If champions are made in the off-season, a handpicked selection of riders should come out of the gate this year swinging thanks to winter training sessions with USEF Developing Rider Coach Leslie Law.
Participants selected for the 2016 Eventing 25 and 18 Developing Rider Programs (see complete list here) assembled on both sides of the country to take part in the sessions, held Jan. 11-15 and 18-22 at Meredyth South in Ocala, Florida, and Feb. 1-4 at Tucalota Creek Ranch in Temecula, California.
Leslie worked to prep the riders for the upcoming competition, focusing on the basics and the training scale during dressage, gymnastics and coursework during show jumping, and ride-ability on the cross-country course.
“Overall, I was very pleased with the standard of riders we have on the list this year, as I think the bar appears to be rising every year,” Leslie said. “I was happy to see improvement in the riders that were on the list again from last year and to meet the new ones. I hope the riders took away some homework and new exercises I gave them to help them improve themselves and their horses. But, as well, I would hope I emphasized the importance of the theory to them and the necessity to become a scholar of the sport and not just a participant while on horseback.”
In addition to work in the saddle, the riders benefited from lectures focused on preparing their horses for competition as well as building a well-rounded foundation for their future in the eventing industry.
- Farrier Allen Clarke discussed the structure of a horse’s foot, preparing their feet for traveling overseas and necessary farrier tools for every barn.
- Athletux President Frankie Thieriot Stutes focused on branding and image, social media, sponsorship contracts and syndication.
- Custom Saddles offered advice on proper saddle fit.
- Dr. Emily Sandler of Equine Sports Medicine spoke about overseas travel and drugs/medications at FEI competitions.
- Top barn manager Max Corcoran discussed stable management and managing horses during overseas travel.
- Dr. Jill Copenhagen from Peak Performance Equine Services provided the E25 riders with information about FEI drugs and medications, as well as overseas shipping. During the E18 session, she touched on examining horses, palpations and the importance of knowing the horse.
- Certified Equine Bodyworker Kathryn Schiess explained her physiotherapeutic approach to maximizing each horse’s potential.
- The Eventing 18 riders also heard from USEF High Performance Human Sport Science and Medicine Advisor Andy Thomas who explained the common weaknesses observed in event riders. He detailed pre-riding exercises to help with their weaknesses.
The sessions were well-received by the riders. A few of their comments:
Patience O’Neal (E18): “My favorite part of the clinic is always the great coaching we get form our coach, Leslie Law,” said Patience O’Neal, Eventing 18 Program participant. “His experience and knowledge with horses makes him an outstanding coach. I really enjoyed the lectures, especially the saddle fitter because she explained where and how our dressage and jump saddles are meant to fit our horses. Knowing this, we will be able to get the most out of our saddles and be sure to keep our horses comfortable.”
Caroline Martin (E285): “Leslie is an amazing coach and mentor and an excellent person to have in your corner. It was great to get to know the Eventing 25 Program participants and learn from them, as well. The lunch lectures gave us an opportunity to branch out and gave us an overall picture on how to become a better horse person. I’m grateful to be a part of this program; great things happen through it. I look forward to the next one.”
Alex Green (E25): “The Eventing 25 Program as a whole has been a great opportunity and learning experience. I think Leslie is an invaluable asset to the program. He really helped me to get the best out of each horse I participated on and catered my riding to improve that horse’s weaknesses. Leslie also serves as such a perfect mentor for us to follow behind and look to if we ever needed help.”
We look forward to following these rising stars throughout the season and seeing all that hard work pay off. Go Eventing!