During the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention, there will be two meetings of the USEA Board of Governors (BOG), one on Thursday, December 8th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and one on Sunday, December 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The USEA is run by a BOG of around twenty individuals. These individuals discuss and vote on important matters related to the organization and its members. BOG members come from all over our ten USEA areas and come from various backgrounds from grooms, to professional riders, to amateurs, to course designers, and much more. Each BOG member serves a three-year term.
Your current BOG members are as follows:
Max Corcoran | President, At-Large
Max Corcoran grew up in Manchester, Massachusetts. She started foxhunting with Myopia Hunt out of Pine Grove Stables in South Hamilton, MA. While attending Proctor Academy and Northeastern University, she competed at the Novice and training levels. She went on to work for the O’Connor Event Team from 2001-2012. Max was head groom for Karen and was lucky enough to travel to many championships worldwide. Max gives back to the sport by serving on many committees for USEF and USEA and volunteers around the country at various events. She continues to freelance groom and also organizes horse trials up and down the east coast. She has been most recently named as the USEF Eventing High-Performance Program and Team Facilitator.
Lou Leslie | President Elect, At-Large
Louise ‘Lou’ Leslie has over 30 years of involvement with USEA. She competes her event horses from the grassroots to FEI levels as each develops into their best potential. From ECP (formerly ICP) Workshops and Assessments to USEA Foundation Grants, Louise spearheads many educational and grant opportunities for the event community with involvement of the many USEA committees. From the local Area councils to National committees, the combined background of 12 years of experience on the Board of Governors and the USEA Foundation, her tenure as USEA President will incorporate many of the Strategic Planning committee principles; taking care of the membership experience and remaining diligent to eventing sport safety.
Currently living in Redmond, Washington with husband, Neil, and two wonderful sons, Alexander and Broderick, and the backyard barn of competition horses; Souvenir a 14-year-old, Irish Sport Horse, and Cnick Cnack JJM, a 5-year-old, Hanoverian, Lou looks forward to serving US Eventing to its best potential and keep on, kicking on!
Sharon Anthony | Secretary, Area III
Sharon Anthony graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Education and Sociology. She received her M.A. degree in Psychology and Educational Administration and Supervision and went on to teach Sociology and Psychology in the Metro Nashville Public Schools. She served as principal in Nashville’s largest high school for 14 years and retired as the Director of Staff Development for Principals and Teachers. Anthony came into eventing early on through the Middle Tennessee Pony Club. She has remained a long-term supporter as a rider, coach, and volunteer of their activities and event. She was one of the earliest members of the USCTA (now USEA) with a member number of 363. In 2016, she was awarded a USEA Governor’s Cup for her volunteer service to the sport. She served as a member and secretary on the USEA's Endowment Trust (now USEA Foundation) for six years and continues to serve as a member and secretary for the Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant selection committee. She is an ICP Level I Training instructor and a member of the Adult Rider program. As an active lower-level rider, she twice finished second at the USEA Adult Team Championships in Texas. Sharon serves as the Secretary for the Executive Committee and for the Board of Governors, as well as a member of the ECP Committee. Along with her husband, Mike Weesner, they own Hardscuffle Farm in Primm Springs, Tennessee where they specialize in boarding retirement horses, raising premium horse hay for their farm and clients, and fostering puppies for the local humane association.
Sharyn Antico | Vice President of Competitions/Organizers Representative, At-Large
Sharyn was born and raised on her parent's farm in Southwick MA where she lives today with her own family. She attended Midway College in KY, where she first found her passion for Eventing. After College Sharyn moved back to Massachusetts where she then spent over 10 years working in riding programs for two prominent private girls’ schools. It was during that time that Sharyn started to secretary a number of horse trials in Area I.
