There’s exciting news coming out of the PRO camp this morning, as the organization has announced the launch of the Prelim to PRO series, which will introduce juniors and young riders to a team environment at the Preliminary and CIC* level with an emphasis on education and horsemanship.
Three Prelim qualifiers will be held at Carolina International later this month, Surefire Horse Trials in June and Millbrook Horse Trials at the end of July, with a CIC* team championship at Plantation Field in September.
PRO Junior Board Members Karri Bellamy, Caroline Martin and Jorgen Olijslager pitched the concept to Marcia Kulak, founder of PRO Junior Programs, at Millbrook last year, and the idea blossomed from there, with Buck Davidson signing on as head coach of the program.
“It was exciting to see how committed they are not only to expanding junior competitive formats, but also the seriousness with which they value the education and mentorship of all young riders,” Marcia said. “We challenged them to come up with a concept and business plan and they impressed everyone with the Prelim to PRO Team Series model.”
Buck will host a clinic to all PRO Junior members, and each Prelim to PRO team will be paired with a professional PRO rider as team coach. The junior riders will attend educational seminars on equine nutrition, veterinary and farrier care, grooming and media skills in preparation for the team championship at Plantation Field.
Ashley Leith, PRO Junior Programs director, and Kathleen Blauth, team manager will oversee the Prelim to PRO series and coordinate the educational seminars and the junior clinic. While the program is only available to East Coast riders at this time, the goal is to expand it to the West Coast in the future.
“Being a part of the Prelim to PRO Team Series has given me an outlet to help unite young riders and provide them an opportunity for their first taste of team competition in a really positive environment,” Caroline Martin said.
Karri Bellamy said the new program will help young riders access all the knowledge and mentorship the PRO professional riders have to offer: “I want to see other young riders have an equal opportunity to learn all that they can. This team series is a chance for junior riders to be guided through the Prelim to 1* transition, and I’d love to see everyone challenge themselves and reach for it.”
World Equestrian Brands and Triple Crown have signed on to sponsor the program, with more sponsors currently in the works. Individual and team prizes will be awarded to overall winners. Prizes include brand ambassadorships for selected sponsors; an Amerigo saddle, girth and leathers with Vespucci bridles provided by World Equestrian Brands; and Triple Crown Nutrition feed.
“Ultimately, we decided to support the Prelim to PRO Team Series because we know the future of our industry depends on developing young riders,” Michelle Mulcahy of Triple Crown Nutrition said. “They put a lot of thought, time and energy in to creating the series, and we want to encourage that type of involvement.”
Click here for more information about the Prelim to PRO Team Series, including full program details and eligibility criteria.