The Showboat Equestrian high school team, based at Showboat Stables in Naples, is having a very successful second year competing in the Interscholastic Equestrian Assocation (IEA).
Showboat qualified for Regional finals by accumulating 27 points within the five allowed IEA shows.
The young equestrians ended the Regional finals, which includes the entire state, as Reserve champion, which qualified them for Zone 4 finals. Zone 4 consists of 98 other teams from South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.
On March 22, Showboat packed into three cars and traveled to St. John Island, S.C. for the Zone finals. Showboat competed very strongly.
On Sunday, March 25, Showboat did not know where it stood until the very last class which was a team pointed class. Taylor Leigh of North Port was the final team member to draw her horse and compete in the last class of the day. Taylor scored the high score of 77 and won the class. This ended the show with the Showboat high school team tying the Evermore high school team from Georgia with a score of 30. Showboat won the tie-breaker by having won the most 1st place ribbons.
Showboat advances to represent all of Zone 4 in the IEA National Finals in Syracuse, N.Y. from April 19-22.
Loraine Roe is the coach of the Showboat Equestrian team, which is raising funds to support its trip. The high school team is comprised of seven student athletes from Southwest Florida, four of which competed in the Zone Finals. They are: Taylor Leigh, 16, of North Port; Callie Clawson, 15, of Punta Gorda; Amanda Myers, 15, of Port Charlotte; and Lauren Schmeiske, 17, of Punta Gorda. Port Charlotte’s Christina Palermo, from Showboat’s middle school team, won in her individual flat class.
The IEA riders are judged on their horsemanship and equitation over a challenging course of fences and a flat phase on an unfamiliar, randomly drawn horse.