USHJA Announces Finalists for 2015 Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session & Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals to be Held in Conjunction at Otterbein University


Lexington, KY—-October 14, 2015—-The United States Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce the riders selected to participate in the 2015 Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session, presented by Dover Saddlery, to be held November 12-15, at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH.

Out of the more than 130 riders who participated in a 2015 EAP Regional Training Session, sixteen riders and four stable managers have been invited to participate in the 2015 EAP National Training Session.

The 2015 National Training Session, hosted for the first time by Otterbein University, will be led by Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Wylde and expert Stable Manager Anne Thornbury. Finalists are closely observed and evaluated during all phases of the four-day National Training Session, including flatwork, 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.

“The EAP National Training Session marries competition and education to create a dynamic opportunity for young, talented riders to learn and showcase their skills,” said Sally Ike, chair of the EAP Committee. “As we head into the 2015 National Training Session, I’m eager to see this group of riders get the most out of working with Peter and Anne and even more eager to see what they do after the session.”

The EAP National Training Session concludes with a two-round Nations Cup-style competition, where riders are placed on teams of four to compete head-to-head. This team format offers the riders an opportunity to showcase their riding skills as well as their ability to perform under pressure. One rider will be named the overall USHJA EAP National Champion and will be awarded a $3,000 grant to be applied toward the cost of advanced training, a $1,500 gift certificate from Dover Saddlery, a variety of additional products and gifts from USHJA sponsors and more.

The Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals, presented by The Plaid Horse, will be held in conjunction with the 2015 EAP National Training Session at Otterbein University. The HQC Nationals is a multi-phase event that puts the top scoring participants, who advanced through HQC Levels One and Two, to the ultimate test. The HQC Nationals, formerly the HQC Finals, consists of a written exam, a horsemastership/identification exam, and a final practicum that requires participants to demonstrate their mastery of practical horsemanship knowledge.

“The principles of horsemanship span disciplines, geography and time,” said Cricket Stone, chair of the HQC Ad Hoc Committee. “Ensuring that our youth learn these principles and celebrate them with every ride, competition or interaction with a horse is what the HQC program is all about, and we’re excited to see some of our most knowledgeable young horsemen put to the test at the 2015 HQC Nationals.”

The three highest scoring finalists from each USHJA zone, the United States Pony Club (USPC) or the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) will comprise a team for their respective affiliation. The HQC finalists audit EAP National Training Session riding sessions, participate in seminars, take a written exam (phase one) and a horsemastership/identification exam (phase two). The three teams and three individuals (who are not already members of a team qualified to advance) with the highest scores from the first two phases, advance to the hands-on practicum (phase three) which includes horse handling and identifying horse-related equipment.

The highest-scoring team and highest-scoring individual finalist are named the overall winners of the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals. Each overall winner receives a gold medal, a Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate, a Charles Owen helmet, and a $1,000 USHJA Foundation grant for training and education (e.g., lessons, clinics, camps). Additionally, the highest-scoring individual finalist is awarded a hands-on educational opportunity to learn from the equine experts at Spy Coast Farm.

The Emerging Athletes Program and the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge are supported in part by a generous grant from the United States Equestrian Federation.