Reno, Nev., January 19, 2010 -- Carly Anthony, 19, of Redmond, Wash., and Richard "Ricky" Neal, 17, of Pasadena, Calif., were named the inaugural winners of the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association's (USHJA) Emerging Athletes Program (EAP) National Training Session January 10. For their accomplishments, they will each receive 30 days of advanced training with a high performance athlete, as well as $1,500 in gift certificates from Dover Saddlery to purchase show clothes.
Anthony and Neal were among 12 finalists to travel to Maplewood Stables in Reno for the three-day training session. Riders were each given horses provided by Julie Winkel and attended seminars and presentations on conformation, natural horsemanship and general equine health. Riders were trained by Peter Wylde for the first two days, and on the third day the riders were broken into three teams of four to compete in a Nations' Cup format competition. Each team was named after a famous show jumper: Team Fein Cera - Chef d' Equipe Peter Wylde, Team Authentic - Chef d' Equipe Sally Ike and Team Sapphire - Chef d' Equipe Eliza Shuford.
On January 9 parents and auditors were able to feel like they were part of the team during a rider reception. The teams were auctioned off in a fundraising effort. Team Sapphire brought the highest bid of $1,400. A total of $3,330 was raised. Each of the top bidders donated their portion of the proceeds back to the EAP.
Team Sapphire, consisting of Alexa Anthony, Arden Cone, Molly Osier, and Ricky Neal took the gold with zero faults over two rounds. Team Authentic, consisting of Amelia McArdle, Elizabeth Kenny, Nelson Bierwirth, and Hayley Barnhill took the silver with a two round total of eight faults. Team Fein Cera with Nick Gegen, Matt Wildung, Kathryn Hayley, and Carly Anthony took home the bronze with 15 faults.
The riders were evaluated heavily on their riding skills, as well as their horsemanship in the barn and in the ring, and a written exam. EAP Committee members, Melanie Taylor, Julie Winkel, Sally Ike, Eliza Shuford and Kathy Moore as well as Peter Wylde, Mindy Bower and Dr. Midge Leitch evaluated the riders each day to select the overall two winners.
"I am passionate about developing horsemen and not just riders," said Melanie Taylor, head clinician for Level 1 and 2 and chairman of the EAP. "This program has provided our industry with an opportunity to make that happen. I have been very impressed with not only these 12 riders but with all the riders who applied and went through the selection process. They all showed a commitment to their horses and to their riding. Carly and Ricky displayed an overall excellence and are ideal young horsemen to be named inaugural winners."
Complete coverage of the EAP National Training Session will be available in the February 2010 issue of USHJA In Stride.