The Eventing Riders Association of North America (ERA of NA) has always aimed to be a resource for young professionals, but they also work hard to make sure the pipeline of young professionals stays chock-full. The Triple Crown Nutrition Prelim to Pro program continues to grow with each passing year, culminating in a Triple Crown Nutrition Prelim to Pro Team Championship for ERA of NA Plus Members.
This year’s Championship program will run in conjunction with the Plantation Field International Young Rider CIC1* division, September 20-23, 2018. Participants will interact with sponsors and receive Prelim to Pro “swag,” in addition to enjoying media exposure and mentorship by top professionals. In the past years, top professionals such as Buck Davidson, Sharon White and Boyd Martin have volunteered as team coaches.
“Prelim to Pro was an amazing experience filled with seminars, course walks with Olympians, and wonderful teammates. I had the opportunity to course walk with Boyd Martin (one of my biggest role models) who really helped my confidence around a huge 1* track,” says Keely Cooley. “My teammates were awesome, always helping each other from lending hole punches to going through courses many times. The seminars were a great way for all of the teams to communicate and learn about careers with horses and behind the scenes of veterinary practices.”
Young riders are grouped into teams of four to five and may use a single nominated horse within the division for a score to count in the championships. Daily seminars are held throughout the weekend and individual media highlights are shared across all platforms. Past educational seminars have broadened participants’ knowledge on nutrition, tack fit, media etiquette and generic and non-generic pharmaceuticals.
“The Prelim to Pro series was a very educational experience for all of us. It showed us different opportunities in the horse world and how to compete together as a team,” says Joe Bowersox.
Arielle Aharoni took away some career path ideas: “Plantation was a huge learning experience for me. At the Triple Crown seminar we learned how to work with sponsors. In the future, I have to be prepared to sit down with sponsors, build my resume, prove how I’m different, and show them that they will be the ones benefiting if they sponsor me. Furlong Healthy Horse’s seminar taught me that in the long run it’s more economical to use brand name medications (which are more expensive) rather than experimenting with compounded medications that may or may not be effective.”
The top three teams will be rewarded with ribbons and prizes, while the top eight individuals also receive awards. Last year’s winner, Ryan Keefe, was awarded an Amerigo saddle from World Equestrian Brands, as well as a custom saddle fitting session by Robin Moore.
“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in Prelim to Pro. My favorite part was having the support from fellow teammates and especially having a team coach for help and to answer any questions we had,” says previous participant Shelby Brost. “I got to meet some great people and I really enjoyed having the opportunity to compete on a team. I feel strongly as though this program opens doors for us with the extra tools we need to become the best riders we can be.”
This program has continued to grow over the years and has seen graduates such as Caroline Martin step up onto Senior Nations Cup Teams and compete at the highest levels. Additionally, last week at the Horse Park of New Jersey three graduates — Grace Fulton, Arielle Aharoni and Jorgen Olijslager — all completed their first Advanced level horse trials.
The ERA of NA is also looking to expand the Prelim to Pro program this year, with the association deciding after much discussion to turn the page on the Triple Crown Nutrition Junior Young Rider Training Scholarship and focus primarily on the Triple Crown Nutrition Prelim to Pro Team Championship. In 2019, further announcements will be made as they become available. Many thanks to the program’s sponsors, including Triple Crown, Furlong Healthy Horse, Merrill Lynch, Kulak Equestrian, World Equestrian Brands and previous sponsor SSG Gloves.
Learn more about the Triple Crown Nutrition Prelim to Pro Program here.