Oct 05, 2022

MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program Expands to Offer First-Ever West Coast Location at Galway Downs

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
Ema Klugman, former participant in the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program. USEA/ Jessica Duffy photo

Founded in 2019, the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program was initially created to assist up-and-coming riders under the age of 25 in North America who had not yet competed in a destination event, such as the program’s namesake the MARS Bromont CCI in Lac Brume, Quebec, Canada, or been recognized by the USEF programs intended for emerging athletes.. Spearheaded by the late Steve Blauner and Sue Ockendon, the program sought to give back to the sport by helping the next generation of riders get more experience under their belt with the help of the financial assistance provided by the program, and the two days of included instruction from leading coaches around the world.

In its inaugural year, the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program provided nine riders with a $2,500 scholarship to participate in the training program and compete internationally at Bromont. Additionally, six more riders were invited to participate in the training sessions and provided with a free entry to the event. After the success of the program at Bromont, the program administration transitioned to the USEA Foundation and opened up a new opportunity to offer the program at the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event in the same year. Ten riders were extended invitations to participate in the Ocala training session.

Unfortunately, the program was unable to run in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID, but it came back better than ever in 2022 with ten riders receiving funding to compete in the 2022 MARS Bromont CCI competition. For the first time ever, an international coach was brought in to instruct grant recipients, Frenchman Rodolphe Scherer. “Scherer was phenomenal,” stated Peter Gray, Director of the MARS Bromont Rising U25 program. “He honestly was so good that we opened up the course walks to everyone. It was a huge success!”

Even more exciting is the announcement of the program’s first-ever West Coast location, the 2022 Galway Downs International event held November 2-6, 2022 in Temecula, California. Ten applicants will receive MARS Bromont Rising U25 grants of up to $2,500 to assist with travel expenses and entry fees for the West Coast event. Expert instruction will be provided by German Olympian Bettina Hoy both in dressage and show jumping, as well as a cross-country course walk. In addition, a Centerline Workshop will be provided by Gray where riders will discuss ringmanship and Dr. Mark Hart and Jim Wildasin, both previous owners of horses representing Team USA internationally, will give a presentation on how young riders can attract owners and sponsors.

“We are thrilled that MARS Equestrian wanted to have a presence on the West Coast,” stated Gray, “and we are very happy that Robert Kellerhouse offered to host the program at his competition.”

Galway Downs organizer Robert Kellerhouse could not be more delighted to host the first-ever West Coast leg of the program, stating “we are honored to be the West Coast host for the MARS Bromont Rising U25 grants. This program will inspire its recipients to do more as it shines a light on those up-and-coming athletes and provides a lift in advancing their abilities in our sport.”

Riders competing at the FEI levels who are interested in applying to participate in the MARS Bromont Rising U25 program at Galway Downs may apply here. Applications close on October 20, 2022.

For riders who are not eligible to apply for the program, Hoy will be offering a clinic at Galway Downs on October 31 and November 1. For more information on this clinic opportunity, please contact Hawley Bennett at 951-852-8556.

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