The United States Eventing Associations’ (USEA) Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) welcomes all interested coaches, riders, parents, owners and avid supporters of the sport of eventing to make plans to attend the 2024 ECP Symposium in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1! The annual ECP Symposium, which is held in the southeast to accommodate the migration of eventers for the winter season, is at the Florida Horse Park in 2024 and provides an immersive, three-day educational experience for anyone who is interested in learning more about eventing coaching. Click here to download the registration form today!
The Venue: Florida Horse Park
This year’s host venue for the ECP Symposium needs little introduction. As the home of Ocala International Horse Trials, which offers CCI1/2/3*-L and CCI4*-S divisions, as well as a host of additional USEA-recognized and unrecognized events throughout the year, the Florida Horse Park is a staple in the Area III eventing scene. The Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park is a 500-acre, multipurpose facility and one of Central Florida's premier venues for a variety of equestrian disciplines, as well as agriculture, educational, and sporting events. To learn more about the Florida Horse Park, click here.
The City: Ocala, Florida
In 2007, Ocala and Marion County, Florida, was officially named the “Horse Capital of the World®,” a testament to the area’s rich history in all things equestrian. Ocala has served as host to several national and international equestrian events annually, including the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, Live Oak International, Ocala Breeder’s Sale, and a variety of competition series at the World Equestrian Center.
Not only is Ocala a horse-lovers’ dream, but it also has plenty of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure-seekers to enjoy as well. Visitors can take a glass-bottom boat tour of Silver Springs State Park, home to one of the largest artesian springs ever discovered, or go for a hike in the Ocala National Forest to connect with nature and the local wildlife. While you’re in town for the ECP Symposium, consider stopping by one of the local U-Pick Farms to enjoy the freshest fruits and vegetables straight from the Earth or stroll through Ocala Historic Downtown Square’s boutiques, restaurants, galleries, and more! To learn more about things to do in the area, click here.
If you need accommodation while in town for the ECP Symposium, there are several options near the Florida Horse Park. For those traveling in with an RV or motor home, the park has 40 camper hookup with access to shower facilities on site. To make a reservation, please call the Florida Horse Park office at (352) 307-6699.
There are several hotels in the area as well, including the Hilton Ocala and the Sleep Inn & Suites Ocala, which partner with the Florida Horse Park to provide special rates for their visitors. Click here to learn more about the park’s hotel partners and to book your stay.
For those traveling to the ECP Symposium, there are several modes of transportation that will get you to the area. If you are traveling by car, the Florida Horse Park is conveniently located off of S Highway 475, which can be accessed by I-75 north or southbound and the Florida Turnpike. The closest airports to Ocala that are serviced by major airline carriers are the Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) and the Orlando International Airport (MCO). Gainesville Regional Airport is approximately 45 minutes north of Ocala and is serviced by American Airlines, Delta, and Silver Airways. Orlando International Airport is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes south of the venue and is serviced by most major airline carriers, including Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American, Delta, Jet Blue, Southwest, Spirit, United, and more. Amtrak and Greyhound buses also service the Ocala area for ground transportation.
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. The ECP Symposium will be an interactive educational event where attendees will be broken into small groups to discuss and identify four key criteria of demo horses and riders: (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.
In addition to the hands-on, interactive education opportunities available at the Symposium, several industry professionals will give presentations as well. The first of which to sign on is a returning crowd-favorite, Dr. Paul Haefner, a licensed clinical and sports psychologist. 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. 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].
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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