The 2022 eventing season is full of exciting updates and new additions, one of those being the proposal of a USEA program dedicated to the development of professional grooms for the sport of eventing. Led by USEA President Max Corcoran and top-level eventers Lauren Nicholson and Shannon Lilley, the program was born from the recognition of the challenges in our sport due to a lack of professional grooms available. This program enables these talented young professionals to receive the development and training to be top-class performers and to be acknowledged and rewarded for their accomplishments, as well as to gain access to the resources for expanding their career opportunities.
With each session led by a different speaker, participants had the opportunity to glean wisdom from various industry experts. One such expert was Olympian David O’Connor who facilitated a session over how he incorporates natural horsemanship when teaching proper groundwork practices.
“There are no smart mistakes,” O’Connor said at the start of his presentation. “A lot of the times when people get into trouble with horses is when they do two things: they don’t look and they don’t hear. They could be overwhelmed with so many horses still yet to do at 3:00 p.m., but that horse doesn’t know that. That horse doesn’t know that Kentucky is in six weeks. They don’t know when they walk out of the stall what they are going to do. So just having that understanding and taking the time to understand that and take the time to look and to listen to your horse is huge. They might say something to you and you miss it and then both of you can get hurt. Ray Hunt used to say that 85% of the time the horse is just trying to save itself. Let that sink in. That is all they are trying to do.”
“They don’t speak human,” O’Connor continued. “They don’t speak Spanish, English, German, Japanese, they don’t speak human. So we have to learn their language, it is not their job to understand our language. And we communicate with them by putting pressure on and taking pressure off.”
Some of the topics O’Connor addressed in his seminar included:
Watch O’Connor’s entire demonstration on the USEGA and ERA groom’s page or below:
About the USEA Grooms Program
This program is being designed to create a holistic approach for ensuring current and future eventing grooms, the sport’s unsung heroes, receive the development and training to be top-class performers in the role. The program aims for grooms to be acknowledged and rewarded for their accomplishments, as well as to gain access to the resources for expanding their career opportunities. The program aims to provide education and resources for educating U.S. eventing grooms, with a pipeline for future candidates.
This afternoon, USEA President Louise “Lou” Leslie welcomed U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors members, USEA staff, and USEA Annual Meeting & Convention attendees to the first of two Board meetings which will take place during this year’s Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, with the teaser that 2024 is going to be full of initiatives for more opportunities to access the eventing experience, some of which attendees might get first wind of during this year’s gathering. The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place Dec. 7-10 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.
Welcome to the Show Me state and to Area IV USEA members! The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention kicks of tomorrow and features four full days of educational seminars, committee meetings, and social gatherings all with one aim—to bring the eventing community together to continue to improve upon and celebrate the sport that we all love. This year’s Convention takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Marriott St. Louis Grand in downtown St. Louis from Dec. 7-10, and we have rounded up everything you need to know to make the most of your time in the heartland.
To accompany the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, USEA Educational Partner STRIDER has prepared Digital Resources to Maximize Education & Access for the Eventing Community. In keeping with the USEA’s mission to expand the sport of eventing, this webinar outlines ways in which digital tools can be leveraged to increase access and education across equestrian opportunities. As part of STRIDER’s popular Professional Development Webinar Series, this presentation aims to provide a quick overview of best practices and digital tools used across the equestrian industry to boost growth.
Every horse who participated this year in the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) program has a story—a background that involves a breeder who labored over bloodlines, veterinary care, initial training, and so much more. This year’s highest-placing U.S.-bred horse in the 5-year-old division at the Dutta Corp./USEA Young Event Horse Championships, Arden Augustus, is no exception. His breeder and owner, Anita Antenucci of Arden Farms in Upperville, Virginia, started her program nine years ago and said that the Warmblood gelding was a more emotionally driven breeding for her than others due to his connections with Antenucci’s long-time friend Sharon White.