Lexington, Ky. - 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.
The following horses and riders have been chosen by the Eventing Selection Committee and approved by the Eventing High Performance Committee to take part in the 2014 Developing Riders/ Eventing 25 Program. These combinations have been invited to take part in training sessions with O’Connor in California and Ocala, Florida."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."
California Training Session
The following combinations have been selected to participate in training sessions at a location still to be confirmed, January 14-17:
- Helen Bouscaren (San Ramon, CA) and her own Ben* , a 2004 Thoroughbred gelding
- Cori Davis (Shingle Springs, CA) and her own A Golden Effort, a 2004 Thoroughbred gelding
- Avery Klunick (Midland, TX) and her own and Chip Klunick’s In It To Win It, a 2000 New Zealand Sport Horse gelding
- Brynn Littlehale (Saratoga, CA) and her own Forgotten Emblem, a 2003 Thoroughbred gelding
- Emily Pestl-Dimmit (Renton, WA) and Michele Pestl’s Airlington, a 2003 Bavarian Warmblood gelding
- MacKenna Shea (Tacoma, WA) and her own Landioso, a 2002 Bavarian Warmblood gelding
- Kimberly Steinbuch (Castro Valley, CA) and her own Pikture This, a 2000 Hanoverian/Thoroughbred Cross
The following combinations have been selected to participate in training sessions generously hosted at Meredyth South in Ocala, FL January 20-24:
- Nora Battig (Granite Bay, CA) and her own Steppin’ Out, a 2005 Trakehner/Thoroughbred mare
- Alexandra Blyskal-Sacksen (Landenberg, PA) and her own Sparrow’s Nio, a 2003 Connemara/Thoroughbred gelding
- Zach Brandt (Thousand Oaks, CA) and his own Cavallino Cocktail, a 2002 Irish Sport Horse mare
- Jenny Caras (Marietta, GA) and her own Fernhill Fortitude or Fernhill Stowaway. Fernhill Fortitude is a 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding. Fernhill Stowaway is a 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding
- Danielle Dichting (Roswell, GA) and her own The Graduate, a 1998 Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding
- Sarah Dunkerton (Soso, MS) and her own and Richard Dunkerton’s Matapeake, a 1999 Thoroughbred gelding
- Ariel Grald (Randolph Center, VT) and Carol Rittenhouse’s LBF Oleagh’s Image*, a 2005 Irish Sport Horse mare
- Katherine Groesbeck (Temecula, CA) and her own Oz the Tin Man, a 1997 Anglo-Arabian gelding
- Emily Renfroe (Magnolia Springs, AL) and her own Walk the Line, a 2002 Hanoverian mare
- Caitlin Silliman (Chestertown, MD) and her own Catch A Star, a 2000 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare
- Lizzie Snow (Milwaukie, OR) and Diane Snow’s Ringfort Tinkaturk, a 2005 Irish Sport Horse gelding
- Julie Wolfert (Bucyrus, KS) and her own Buenos Aires, a 2001 Thoroughbred gelding
Meghan O’Donoghue (Carbondale, IL) and her own Pirate, a 2002 Thoroughbred gelding
Meghan O'Donoghue and Pirate have already been named to the World Class list and invited to participate in High Performance Training Sessions with O’Connor. Due to limited space in the 2014 Developing Riders/Eventing 25 Program, they will be invited to participate in this Florida Training Session if a spot becomes available.
"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.