April 2015 - USHJA News

It’s time to apply for the Emerging Athletes Program & Regional Jumper Championships.

The Emerging Athletes program is a unique opportunity for young equestrians to advance their riding skills and learn horsemanship from some of the world’s best.

Organized by the United States Hunter Jumper Association, the EAP is accepting applications for the first phase, the Regional Training Sessions. West Coast dates and locations are June 14-18 at Sonoma Valley Stables in Petaluma and July 1-5 at Whip N Spur Farm in Wilsonville, OR. Application deadlines are April 14 and May 5, respectively.

Emerging Athletes Task Force Chair Sally Ike says, “EAP riders are the future of our industry, and I look forward to watching that future take shape as riders progress through the Regional Training Sessions and succeed at the National Training Session this year.”

Riders interested in participating in a 2015 EAP Regional Training Session may apply online at www.ushja.org/EAP. In addition to completing the online application, riders must submit three letters of recommendation and complete the Level One Quiz of the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge. Applicants with a Level One score of 80 percent or higher will be considered for participation in a Regional Training Session.

Riders accepted into the EAP begin by participating in a Regional Training Session. During the extensive five-day Regionals, riders have the opportunity to work with top riding clinicians and some of the country’s leading stable managers. Riders are instructed 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.

Selection of the riders for the National Training Session is based on their riding and stable-management skills, written test results and potential shown during the Regionals. The date and location of the 2015 EAP National Training Session will be announced this summer.

In related news, the organization’s Children’s and Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Championships have been set, in the West region (Zones 9, 10, 11 and 12) for Sept. 9-13 at the Blenheim Fall Tournament in San Juan Capistrano.

“Of all the great things about the Championships, one thing stands out as the most special and unique: The collaboration between the trainers, the riders, parents, and all involved with putting together a team aimed at a common goal,” says USHJA Jumper Working Group Children/Adult Jumper Task Force Chair Jeff Campf. “The sense of ‘team’ lasts for all the participants as a shared experience that enhances all of our zone communities and our sport as a whole.”

Held in a Nations Cup-style format, the competition takes place over the course of three days with four rounds of competition, and riders compete as teams with individual scores counting toward the overall team score. To qualify, riders must apply through the USHJA.

The Championships consist of both team and individual competition, and each zone is eligible to send a minimum of two teams of Children’s competitors and two teams of Adult Amateur competitors.

In 2014, nearly 140 of the country’s top Children’s and Adult Amateur riders competed for individual and team medals in the Regional Championships. Each of the Children’s Jumper Individual Champions in 2014 garnered a spot in an Emerging Athletes Program Regional Training Session this summer. Again, this year’s individual gold medalists in the Children’s section will earn a coveted spot in a 2016 EAP Regional Training Session.

“I loved the team aspect of the Nations Cup format, especially since our sport is usually about individual performance,” says 2014 Children’s South Region individual gold medalist Hannah Powers (Zone 3). “Everything was so well done and everyone made us feel special. Events like this just make me want to work harder and learn all that I can.”

For more information and/or to apply, visit www.ushja.org.