Next week, the 12 2023 Eventing Development Program members will gather in Ocala, Fla. to attend training sessions with U.S. Eventing Emerging and Development Coach Leslie Law.
The program is a part of the U.S. Eventing Pathway, which is focused on developing combinations to deliver sustainable success in team competition at the championship level. The training session will incorporate the Human and Equine Sports Science program, as well as mounted training with Law.
Law has been a vital part of the Development Program for nearly a decade. After winning gold at the 2004 Olympic Games aboard Shear L’eau, he has dedicated his time and knowledge to the USEF Emerging and Development athletes.
During the training session, athletes will participate in lessons with Law and Ian Stark, create a show jumping course with Chris Barnard, attend workshops with equine physio JoAnn Wilson and human physio Jo Frantz, and talk horse management with Max Corcoran.
We caught up with Law to find out what he hopes to accomplish during the Development training sessions and to get his thoughts on this year’s Development athletes:
What stands out about this year’s group of Development athletes?
The majority, to be honest, have been in the program before. However, what is encouraging about that is that they are showing sustainability within the program and continuing to provide results that prove their worth there.
Can you tell us a bit about your training process?
My training is very specific to horse-athlete combinations and what they are and what they need. While I do have some overarching philosophies in my training, I treat each combination as the specific individuals that they are and work according to that. This group of athletes are not kids...that you are putting blanket theories on or laying groundwork on. They should be professionals at this point, so you are really looking to step in and assist in helping them tweak and focus on things.
For the training session specifically, on Monday we are doing cross-country with myself and Ian Stark. Tuesday will be private dressage lessons. Wednesday will focus on show jumping with a course designed and explained by top course designer Chris Barnard. And Thursday we will revisit dressage again. There will also be a number of lectures, including a stable management talk hosted by Max Cororan, a human physio to look at all the athletes, and more. It is an incredibly well-rounded four days of learning opportunities for the athletes generously offered to them by USEF.
If you could give one piece of advice to the athletes going into the training session, what would it be?
To come to it with a mind open to learning, eyes that study each lesson and learn from others, and ears listening to everything we do both in the training and in the lectures by specialists.
How will the training session set each athlete up for the year of competition ahead?
I hope it will alert them early in their year as to areas to focus on coming into the new year and hopefully will help them plan to be successful as we start the new season.
What do you enjoy about working with younger eventing athletes?
I have always enjoyed my role with USEF Eventing programs. It is exciting to think that even one of these might come up through the ranks to be our next brightest star. We’ve seen a few come through in the past to now be well within the spotlight and make it onto the teams, and it is always interesting to see who the next one will be and try to be a part of that pathway.