National Training Session

Carly Williams Strives For Excellence at USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session

Findlay, OH - November 17 - Even after drawing the most challenging mount during the USHJA Emerging Athletes National Training Session, presented by Dover Saddlery, Carly Williams didn't give up on her mission.

"I think one statement that comes to mind regarding Carly is this: 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going.' Against all odds, and having arguably the hardest horse in the session, she was able to work intelligently with that horse and every day chipped away at making it better and better," said show jumping Olympic gold medalist and lead clinician Peter Wylde. "Carly produced two very solid and very respectable rounds in the Nations Cup on a horse that probably no one else would have been able to do the same thing with at this clinic."
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Journey to EAP Nationals

Throughout the Emerging Athletes Program journey, the original group of 200 plus riders narrows to a select 16. Riders invited to participate in the USHJA EAP National Training Session are given the opportunity to train with several of the country's top clinicians during this intensive three-and-a-half day training session. Throughout the three-and-a-half days, each finalist has the unique opportunity to ride and care for a horse provided by the host facility and assigned to them by the EAP representatives. Each rider starts on a fair and level playing field and must utilize all the skills they have honed throughout the entire EAP process to bond quickly with their equine partner.

Carly Williams poses with clinicians
(L-R) Kip Rosenthal, Peter Wylde, Sally Ike, Anne Thornbury
and Mary Babick

The small group size allows the riders to work very closely with the clinicians during the riding and stable-management sessions throughout the several days. Finalists are again closely observed and evaluated during all phases of the National Training Session and are expected to be active participants in all activities. The riding sessions address flatwork and jumping, while stable-management sessions are hands-on, in-depth and extensive. Barn chores are monitored, and a written test gauges the knowledge each finalist has gained throughout the year. Additional clinics, such as veterinary seminars, trimming and shoeing, saddle fitting, and feeding regimens may be offered, as well.

The final day concludes with a two-round Nations Cup-style competition involving four teams of four riders each will complete the competition. This team format offers the riders an opportunity to showcase their riding skills as well as their ability to perform under pressure. An awards ceremony follows the competition, where one rider is named the overall USHJA EAP National Champion and is awarded a $3,000 grant to be applied toward the cost of advanced training with an approved trainer. Closing remarks from the clinicians bring each EAP year to an end, but for many of the riders, their participation in the EAP has brought them to the start of a new level of understanding and commitment to the hunter/jumper sport.

These young riders may run into each other at horse shows during the year, or this may be the only time they meet, but the camaraderie shared throughout the EAP process is an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.

The 2015 Emerging Athletes Program is supported in part by a generous grant from the United States Equestrian Federation.

Additional Links
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EAP Nationals Archive
Jumper Department – (859) 225-6700