Mar 24, 2022

Enriching the Sport of Eventing: How Jeanie Clarke Utilized 2021 Going Forward USEA Members Grant Funding

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
Photo courtesy of Jeanie Clarke

The year 2020 was filled with challenges and obstacles in the sport of eventing. It also allowed for individual reflection, assessment, and evaluation. From this progressive thinking came the evolution of the Going Forward USEA Members Grant. This educational opportunity provided the possibility to transform members’ lives, careers, and horsemanship, along with enriching the sport of eventing.

The Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust generously donated a one-time gift of $25,000 to the USEA Foundation. These monies were awarded to eligible and qualified USEA Members through an application, interview, and review process associated with three essential educational areas. The USEA catches up with each of the recipients of the Broussard Charitable Foundation Going Forward Grants to see what this funding was able to help them accomplish.

Jeanie Clarke describes herself as a life-long horsewoman and an educator. An accredited instructor with the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) and Advanced level eventer, Clarke’s program has produced five-star riders, “A” level pony clubbers, top grooms and barn managers, and so much more. While Clarke’s focus has been on educating others, she has also pursued continuous education for herself, an effort that the funds from the Broussard Charitable Foundation Going Forward Grant helped make possible.

“It feels meaningful to have received the Going Forward Grant because, like the best of the sport of eventing, this is a team effort,” Clarke shared with the USEA. “I want to contribute to the future of the sport in a meaningful way. Earlier in my career, I did this through teaching, developing good riders and good horses, fostering a sense of responsibility to the sport amongst my students and owners, and volunteering as much as possible. Now, with more experience and expertise to offer, I also want to design courses that will support the future and the quality of eventing. Good courses should give horses and riders positive educational experiences at the lower levels. At the upper levels they should foster great competition.”

Utilizing her grant funding, Clarke has been able to continue her own education in the realm of course design with the ultimate goal of becoming a licensed course designer. One way funding assisted her in making this possible was by allowing her to take on volunteer jobs to gain invaluable experience without having a negative impact on the financial aspect of her business.

“The grant has made it possible for me to learn more about course designing in pursuit of licensing, and to take on some volunteer course design jobs at schooling shows and Pony Club rallies, without having to stress about how the time and associated expenses might undercut my business. Basically, it's a load off my shoulders, financially and mentally. I can say yes without guilt.”

One of the things Clarke loves so much about eventing is that those involved are rarely just involved in one capacity. It is not uncommon to find riders and trainers also stepping into other roles to help the growth of the sport and continue to develop themselves further professionally, which is exactly what Clarke was able to accomplish thanks to this grant funding.

“Eventing's professional community is a complex group of people with many-layered interests in the sport,” commented Clarke. “Eventing is our profession and the source of our income. It's also the place our money gets spent and where our personal dreams and goals are pinned. Where our friends are found. Where our customers, our colleagues, and our competitors are found. It has taken me decades to find my place in the sport, a place that is compelling both professionally and personally. Having this grant took some financial pressure off the goal of adding a show jumping course designer license to my resume, and that freedom let me make some decisions that have advanced my education and have helped me reframe my career goals.”

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The VIP Volunteer: Lisa Pragg

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