Former Lyon Rider Receives IHSA Pioneer Award

Video Coverage - Part 1 | Part 2

´╗┐SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (May 14, 2010) – In recognition of two decades of service, support and dedication to its organization, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) recently presented its 2009-10 Pioneer Award to Jack and Kate Benson at Centenary College.

Katie (Plum) Benson served as a captain for longtime head coach C.J. Law during her first season (1984-85) at Mount Holyoke College. She was also a team captain in 1986, when the Lyons took home their first IHSA National Championship. Plum went on to marry Jack Benson, who found his way to horses in his late 20's.

The Bensons emphasis on learning, sportsmanship and fun has fostered the healthy competitive environment that the IHSA’s founder Bob Cacchione envisioned. The resulting enthusiasm and team spirit amongst the students at Briarwood Farm and Stables is beyond measure.

1986 Riding TeamBriarwood was the first facility to embrace the IHSA methodology and make life the easiest by offering the horses, the organization and the accessibility that at one time was the exception rather than the rule of a college riding program (sans an on campus facility) that wanted to host an IHSA show.

Briarwood's unwavering support of the IHSA mission to promote competition for riders of all skill levels has strengthened the solid foundation of the IHSA as we know it today. Many former IHSA stars, such as Archie Cox and James Fairclough II rode at Briarwood during their college riding careers.

Sadly, on February 25, 2010 Jack lost his fight against lung cancer. His passing is a tragic loss to his family, friends and the horse show community as a whole. Donations can be made in his name to the Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center in Flemington N.J.

Zone 2, Region 1 honored Jack's memory at its Regional Championships at Briarwood in April, by dedicating the "Toy Commander Perpetual High Point Rider Trophy" in his memory. It also established an annual IHSA scholarship for a rider from that Region in his name.

The Lyons took home the National Championship in 1986. Katie Plum is seen above holding the banner on the left side of the front row.

Note: This story originally appeared on Photos and videos courtesy of, and Mount Holyoke archives.