To entertain and demonstrate sportsmanship, horsemanship, team work and dedication.
Founded in 1970, The Islip Horsemen’s Association Inc. is a non-profit organization sponsoring the continued appreciation and education of horsemanship for both its members and the public. “The Spirit of Long Island” was formed in 1978 by IHA member, John Jorgensen who was a member of the New York City Mounted Police Unit.
Riding in a drill team improves both riding skills and connection to the horse. The patterns and music require riding your horse precisely and with control. Timing and synchronization are key elements. You must adjust your horse’s speed, make exact turns and ride accurate patterns to keep time with the music and other horses and riders. It is excellent training for the horse as well. He/she must listen for cues and respond to your requests immediately. In addition to improving horsemanship skills, working as a team member with a common goal for the whole team promotes cooperation and consideration. The focus is on unity rather than competition. Team members learn to support one another and help each other be successful in order to create a pleasing pattern. Riding with the team encourages good communication and compassion. Drill riding is one of the oldest forms of organized riding, and dates back to Cavalry soldiers who needed to coordinate with each other as they rode into battle.
The Spirit of Long Island is currently being coached by Loretta Hall and assisted by Francene Lewis who continue with the team’s tradition of keeping the American spirit alive. The drill team is made up of riders of all disciplines, many of whom have been with the team for over 10 years. Our horses range in age from 9 years to an impressive 28 years old and they include such breeds as Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Appaloosa, Rocky Mountain, Hanovarian cross, Morgan and a Welsh Arab cross pony. The riders and their horses maintain a high level of discipline, resilience and a strong determination to achieve excellence. Throughout the year the team donates their time performing at local fairs, various horse shows and participates in parades across Long Island. We have had the privilege of performing at both Belmont and Saratoga Race Tracks as well as for the Make A Wish Foundation, Pal O Mine and HorseAbility. Each year on Labor Day we have the Honor of performing for the Veterans at the VA Hospital in Northport. From 2004 – 2006 we held the title of Northeastern Regional Drill Team Champions and in 2009 more than a few dreams were realized when we were invited to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “The Spirit of Long Island” Mounted Drill Team enjoys showing that a little hard work and lots of fun can result in a performance that not only entertains but is also an excellent example of good horsemanship.