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!"
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.
Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.
Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.
Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.
Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.