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2013 Emerging Athletes Program Regional Clinics Conclude




Lexington, KY - The 2013 Emerging Athletes Program, presented by Dover Saddlery, wrapped up the final two Regional Clinics to more accolades from participants and instructors. The Andrews Osborne Equestrian Center in Willoughby,OH was the site of the July 16-19, 2013 EAP Regional Clinic. The four-day clinic welcomed 12 riders seeking to gain wisdom from two of the equestrian community's top experts, lead clinician Cynthia Hankins from Wellington, FL and stable manager Nanci Snyder from Rutland, VT.


All riders of the Regional Clinics were instructed on flatwork, gymnastics, related distances and course work, as well as the intensive stable-management curriculum. New for the 2013 Regional Clinics were the demonstrations from specialists such as USHJA Contributing Sponsor, Nutrena, on proper nutrition and conditioning.


Putting the students through extensive exercises daily before taking on the jumping layouts created specifically for the EAP Regional Clinics by legendary horseman Conrad Homfeld, lead clinician Cynthia Hankins stuck to her mantra, "You can't rest on the laurels of natural talent. We want to work toward an ideal. If you get close to that ideal, then great."

EAP Stable Management expert Nanci Synder guided participants in proper horse care along with methods for better barn organization. "The clinic was a smaller group, but showed great enthusiasm and dedication to good horse care. The very hot, humid weather gave us a good lesson in priorities. The proper, thoughtful care of the horse came first, and their personal schedules, lunch and such come after. This is my first year with the EAP and I am very excited about the program. I think the rider who knows their horse from top to bottom has a real advantage and this is an integral part to becoming a horseman," Synder said.

Also on hand to observe and help students settle into the daily routines was Carrie Vaught, USHJA Educational Programs Manager. "The EAP Regional Clinic at Andrews Osborne Academy housed a great group of riders and horsemen. The clinicians presented a wealth of knowledge to the riders and I felt very lucky to witness such an education-filled week."


Melissa Kerr from Granville, OH said of her EAP experience, "Within the first minute I was greeted by numerous young riders asking if I needed assistance with anything. After meeting Nanci and Carrie, I felt so comfortable around everyone at EAP. Cynthia treated us as if we were her regular lessons students, and I learned more in one week than I ever thought possible."


Erin Tukel from Sagamore, OH agreed with Kerr's sentiment and added, "Participating in the EAP Regional Clinic was an irreplaceable experience that taught me how to be a better horseman and rider. I feel that in those few days, I learned a year's worth of knowledge. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in such a fantastic program."  


Asked what important points riders should take away, Hankins listed a few, "You have to be aware of the problem before you can fix it. There is no room for anger in the saddle. Correct position is more than just aesthetically pleasing, it is also the most effective way to communicate with the horse. Practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. You are always learning and perfecting the craft of riding. You can take something away from each ride."


The 2013 EAP Regional Clinics came to a close at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, CA, with Olympic legend Joe Fargis from Middleburg, VA as lead clinician and Stable Management expert Anne Thornbury from Goshen, OH.  The clinic welcomed 24 students to EAP on August 1-4. Joining the Burbank team was Katy Champ, a representative of the Emerging Athletes Task Force, who helped the participants settle into their surroundings and provided assistance as needed.


Following the standard curriculum for the sessions, riders were divided into smaller groups; each rode once a day then audited another group and acted as jump crew. Fargis said at the start of the group's first day, "Create good habits on the small exercises and they will stick with you forever."

EAP's Stable Management expert Thornbury echoed Fargis' saying "It was a huge group for LA, with quite a few returnees from last year. The kids were upbeat and had good basics. They all commented on how hard it is do everything 'right' and really learned an appreciation for all that goes into the care and managing of their horses on a daily basis. Several learned the hard way that proper planning prevents poor performance, a lesson that will stick with them for a good while I imagine. Hopefully they will take a few bits of new knowledge home with them and apply it to their daily routine."


Local to Los Angeles, Kailey Johnson said of the program, "Overall, participating in the EAP was an amazing experience for my horse and for me. Although the four days were exhausting, I learned a ton from the clinician, Joe Fargis, and the stable manager, Anne Thornbury.  I made many new friends and grew even closer to my horse. I would definitely recommend participating in the EAP to all of my friends!"

When taking on the technical Conrad Homfeld courses, Fargis' advice was calm and simple, "When you finally jump this course I want it to be just as peaceful as it is at the walk. Horses should be like water running through a hose. They should flow with no kinks in them. Softly follow the mouth over every jump. It takes more coordination the higher the jumps get."

Emily Sowski from Anaheim Hills, CA was eager to share her opinion, "EAP is such a positive experience and wonderful program. Joe Fargis saying, 'Do everything deliberately and correctly!' is forever stuck in my head.  Anne Thornbury was nothing short of amazing. She is so knowledgeable about horses and their care, and is clearly passionate about sharing that knowledge as well as an organized work ethic.  I only wished there were more days to keep learning from her.  I am very thankful for the opportunity to learn, learn, learn!"

Fargis said of his first EAP teaching experience, "The kids were eager to learn. Whatever group you're [Emerging Athletes Task Force] picking from is really a good group of kids!"

The EAP National Training Session will be hosted by the University of Findlay on November 14-17, 2013, at the James L. Child, Jr. Equestrian Complex on the campus grounds. Announcement of the selected participants will be made in early autumn.

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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