Wearing number 335 Haley McWhorter of Black Hawk College (pictured) won team advanced western horsemanship at 2017 IHSA Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky. McWhorter's blue ribbon helped Black Hawk earn reserve national champion status for the first time. And from what region did Black Hawk win a region title that year? Zone 7, Region 4, or maybe Zone 7, Region 5 depending on who you talk to.


From some point in the 1990's until recently the IHSA's Hunter Seat or English Regions were made up of the same schools as for Western. There were a few exceptions over time, such as in Zone 3 where up to three regions were combined into one region for western and in Zone 1 where schools in two regions have ridden as one combined region since the discipline was introduced there in 2008.

While in 2017-18 Zone 3 saw their western numbers fall enough that all five hunter seat regions combined to ride as one big western region the opposite has proven to be true in Zone 7. For those between Oklahoma City and Milwaukee the numbers proved to be so great that one hunter region had to be split into two western regions.

The region in question is the rather enormous Zone 7, Region 5. For hunter seat this region stretches from the Chicagoland area (including 2017-18 region champion Northern Illinois) to Kansas. There have been cases where hunter seat riders have taken an airplane to compete in a show within the same region due to such great distances making auto travel less economical.

Brittany Abernathy of Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College (on left, with head coach Amanda Jones back when she was Amanda Burrows) won the individual AQHA High Point Rider Award at 2017 IHSA Nationals in Lexington. One of the other riders entered in that competition was Kinsey Ayres of Black Hawk College (not pictured) who finished fourth. Had it been a year earlier, only one of them could have been entered in the division at Nationals, for both of their schools were still in the same western region at that time.

At some point during the 2015-16 the decision was made that in the fall of '16 there would be a unique western split. The most notable effect of splitting Zone 7, Region 5 was to separate the rapidly-growing Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College program from the established Black Hawk College program. NEO as they are abbreviated had only joined the IHSA in 2012 but was on pace to have a roster larger than nearly anyone in the region save for Black Hawk. There were enough riding facilities that the split would be managable.

The split went into effect in 2016-17 but the numbers proved to be slightly off and thus a few schools were moved for 2017-18. The IHSA decided to use the Zone 7, Region 4 name for one of the two Western regions though in reality the hunter seat Zone 7, Region 4 (already in place since the fall of 2010) has only four common schools at best. In each of the three seasons since the split both Black Hawk and NEO have captured western region titles, with at least one of the two teams surviving Semifinals and thus sending a full western team to IHSA Nationals. In both '17 and '18 Black Hawk went to Nationals with a full team while NEO accomplished this feat for the first time in program history last season.

With the help of Drew Cotton from the Black Hawk College coaching staff and Truman State University head coach Emily Costello we are able to post a list of the schools in each of the two Zone 7, Region 5 Western Regions as configured during the 2018-19 season. Costello informed us that in 2018-19 Black Hawk and Truman State were the only programs to host Western shows in the region that is sometimes known as Zone 7, Region 4 and sometimes Zone 7, Region 5.

The Zone 7, Region 4 Western Teams (still sometimes referred to as Zone 7, Region 5):

Augustana College

Black Hawk College

Illinois State University

Iowa State University

Knox College *

Lake Forest College *

Northern Illinois University

Truman State University

University of Wisconsin - Platteville

Western Illinois University

The Zone 7, Region 5 Western Teams (always referred to as Zone 7, Region 5):

Kansas State University

Missouri State University

Knox College

Lake Forest College

Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College

Saint Louis University *

Southern Illinois University - Carbondale *

Southeast Missouri State University *

University of Kansas

Washington University in St. Louis

Schools with an Asterisk (*) might not have shown in 2018-19 but if they did these are the regions where they would have competed. Augustana College, Iowa State University, Lake Forest College and University of Wisconsin - Platteville are found in Zone 7, Region 4 for hunter seat. If one looks at a map of the USA the western group called Region 4 would have the northernmost schools from the split Region 5 though the geography is not perfect.

Campus Equestrian lists the schedules for both regions on our Zone 7, Region 5 page, with Asterisks noting the show dates for schools using the Zone 7, Region 4 name. If/When we receive results from these regions (such as the Team Standings) we post them on the same pages off the Zone 7, Region 5 page, with hunter seat Region 5 on top, the Zone 7, Region 4 western listed in the middle and Zone 7, Region 5 western listed on the bottom.

And if you show in Regions 1, 2 or 3 within Zone 7 well thank you for getting this far. You are the lucky ones as neither your hunter seat or western teams cross regional lines (though some schools in Region 4 sit closer on a map to those in Region 1). The Schools for English and Western are the same in these three regions though some schools may show only in one of the two disciplines. Then again all our information is based on what happened in 2018-19 so we will let you know if we hear of any other changes which affect which schools ride in which regions for western in the fall of 2019.

--Steve Maxwell


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