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 IX, which includes Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and South Dakota.
Rochelle Costanza is an ICP Level III certified instructor based in Franktown, Colorado at Platinum Farms. "I have taught all levels of riders from complete beginners up to the FEI Intermediate level," Costanza shared. "I feel like I am a horse trainer first and an instructor second so I would say my specialty would be teaching people how to train their horses and develop a partnership which develops confidence, skill, and athleticism in both the horse and rider in a systematic, progressive, and organic manner. To me, eventing is as much about the relationship, communication, and trust between the horse and rider as it is about the sport."
"Basics and consistency are the key," Costanza continued. "If both the horse and rider do not have a solid foundation with correct basics, everything you build on top of that will be weak and eventually crumble. My philosophy is 'it takes as long as it takes.' If you take the time to develop the horse and rider correctly, progress will be a slower but more consistent process and long-term goals will be more within the rider’s reach. The rider must have patience and truly appreciate and enjoy the journey and trust the training process as well as the trainer for it all to work as it should. Correct training builds confidence. Our barn motto is 'Be Fearless - Go Eventing!'"
Costanza and her husband own 90 acres where they have been working on building a cross-country schooling course for local eventers. "Cross-country schooling in Area IX is very limited at the moment and my goal is to provide a safe, fun place with all of the necessary cross-country questions to school."
ICP Level III certified instructor Laura Backus owns and operates Pendragon Stud Equestrian Center in Larkspur, Colorado. Backus shared, "I have a strong dressage base and compete at the Grand Prix level currently on a horse that I have had since he was a yearling. I have coached many riders to the North American Youth Championships (NAYC) and several to gold. I have also had riders on both the U18 and U25 lists and numerous USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) champions and reserve champions. Every year I have riders on the USEA leaderboard."
"I believe that the base for success is the relationship between horse and rider," Backus shared. "If both are brought up deliberately and with high standards of horsemanship, the relationship will be based on trust and confidence thus increasing the chance of success and safety. I also believe in balance in life. Activities outside of the horse world are paramount to combating burnout and creating a well-rounded person that will come to the barn invigorated."
"I was a theater major in college to offset my shyness so that I could be a better coach," she added, "and I was the 2012 Colorado Horse Person of the Year!"
Teaching duo Sara Windley (ICP Level I-Training) and Kimberley Castro (ICP Level II-Provisional) teach and train in the state of Utah. "We specialize in bringing our sport to ALL ages and ALL levels, in a safe, fun, and relaxed environment," they said.
"We aspire to help every rider achieve their goals, no matter how unique. We promote a system of physical and mental efforts: consistency in practice; mental openness and inquisitiveness; and a competitive drive to maintain focus and guide progress. Oh, and of course our mainstay: a sense of humor gets everyone much further in the direction of their dreams! We cheer loudly and passionately for our team AND yours - you’ll always know where we are!"
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.