For over 20 years the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) has been educating all levels of eventing instructors to confirm their knowledge base, both theoretical and practical, upon which they will continue to build throughout their teaching lifetime. The USEA is now shining the spotlight each month on some of the 300 ICP Certified Instructors. Click here to learn more about the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program.
Get to know a few of the ICP Instructors from Area IV, which includes Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Scot Fernandez is an ICP Level II - Provisional instructor who runs his Appleshed Equestrian in Holt, Missouri, in addition to traveling for clinics. "I am a current USDF L* (with distinction), Bronze Medal recipient, graduate USPC HA, and past USPC National Examiner. I blend a background of Pony Club, USEA, and USDF to create custom horsemanship education plans to help riders of all ages, levels, and budgets to progress towards their horsemanship goals. With my science/engineering background, I try to wrap logic around something that seems illogical to most. At the end of the day as a trainer/coach, I hope to inspire and guide owners to achieve an understanding and relationship with their horse, and I use competitions as a way to measure growth and set goals."
"I was a competitive swimmer for many years and love to downhill ski. I am currently an aspiring dressage judge, and in addition to coaching I have a professional career in analytics, so I also like to help mentor kids on STEM fields of study."
Jennifer Rousseau, an ICP Level III instructor, operates L'Esprit Equestrian in Barrington Hills, Illinois, also traveling to southern Wisconsin and Ocala, Florida to teach. "I specialize in developing horses and riders in a systematic way; instilling skill sets which help them progress up the levels, while keeping both horses and riders sound and safe," she said. "The L’Esprit Equestrian program includes a robust competition schedule from April through October plus a few months in Ocala late winter. Competitions are used to provide benchmarks for goal-setting. Students are required to set goals annually in three specific areas: developing their rider skills; increasing their horses’ strength, balance, and capability; and the preparation for and execution of successful competitions or other benchmarks as appropriate. Specific benchmarks for both adults and juniors include preparing for, qualifying for, and competing at the USEA American Eventing Championships, the North American Youth Championships, and several classic format events. However, competition is not a requirement to be a member of our Team L’Esprit. We are a community, bound by our common passions for horses, and for learning."
"I believe that it is my responsibility to help riders and horses be their best self, whatever their 'best' may be," she continued. "I believe that there are no two combinations of horse, rider, and circumstance which are exactly the same, therefore I need many, many tools in my teaching toolbox and be willing to invent, discover, and learn new tools every day. At the same time, I am committed to a classic, progressive system of training which prepares riders and horses for success in all of the classic disciplines. Competitive success is achieved by focusing on the journey and by being attentive to every detail in horse/rider training and management. I use exclusively positive reinforcement, making the right things easy, and insist on good horsemanship both on and off the horse. Finally, I teach a technique-based system, meaning I focus on correcting and improving rider technique as the primary tool in training and progressing the horse. If you ride correctly, your horse will go correctly."
"I am a transplanted Canadian, who likes winter (!) and can teach a riding lesson in either French or English."
Bernard Morauw is an ICP Level II instructor who owns and manages Versailles Equestrian with his wife Catherine in Virgil, Illinois, just west of St. Charles and Wasco. He also travels for clinics all over the midwest. "We teach, train horses, and partner with top-level riders in France to import wonderful eventing prospects," he said.
"My program is designed to develop horses and riders at any level offering customized instruction, training, and a top-quality environment for your horses on a 50-acre facility with a cross-country schooling field and a galloping track. My focus is the methodical development of the horse and rider partnership in a positive and safe environment. Better riders make happier horses."
"I have been very supportive and engaged with the USEA Instructor Certification Program since the early stages of the program because I believe our sport deserves high-quality teaching standards as I had the opportunity to experience while learning to ride in several European countries.
"As a 12-year-old in Belgium, I was introduced to riding by a retired steeplechase jockey who always told us 'kick to go faster' and 'pull on the rein' to slow down. Over the years, I learned that there is so much more to know… but I still owe him a lot."
Michele Kalsem is an ICP Level I instructor who runs Change Rein LLC in Iowa. "My philosophy is focusing on the basics," Kalsem shared. "Right from the training pyramid, rhythm, and relaxation. Every new step must have rhythm and relaxation, so a new rider needs a rhythmic horse to teach them how to relax. Likewise, horses new to training need a relaxed rider to teach the horse how to relax and be rhythmic. These principles never get worn out or left out as we move up the levels. They are integral to dressage and just as important in the jumping phases. Tension and resistance, the opposite of rhythm and relaxation, never produce a good jump, or good transitions, or good gaits.
