January 29, 2014 -- Participants chosen for the 2014 USEF Developing Riders/Eventing 25 Program took part in training sessions with USEF Eventing Team Coach David O'Connor on both the East and West Coasts to prepare for the competition season. The first sessions took place January 14-17 at Tucolata Creek Ranch in Temecula, Calif., for West Coast-based riders, with the East Coast-based riders participating in sessions running from January 20-24 at Meredyth South in Ocala, Fla. The sessions consisted of mounted lessons and lectures from guest speakers covering topics such as anatomy, farrier care, nutrition, physiology, stable management, and veterinary care.
"The training sessions were very good," commented O'Connor. "I would say we had about 50% new riders and 50% repeat participants. The riders from last year had improved significantly and were riding at a different level which was great to see. The new riders coming in definitely have good talent for the level. It was really educational for everyone and it was great to be a part of."
For the mounted sessions, riders honed their skills on the flat for two days with drill riding and individual lessons with O'Connor. The use of both gridwork and course work helped horse-and-rider combinations test their jumping abilities and find areas to improve upon in the ring before heading out for cross country school on the final day.
To view the list of riders named to the 2014 USEF Developing Riders/Eventing 25 Program, please click here.
"I think things went very well," said Avery Klunick (Midland, Texas) of her experience at the West Coast training sessions. "It was my second year to lesson with David and I felt like I was ready for the exercises. With it being so early in the year the exercise weren't extremely difficult and they were working on a certain thing, like a balanced canter or straightness. It was easy to see when things were working and when they weren't."
"It was definitely an eye-opening experience in a good way," said East Coast participant Emily Renfroe (Magnolia Springs, Ala.). "David had good twists on how to do things and the week went really well. The girls were really nice. The lectures also opened my eyes to various aspects of the sport and horsemanship and provided different opinions that were educational."
The USEF would like to thank Max Corcoran, Dr. Jill Copenhagen, Dr. Bruce Kuessis, Dr. Joe Pagan of Kentucky Equine Research, Randy Pawlak, and Jo-Ann Wilson for lecturing at the training sessions. The training sessions provided wonderful learning opportunities to the nation's up-and-coming riders. The USEF would also like to thank the facility owners, Jacqueline Mars of Meredyth South and Alan and Kay Needle of Tucolata Creek Ranch, for providing use of their wonderful facilities.
Please contact Joanie Morris, USEF Managing Director of Eventing, with any questions regarding the training sessions at firstname.lastname@example.org.