Lexington, KY-August 6, 2014-The 2014 Emerging Athletes Program, presented by Dover Saddlery, continues its season as the mid-summer Regional Training Sessions come to a close. Now in its sixth year, the 2014 EAP season will host a total of nine Training Sessions. The mid-summer sessions were held in Katy, TX, Sweet Briar, VA and Roscoe, IL and were led by renowned clinicians, expert stable managers and attended by some of the country's top emerging riders.
The fourth Regional Training Session of 2014 was hosted at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center on June 25-29. Led by head clinician Karen Healey and stable manager Anne Thornbury, a group of 14 eager riders were instructed on flat and over fence work as well as grooming, horsemanship and barn management skills. Healey, a renowned equitation trainer and USEF R-rated Hunter and Hunter Equitation judge, stressed problem solving from the start.
"There can be no omelets without breaking eggs," stated Mary Babick, vice president of the United States Hunter Jumper Association and member of the Emerging Athletes Task Force. Those words of wisdom came to be the motto for the Katy, TX Training Session. In the beginning of the four-day session, instructors found some horse and rider combinations to be avoiding their problems rather than solving them. Once confronted with their problems, there were some scrambled moments, but the riders prevailed and the horses were excellent.
The fifth Regional Training Session of the season was hosted by Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, VA from July 9-13. Lead clinician Cynthia Hankins and stable manager Nanci Snyder directed a group of 24 students during the four-day Training Session, and Douglas Leavitt of Nutrena, gave an interactive presentation on equine nutrition and body score.
"Sweet Briar College is an ideal place to hold an Emerging Athletes Regional Training Session," said Sally Ike, chair of the USHJA Emerging Athletes Task Force and managing director of education and licensed officials at USEF. "The facility is top-notch in every aspect, and Sweet Briar staff could not have done more for us. It was a fabulous week!"
The sixth and last of the mid-summer EAP Regional Training Sessions, was led by clinician Geoff Teall and stable manager Anne Thornbury. Hosted by the Ledges Sporting Horses and Show Grounds in Roscoe, IL from July 14-18, the Training Session welcomed 24 riders from Illinois and surrounding states. Teall imparted words of wisdom on the athletes and stressed the importance of forward riding over the course of the Training Session.
"The horses are the best teachers," said Teall. "What you need to do is learn from them. As you go, they get more forward and relaxed."
Stable manager Anne Thornbury took a hands-on approach teaching students about equine anatomy, wash rack safety and taking a horse's vital signs such as their temperature. Additionally, USHJA sponsor Nutrena was on hand again to give riders an educational talk about equine nutrition gut health.
Three late-summer Regional Training Sessions will be held in the month of August in Burbank, CA, Parker, CO, and Newburgh, NY, finishing out the 2014 EAP season. Clinicians Joe Fargis, Julie Winkel and Candice King will lead the clinics along with stable managers Anne Thornbury and Nanci Snyder.
Upon completion of the nine 2014 EAP Regional Training Sessions, the Emerging Athletes Task Force will select the top 16 riders to invite to the National Training Session, to be held at the University of Findlay from November 13-16. The intensive three-day National Training Session will be led by Olympian Peter Wylde and include a Nations Cup-style competition on the final day to determine an overall Champion. The 2014 Emerging Athletes Program is supported in part by a generous grant from the United States Equestrian Federation.