"I am happy to work with a wide variety of horses, I love them all, the breed doesn't matter at all as long as the rider wants to teach and advance the horse's obedience and communication. I teach all kinds of students - beginners, 4-H, amateurs, pros, and all the rest - because we love teaching and training."
Brad Hall is an ICP Level III instructor who trains riders in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Florida. "I work with horses starting their event careers all the way through the three-star level," he said. "I am a firm believer in doing the easy stuff really well and the hard things will become easier (the importance of good basics!)"
"Having studied communications in college, I have a unique way of teaching to each student's individualized needs. I try to incorporate instruction in ways each student can understand and relate to personally through the use of analogies. My students even started a Facebook page many years ago called 'Bradisms - The Best Brad Hall Sayings', with over 418 members!"
Brigitte Kettell is an ICP Level I - Training instructor out of Baythorne Farm in Sugar Grove, Illinois. "My students range from beginner children/adults interested in dressage and jumping to Training level eventers," she said. "I've been a riding instructor for 40 years. I have acquired over the years the ability to capably assess what each of my students and their horses require to pursue their needs and desires."
"My philosophy is to provide a safe, consistent educational program that fosters a positive learning environment. I want to challenge my students to do the hard work progress while staying positive and encouraging."
"I graduated with a degree in Children and Family Services," she shared. "This background has served me well in my teaching career."
Camie Stockhausen is an ICP Level I trainer working out of Field Day Farm in Cambridge, Iowa. "I specialize in communication between horse and rider: helping riders make their signals clear through the timing and correct application of the aids, and helping riders to see the whole horse – their potential and working within their limitations," said Stockhausen. "I enjoy helping riders see how all aspects of horsemanship create an enjoyable experience for both horses and riders."
"My philosophy generally parallels the Pony Club model, though I grew up in an excellent 4-H program," she shared. "My community of riders is supportive and kind to each other. In addition to eventing and the Retired Racehorse Project, I encourage my riders to try new things including foxhunting, trail riding, horse camping, working ranch, and more. At the end of the day, the whole point of the exercise is growing closer to and more skilled with our horses and having a good group of people with whom to share the journey."
"I am 6’3” tall and yes, I played college basketball, at the University of WI-Milwaukee. My horse, Best Etiquette, was named after the polite way he accepted cookies."
Clare VanderWoude is a ICP Level II - Provisional instructor in Madison, Wisconsin at her own Team V Eventing. "I have a positive teaching style focused on developing students' knowledge and independent ability to use their aids to create a correct balance and connection," she said. "It is important to me to develop a solid base of correct fundamentals to give my riders the tools to progress in their riding safely and confidently."
"My philosophy is to nourish the growth of each rider and horse team in every way I can. I emphasize personal responsibility and proper horsemanship; my students say that I am 'tough but encouraging.' I do my best to encourage my students to focus on themselves and create their own goals rather than comparing themselves to others. Whether they are an aspiring Young Rider or an adult amateur that simply wants an enjoyable weekly dressage lesson to look forward to, my job is to support them and tailor my teaching appropriately. Above all else, I believe in fostering a community of individuals who support and encourage each other as we grow as horsemen and horsewomen."
"My business name was forced on me! A group of students were encouraging me to do more marketing, as self promotion has never been something that comes easily to me. For Christmas that year they gifted me a banner for shows and Team V Eventing was born!"
Having this historic competition close isn't the right result for the sport, and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is working hard to find a solution. The organizer and landowners operate exceptional events on a beautiful piece of land. We are deeply sensitive to the history of the word "plantation" and its connection to slavery; however, this property has no known connections to slavery and was instead named after 'plantings' on the property.
After a quiet spring season due to COVID-19, the fall season is ramping up and this weekend we have the first of two West Coast CCI4*-S events taking place at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California.
Dawn Robbins is a current USEA Board of Governors member, Area VI adult rider, and a contributor to the development of the Event Management System (EMS). Note that this article was written more than a year ago and serves as a guide for future USEA software development.
Discover a position so natural and a connection so sensitive your saddle all but disappears as your performance comes to life. This saddle celebrates the art of dressage – the sculpted performance conducted by horse and rider in choreographing every movement with emotion, power, and grace.