The U.S. Team riders of tomorrow are in our midst today. The US Equestrian (USEF) Emerging Athlete Lists seek to identify these rising stars and provide them support on their path, as outlined in the 2019 Strategic Plan.
Training sessions are a key component of the plan. Last month young eventers named to the 2019 USEF Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 (E25) and Emerging Athlete Eventing 18 (E18) lists participated in intense three-day winter training sessions with USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law.
Leslie reflected on the sessions: “The [E18 and E25] sessions were very positive and I saw some good kids doing good work across the country. We’re identifying athletes that will become the future team riders for the U.S. in world championships. Talent, temperament and longevity are all a part of that. And we’re seeing how [the program] is making a difference as past participants like Jenny Caras, Hallie Coon, and Caroline Martin are taking steps up.”
In addition to mounted lessons, training sessions on the East Coast and the West Coast also included a variety of lectures from industry experts on business and stable management, training practices, horse nutrition and digestive health, horsemanship, and communications training. Additionally, Daniel Stewart presented a scholarship opportunity available through the USET Foundation for the training sessions he runs.
The East Coast training sessions took place at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida. The E18 training session was held Jan. 7-10 and the E25 training session was held Jan. 14-17. In addition to lessons with Leslie, sessions included unmounted lectures with Max Corcoran, Chris Barnard, Dr. Lisa Casinella, Katie Wentz and David O’Connor.
The West Coast training sessions were hosted by Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, from Jan. 28-31. Guest lecturers included Jennifer Myers, Derek di Grazia and Dr. David Bogenrief.
The educational opportunities provided to these young riders are immeasurable. Here is what a few of the 2019 program participants had to say about their experience:
Cornelia Dorr, E25 (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.): “The Eventing 25 [program] has given me not only mentors to learn from and look up to, but also a group of fellow riders my age to relate to. It can be hard to move from the Young Rider age group to the more competitive, older group. To have relationships with other riders in the same transition as I am, as well as mentors to help guide you, has been the biggest takeaway for me every year!”
Dylan Philipps, E18 (Pittsboro, N.C.): “The seminars stressed the importance of good horsemanship and the need for a good team of farriers, vets, and even nutritionists behind you. The program was intensive and inspiring, working alongside and watching the other like-minded and goal-oriented riders.”
Mallory Hogan, E25 (Belvedere, Calif.): “I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in the Eventing 18 program before and this year in the Eventing 25 program. It’s beyond a clinic, and really a time to delve deep into conversation about the future of the sport and what roles we could potentially play in that future. I always come home from the sessions with plenty to work on and think about, and it gets me excited for the upcoming season. This program that the USEF generously offers is really taking the education of the younger generation of riders to a whole new level, and I feel my own riding and horsemanship growing tremendously.”
Brianna Maroney, E18 (Portola Valley, Calif.): “The Emerging Athlete training session was one of the most educational and inspirational [weeks] of my career. Leslie [Law]’s lectures on athlete mentality and the future of the sport left the riders feeling extremely motivated. He did an exceptional job helping me to establish a new warm-up routine for my show jumping, and, because of this, I am feeling more confident than ever to begin the 2019 season. Leslie regards all his riders as young professionals and was so helpful in sorting out our short-term and long-term goals.”