View Full Version : Emerging Athletes Program - Zone 10 -General Impressions -Long

Release First
May. 10, 2009, 11:31 PM
Since I was disappointed that no one posted any detailed information about the different zones Level I trials of the Emerging Athletes Program, I decided to post a summary of my notes of the Zone 10 Level 1 trial.

First, I will post some general information and then more about each level. The trial was hosted at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center by Sterling and Katie Champ with Kathy Hobstetter doing the organizing. The USHJA sent two wonderful workers, Kathy and Kyistyn, who handled of the paper work, sold items and generally made things run smoothly.

Friday most of the horses moved in and were settled in their stalls. It was fun to watch the riders work together to move tack trunks etc. since they couldn’t bring grooms. They were able to ride in the ring where the clinic was going to be held and be sure the horses wouldn’t be spooked by the various banners.

Saturday morning there was a short rider's meeting where they met Melanie Taylor, who was conducting the trial, and were given an idea of how things were going to work and what to expect for the weekend. The riders were told there was going to be a dinner Saturday night at the club house so that they could socialize and get to know each other. Everyone was treated to an amazing breakfast display provided by the Champs. All kinds of fresh fruits and berries, fruit juice, coffee as well as on Saturday, bagels and muffins and on Sunday, croissants and coffee cake. There were even carrots and apples for the horses.

Each division ran for two hours with a half hour break between. The ring was watered and dragged between each session. The weather was warm but there was a cooling breeze so many watchers, who got to sit under wonderful shade trees, had to go back and get jackets. Each group did the same course with more advanced concepts expected from the riders and horses as the heights went up.

Everything ran smoothly with a small hiccup with the sound system that was quickly fixed and then a band in the park next door on Sunday but Melanie said we should get the horses used to real life and it was a great opportunity to have them get use to a band.

On Sunday, each rider was given a personalized poster of the EAP signed by Melanie.

These are some bullet points that Melanie emphasized over and over again as the weekend progressed.

•Melanie is looking for thinkers, triers, learners, and talent.
•Make the right thing easy for the horse and the wrong thing hard through timing and accuracy.
• Golden rule for aids: Use a little as it takes and as much as it needs.
• You MUST be able to put your horses feet where you want them. One step left, right, forward, back, etc.
• Never sacrifice leg position for use of leg.
•Seeing a distance comes from feeling a distance. You feel through your arms.
• Your eye sees what your arm feels.
• You must have awareness of the horse. Where all parts of the horse is and where all parts of you are.
• Loose reins cause a static in the connection and feel with your horse.
• Let the exercises teach the horse. Don’t try to be perfect – let the horse figure it out.
• Use the end of ring to rebalance your horse. Put exercises at the end of the rings when schooling the horse.
• Just do it, get it done!
• We must pay attention to the small things.
• Any exercise or course must have a start, a middle, and an end.
• Put a punctuation mark at the end of your sentence. (End a course with a halt, an exercise, etc. Even after you halt you can add an exercise of asking your horse to move in a precise way).
• No matter your level you can and should always be a trainer.
• Everything on the flat relates to jumping.
• You can’t emphasis the flat enough. When you have trouble at a show, think about what went wrong and then make small flat exercises to fix it.
• Your goal is to have a perfect round jumping so break down the round into parts that you can work on.
• Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
• Be precise and correct in your exercises.
• When something goes wrong fix it now! Get after the horse and then forget it and forgive.
• The most important thing is to be effective and then smoothness will come through understanding and response.
• Horse must ALWAYS be on and in front of the aids.
• Melanie loves the over-rider with a soft touch.
• The horse is never wrong the fault is with the rider's timing. Reward with a release and with a rub not a slap.
• The better you get, you need to work on the little things that will make a big difference.
• Horse MUST respond to aids to be SAFE. A lazy, off aid horse is NOT safe.
• Riding is a joy when you and your horse are one so you must focus on details and feel.
• A break in the wrist causes a disconnect with the horse
• Do many things with your horse. Ride bareback, trail ride, hunt, play etc. to really get to know your horse.
• Melanie doesn’t believe in earplugs or anything that shelters a horse from real life. If a horse doesn’t like something, then work on it no matter how long it takes. Make your horse deal with reality and issues that come up. Don’t hide from problems but deal with them with education. Keep the horse in front of your leg and on aid when dealing with the problem.
• Learn and take ideas from everybody.

