The USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) was created in 2020 to provide a format for team competitions for 7th through 12th grade junior members of the USEA. The mission of the program is to foster team camaraderie, provide a supportive community through which students can continue to pursue their riding interests, and create a pathway to participation in the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program. Teams are made up of junior eventers that share common bonds, such as attending the same school, being a part of the same Pony Club, or riding with the same trainer. For Full Moon Farm’s IEL team, the members’ shared bond is a family-owned and operated farm and lesson program in Carroll County, Maryland, that is spearheaded by the Fulton family.
Karen Fulton, owner and head coach, and Christine Hryzak, instructor and camp director, lead a team of 14 IEL members that compete at events up and down the East Coast. When we chatted with the pair, they were hauling a group of IEL team members and their horses to an off-property lesson with Woodge Fulton, Karen’s oldest daughter and also a five-star eventer, in Aiken, South Carolina.
"What I love most is the opportunity to compete with my teammates from Full Moon Farm and against other local barns in the eventing world," said 8th grader Carla Lindsay. "IEL gives us another opportunity to represent our home barn and show all of the hard work and training we put into each of the three phases."
Full Moon Farm offers year-round lessons, USEA-recognized and unrecognized events, camps, clinics, and more. The IEL Team is one of several equestrian teams the farm offers for their riders. “The kids who are eventing in the spring, summer, and fall are the same kids that are doing the equitation [teams] throughout the winter,” said Hryzak, noting the IEA, NCEL, JEL and NCSSEL Equitation teams that are also offered at the farm alongside IEL. “Woodge has attested to how great that is for kids’ riding. To have the ability to assess the horse underneath of you only makes you that much more prepared to ride your own horse when you are eventing.”
Full Moon Farm takes great pride in creating well-rounded riders through the plethora of opportunities that their students receive.
While Karen noted that the IEL is still new and catching on at their barn, the team saw great success in 2022 as they ended the year as the Area II Champion team. A national team leaderboard is not yet established, but Area II has been testing the system in hopes of implementing it nationally in the future.
Karen also noted that she feels strongly that a sense of community and camaraderie is crucial for the group’s success. “If we have one Preliminary horse that is going at 7:30 a.m., we are really big on everyone else going [to the event] at the same time,” she said. “The Preliminary rider is also there at 5:00 p.m. waiting for the Elementary kid to finish their cross-country. We all ship at the same time, and we all support each other.”
She noted that the addition of an IEL Championship in the future will be a great motivator for her students. "The IEL is creating a foundation for the future of the eventing world to care about and pride themselves on good sportsmanship and horsemanship," said 11th grader Julia Zetlmeisl.
Looking ahead, the Full Moon Farm IEL team is thrilled to kick off their team challenge season at Sporting Days Farm in Aiken. Hryzak has mapped out the team’s tentative event schedule through the remainder of the year, which can be seen below to give your IEL team inspiration for must-attend events. The USEA wishes Full Moon Farm and the rest of the IEL teams good luck for the rest of the season!
Full Moon Farm’s IEL Team Challenge Plans for 2023
|Sporting Days Farm March H.T. (Area III)||March 5, 2023|
|Waredaca H.T. (Area II)||May 6-7, 2023|
|Fair Hill International Recognized H.T. (Area II)||May 20-21, 2023|
|MCTA H.T. at Shawan Downs (Area II)||June 3-4, 2023|
|The Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farm (Area II)||July 14-16, 2023|
|Full Moon Farms H.T. (Area II)||July 23, 2023|
|Fair Hill International Recognized H.T. (Area II)||August 12-13, 2023|
|Waredaca H.T. (Area II)||August 19-20, 2023|
|Waredaca Classic Three-Day & H.T. (Area II)||October 27-29, 2023|
|Full Moon Farm H.T. (Area II)||November 12, 2023|
To learn more about the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League and how to start a team of your own, please visit useventing.com/iel.
About the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL)
In August 2020, the USEA Board of Governors approved the creation of the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) as an official program of the USEA. The mission of IEL is to unite junior riders who are in the 7-12th grade and provide a supportive community through which students can continue to pursue their riding interests. A group of junior members in the 7th-12th grade who share a common bond, such as the same barn, school, Pony Club, or other connection, can register with the USEA as an interscholastic team. Click here to learn more about the Interscholastic Eventing League.
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