Since 2006, Sharyn has been the secretary and co-organizer for the Millbrook Horse Trials (NY). In addition to her responsibilities running the competition, she is a member and secretary for the MHT Board. Sharyn is also the secretary for the Carolina International (NC). In addition to her secretary/organizing roles, Sharyn holds a USEF ‘R’ Eventing Technical Delegate license. Sharyn has been actively involved with the USEA Area 1 Council since 2004 and is currently the Organizer Representative for Area 1. In 2021, Sharyn joined the USEF Eventing Sport Committee and the USEF Calendar Working Group
Sharyn’s endless energy includes working two jobs. She is the Assistant Director of the American Horse Trials Foundation [AHTF] and works at the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center as the Marketing and Events Manager. Sharyn spent many years in the saddle, both competitively and for pleasure. However, in her limited free time, she enjoys spending it with her two children, Jacob and Samantha. They are avid fans of all things outdoors, including skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
John Bourgoin | Board Member, Area I
Growing up in New Brunswick, Canada, and northern Maine along the U.S./Canadian border, John Bourgoin's riding life began with trail riding and competing in local Western horse shows. While attending college in Vermont, Bourgoin was introduced to the local hunter/jumper scene where he spent time learning how to ride in an English saddle and proceeded to enter the world of jumping horses. While boarding a horse at a local stable, Bourgoin also began volunteering and helping out with the Charlotte Pony Club. After nearly 40 years, he continues to be one of their main instructors and volunteers yearly for their annual Horse Trials. Bourgoin is still an active competitor and has developed and competed his own horses through every national level of the sport. He has also trained and coached riders from Beginner Novice to Advanced. For the last 25 years, he has been very involved in the Area I Young Rider program and several of his students have represented Area I as team members, earning team and individual medals at the North American Youth Championships. He continues to serve as a team selector and clinician for the program. In 2013, Bourgoin was the recipient of the USEA’s Cornerstone Award. Having retired from public school teaching after 38 years, Bourgoin now has the opportunity to work full-time with clients and their horses. Bourgoin and his wife, Alice, own and operate Arbrook Farm in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont.
Teresa Harcourt | Board Member, Area VI
Teresa Harcourt grew up in Grass Valley, California, and quickly formed a love of horses and the sport of Eventing at a young age. Teresa was able to represent Area VI at NAJYRC in 2012 and competed through Advanced. Teresa’s love of Eventing has continued to drive her to stay actively involved in different aspects of the sport. Most recently, Teresa has served as a free-lance groom for Arnell Sporthorses & Bec Braitling for three years. Along with her day job as a Market Analyst for Aflac, Teresa currently serves on the Area VI Council as the Area VI Young Rider Coordinator.
Rusty Lowe | Vice President of Safety, At-Large
Rusty Lowe, NRP (AL) is the Safety Coordinator/Medical Officer for several events in the US and was Medical Safety Officer for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon. As a past member and Chair/Vice-Chair of the USEA and USEF Safety Committees, he worked with other committees and organizations to improve safety within the sport such as improved rider safety equipment, increased medical care requirements for events, concussion management, and ECP first aid/CPR training standards. Rusty has been a Firefighter/Nationally Registered Paramedic for 40 years including 30 at the Hoover, AL Fire Department where he retired in 2018 as EMS Captain and Public Information Officer, and EMS Instructor at Jefferson State Community College. He works now as an ALS Specialist for Go Rescue Brands, Paramedic for Tide EMS at Bryant-Denny Stadium (Roll Tide!), and resides in Birmingham, AL.
John Marshall | Vice President of Membership and Program Development, At-Large
John Marshall was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Phoenix. He graduated in 1974 from Arizona State University with a B.S. in Business. John started selling houses in Modesto, California, in 1976 and moved into Commercial Real Estate in 1979. He worked for Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate (later known as CB Richard Ellis) in Fresno from 1982 until 2001, when he started John Marshall Commercial Real Estate, which he operated until 2013. John has always been interested in horses. In the 1950s, John’s parents took him and his brother to ride the ponies at Kiddieland by the L.A. airport, and then in the 1960s, they took him to Weldon’s Stables in Phoenix’s Papago Park. He was 54 when he started taking English riding lessons. Later, he talked about volunteering time show jumping at Ram Tap, his first introduction to three-day eventing. He rode in his first horse trial there in 2007. Ram Tap (now known as Fresno County Horse Park) is the second oldest continuously operating eventing facility in the U.S., having opened in 1957. However, in 2012 Bill Burton, the longtime organizer, announced that he would close it. Many people started a “Save Ram Tap” movement, and John took it over to keep it open. John is on the USEA Membership Committee and is the Organizer’s Representative for Area VI. In 2017, John was presented with the Andrew H. Popiel Memorial Trophy as USEA Organizer of the Year.
