Jan 29, 2024

Fast Facts: 2024 ECP Symposium

By Kaleigh Collett - USEA Staff | Press Release

Beginning tomorrow, the 2024 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Symposium will kick off at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida. The event runs from Tuesday, Jan. 30 through Thursday, Feb. 1 and will provide an opportunity for a multitude of eventing enthusiasts and professionals to immerse themselves in the latest and greatest teaching philosophies and techniques of the sport to encourage the safe and successful progression of students. Members won’t want to miss this opportunity to experience the USEA’s revamped program for developing coaches and evaluating riders of all levels.

The Facts:

  • The ECP Symposium is a gathering of current coaches, riders, trainers, parents, owners, and avid supporters of the sport for the purpose of exploring skills, techniques, learning styles and philosophies in eventing in the U.S.
  • The increasingly popular interactive small group style of education will return for this year’s Symposium. Participants will again be divided into groups with assigned ECP Faculty to evaluate riders at various levels in all three phases, and each group will be asked to present their observations of what should be addressed and how best to improve each horse and rider pair.
  • New this year, after each presentation, other groups will be invited to contribute their own observations and suggestions to broaden the discussion around each horse/rider combination. Participants will play an active role in prioritizing learning segments for various horse and rider pairs to support the most successful path forward in their training.
  • Each day features a single discipline:
    • Tuesday – Dressage
    • Wednesday – Cross-Country
    • Thursday – Show Jumping
  • Each discipline will have demonstration riders representing multiple levels from Starter through Intermediate who will warm-up in front of the groups. While the demonstration riders are warming up, the small groups will discuss and analyze their observations to create and prioritize a roadmap for the progression of both horse and rider. Each group’s observations and priorities are posted in written bullet point format on their flip charts and revealed at the end of the warm-up.
  • Once all the groups’ flip charts are revealed, one group will be selected to present their findings using the demo rider to illustrate what they are seeing that needs their immediate attention, and how they would prioritize the skill building of both horse and rider going forward. The selected group will choose a Group Leader to send out to work with the rider to demonstrate to the other groups what they have collectively decided needs to be addressed and worked on.
  • After that group’s presentation is finished, other groups will be invited to weigh in with their support for what was presented, their questions, or potentially with other ideas.

The Faculty:

Several top ECP faculty will be on hand to help facilitate the group learning portion of the Symposium. Among the Level IV and V ECP Certified Coaches who will help mentor and facilitate the process are:

  • Emily Beshear, a five-star eventer with experience coaching riders from Starter through Advanced, including EA21 athletes and Young Rider teams,
  • Jan Byyny, a top-ranked international rider who’s represented the U.S. at Pan American and World Equestrian Games, and now focuses her time on running her own Surefire Farm,
  • Mary D’Arcy, an ECP Assessor and Faculty member with experience coaching through the Olympic level,
  • Karen O’Connor, an ECP Assessor and Faculty member who has represented the U.S. at the Olympics, World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games, which also being named the U.S. Equestrian Female Athlete of the Year 10 times,
  • Jennifer Rousseau, as ECP coach that trains riders from the Starter to 3* level, the USEA Vice President of Education, and the champion of the subcommittee that created The USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels, and
  • Robin Walker, a founding force behind the USEA ECP and an active competitor in both eventing and Grand Prix show jumping.

The Presenters:

In addition to the group learning exercises, the Symposium will also feature guest lectures from industry professionals, including:

  • Peter Gray, a Level V ECP Certified Coach, High Performance Eventing Coach, former five-star competitor and FEI Eventing Level 4 Judge, will lead an interactive dressage exercise from the judges perspective on Tuesday. Gray will provide real-time movement by movement commentary on ridden dressage tests from the judge’s perspective, giving attendees unique insight before they tackle their group learning exercises in the afternoon.
  • Jay Hambly, an FEI Level 3 Eventing Course Designer from Canada who has extensive experience building courses several international events and championships, as well as the Bejing and Tokyo Olympics, will teach a session about things to consider when designing cross-country fences at home on Tuesday afternoon.
  • Dr. Paul Haefner, a psychologist with over 35 years of professional experience who focuses his energy on serving the equestrian community, will provide attendees with coping mechanisms and tips on dealing with the daily stressors that may arise in their line of work on Wednesday morning. Dr. Haefner will also be available for individual consultations all three days of the event, at no charge. If you would like to preschedule a consultation, please contact Dr. Haefner via email at [email protected].
  • The USEF Developing Riders will lead a panel discussion on their current training programs and their educational journeys as they climbed the levels of the sport on Wednesday afternoon. A Q&A session will follow to allow eager attendees to pick the brains of these successful upper-level competitors.
  • Yvonne Ocrant, equine legal expert and USEA Board of Governors member, will discuss the basics of what coaches need to know about equine and business liability on Thursday morning. Ocrant will break down complex equine liability laws and coverage to help attendees ensure that they are properly protected in their businesses.

The Schedule:

Advanced registration is greatly appreciated, so click here to register now. On-site registration will also be available tomorrow for those that did not pre-register. 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.

The USEA would like to thank Parker Equine Insurance, the United States Pony Clubs, and Strider for their support of the Eventing Coaches Program.

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In Memoriam: Trish Gilbert (1941-2024)

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The Importance of Foot Work for Eventing Horses

Why do some horses and riders always seem to find their balance and their feet when the unexpected happens? The answer may lie in the time-tested practice of gymnastic exercises. Every rider, every horse, at every level can benefit from the use of ground poles, cavalletti, and gymnastic exercises over small fences. This article is aimed at improving the balance and stability of both horse and rider. Improved balance and stability not only contribute to better show jumping and cross-country jumping, but are the foundations of more secure and safer riding.

May 21, 2024 Eventing News

USEA Now Accepting Coach Applications for 2025 EA21 Program

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May 21, 2024 Eventing News

Now On Course: Laury Marshall and Finley Have Learned The Sport Together

Sometimes, a kind word is all it takes to make someone’s day, says Laury Marshall. Marshall and Finley, her 17-hand Thoroughbred mare, had just finished their dressage test at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds. They’d performed solidly, good for a 36.4 and middle-of-the-pack standing in the Beginner Novice Rider championship division at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

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