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Riders Learn Horsemanship During the Emerging Athletes Clinic June 17-20 at Ledges Sporting Horses in Roscoe, IL

Course designer Hector Loyola teaches EAP students how to design and set a course.

Roscoe, IL- June 19, 2013 - Clinician Cynthia Hankins and barn Manager Anne Thornbury conducted the EAP Clinic, sponsored by Dover Saddlery, at Ledges Sporting Horses June 17-20.  The clinic is one of ten regional clinics in the program. Donna Struve and Pat Boyle graciously donated the facility for the clinic.  Nineteen young riders were accepted for the clinic based on show and riding experience.  Riders came from neighboring states as well as the Chicago area, some bringing their own mounts and others riding borrowed ones.

The program consists of four days of riding and caring for their own horses.  Riders learn to care for their horses as well as ride them. 

“One of the reasons for starting the program was that many young professionals getting into the business have learned to ride but haven’t learned how to care for their athletes,” stated barn manager, Ann Thornbury. “Things as basic as how to adjust a bridle or lead a horse – the kids are not learning.  Their trainers are so busy showing they don’t teach the kids the basics.”

When asked what skills riders are lacking today Thornbury stated, “Most young riders lack common sense and have very little horse care and safety knowledge. We like to emphasize the horse comes first and if they don’t know the answer to something, we try to teach them where they can go to find out the answer.”

Thornbury hopes the riders leave the clinic with a message of; the horse comes first, appreciate their team who helps them, and say thank you.

During the riding portion, riders are given exercises in flatwork, gymnastics and jumping. During the Wednesday session of the clinic, Hankins had exercises for the riders to concentrate on track or line.  Riders performed a mini course, first doing the outside turns then riding the inside turns. Hankins emphasized keeping your horse in front of your leg and demonstrated on several horses.  Another exercise with a mini course included riding a line one direction leaving out strides and coming back over the same line the opposite direction adding strides. 

This is the third EAP clinic Hankins has done.  Other regional clinicians include Joe Fargis, 
Karen Healey, Candice King, Kip Rosenthal,
Bernie Traurig
 and Julie Winkel.

“The riders are all eager to be part of the program,” stated Hankins. 

Riders are chosen from the regional clinics to participate in the next level.

“We basically evaluate them each day,” said Hankins.  “You can generally tell if they have a good feel for measuring the jumps and if they have a solid flat foundation. They may lack in experience but have a natural feel and a good foundation.  I like to see them finish on a good note. They may not be the ones that move on but they leave with experience. With Ann in the barn, we teach them to be horseman not just riders.”

Hankins continued to talk about how the program can help riders succeed. 

“Just like talented tennis players, some people have a natural feel or riding ability, whether they are on borrowed horses or eventers or whatever, you can see that they have talent. It’s for us to try to develop them but it’s also up to them to go home and improve their own abilities,” continued Hankins.

“We want to send them back with a sense of reality too.  There is too much praise in this country and not enough discipline.  We try to make the criticism constructive but let them know when it is not good enough.  We try to teach them how they could have made it better,” Hankins added.

Mary Babick, USHJA Vice President, stated,  “We are trying to find the most talented riders that we can find which makes the program a bit competitive. But we are also trying to build and grow the less experienced riders.” 

Course designer, Hector Loyola, also spent time teaching the riders how he designs courses and how to set jumps.

“I love it! It’s great getting a different perspective from another trainer,” said Michaela Kane of Saint Anne, IL, about her experience. “She (Hankins) rode my horse this morning so it’s a privilege to have her ride him and be able to tell me what I can work on with him.”

Conner Siegel, 17, said, “My experience has been great. We’ve been working hard from 5:00 in the morning and sometimes we don’t leave until 7:00 pm then come back at 8:30 pm for night check. Its really grueling but you get exposed to many different ways of doing things and you get to learn a system.”

 Conner Siegel learns how to use the GameReady

This is Siegel’s second year doing the EAP Clinics.  He made it to the National level last year and came back this year with more experience. 

Riders will find out if they get to move to the next level sometime in August. For more information on the EAP program visit www.ushja.org.

Riders for the Roscoe, IL EAP:

Justin

Boyd

Chicago

IL

Louisa

Brackett

Grayslake

IL

Emma Lena

Green

Carmel

IN

Aelin

Hill

Mequon

WI

Christine

Hohe

Elburn

IL

Anneka

Jansson

Barrington Hills

IL

Michaela

Kane

Saint Anne

IL

Sarah

Kent

Indianapolis

IN

Jamie

Losey

Lake In The Hills

IL

Savannah

Mannes

Bloomfield Hills

MI

Hillary

Moore

Eureka

MO

Adeline

Rohrbach

Glencoe

IL

Connor

Siegel

Evanston

IL

Megan

Spitzer

Edwards

IL

Eleanor

Sullivan

Waterloo

IA

Sarah

Torti

Elmhurst

IL

Ariana

Wait

Cedar Falls

IA

Jackie

Wood

Bloomfield Hills

MI

Katie

Young

Troy

MO