Brian Murray | Vice President of Administration and Finance, Treasurer, At-Large
Brian Murray is a lifelong horseman who competed in hunters, jumpers, and equitation as a junior and hunters and jumpers as an adult. He has managed numerous recognized horse shows and has been a USEF-recognized judge for over 40 years with “R” status in hunters, jumpers, and equitation. Brian is currently a board member of the USEA Foundation, a member of the USEA Development Committee, and a member of two event horse syndicates, with one prospect competing at the Novice level and one horse competing at the four/five-star level. Brian graduated with a B.S. from Villanova University and an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is certified as a chartered financial analyst. He is the President of the investment bank, B.V. Murray & Co., Inc., and is an investor, board member, and acting chief financial officer of Medality Medica.
Lauren Nicholson | Vice President of Active Athletes, At-Large
Lauren Nicholson (née Kieffer) began riding at the age of six and competed in her first horse trials at the age of 12. As a high school graduation present, Kieffer participated in a week-long eventing summer camp with Olympians David and Karen O’Connor, which led to a six-year working student position. Her talent and work ethic helped her reach the top levels of the sport and represent her country in international championships.
Nicholson was a member of the U.S. Eventing Team at the 2016 Olympic Games with the Dutch Warmblood mare, Veronica, and the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games with her Anglo-Arabian gelding, Vermiculus. In 2015, she won team gold at the Pan American Games in Toronto riding Meadowbrook’s Scarlett.
Nicholson won team bronze in 2005 and team silver in 2007 at the North American Youth Championship with her Anglo-Arabian gelding, Snooze Alarm, a full brother to her future WEG partner, Vermiculus. She made her debut at the CCI5*-L level in 2010, when she and Snooze Alarm completed the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.
Since then, Nicholson has had numerous top finishes at the five-star level, including finishing in second place overall and as the highest-placed U.S. athlete at the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2014 and 2016 with Veronica, where she won the title of USEF CCI5*-L Eventing National Champion. The pair also had top-ten finishes at the CCI5*-L level at Pau in 2014 and Badminton in 2018. With Vermiculus, Nicholson finished in the top ten in the CCI5* events at Kentucky in 2018 and 2019, Burghley in 2019, and Lumühlen in 2022. She finished in the top ten with Landmark’s Monte Carlo at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star CCI5* in 2021. In 2022, the Nicholson and Vermiculus represented the U.S. at the FEI World Championship in Pratoni del Vivaro, ITA, and helped secure a team silver medal.
Siobhan O'Brien | Board Member, Area V
Siobhan has ridden and competed in Eventing for over 27 years. Siobhan competed throughout the United States, attending several AEC and FEI competitions. She has ridden multiple horses from Beginner Novice through Intermediate and produced her horse, Hoodwink to Intermediate before selling him to a young rider for NAYC. Siobhan has been involved in the North Texas Eventing association as vice-president, United States Eventing Association (USEA) Area V Chairperson for two terms and is a USEA ECP certified trainer with over 14 years of experience training beginners through preliminary riders. Siobhan and her business partner, Shelley Peters, own and operate Horselife Farm in Bartonville, TX teaching beginners through competitive riders how to enjoy the world of horses.
Yvonne Ocrant | Board Member, At-Large
Yvonne is a trial lawyer, transactions attorney, and certified mediator who practices in the areas of equine law, employment law, and commercial litigation. Yvonne’s equine law experience includes handling litigation and transactions involving the Equine Activity Liability Act and various other state and federal laws affecting equine industry activities. She assists individual horse owners, trainers, breeders, facilities, veterinarians, and others in the equine industry litigate and resolve claims for personal injury, property damage, and other losses caused by allegations of negligence, breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, and other legal issues. She also drafts contracts for horse purchases, sales, and leases, assists with negotiating and drafting employment and independent contractor agreements for equine industry workers, and creates equine liability releases for horse owners, trainers, breeders, facilities, veterinarians, transporters, and other individuals and entities sponsoring or participating in equine activities. She also has extensive experience developing multi-owner syndicates for horses in numerous disciplines, including eventing, dressage, and jumpers, as well as creating stallion and mare breeding syndicates. The syndicates completed to date range from several owners to multiple owners, range in value from $5,000 to $850,000 in value, and vary from very young horses beginning their training to mature horses competing at the highest levels of their sport. Yvonne speaks extensively on the topic of equine law to national and local organizations and competes in Eventing for Area III.
