barns to take part in hands-on horsemanship clinics and tests. These sessions are intended to help build riders who have well rounded experience in the sport, enforcing the idea that there is more to being an equestrian than just your time in the saddle.

Many students signed up to participate in the CPI, and the show stretched into a second day. The atmosphere was one of excitement and hope for a successful future of college and equestrian combined. As the final classes were run and the event began to wind down, Dover Saddlery stepped into the ring to present the High Point riders from various divisions with their awards. Riding Sport Breeches were presented to the winner of each division, and a Wellington Premier Norfolk Wide Noseband Bridle was given to the overall High Point Rider.

Everyone who attended the CPI in Wellington took something away with them, whether it was a blue ribbon, a new experience or a college to dream of attending. The CPI provides young riders with something truly valuable, helping to shape the future of our sport. Dover Saddlery is proud to be the presenting sponsor of CPI Florida 2017.

Interesting in participating in the CPI? CPI Texas will be taking place March 10-12, 2017. Learn more and sign up here!

But wait…there’s more!
Continue on to read our interview with CPI supporter and Olympian, Peter Wylde.

Page 1 - CPI Day 1      Page 3 - Peter Wylde Interview