Lexington, Ky. – Participants in the US Equestrian (USEF) Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program (E25) and the Emerging Athlete Eventing 18 Program (E18) completed their winter training sessions last month. The Emerging Athletes List designates athletes with the potential to evolve into future team candidates.
Over the course of intensive three-day training sessions, the groups rode in mounted lessons with the USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law. “I have been very excited and inspired by my Emerging Athletes sessions to date this year. The quality of riders has grown exponentially over the past few years and this is definitely the strongest group that the program has seen, yet,” said Law. “If the strength we are seeing in the program right now is any indication of the future, it could be quite exciting to see what lies in store for America with this next generation. I am very proud of these riders and very thankful to be part of the program.”
Training sessions on the East Coast and the West Coast also included a variety of lectures from industry experts on business and stable management, training practices, travel and competition overseas, course design, judging a dressage test, drugs and medications, and horse and human physiology.
In Ocala, Fla., the E25 training session was held January 8-11 and the E18 training session was held January 15-18. Horsepower Equestrian hosted the mounted sessions and Horsepower, Schramm Equestrian, and Caroline Martin Eventing provided stabling. Guest lecturers included Max Corcoran, Chris Barnard, Dr. Lisa Casinella, Jo Ann Wilson, and Andy Thomas.
“It was a pleasure working with the emerging athletes. My goal was to give them a perspective of what the course designer is asking of the horse and rider in the show jumping course,” said guest lecturer and course designer Chris Barnard. “With the way Leslie coached the riders over the course that we set together, they have some exercises to work on with their horses at home that will help their show jumping at events. The feedback I received from many of the riders was positive and I look forward to working with them again.”
Tucalota Creek Ranch, in Temecula, Calif., hosted all mounted sessions and lectures from January 29 – February 1. The athletes heard from guest lecturers Dr. Emily Sandler Burtness and Mackenna Shea.
Delaney Vaden (Grass Valley, Calif.), an E18 athlete and participant in the training session in Temecula, said, “The training session was an incredible opportunity! With it comes many new and significant pressures that will help enhance my competitiveness and make me work harder to develop a career. This feels very real and I am thrilled to be able to work with these professionals, gaining their advice and wisdom!”
Jacob Fletcher (North Little Rock, Ark.), an E25 athlete, attended the second session in Ocala. “I found the Emerging Athlete training session to be a great start to the season. Leslie gave me and my horses a great tune up and Liz Halliday deserves a huge thank you for letting us use her facilities,” said Fletcher. “It was educational to watch Leslie give individualized training plans for each combination. I was most excited about being back around other young riders and top U.S. riders. At times, I find it hard to stay in a fiercely competitive mindset in Arkansas, but being surrounded by the top brass refueled my competitive fire, and for that, I am grateful."
Chris Talley (Honey Brook, Pa.) attended the E25 training session in Ocala. "It was a great experience that I was honored to be a part of. I'm always looking to add to my tool box in the development of our horses. I came out of the program with a number of new tools and exercises that I'm excited to use to further educate myself and our horses."
US Equestrian extends a special thank you to Liz Halliday Sharp and Horsepower Equestrian, Schramm Equestrian, Caroline Martin Eventing, Tamie Smith and Next Level Eventing, and Tucalota Creek Ranch for their hospitality.
US Equestrian also thanks Dover Saddlery for their generous support, sponsoring the training session saddle pads and sun shirts.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.