Athletes Selected for 11th Annual USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session

Findlay, Ohio—September 12, 2019—The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce the 16 athletes and four stable managers selected to participate in the 11th annual Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session at The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio. Olympic show jumper Peter Wylde returns this year alongside renowned stable management expert Anne Thornbury to lead the session November 7-10, 2019, which marks 11 years of educating and advancing the horsemanship of young equestrians.

Since the program's inception in 2009, the USHJA has reviewed more than 2,700 applications, provided more than 1,600 participants regional training session opportunities, and each year 16 athletes vie for the title of EAP Champion while training with an Olympian at the National Training Session. In 2019, 194 athletes participated in 10 Regional Training Sessions nationwide between the months of May and August. While only a small number advance to the National Training Session, each participant received invaluable education over the course of five days of mounted and unmounted instruction offered at Regional Training Sessions.

The USHJA congratulates the following athletes for being selected to participate in the 11th annual EAP National Training Session:

National Training Session Riders 

  • Celia Cram, 15, Aiken, S.C.
  • Sea Sea Dance, 16, Lufkin, Texas
  • Julianna Empie, 18, Chester Springs, Pa.
  • Avery Glynn, 13, Penngrove, Calif.
  • Claire Huskey, 24, Franklin, Tenn.
  • Joelle Hylton, 19, Manteca, Calif.
  • Rose Kauffman-Skloff, 19, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Rebecca Morris, 23, Mundelein, Ill.
  • Katie Pelzel, 18, Fort Lupton, Colo.
  • Chiara Perni, 16, Batavia, Ill.
  • Samantha Reynoso, 16, Cypress, Texas
  • Alyssa Simin, 21, Ramsey, N.J.
  • Evelyn Smith, 18, Morristown, N.J.
  • Madeline Vorhies, 17, Canton, Ga.
  • Alicia Weismann, 19, Southampton, N.J.
  • Skylar Wireman, 14, Bonsall, Calif.

Ranked Alternate Riders

  • Elle Brady, 23, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Christina Samouhos, 22, Pittstown, N.J.
  • Jonathan Porteous, 15, Arlington, Mass.
  • Addison Diaz, 19, Apollo Beach, Fla.

National Training Session Stable Managers

  • Elle Brady, 23, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Selina Petronelli, 19, Churchville, Md.
  • Mara Picciochi, 20, Morristown, N.J.
  • Jonathan Porteous, 15, Arlington, Mass.

Ranked Alternate Stable Managers

  • Christina Samouhos, 22, Pittstown, N.J.
  • Rachel Vandemark, 22, South Brunswick, N.J.
  • Alexandria Willard, 20, Pittstown, N.J.
  • Tess von Hemel, 20, Piedmont, Okla.

EAP finalists are closely observed and evaluated during all phases of the four-day National Training Session, including flat work, gymnastics, related distances and course work, an intensive stable-management curriculum, and through a written test that gauges the horsemanship knowledge each finalist has gained throughout the year. One rider will be named the overall USHJA EAP National Champion and will receive a $3,000 grant to be applied toward the cost of advanced training, as well as a variety of additional products and gifts from USHJA sponsors.

Additionally, two EAP finalists will receive a coveted riding spot at a 1.10/1.15m USHJA Gold Star Clinic of their choice, and a select number of participants in the EAP National Training Session will be chosen to serve as stable managers during the Gold Star Clinics. Three USHJA Gold Star Clinics will be held this year. Part of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program, these clinics offer horsemanship, stable management, mounted instruction and additional education from top clinicians and athletes. Sport leadership track these riders' accomplishments as they advance through the sport and look for opportunities to support their efforts with education along the way.

The Charles "Chuck" Keller Grant for Equestrian Excellence will also be awarded to one EAP National Training Session participant for the purpose of furthering their equestrian training in pursuit of equestrian excellence. The USHJA EAP Committee will select the recipient of this $500 grant, made possible by anonymous donation, based on the care and handling of horses, treatment of horses while mounted and level of personal interaction with clinicians, peers and spectators.

The USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals will be held concurrently with the EAP National Training Session at The University of Findlay's James L. Child Jr. Equestrian Complex. Qualified finalists will be tested in three phases, including a written exam, horsemanship/identification exam and a hands-on practicum exam. HQC Finalists will be announced soon.

In addition to the competition, both EAP and HQC finalists will participate in joint educational seminars. Topics covered will include saddle fit, equine health, sports psychology, and rider fitness.

Auditing of all mounted sessions of the EAP National Training Session is free and open to the public.

Past winners include Carly Anthony (2009), Richard Neal (2009), Kate Haley (2010), Jacob Pope (2011), Stephen Foran (2012), Sunny Drescher (2013), Carly Williams (2014), Danielle Roskens (2015), Gracie Marlowe (2016), Kendra Duggleby (2017) and Cathleen Driscoll (2018). EAP winners and alumni have gone on to compete and earn numerous championships and ribbons in some of the most prestigious classes in the country including USEF Talent Search, US Hunter Seat Medal Finals, ASPCA Maclay Finals, USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship and World Cup qualifying Grands Prix. 

The USHJA extends special thanks to title sponsor Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund and to host The University of Findlay. The Emerging Athletes Program and the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge are supported in part by a generous grant from US Equestrian, as well as individual donors through the USHJA Foundation.

For more information on the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session, visit For more information on the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals, visit