Recap of Westbrook, CT and Monroe, WA Trainers Symposiums

Teaching the Trainers

Leslie Deckard

April 30, 2010

Being a trainer of hunter jumper horses is more than training horses and instructing students on the proper way to ride and jump a horse. That was the primary lesson brought to trainers attending the SmartPak/USHJA Trainers Symposiums held in Monroe, WA., April 19-20 and Westbrook, CT. April 19-21.

The sessions in Monroe were led by Julie Winkel and Jenny Karazissis and the sessions in Westbrook were taught by Morgan Thomas, Linda Allen, and Valerie Renihan.

As part of requirements for the USHJA Trainer Certification Program (TCP), applicants for the program must attend a USHJA Trainer Symposium within one year preceding their application.

"The trainers symposiums and TCP are gaining momentum," said Karazissis. "A lot of people, maybe the experienced horse trainers who are well established in the industry, their first reaction might be why should I have to do this? For the people who do need it, the newer people in the industry, it is good for them to see that established horsemen still have things to learn and that they are willing to go and get certified and reinforce things that they know and learn other ways to teach."

Karazissis, who was attending and instructing at her first symposium in Monroe, was pleased with the turnout and considered the event a success. "I was hoping whatever I could share would be useful to the trainers in attendance," she said. "I think clinics and symposiums are a very good thing, and I know I learned a lot from watching Julie. I am a big believer in continuing education."

The Symposiums offered attendees an opportunity to participate in practical training sessions and round table discussions with top professionals in the industry. The schedule offers two or three days of hunters, equitation and jumpers. Each of the disciplines was broken into sections: i.e. junior hunters, intermediate equitation and junior/amateur owner jumpers. The sections featured about four demonstration riders for the clinician to work and explain different techniques, exercises and tips for various levels of riders and horses.

The symposium was a great opportunity for professionals and members to exchange thoughts and ideas on training exercises, training aids, and business practices.

Dates for additional symposiums will be announced in June.

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