Melanie had amazing energy and did a marvelous job with all the levels of riders. I highly recommend that people audit this program when it comes their way. I had no one involved in the program but it was such a wonderful learning opportunity. Thank you Melanie for an amazing weekend.

May. 10, 2009, 11:54 PM
Wow! Those are a lot of great points! Who were some of the riders there? I never found out who got into Zone 10....

May. 11, 2009, 12:00 AM
Wow Meredith...thank you so much for posting this!!! AND thank you for all the help YOU gave for this project. It ran smothly and was fun becasue YOU took the time to volunteer and spend endless hours there to make sure all was well.....AND IT WAS!!

If you guys get a chance to volunteer for this project (or others) PLEASE do, without people pitching in there would be no program.

Again, THANK YOU!!

Release First
May. 11, 2009, 01:51 AM
Wow! Those are a lot of great points! Who were some of the riders there? I never found out who got into Zone 10....

I can't believe that I just found my lost list.

Olivia Champ
Elizabeth Evans
Mc Call Koenig
Ashlyn Matheus
Malina Munshi
Emma Shupper
Holly Higgins

Alyssa Bansbach
Tara Bemoll
Elizabeth Hansbrough
Emily Hartly
Chelsea James
Karli Postel
Haley Selch
Laura Ware

Madeline Dawson
Richard Neal
Rachel Verleur-Jani
Ariel Yazid
Annastasia Lieb
Zoie Nagelhout
Kara Spicer

M. O'Connor
May. 11, 2009, 08:48 AM
THANKS ReleaseFirst!!

That is a PRINT!

Can't wait to read the specifics of the groups.

I was not able to attend the entire Zone 3 (the first EAClinic) so didn't feel well qualified to go into the detail you have.

This is a GREAT program...I hope it continues, and doesn't just fade away after one year.

May. 11, 2009, 11:43 AM
First release, thank you for your summary, I love Melanie’s philosophy but can think of a Few trainers who would be in a tizzy over some of her/your bullet points ,, especially this one

• Learn and take ideas from everybody.
LOL !! Can your hear a pin drop!!!

Melanie comes form the old school and doesn't seem to be aware of the modern business model of Hunter / Eq barns , Clients aren't supposed learn how to be to be trainers, if they learn something they might not need the trainer anymore!

May. 11, 2009, 08:55 PM
Thank you so much for posting all this! This is just what I was looking for! I'm riding in the 3' section in Buffalo, and this is so nice and helpful to read! I really can't thank you enough; this is great!!!:)

Andy Warhol
May. 11, 2009, 09:27 PM
Here is a bit of the Sunday 3'6" Section-turn up volume to hear. Ms. Taylor was excellent:


May. 11, 2009, 11:40 PM
Thanks for posting. It was interesting to compare the Zone 10 with the first Zone 3 clinic which my daughter did. It sounds like Ms. Taylor is sticking with a consistent program in each of the clinics since we also heard this in the Zone 3.

The one big change I see is the organized dinner Sat. night so the participants could socialize more. This is great and I know was one of the suggesstions and wishes from the Zone 3 since we did not get a chance for that.


May. 12, 2009, 03:04 AM
I would have swooned to have that available when I was a junior. :D

May. 12, 2009, 06:08 PM
I looked at the list of names looking for two of my friends and I didn't know anyone on that list so I checked the website and I guess there is a Zone 10 south and north!

For anyone who wants to know Zone 10 north....

Ellen Appleby
Emma Dake
Robert Leckie
Laura Owens
Gregory Parella
Jessica Tali
Shannon Welch
Stephanie Whitworth

Kimberly Bare
Lisa Beach
Madison Bradshaw
Allison Levine
Haley Sherwood-Coombs
Haley Stone
Emily Sullivan
Haley Webster

Viva Hallinan
Jan Humphrey
Talley Scott
Taylor Skjerpe
Christy Sutherland
Tatiana Sywak
Melinda Wood
Leslie Wright

May. 12, 2009, 07:21 PM
Thank you so much for posting that. I thought about feeling with the arms today while riding. I really wanted to go out and audit. If I could have helicoptered out or beamed myself somehow I would have gone, but didn't want to deal with our lovely freeway system.