Lexington, Ky. – Participants in the US Equestrian (USEF) Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program (E25) and the Eventing 18 Program (E18) completed their winter training sessions last month. The Emerging Athlete Lists are the first step in the athlete pathway as developed in the 2019 Strategic Plan. The program aims to provide basic skills necessary for future team athletes and athletes focused on reaching Elite status.
Over the course of intensive three-day training sessions, the groups rode in lessons with the USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Coach, Leslie Law. “The [E18 and E25] sessions were very positive and I saw some good kids doing good work across the country,” said Law. “We’re identifying athletes that will become the future team riders for the U.S. in world championships. Talent, temperament, and longevity are all a part of that. And we’re seeing how [the program] is making a difference as past participants like Jenny Caras, Hallie Coon, and Caroline Martin are taking steps up.”
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, horse nutrition and digestive health, horsemanship, and communications training. Additionally, Daniel Stewart presented a scholarship opportunity available through the USET Foundation for the training sessions he runs.
In Ocala, Fla., the E18 training session was held January 7-10 and the E25 training session was held January 14-17. The Florida Horse Park hosted the mounted sessions and guest lecturers included Max Corcoran, Chris Barnard, Dr. Lisa Casinella, Katie Wentz, and David O’Connor.
“The Eventing 25 [program] has given me not only mentors to learn from and look up to, but also a group of fellow riders my age to relate to,” said Cornelia Dorr (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.). “It can be hard to move from the Young Rider age group to the more competitive, older group. To have relationships with other riders in the same transition as I am, as well as mentors to help guide you, has been the biggest takeaway for me every year!”
“The seminars stressed the importance of good horsemanship and the need for a good team of farriers, vets, and even nutritionists behind you,” said E18 athlete Dylan Philipps (Pittsboro, N.C.). “The program was intensive and inspiring, working alongside and watching the other like-minded and goal-oriented riders.”
Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, Calif., hosted all mounted sessions and lectures for the E18 and E25 athletes from January 28-31. Guest lecturers included Jennifer Myers, Derek di Grazia, and Dr. David Bogenrief.
“I've been fortunate enough to participate in the Eventing 18 program before and this year in the Eventing 25 program. It's beyond a clinic, and really a time to delve deep into conversation about the future of the sport and what roles we could potentially play in that future,” said Mallory Hogan (Belvedere, Calif.). “I always come home from the sessions with plenty to work on and think about, and it gets me excited for the upcoming season. This program that the USEF generously offers is really taking the education of the younger generation of riders to a whole new level, and I feel my own riding and horsemanship growing tremendously.”
“The Emerging Athlete training session was one of the most educational and inspirational [weeks] of my career. Leslie [Law]’s lectures on athlete mentality and the future of the sport left the riders feeling extremely motivated,” said Brianna Maroney (Portola Valley, Calif.). “He did an exceptional job helping me to establish a new warm-up routine for my show jumping, and, because of this, I am feeling more confident than ever to begin the 2019 season. Leslie regards all his riders as young professionals and was so helpful in sorting out our short-term and long-term goals.”
US Equestrian extends a special thank you to Emily Holmes and Jason Reynolds of the Florida Hose Park and Andrea Baxter of Twin Rivers Ranch for the use of their facilities.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF sponsors and members.
Photos provided by Zib Thieriot