After a year of restructuring, U.S. Equestrian has begun to implement their new U.S. Eventing Pathway Program. Led by Erik Duvander, the U.S. Eventing Director of High Performance, the new program aims to create a “culture of competitiveness,” which he outlined at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention.
Erik will work closely with Leslie Law, the USEF Eventing Emerging Athlete and Development Potential Coach, and Joanie Morris, USEF Managing Director of Eventing, to create an effective pathway for up-and-coming talent which focuses on, “key drivers for success.”
“These key drivers include the selection of athletes onto the training list,” Erik said. “These selected athletes must be committed, and focus everyday on the work at home, in their training programs, as well as in the team training environment, to become their best.”
“Combinations who can deliver performances to support a team-podium finish are the goal. Through the Pathway Program, the door is always open for these athletes, and we must be prudent and target our resources where it will make the most difference. We will continuously review our progress and measure it against world-leading performances. 2019 is just the beginning of the process for us.”
The biggest revamp for the program comes in the reorganization of the levels. We expect the 2019 training lists to be released very soon, featuring the new classification of Elite, Development Pre-Elite and Development Potential. You can read more about each level here.
Erik will seek advice and support from the new Performance Advisory Team (PAT), which includes Leslie Law, Ian Stark, Karen O’Connor, Derek di Grazia and Robert Costello. He commented that this team exists to: “challenge my thinking and ensure I make educated decisions at all times.”
Other changes to the program include a five-member selection for Championships and Nations Cup competition, which is still being finalized, an Ad Hoc Group who will approve any selections made by the selectors or the PAT, and the introduction of unofficial “team competitions” at existing events.
Will Connell, USEF Director of Sport, looks to the future with the program, with a podium finish at the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 as a major goal.
“The revised structure should lead to a more nimble program that allows Erik and Leslie to ensure we move towards sustainable success in eventing. LA 2028 is less than 10 years away, so our development and emerging programs must focus on a podium finish at our home Olympic Games,” he said.
Erik and Leslie will also be working with the USEA to start this pathway regionally through the existing USEA Area Young Rider programs. A joint program, which will act as a stepping stone from national level, is expected by 2020.
Erik also wrote a thoughtful letter to U.S. eventers, which you can find here. He says: “Our purpose in High Performance is to support our elite riders in their pursuit of excellence and to develop the next generation team riders to achieve sustainable success at championships; to have a pathway in place, and run programs where riders are given the opportunity to develop, be tested, and prove themselves.”