The U.S. Equestrian Federation has formed a search committee to assist in hiring a show jumping chef d’equipe/technical advisor for young riders. The group includes chairman Eric Straus, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, Katie Prudent and U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.
Ridland officially announced the job opening at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Riders Championships (Ky.) in July with David O’Connor and Robert Dover, the U.S. eventing and dressage chef d’equipes, in attendance.
One of Ridland’s biggest goals as chef d’equipe is to ease the transition for riders from the junior ranks to the professional world—a challenge which many find too daunting to navigate.
“There’s been a void, I think, for quite some time—the necessary bridge that we need for riders that are in their junior careers and riders on the senior team,” he explained. “We’ve done it to various degrees, but we’ve never really had a person who heads up that program.
“The question we’ve heard a lot [from younger riders] is, ‘What next?’ ” Ridland continued. “We haven’t had that answer because we haven’t had a person in that position overseeing it. This will, more than anything, fill that gap in the continuity so that the riders will have somebody to call. Right now they can call me, but in the future, there’s going to be one person, just for them. There will be continuity to their careers, their development, their progress. That’s what’s going to be the big difference.”
Ridland pointed out that all three U.S. chefs represented the country before they were 20. “All three of us were 19 when we started with the team,” he said. “To us, it’s something we need to get back to—the emphasis on our next generation being part of it. There’s a mindset that until you’re 40, you’re not going to be able to break in. That’s really what this is about.”
Ridland plans to oversee whoever gets the job, and he’ll work hand-in-hand with him or her. “This is our big, if not biggest, priority,” he said. “Our next generation of riders.”
The job description and application can be found on the USEF website. Individuals interested in the position must submit applications no later than Sept. 23.
For more information on the position, contact Lizzy Chesson at (908) 326-1166.