K-State to Host IHSA Western Shows Saturday

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State equestrian team will take a break from Varsity competition this weekend as the Western squad will host seven teams from across the region Saturday at Fox Creek Farm in a morning and afternoon IHSA Western show. The morning show is set to begin at 9:00 a.m., and afternoon show will kick off around 1:00 p.m.


“This is a big weekend for our team,” said Casie Williamson, Western head coach. “We have a few of riders who will be trying to qualify for the IHSA Regional’s and a lot riders who will be seeing the competition arena for the first time since making the team. Valerie Dysart, Alden Haugh, and Nicole Keenan are eligible to qualify for the Regional show, so I am expecting strong confident rides from each of them this weekend.”


Haugh, a 2008-09 team captain, will lead the Wildcats in IHSA Western competition this season. Last season, she finished first and second in Advanced Horsemanship at the IHSA Western show at Fox Creek Farms. Haugh also placed second in Advanced Horsemanship in the Western show at Black Hawk College. She qualified for Regional’s in the IHSA Hunter Seat as well.


Keenan finished sixth overall last year in Advanced Horsemanship at the IHSA Western show at Fox Creeks Farms. She improved on that and finished third in Advanced Horsemanship in the IHSA Western show at Black Hawk College.


Dysart placed first and second in Intermediate Horsemanship at the IHSA Western shows at Fox Creek Farms last year. She also finished first in Intermediate Horsemanship at the IHSA Western show at Black Hawk College.


“Valerie has improved tremendously in her time on the team,” said Williamson. “She was named the 2007-2008 Most Improved Rider for her efforts which really showed through in the show pen last season. Qualifying for the Regional competition has been our goal for her and she is truly prepared to make that happen this season.”


Several riders will be showing for the first time this season or for their career. Alayna Warner, Rebecca Wallisch, Jennifer Keefe, and Tiana Shelton will be showing for the first time in their collegiate career as a Wildcat. Returning members Kyla Copple, Alise Dykstra, Nicole Allen, Haugh, and Dysart will be making their season debuts at Saturday’s show. Returning to the show ring will be Dana Johnson, Nicole Keenan, Erica Mackiewicz, and Hayley Milch.


Competing against the Wildcats this weekend are Blackhawk College, Missouri State, Iowa State, Truman State, Southern Illinois at Carbondale, and Northwest Missouri State.


Six different levels of Western riding comprise the IHSA format from Beginner through Open (World Show qualifying riders) which has horsemanship and reining. Some riders compete for their team for a first through sixth placing, and their points are added up to declare a "High Point Team" or "Reserve High Point Team" which are awarded to the top two point-earning teams at each show. 


On an individual basis, riders accumulate points from season to season in all divisions but the open division to determine postseason consideration. Acquiring 35 points in a respective division earns a rider a trip to regional’s, where riders will then compete for the top two placings in their class to go on to Semi-Finals.  At Semi-Finals, a rider must also place first through fourth to move on to nationals, which will be held this year at The Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, April 23-26. However, open riders have to start their points over each year as there is no division to point up.


K-State Western Line-Up



Alayna Warner

Dana Johnson


Open Horsemanship:

Kyla Copple

Alise Dykstra

Rebecca Wallisch

Tiana Shelton


Advanced Horsemanship:

Nicole Allen

Alden Haugh

Nicole Keenan

Jennifer Keefe

Hayley Milch

Erica Mackiewicz


Intermediate Horsemanship:

Valerie Dysart