Dec 01, 2023

2024 ECP Symposium to Be Held at the Florida Horse Park on Jan. 30-Feb. 1

By Kaleigh Collett - USEA Staff | Press Release
Participants watch as ECP Certified Instructor Mary D'Arcy leads the Faculty Demo Lesson at the start of the Symposium. USEA/ Meagan DeLisle photo

The United States Eventing Associations’ (USEA) Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) is pleased to announce the dates and location of the upcoming 2024 ECP Symposium. The annual ECP Symposium, which is held in the southeast to accommodate the migration of eventers for the winter season, will be hosted at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2024. This three-day immersive educational experience is recommended for anyone who is interested in learning more about eventing coaching, including current coaches, riders, parents, owners or avid supporters. Click here to download the registration form today!

The theme for the Eventing Coaches Program in 2024 will be focused on honing the evaluation skills of coaches at all levels and on identifying the correct, incremental steps of progression needed for each individual horse/rider combination. Since no two combinations are exactly alike, it is imperative that coaches at every level can accurately evaluate what is in front of them and meet that horse/rider combination where they are now.

Beginning in 2022, the ECP Symposium launched a new working group format for the educational event that has been incredibly well-received. Attendees at the 2024 ECP Symposium will again be broken into small, roundtable working groups and asked to evaluate horse and rider demonstrations presented at the venue with the goal of honing their "eye."

After each demonstration, the small groups will work together to discuss and identify four key criteria: (1) current skills and/or level of the demo horse and rider, (2) issues or areas of improvement, (3) underlying causes, if any, and (4) prioritization of next steps. The event moderator will then call on various groups to share their ideas with the intent of identifying common themes and innovative ideas.

Gathering coaches with various knowledge and expertise, from those with experience teaching lower-level beginner riders all the way to Advanced professionals, is an enriching opportunity that provides a safe space to discuss and debate training techniques, teaching skills, and increments of progression among peers. It has been evident in recent years that each level of ECP-certified coach has lessons to be learned from one another, whether it be discerning a pathway forward for beginner riders that are new to the sport or evaluating and dissecting the training of more advanced riders and horses. Riders have also been enlightened about their own struggles and successes when asked to view different situations from the training-progression perspective.

In addition to the hands-on, interactive education opportunities, several industry professionals will give presentations at this year’s ECP Symposium. The first of which to sign on is a returning crowd-favorite, Dr. Paul Haefner, a licensed clinical and sports psychologist. By combining his lifelong love for horses with his knowledge of human psychology, Dr. Haefner strives to help people transform themselves and their relationship with their horses through personal and professional development, sports psychology consultation, and a broad range of other therapeutic services. During the ECP Symposium, Dr. Haefner will present a special segment on self-care for the professional, focusing on ways coaches can ensure that their own mental and physical wellbeing are being prioritized, so they can provide the best experience for their clients.

Olympian, coach and world-renowned eventing judge Peter Gray, will also present an interactive session on the mindset of a dressage judge during the riding of a test. Gray will call upon his wealth of experience judging at major events, including the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, and the 2022 World Championships of Eventing in Pratoni, Italy, to provide insight on how to improve their tests through the eyes of a judge. Several other guests are being finalized as we speak, so stay tuned for more exciting speaker announcements.

Registration for the 2024 ECP Symposium at the Florida Horse Park on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 is open now! Current ECP Certified Coaches and/or USEF Licensed Officials can attend the event for the discounted daily fee of $50 per day or the full event fee of $125. The general public is also welcome to attend and their rates are $80 per day or $215 for the full event. If you are planning on bringing your child or a student under the age of 12, their attendance is free of charge. Advanced registration is greatly appreciated, so click here to download and submit your form today.

If you have any questions about the ECP Symposium or the Eventing Coaches Program, please contact Nancy Knight, Senior Director of Education, at [email protected].

The 2024 ECP Workshops and Assessments schedule is now available! Click here to view the full calendar and start making your plans. The USEA Eventing Coaches Program would like to thank the ECP Workshops presenting sponsor, the United States Pony Clubs, and program sponsors Parker Equine Insurance and STRIDER for their support.

About the USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP)

Coaches are essential to the training of riders and horses for safe and educated participation in the sport of eventing. The USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP), formerly known as the Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP), was initiated in 2002 to educate all levels of eventing coaches with crucial training principles upon which they can continue to build throughout their teaching careers. ECP offers educational workshops and assessments by which both regular coaches, Level I through Level V, Young Event Horse (YEH) coaches, and Young Event Horse professional horse trainers can become ECP certified. Additional information about ECP’s goals, benefits, workshops, and assessments as well as names and contact information for current ECP certified coaches, YEH coaches, and YEH professional horse trainers are available on the USEA website. Click here to learn more about the USEA Eventing Coaches Program.

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