USHJA Opens Emerging Athletes Program and Horsemanship Quiz Challenge for 2020

Program Changes, Dates and Locations Also Announced

Lexington, Kentucky—Feb. 3, 2020—The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to open the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program and Horsemanship Quiz Challenge for 2020, as well as announce dates and locations for EAP Regional Training Sessions and important changes to both programs that will provide more educational opportunities for USHJA members.

Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program

New this year, EAP Regional Training Sessions are open to members age 12 and above with each session offering a section at 0.90m and 1.0m fence heights. Also new this year, members ages 12 to 25 participating at either fence height will be eligible for selection to the 2020 EAP National Training Session. Regional Training Sessions will be held at the following locations:

"This program truly opens eyes and opens doors, and we are excited to make this program more accessible to members at the 3' level," said Sally Ike, chair of the Emerging Athletes Program Committee. "We hope the changes to the program will help encourage horsemanship and education at the earliest levels and guide young equestrians to achieving success in their careers."

Riders interested in participating in the EAP program must be current USHJA members in good standing above the Outreach level and must complete and return the application and associated fee to USHJA by April 1. Riders must also submit three letters of recommendation, complete the Level One Horsemanship Quiz Challenge with a score of 80 percent or above, and meet all other eligibility requirements to participate in an EAP Regional Training Session. 

Riders accepted into the EAP begin by participating in an EAP Regional Training Session. During the extensive five-day Regional Training Sessions, riders have the opportunity to work with top riding clinicians and some of the country's leading stable managers, where instruction focuses on flatwork, gymnastics, related distances and course work, as well as an intensive stable-management curriculum that incorporates proper care and grooming, horsemanship skills and barn management. Riders provide their own horses for the Regional Training Session and provide all care themselves.

Once the Regional Training Sessions conclude, 16 riders and a select number of stable managers, ages 12 to 25, will be invited to attend the National Training Session. Selection of the riders and stable managers for the National Training Session is based on their riding and stable-management skills and potential shown during their Regional Training Session. The 2020 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA EAP National Training Session will be held November 5-8 at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.

The USHJA Emerging Athletes Program was created for young riders to gain riding and horsemanship knowledge in their pursuit to become informed and experienced horsemen and women within the hunter/jumper community. Since the program's inception in 2009, EAP athletes have gone on to work for Olympic and nationally recognized trainers, as well as compete and succeed in top hunter, jumper and equitation in the United States and abroad.

Horsemanship Quiz Challenge

Registration to the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge is also open, with exciting changes being implemented for 2020. The free online HQC study guide has received a major overhaul, with new sections added covering saddle fitting, teeth, various therapies and a history of the American Forward Riding system.

"We are excited to unveil the updated HQC study guide for this year," said Terri Young, chair of the HQC committee, which rewrote the guide. "We have worked tirelessly to make this the best educational resource possible, and we hope that equestrians eager to advance their horsemanship knowledge take advantage of the free online guide."

To participate in the HQC, members who are younger than 21 as of December 1, 2019, must register online for the quiz, study and then advance through two levels of online horsemanship quizzes, which consist of multiple choice and true/false questions, to be eligible for selection to attend the HQC Nationals. The HQC Nationals, held in conjunction with the EAP National Training Session, is an in-person competition that includes a written test, identification exam and a hands-on practicum to put the top-scoring participants to the ultimate test.

In order to advance to the Level Two Quiz, participants must score a minimum of 80 percent on Level One, and in order to be eligible for selection to attend HQC Nationals, participants must score a minimum of 90 percent on Level Two. Participants interested in being eligible for HQC Nationals must complete both levels by September 1.

Program participants may use the online resources available through the program—the HQC Study Guide and HQC Practice Quiz—to prepare. These resources are also available on the USHJA website to anyone interested in improving their horsemanship knowledge.

Additionally, the program will open to adult amateurs ages 21 and above later in 2020. More information about the expansion of the HQC program to adult amateurs over the age of 21 will be announced in the coming months.

USHJA Zones offer grants to EAP participants to help offset the cost of attending an EAP Regional Training Session or the National Training Session. Each zone offers a minimum of two EAP grants. For more information and to apply for an EAP Grant visit, click on your home zone, and then click on "Grants and Scholarships." EAP Grant applications must be completed by April 1.

The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program and USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge are supported in part by a generous grant from US Equestrian, as well as individual donors through the USHJA.

For more information on program specifications and application requirements for the Emerging Athletes Program, visit For more information about the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge and to register, visit

Photos: Tricia Booker and Terisé Cole for USHJA