EAP Regional Clinics Presented by Dover Saddlery Continue to Win Praise

July 5, 2012

Bounds Showtime Arena in Deerfield, WI played host to clinician Cynthia Hankins and Stable Management expert Karen Golding on June 18-21 and in Hackettstown, NJ, Centenary College welcomed clinician Karen Healey and Stable Manager Sarah Baumgaertner June 21 to 24 for the next set of the Emerging Athletes Program’s regional clinics presented by Dover Saddlery.

The Regional Clinics’ core mission is to instruct participants over the allotted four days in flatwork, gymnastics, related distances and course work, plus the intensive stable-management curriculum.
"This is a great program for young athletes, they really responded as a team. Although a few were not even sure how to hold a pitchfork or what their horses ate, I feel all improved and had fun. It was also a great experience for me-reminding me how much I enjoyed interacting with a horse!" Karen Golding said.

In Wisconsin, parents and students alike sang the praises of the instructors. Connor Siegel didn’t hesitate to speak up, "I think the way everything is formatted, even though you are in a group, it felt like I had a lot of one on one experience with the clinicians and my barn-mates. I didn’t feel like I was in a huge group trying to get noticed.
I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve learned a lot about advanced position over jumps. For the most part for me, jumping has been hanging on and getting around. I really like the exercises and learning about the different releases. EAP is one of the most valuable chances to take riding and horsemanship to the next level."

When asked whether he would do it again: "Oh yeah, I plan on doing it until I’m 21!"

The addition of the Stable Management curriculum to EAP has been applauded at each session. Stephan Foran is a returnee to the program and won the clinic’s finale competition said, "Last year we didn’t really have any stable management, they didn’t really teach us about anything, they were just kind of judging us, whereas this year Karen really made sure we understood all the important things about taking care of our horses. She made it clear to us what would help our horses and how it would affect how they performed and I really felt that I learned a lot about the right way to do things; the best way to make your horse feel his best. I also just think it is a great experience for anyone who wants to pursue a career involving horses and it helps you understand all aspects of the horse."

Stephan’s father–trainer couldn’t agree more, adding, "It’s outstanding, the group education combined with the individual instruction, I think is very interesting, how they work together as a group but get so much individual attention as well and it’s specified for each rider. The hands-on participation in the horse care is teaching the kids that they have to be observant, they have to be observant of the animal and basically things like, from how much water they are in-taking to how much poop, being specific about equipment and before you get to the ring all the things that have to be done back at the barn. The time management has really helped, so with him (Stephen) I have seen that."

Taylor Schmidt voiced her own insight of the program, "EAP focuses on things that are often untouched in today’s horse world, such as the horsemanship in the barn aspect, especially for kids who have full service and don’t take care of their own horses on a daily basis. It is good to get back and figure out what the real horsemanship is and that starts in the barn."
The theme of high praise continued for the Centenary College locale and clinicians Karen Healey and Sarah Baumgaertner.

Healey and Baumgaertner took students through the detailed curriculum, but made adjustments in their teaching to the various levels of each rider. As with previous clinics the riders were broken into smaller groups and while each group rode once a day, they also audited another group, as well as acting as jump crew for the clinician. The idea behind this teaching style is to challenge the students, but never over face them. The daily lessons build on the previous day and lead up to the finale EAP Regional course.

"Understand what we are doing these four days is RIDING. Be invisible, but don’t just fake it. Your work should be seamless. You don’t need to be rough- you need to be stronger mentally and physically." Lead clinician Karen Healey explained to the participants on day one.

Brendean Weiss of Southampton, PA said, "I just loved Karen's teaching. I was really able to soak in a lot of what she was teaching and apply it to my riding. It was interesting because I had to find a horse the day before the clinic started because the horse I was going to use had gotten hurt. However, I didn't mind this that much. It didn't give me time to be able to figure the new horse out, and I was able to work through that with Karen. The whole clinic was so worth it, and I am happy I was able to do it."

Once again the addition of the Stable Management curriculum received several accolades.
Michelle Newman of East Northport, NY couldn’t decide which she enjoyed more, saying, "I would say the most important thing that I took away from my EAP experience was a tie between all of the riding skills and techniques I learned and all of the stable management information I learned that is vital to the care and keeping of a healthy and happy horse. However, I really enjoyed meeting other riders that are as committed to their horses as I am and I really enjoyed being able to ride with Karen Healey and learning from Sarah Baumgaertner. The EAP is a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anybody that is really committed to riding and their horses."

Katelyn Friesema of Lancaster, PA was a repeat EAP participant and eager to share her experience, "Between all of the EAP clinics I have been to, this one was the best. I have to say overall I've learned so many new horsemanship skills on the ground and in the saddle, I really enjoyed it all and I am excited to use everything I have learned from this clinic! I really enjoyed all of the lectures that were taught at the clinic, you always had something new to learn- all the other girls in the clinic would add stuff they have learned and ask questions which added to the experience! Karen was great! I had the pleasure of her getting to ride my horse and learned alot from that. Since he is green in his flatwork, learning ways to help improve him and myself was drastic by the 3rd day of the clinic and when she made the suggestion of switching the bit it was a huge difference. I will say it is always difficult when someone tells you to change your ride to what you aren't used to, but everything I learned I will be taking away!"

Many of the riders felt the great one liners from Karen would be simple and helpful reminders as they move forward in their young careers – "Horses do what YOU allow them to do. You can’t see what you don’t look at. A horse can’t go forward when a door is closed."

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