Wayne Quarles | Board Member, Area VIII
Quarles states that he has been fortunate to have been able to make his hobby and passion for horses into a full-time career for many years. He was advised and mentored early on in his career by some top outstanding horsemen in several disciplines. Quarles is a licensed FEI level 3 Evening Judge & TD, level 2 Steward, USEF ‘S’ Eventing Judge & TD, ‘R’ Dressage Judge, ‘R’ Connemara Judge, and ‘r’ Western Dressage Judge. Quarles has chaired and been a member of several USEF and USEA Committees and is currently a Board member of the USEA. Quarles still actively competes in Dressage and Eventing with his fifth-generation homebred.
Deeda Randle | Vice President of Area Affairs, Area IX
Deeda Randle literally grew up riding in the mountains in Northwest Wyoming; trail riding, working cattle, jumping, playing polo, and going on pack trips. Her love of dressage and eventing started when she attended Meredith Manor School of Horsemanship in 1974. Since that time, Deeda has been active in promoting both sport and education in dressage and eventing. Deeda was involved with the Mountain States Combined Training Association, prior to Area IX being formed, as an officer and active member. In those early days, many members helped build courses, lend show jumps, organized, and competed in an effort to have competitions to ride in. Deeda’s volunteer work continued after the formation of Area IX. She has served as Area IX Chairman on two different occasions for a total of seven years. Deeda has managed FEI Events at The Colorado Horse Park as well as several smaller shows. She currently is the manager of a dressage show in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Deeda holds licenses as an Eventing (r) Judge and TD and Dressage (R) TD and FEI Steward. Deeda currently resides in Cheyenne, Wyoming where she owns and operates Randle Equestrian LLC. Randle Equestrian LLC is a small, custom lesson and training business with the focus being on equitation, correct basics, and fun in the competition world.
Morgan Rowsell | Board Member, Area II
Morgan is a leading, licensed cross-country course designer and builder. He currently works with some of the most important U.S. competitive events and equestrian training facilities. Morgan began his career working for – and then alongside – many of the most respected names in the cross-country world, including John Williams, Mark Phillips, Mike Etherington Smith, Tommy Brennan, and Tremaine Cooper. Having learned the ropes from the best, Morgan went on to complete the rigorous intellectual and practical accreditations necessary to becoming an independent designer. Now successful in his own right, his experience includes projects in the US, Ireland, and Latin America. Morgan is also an experienced equestrian, who enjoys cross-country eventing, fox hunting, polo, and show jumping. He is married to Virginia Jenkins Rowsell, an Advanced Rider and former United States Equestrian Team (USET) competitor. They live with their two children in New Jersey.
Alice Sarno | Board Member, Area X
Alice started her love affair with eventing in the late 1960s and has been teaching, competing, and training ever since. She has brought up generations of riders into eventing. In her own competitive career, Alice rode through the Advanced level and had many successes including being the Area X Senior Rider of the year in 1987 and having the USCTA Appaloosa Sport Horse of the Year in 1992 and 1993. She has worn many hats in the eventing world including being the organizer of the Coconino Horse Trials since 1991, Level III ICP Certified Instructor, Area X Adult Rider Coordinator, Area X Organizer Representative since 2014, as well as currently running numerous schooling shows, unrecognized horse trials and derbies at Carefree Farms, where she teaches, trains and rides in Phoenix, Ariz. Alice has a true love and passion for the sport and she is looking forward to the opportunity to utilize her vast experience to support the eventing community on a national level in serving on the Board of Governors.
