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Need Help Finding a Trainer

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  • Need Help Finding a Trainer

    Hello there,

    I'm a 17 year old eventer currently competing at Training Level and hoping to move up to Prelim very soon. I am currently in the process of searching for a college. However, I am having trouble finding one with a high quality event trainer nearby. I have spent hours and hours on this with very little luck.

    Currently my best option is to stay in town and go to the college near home and continue training with my current trainer, Nick Cwick. Nick is a highly experienced Level III event trainer. I would love to find a trainer with at least Level III or above certifications. However, the colleges nearby don't really fit my criteria.

    Here is a list of colleges I am interested in:
    Stetson - DeLand, FL
    Eckerd - St. Petersburg, FL
    Highpoint - Highpoint, NC
    Furman - Greenville, SC
    Berry - Mt. Berry, GA
    Mercer - Mercer, GA
    University of Kentucky - Lexington, KY
    Transylvania - Lexington, KY
    MS College - Clinton, MS
    Southern Miss - Hattiesburg, MS
    Elon - Elon, NC
    Charleston - Charleston, SC
    Newberry - Newberry, SC
    South Carolina - Columbia, SC
    Presbyterian - Clinton, SC
    Carson Newman - Jefferson City, TN
    Middle TN State - Murfreesboro, TN
    James Madison - Harrisonburg, VA
    Richmond - Richmond, VA
    Longwood - Farmville, VA
    Lynchburg - Lynchburg, VA
    Mary Washington - Fredericksburg, VA

    I know this is quite the list and I will be narrowing it down soon. If you have heard of anybody within an hour of any of these schools I would be very grateful for that information.


  • #2

    USC is easily within an hour of Aiken (lots of trainers).


    • #3
      I think you are putting the cart way out in front of the horse here. I am sure you can get plenty of great suggestions once you actually know where you are going.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        Also keep in mind that some fantastic instructors lack the time/money to work their way up the certification ladder.
        "Gallop as if you were to die tomorrow, jump as if you were to live forever."


        • #5
          Have you looked at the University of SC/ Aiken? It's got a top rating from USNews for southern public universities. That said, please be sure the school you choose meets your academic requirements first - check out the programs each school offers in your chosen major, then look around for trainers!


          • #6
            Originally posted by olympicdreams04 View Post
            Also keep in mind that some fantastic instructors lack the time/money to work their way up the certification ladder.
            Very true!!!! I know many that have made quality horses and students that have moved up the levels (to at least Intermediate) but don't have the time or money to get certified. Don't miss a great opportunity to learn from someone just because they don't fall within that criteria.


            • #7
              Kim Severson is less than an hour from Richmond and Fredericksburg, VA located near Scottsville, VA.


              • #8
                Do not come to High Point if you're looking to event. There are a few people here, but High Point is a dead zone for Eventing. The closest there is the Southern Pines area and Norwood (where the Fork is held) and that's a good 2 hours. HPU has an equestrian team that rides at my barn, but they do H/J.

                My suggestion would be UK. It's a great school, beautiful campus, and you're so close to the horses, and close to anything you could ever want with horses. You can school at the Kentucky Horse Park!!! Good luck!


                • #9
                  If you're looking for a "certified" trainer, your list will be substatially narrower, however I know of quite a few good trainers within a reasonable distance of Stetson who have riden at the advanced level and currently teach students from BN-P. Stetson is about 30 minutes from Rocking Horse and 90 minutes from the Florida Horse Park.

                  I'm sure several other colleges on the list will have something similar.

                  What is it about the certification that appeals to you?
                  Ralph Hill, Denny Emerson & Hilda Donahue jump to mind as fantastic instructors that you won't find carrying certification.

                  If you want specifics on what's available around here, PM me. Better yet, narrow down your college list to 5 or 6 that you really like (based on the school, not the horse opportunities) and then come back and assess whether there is also a good barn/instructor in the area.

                  I will add (having grown up over in St. Pete) that Pinellas County has very little open land and there are some H/J barns with limited turn out, but you'll have to go about 90 minutes or more (Dade City area) before you'll find any real eventing barns. Board in St. Pete is ridiculously expensive.
                  The rebel in the grey shirt


                  • #10
                    You have a PM!
                    Taking it day by day!


                    • #11
                      Dorothy Crowell and Cathy Wieschhoff live in or near Lexington, KY. Ali Slusher is in the area, too. All of them are super instructors, who know how to help riders up the levels.
                      When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                      • #12
                        Caroline Atherholt is in Eagle Rock, VA which is close to Hollins College & Washington & Lee. She is a 4 star rider who has competed at Rolex and Badminton. She has a current client that is attending Hollins College. Her number is 540-960-1307-your best bet is to text her!


                        • #13
                          If you are focused on ICP Trainers, USEA has a pretty comprehensive list broken down by area. Map out the colleges by area, then map out the trainers and you'll get a basic idea of distances from the school.

                          I did not see Clemson (Upstate SC) on there and as one who lives not far from there, It is a great school with it's own eventing team. I train with Amy Nichols who is just an amazing trainer who has had students going intermediate. She works closely with Clemson and is knowledgeable about trainers up near Tyron and in Aiken.


                          • #14
                            Also, be aware that some trainers, such as Hilda Donahue, carry a BHS certification, which is probably even more demanding than the ICP. I would look first at the success and opinions of a trainer's students rather than at the certification.
                            OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                            • #15
                              Mary Washington and James Madison are about an hour -ish away from Middleburg, VA. Home to Jimmy Wofford, the O'Connors and many many more. Plus you are in the middle of area 2, which has tons of events in the MD, VA, PA area.


                              • #16
                                Any reason for those particular schools?

                                There are some trainers out there who have a lower level certification who just haven't taken the time to get certified at the upper leveld. Sometimes a review of their CV is very telling.

                                Also some wonderful riders just aren't very good teachers. They can tell you the jump went wrong, but not stride by stride why? Or how you need to fix things.
                                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by runnyjump View Post
                                  Very true!!!! I know many that have made quality horses and students that have moved up the levels (to at least Intermediate) but don't have the time or money to get certified. Don't miss a great opportunity to learn from someone just because they don't fall within that criteria.
                                  Or that do not want to get involved in the politics that is involved. I have seen many ICP instructors and a few at the highest level that do a terrible job teaching.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by piaffequeen View Post
                                    Caroline Atherholt is in Eagle Rock, VA which is close to Hollins College & Washington & Lee. She is a 4 star rider who has competed at Rolex and Badminton. She has a current client that is attending Hollins College. Her number is 540-960-1307-your best bet is to text her!
                                    Actually it's Hollins University now... in case the OP tries to google it.

                                    Great area with tons of riding though, and a nice barn on the campus if you wanted to keep a horse there and do any lessons. Plenty of schools in the area, hard to tell what you are looking for with such a big list.

                                    I had a harder time finding boarding/lessons near Richmond (although we ended up foxhunting, which was wonderful.)


                                    • #19
                                      Of all the areas you listed, Middle TN is the greatest eventing wasteland. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, but if eventing is on the top of your list, Middle TN makes it slightly difficult.
                                      Big Idea Eventing


                                      • #20
                                        Some of our pony clubbers go to Stetson in Deland, including Maren Foster's sister. You are close to Rocking Horse and Ocala, and have a great selection of trainers, whether Maren or Jennie Jarnstrom in the Orlando area or a whole lot more towards Ocala.
                                        Deland is a quaint little town, I am trying to convince my hubby to move there when our house in Winter Park sells. I tried to get my oldest daughter to go there, but they didn't have an engineering program.
                                        Lori T
                                        www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep