The U.S. Equestrian Federation announced a new structure for the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search classes for the 2014-2015 season, which begins in September of this year.
The new program creates three tiers for Talent Search classes, which increase in difficulty.
He and his fellow finalists raise the equitation bar.
Matt Metell, the runner-up in the 2008 Platinum Performance/U.S. Equestrian Federation Talent Search Finals—East, was hoping he wouldn’t have to settle for second again as he led through three phases of the 2009 edition.
“My goal was to get to the top four and ride as best I could,” said the 19-year-old Falmouth, Mass., rider, who turned in stellar trip after stellar trip on a new equine equitation star, Pioneer, in Gladstone, N.J., Oct. 3-4.
Last Thursday, I hurried through my usual barn chores before loading Calvin into the trailer and departing for Gladstone, N.J., where the USEF Talent Search Finals take place.
He settled in nicely, which eased my nerves about the hardest final of the season. Each of the three phases (flat, gymnastics and show jumping) is much more demanding than a normal equitation class, and I was having last-minute, somewhat irrational, fears about being underprepared.
They work on fine-tuning every skill in the fall before the equitation finals begin.
The leaves are turning, the weather is cooling, and stirrups are coming off saddles. That’s right, it’s fall equitation finals time, and riders across the country are putting in extra lesson hours and saddle time to prepare for their assault on the big classes.
But how does one prepare a junior rider for that time-honored cauldron of stress and excitement that is equitation finals season?
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