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January 17, 2014

Julie Winkel Announced as USHJA Zone 4 Free Clinician

Wellington, FL - January 17, 2014 - The USHJA Zone 4 Free Clinic is excited to welcome Julie Winkel for their 2014 clinic, to be held February 17 (Presidents Day) of this year. Amateur riders from all over the zone will put their day off of school or work to good use with Winkel, who will combine her top-notch hunter jumper industry experience with her passion for teaching in this one day, four session clinic at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center.

In an interview regarding this clinic, Winkel laid out her philosophy on riding and teaching horses and riders, "I feel that every problem can be solved through basics, and so the more solid people are on their basics, the better chance they have of being successful."

Julie Winkel certainly knows what it takes to be successful. Along with her many wins in both the Grand Prix and hunter rings, Winkel is an Emerging Athletes Program (EAP) talent scout, and an "R" rated USEF judge.

She has judged at Devon, Harrisburg, The National Horse Show, The Hampton Classic, and Wellington. Winkel has also designed courses and judged at the ASPCA Maclay Finals, and judged the 2010 USEF Medal Finals with George Morris.

Zone 4 members planning on competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) following this clinic should be particularly interested in picking Winkel's brain on all things equine, as she will be judging at WEF immediately following the clinic.   

Winkel expressed the following attitude when it comes to showing: "I think that it's really important for me to stress that the attitude about riding and competing should be what can you do for your horse, not what can your horse do for you. I think that at the end of the day that it should be for the horse. It's a key thing for me."

Wondering what Winkel will require of riders in her ring? It all comes back to her belief in the basics. "What we'll do is we'll start with the lowest group in height, and build up, and I'll do something different with each group. What I like to do is have half the lesson on flat work that pertains directly to what we're going to do over jumps, so they can master the basics on the flat and then use those tools with the exercises over jumps."

Winkel also warns people not to over-face themselves when it comes to selecting one of the clinics three height sections to participate in. "I really would encourage people to jump or sign up for groups lower than what they are aspiring to," Winkel recommended. "I think you get more out of the clinic by perfecting yourself and your horse at lower stuff. My suggestion is to be at the top of the lower group instead of the bottom of the higher group."

Riders and auditors looking to their homework prior to attending the clinic will want to crack open a few of Winkel's recommended reads: "I'm very passionate about conformation, and I do the column every month in Practical Horsemen about judging conformation, so I love the Conformation Handbook by Heather Smith Thomas."

Winkel also recommends the manual for Trainer Certification Program through USHJA, a work she helped author. "I'm really proud our trainer certification manual that we put together for USHJA. Our committee worked really hard on that and I think that it encompasses a lot of basics across the board." The manual can be ordered through USHJA.

To sign up for the USHJA Zone 4 Free Clinic, e-mail Carrie Buxton at freezone4clinic@att.net. A $100 deposit is required to reserve a spot, which will be refunded upon arrival at the clinic on February 17. Stalls are available upon request for $30. The three height sections offered are 2'-2'6", 2'9"-3', and 3'3"-3'6". There will be two sessions with a ten rider maximum at 2'9"-3', and one session of ten riders at each of the other heights. This is a starting point for sections- heights may be modified to cater to the participants riding in the clinic.

The schedule for the clinic is as follows:

8:30-10:00  - 2'-2'6" group
10:30-12:00 - 2'9"-3' group
12:00-1:00 - LUNCH BREAK
1:00-2:30 - 2'9"-3' group
2:30-4:00 - 3'3"-3'6" group

Winkel looks forward to meeting all the Zone 4 riders and auditors who come out, saying "I'm thrilled and honored to have been asked to do this Zone 4 Clinic!"