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Emerging Athletes Program Begins Fifth Year with Great Success




Emerging Athletes Program Continues to Shine




Lexington, KY-The 2013Emerging Athletes Program,presented by Dover Saddlery, continues to garner high praise from participants and clinicians alike. The Colorado Horse Park in Parker, CO, was the third of ten EAP Regional Clinic locales and welcomed 17 enthusiastic riders to the in-depth four-day clinic with two of the equestrian community's top experts, lead clinician Cynthia Hankins and stable manager Nanci Snyder.


Participants in the Regional Clinics are instructed on flatwork, gymnastics, related distances and course work, intensive stable-management curriculum and demonstrations from specialist such as USHJA Contributing Sponsor, Nutrena on proper nutrition and conditioning.


From day one Cynthia Hankins emphasized, "You can't rest on the laurels of natural talent."  Her lessons going forward helped students understand the gravity of that statement and grow as horsemen.


Wendy Bates of West Jordan, UT, whose daughter Elizabeth was in attendance shared her view, "I love this program. It gives riders a chance to learn from people whom they otherwise wouldn't have a chance to learn from."


Elizabeth added, "I really enjoyed the EAP. It was an experience that I will not forget. I have not had the opportunities that a lot of the girls there have had, and I was very grateful for the experience. Being able to get some insight from Cynthia and Nancy was extremely beneficial.  I am excited to be able to take these things home and continue to improve as a rider and a horseman. I can't express how grateful I am to all involved in this program, and all the knowledge that they shared."

Equally impressed upon the students was the importance of proper stable management and the benefits it yields both horse and rider. Clinician Nanci Snyder, based in Rutland, VT, emphasized that a clean, organized barn isn't an impossible task by demonstrating proper methods of cleaning and some handy quick tips. She encouraged teamwork as a way to accomplish the goal and by the following barn inspection, "I was so impressed with the level of horse care and concern for the wellbeing of the horse that these kids brought to the clinic. As the days went on, we exchanged experiences and learned from each other."

The outdoor course layouts of the legendary Conrad Homfeld were put to good use in one of the beautiful mountain view arenas of the Colorado Horse Park. However, there was much more to learn before riders need worry about dropping rails, such as daily gymnastic exercises which clinician Hankins advised, "you need to be selective with your distances".

The final day found the riders putting all they'd learned to the test in a mock prix style jumper course and Molly Bierwirth of Roswell, NM, saw the payoff from the clinician's lessons as she won the class. Hankins created and presented humorous goodie bags to the top three finishers that contained some useful prizes such as a toothbrush for cleaning tack, a luggage tag reading "I'm kind of a big deal" and a special memento to remember her by  in the form of Groucho Marx glasses complete with big nose and mustache. Hankins said, "I hope all the riders are able to take something away from these four days that helps them with their horses in the future."


Across the country at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, VA, clinician Karen Healey and stable management pro Colleen Reed welcomed 24 riders to EAP.  Healey's resume confirms her eye for talent and ability to develop the best with such names as Olympic veteran Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. Reed can boast being groom to one of the most beloved horses in show jumping history, Gem Twist, during her tenure as manager of Fairfield County Hunt Club and groom for Leslie Burr's elite group of show jumpers. Joining them was Doug Leavitt of Nutrena to provide extensive knowledge on equine nutrition and conditioning.


Throughout the sessions riders were divided into smaller groups, each rode once a day then audited another group and acted as jump crew for Healey, thus giving them a more rounded knowledge and insight to their lessons.

Sally Ike, Chairman of the Emerging Athletes Task Force, was on hand and made this observation, "The days at the EAP at Frying Pan Park were long and the lessons in-depth, whether in the ring with Karen teaching or with Colleen in the stables.  How blessed we are to have such extraordinary teachers helping with this program.  All the kids improved in both areas and came away knowing the areas they need to work on.  Thanks must also go to Nutrena, who sent Doug Leavitt to teach us about nutrition, and Allison Howell, who made us feel so welcome at Frying Pan Park."

Stable management pro Colleen Reed shared several of the tried and true methods she's acquired from years of experience traveling the world to care for many of the elite horse athletes in show jumping.


Traveling from her home in Baltimore, MD, Bridget Finnerty said this of the program, "I would like to thank you so very much for giving me the chance to experience the Emerging Athletes Program at Frying Pan Park!! It was such a great learning experience and everyone there was awesome at what they do! Thank you so much for fostering a program that helps kids like me to expand our horsemanship and have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in this industry.  This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I cannot thank you and USHJA enough!"

Lead clinician Karen Healey summed up the Virginia sessions, "The clinic I thought went great and the level of riding was very high. Colleen was great to work with and Sally was amazing as usual."


Healey and Snyder will team up for the next EAP Regional Clinic at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA., running July 8 to 11, while Candice King and Anne Thornbury lead the EAP at the Sonoma Valley Stables in Petaluma, CA, from July 15 to 18. Look for follow-up reports on all the EAP Regional Clinics in the near future. USHJA wishes all the 2013 EAP participants a great learning experience.


To learn more about the Emerging Athletes Program, presented by Dover Saddlery please visit the USHJA web site or contact Carrie Vaught at (859) 225-6703.



United States Hunter Jumper Association 
3870 Cigar Lane
Lexington, KY 40511
P: 859.225.6700 
F: 859.258.9033
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United States Hunter Jumper Association | 3870 Cigar Lane | Lexington | KY | 40511