USHJA Announces 2009 Emerging Athletes Program Level I Training Session Dates and Application Proces

January 22, 2009

Lexington, KY-The United States Hunter Jumper Association, Inc. is pleased to announce that the dates of the 2009 USHJA Emerging Athletes Program Level I Training Sessions, as well as the application process, are now available on the USHJA website. Level I Training Sessions will be offered in Zones 1-10 beginning in April.

The mission of the Emerging Athletes Program is to develop and implement a system of identifying and nurturing talented young riders, by providing them with the support and assistance necessary to facilitate the opportunity to reach their full potential by creating a national program as a pipeline to international competition.

"This is a national grass roots program for emerging athletes that is only the start of something very big and important to the future of the next generation of our sport. USHJA and the members of the Emerging Athletes Committee are committed to making this program one that will provide a stepladder for young talent to reach their goals of riding on a team representing the United States someday," stated Melanie Smith, Co-Chairman of the Emerging Athletes Committee.

The Emerging Athletes Program will provide young riders in our sport with the opportunity to learn from our country’s top professional riders and trainers. The Training Sessions will evaluate the rider’s horsemanship, knowledge and riding ability.

Following each Level I Training Session, the clinician(s) will evaluate the riders and create a ranking list to determine which riders will be invited to participate in the Regional Level II Training Sessions. After the Regional Level II Training Sessions, a select group of riders will be invited to participate in the National Training Session. The National Training Session will include extensive instruction with riding sessions, nutritionists, veterinarians, blacksmiths and sport psychologists. The National Training Session will culminate in a Nations Cup type competition for the riders. The top two individuals selected from the National Training Session will be the recipients of a grant for one month of advanced training.

The USHJA Emerging Athletes Committee Members: Ronnie Beard - Co-Chair, Melanie Taylor - Co-Chair, Georgina Bloomberg, Sally Ike, Candace King, Kathy Moore, Katie Prudent, Alison Robitaille, Eliza Shuford and Chrystine Tauber. John Madden and George Morris serve as advisors to the committee.

For additional information, please contact Melanie Fransen, Director of Programs and Education at

Contact: Rachelle Wilhelm

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