After a successful first year of the USEF Futures Team Challenge program, intended to give young and developing riders a taste of team format competition, US Equestrian has announced the program’s return to Carolina International as well as an expansion to the fall international event at Galway Downs. The CCI4*-S and CCI3*-S will be used at Carolina, and the CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L will be used at Galway.
“Last year was a trial of the program and the feedback was super-positive,” Performance Director Erik Duvander said in the press release. “I found it very valuable because it gave me the opportunity to work with athletes outside the training lists, and it gave those athletes the chance to put themselves forward for this program. We will constantly keep tweaking the program and continue improving it.”
The USEF Futures Team Challenge is a part of the U.S. Eventing Pathway Program. Designed to simulate a team competition, the Team Challenge provides opportunity for two teams of four, one coached by Erik Duvander and one coached by U.S. Developing and Emerging Coach Leslie Law, to compete at select events. Athletes can submit applications for consideration by the USEF Performance Advisory Team beginning on Monday, February 3. Applications must be submitted no later than Monday, February 24. Following the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ selection criteria, athletes will be selected based on their results, potential, willingness to learn, and commitment to developing into future team athletes.
“It’s a great opportunity to expose athletes in this country to a team experience,” Leslie Law commented. “In Europe, athletes get a lot of experience with the Nations Cups, and we’re limited in the U.S. by how much team experience we can give to our athletes. This program aims to give our athletes the same opportunity to get exposure to a team competition. I think it’s really valuable to give our athletes this opportunity so that when we go up against the rest of the world in team competitions, they’ve already had experience in a team environment.”
Galway Downs organizer Robert Kellerhouse, a staunch supporter of the continued promotion and support of eventing on the west coast, is excited to bring the Futures Team Challenge to Area VI. “The Futures Team Challenge has so many elements of excitement and team-building,” he said. “We are looking forward to it paying dividends in the future for our U.S. Eventing Team, as well as providing our community with some incredible competition. All of this is only because of the USEF High Performance efforts to bring the Futures to Galway, and we are really looking forward to making it a huge success.”