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 VIII, which includes Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Sharon White is an ICP Level IV certified instructor who trains out of her Last Frontier Farm in Summit Point, West Virginia but travels throughout Areas II, III, and VIII to teach. "I specialize in producing horses and riders to their highest level of training, horsemanship, and competition," said White.
"Horses are unbelievably earnest creatures, and they go the way they are ridden," she continued. "It is very important for riders to understand their own level of training, the horse's level of training, and their own physical and mental states, as the horses mirror this. There is always a reason for anything a horse does - good horsemanship is knowing this!"
Along with her signature infectious smile, White said, "I meditate every day and am obsessed with baby Yoda right now!"
ICP Level IV certified instructor Cathy Wieschhoff teaches and trains the CW Event Team at Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. "I specialize in teaching and coaching all levels, including coaching Area VIII Young Rider Teams, adult amateurs, and anyone who wants to improve their riding and horsemanship," Wieschhoff said. "My philosophy is if you put the tools in the toolbox you will be able to get the job done. Sometimes it takes time to find and develop the tools, but it will be worth it to have the correct tools in the long run."
Robin Walker is an ICP Level IV certified instructor and is also involved in ICP leadership as an ICP Faculty Member and a co-chair of the ICP Committee. His Maute House Farm is located in Grass Lake, Michigan. Walker also travels to teach in Ohio, Indiana, and Florida.
"Over the years I have been involved with every level of horse and rider," Walker shared. "For me there is no change in our responsibilities as trainers. To assess what is in front of you correctly and then set about enabling them to improve. It is very satisfying watching that picture develop no matter what the level."
"All this is set against the backdrop of the horses," he continued. "Without them, we have no place to start. Mental and physical well-being are always first and, these days especially, making sure they have seen everything at each level more than a few times. It is on us to make sure both horses and riders under our care are not in over their heads."
ICP Level III certified instructor Diana Rich teaches eventers in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. "I enjoy working with horses and riders of all ages and finding ways to make them the most comfortable together to achieve their goals, be it picking up the correct lead or competing up to and through the Preliminary level of eventing," she said.
"I focus on body awareness, rider position, and weight distribution in regard to finding the right balance and alignment between horse and rider," she continued. "As a trainer, I believe in taking it slow and keeping it simple and methodical to help promote a clear and positive learning environment for my students and their horses."
"At the height of my competitive career, I was fortunate to compete in Europe at the Advanced levels and complete events such as Gatcombe International and Hartpury Horse Trials in England and The Thirlestane Castle Scottish Championships, all on my wonder horse M.A.S.H!"
For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.
The USEF's main phone number and fax number have changed. We wanted to notify you so you continue to get the support you need.
With the recent wrap-up of the 2023 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Symposium in Ocala, Florida, USEA Podcast Host Nicole Brown chats with ECP Faculty Members Jennifer Howlett Rousseau and Robin Walker about all things related to the ECP. From the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels to the benefits of pursuing certification, selecting the best coach for you, recapping this year's Symposium, and more - this week's USEA podcast is the perfect educational tool for coaches and riders alike!
Time is precious. Time with your horse even more so. If one of your resolutions for the New Year is to spend more time in the saddle or more time enjoying the barn, you’ll want to implement these best practices to minimize stress and make the most of 2023.