Metropolitan Equestrian riders received grants to spend a week at Emily Elek’s Stonewall Farms in Ixonia, Wisconsin. The group of riders experienced a week of opportunities, growth, and learning. Each participant was able to work alongside equine professionals, improving their riding, knowledge, and groundwork. The days ranged from multiple lessons with Elek to hands on experience out of the saddle.
“A highlight from this week would definitely be the riding clinics. In just one week, Emily Elek was able to teach me so many things in the saddle, and on the ground as well.”
“This past week, Emily Elek and all of the wonderful professionals gave us a wonderful experience and taught us so many new amazing things! In the saddle, Emily taught me so many new techniques that I can use at home that can help me progress in my riding, and out of the saddle.”
“Dr. Shannon, the vet, taught us how to perform a lameness exam and what to look out for when dealing with lame horses, which can be extremely beneficial in the future!”
The riders learned about lameness, the importance of proper shoeing, and hoof anatomy. Participants worked alongside veterinarian Dr. Shannon Roska, overseeing a lameness exam and PPE overview. Kendra Skorstad of Skorstad Farrier Service taught them about the hoof anatomy and shoeing.
“Outside of riding, I was able to learn about body work with Mary Kate Henry, and her assistant Monique, which helps improve a horse’s relaxation. Additionally, the vet clinic and farrier clinic by Dr. Shannon Roska and Kendra Skorstad taught me lots of awesome information to look for in the future with my own horses.”
The riders were also able to learn about all the benefits of certain treatments. From overseeing an acupuncture and chiropractic session with Dr. Victoria Gnadt to participating in a hands-on equine massage clinic with Mary Kate Henry, owner and practitioner of Head to Hoof.
Not only were they able to improve their riding skills and the physical aspect around the sport but they also were able to attend a Equicoach session with Cathy Penrod called Mastering Rider Mindfulness: Developing Self-Awareness in the Ring. Penrod helps riders create a plan to provide clarity needed to improve their ride.
The week was full of knowledge, growth, and opportunities for the MET participants. Riders were able to improve their riding with Elek while also getting a jumpstart on their college future with Randi Heathman, The College Equestrian Advisor. Brianna Engelkemeir helped capture the picture perfect moments throughout the week.
“From the thrilling jumping lessons with Trainer Emily Elek to the valuable clinics on equine lameness exams, college counseling, groundwork, farrier work, body work, acupuncture, body clipping, and stable management, it is truly inspiring to witness their passion and dedication to the horses. I have heartfelt gratitude to all the professionals involved including Dr. Shannon Roska, Randi Heathman, Dr. Piper Klemm, Dr. Victoria Gnadt, Brianna Engelkemeir, Cathy Penrod, Mary Kate Henry, Miah Lewis, Kendra Skorstad, Shawn Skorstad, and the dedicated team at Stonewall Ponies for nurturing these young talents and fostering a bright future for our beloved sport”.
“It has been an absolute joy working with these eager riders who represent the future of our sport during this immersive equestrian experience organized by Metropolitan Equestrian and Stonewall Ponies and supported by MZ Farms, Taylor Harris Insurance Service (THIS), Todd and MaryJo Kaplan.”
Metropolitan Equestrian Team is a non profit organization that is committed to cultivating aspiring student athletes nationwide by developing their talents through horseback riding and quality educational resources. MET helps their students access mounted equestrian sessions, academic resources, college preparation and scholarship opportunities. They believe that all young passionate riders should have access to the life lessons and benefits from the equestrian community.
MZ Farms is a California-based equestrian program focused on supporting the future of our sport through hands-on education, horsemanship, and riding. MZ Farms is the proud sponsor of the 2023 – 2025 USHJA Emerging Athletes Program; the IEA National Finals Travel Grant, and educational programs supported by Metropolitan Equestrian.
Todd and MJ Kaplan
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