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History of the MIHA Program

In 1968 a group a parents start a 4-H club in the Milford area. (Alice Frankfurth, Lynn Warren and Al Tipps). When asked by the MSU extension to help with an equine census in 1970 it was found that there were over 10,000 horses in Oakland County, more horses than any other county in the country. This prompted a group of enthusiastic horse lovers, Ed Chezy, Kelly Lawerance, and Carmi Edwards, to present to the Huron Valley Schools Board of Education a proposal for a school sponsored horsemanship program. The school board recommended that a horse show be held to determine if there was sufficient interest within the community to warrant such a program.

A committee was established and the first ever Fathers Day Show was held in 1972. A portable public address system was erected and the Oakland County Road Commission constructed a temporary show ring on a site in front of Milford High School. Because of the community’s enthusiasm and the support of volunteers and sponsors, the success of this first show surpassed all expectations drawing 1200 spectators, 600 entries and a profit of $1,700.

This astonishingly successful, single event brought the interest in horsemanship to a new level. Not only did the Huron Valley Horse Show become an annual event, but it also justified establishing an educational program. Once the program was incorporated into the Huron Valley Continuing Education program, the question was asked, “What about an inter-scholastic equestrian team?”

With information in hand Ed Cheyz, Kelly Lawrence and Jerry Fuller presented a proposal to the board of Education. At the same time, Director of Community Schools, Carmi Edwards, and the horsemanship committee requested that the board designate 20 acres of land adjoining Milford High School for use by the horsemanship program, the annual horse show and the inter-scholastic equestrian team. The school boards awareness of the genuine community interest and need for such a program was key elements in approval of the two proposals. This endeavor incorporating the horsemanship program into the Continuing Education Program, developing an interscholastic competition and building a show ring, was not only unique, but the only one of its kind in the country.

The first equestrian team competition was held in the fall of 1973 at the Bogie Lake Country Club indoor facility between 5 schools, Hartland, Howell, Holly, Fenton and Milford and between 30-40 riders. No one remembers the out come, only that they had to do this again, and so a single meet was held again in the spring of 1974, in the fall of 1974, the spring of 1975 and the fall of 1975.

In 1976 due to the expansion of this program throughout Michigan, the Huron Valley Interscholastic Horsemanship Association became the Michigan Interscholastic Horsemanship Association (MIHA). On May 16, 1976 at Oak Ridge Stables in White Lake Township the first MIHA State Championship was held with nearly 600 spectators. Winning the State Championship was 1st place Romeo with 61 points, Pickney with 60 points, Howell 3rd, Oxford 4th, Hartland 5th and Milford 6th.

On November 7th, 1977 the second State Championship was held with seven of the seventeen horsemanship teams competing with Lakeland 1st with 56 points, Hartland 2nd, Romeo 3rd, Milford and Pickney tied 4th.

Since 1977 the Michigan Interscholastic Horsemanship Association team competition has been held in the fall of the year with the State Championship finals held in Hartland, Mason, Detroit and Midland.

MISSION STATEMENT
HVEC's mission is to provide a safe environment in which to promote equestrian activities and education regarding horsemanship, while instilling the principles of sportsmanship and a healthy lifestyle for the families in the community we serve.
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