Jerry Schurink | Vice President of Education, At-Large
Hendrickus "Jerry" Schurink grew up in Shaftsbury, Vermont, on his family's Doornhof Farm, host of horse trials and dressage shows from 1974 to 1990. As a member of the Bennington Pony Club, Jerry helped his family host these trials and shows as well as competing in them. Jerry was a member of the 1979 Area I Young Rider Gold Medal Team, coached by Tad Coffin. During college at the University of New Hampshire, he was part of the developing rider program for three years under coach Jack LeGoff at the USET Training Center in Hamilton, Massachusetts. Jerry has been in higher education for over 27 years; 22 year of which at the University of Massachusetts as Head Coach and Director of Equine Studies in the Department of Vet and Animal Sciences and currently at Bridgewater College in Virginia as the Director of Riding and Head Coach of the IHSA, IDA and USEA Teams in the Athletic Department. In 2015 Jerry became a graduate "with distinction" of the Learners Judges Program in the USDF and is pursuing his "r" in the USDF and USEA. He serves as a founding board member of the USEA ICP and is a certified Level III instructor as well as ICP faculty member. In 2016 Jerry was a member of the organizing committee of the Great Meadows International in The Plains, Virginia
John Staples | Board Member, At-Large
John Staples is a USEA ECP (formerly ICP) Certified Level IV Instructor as well as an Advanced level competitor. Staples was long-listed for the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Teams and was named as an alternate for the 1988 Olympic Team. Staples' training focuses on establishing rhythm, relaxation, and straightness to develop a horse who is responsive to the aids, adjustable, balanced, and confident. He uses these principles of dressage in all phases of developing the event horse. Staples helped initiate the Cross-Country Speed Study, which is investigating the rate at which horse/rider pairs negotiate cross-country obstacles and the impact on safety. Staples has also served on the USEF Safety Committee.
Erin Tomson | Board Member, Area VII
Erin grew up riding and working on her family’s boarding farm in Washington State. She is a graduate A from Pony Club, competes through the preliminary level, volunteers at Area VII events, develops young horses, and has a small lesson program for beginner riders. Erin is on the leadership team for Strides for Equality Equestrians and is actively working to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in her spheres of influence. Erin balances her horse activities with her job as a strategic communication professor at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She earned her Ph.D. (2010) in communication, and her teaching and research focuses on crisis prevention and response planning for nonprofit organizations, public relations and strategic messaging, and creating an inclusive learning environment for any and all types of students.
Cynthia Wiseman | Board Member, Area IV
Cynthia Wiseman has been an active member of the United States Eventing Association since 2002 and brings several different unique perspectives to the Board of Governors. These include being an FEI-level competitor, successfully completing the ECP Certified Instructor process, and serving our equestrian youth as an integral part of the Area IV Young Rider Program. This is in addition to having an active career as a full-time veterinarian as well as owning and operating a private eventing and combined driving facility in southwest Missouri.
Serving as a volunteer plays a significant role in ‘paying it forward’ as Cynthia has served on the Mid-America Eventing Association Board (based in Kansas City) since 2003 and joined the USEA Area IV Council in 2007. She was awarded the USEA Governor's Cup in 2012 for her continued contributions. In 2016, Cynthia's role on the Area IV Council was expanded to include the Area IV Young Rider Coordinator position where her focus has been to provide opportunities to youth at all levels. Throughout Cynthia's tenure, the Area IV Young Rider Program's lower-level membership has doubled.
Cynthia and her husband Heath have one high school-aged daughter, Peyton, who is a multi-sport athlete and whose travel commitments prompted Cynthia's resignation from teaching in 2019 and a return to amateur status. Cynthia takes great pride and ownership in helping to not only promote our sport in Area IV through her roles as a volunteer, competitor, and facility owner. She also believes in fostering the enthusiasm of today’s youth to encourage the next generation to love and preserve eventing as much as she does.
The USEA BOG will bid farewell to five of the current BOG members and will welcome five new BOG members for the 2023 term during this year’s Annual Meeting & Convention. The new members will be officially inducted on Sunday, December 12 and the retiring members will conclude their final BOG meeting on the same day.
The five retiring BOG members are:
Max Corcoran | President, At-Large
Morgan Rowsell | Board Member, Area II
Alice Sarno | Board Member, Area X
Jerry Schurink | Vice President of Education, At-Large
Dr. Jennifer Miller | Board Member, At-Large
The five incoming BOG members are as follows:
Mogie Bearden-Muller | Board Member, Area II
Coming from an equestrian family, Mogie grew up in California in eventing and Pony Club. At age nine, she competed at her first USEA-recognized event at the Pre-Training Level. A strong Pony Club background (Mother was DC of local PC as well as a national examiner, Brother a graduate A), Mogie is an H-A graduate and functioned as a C3 regional examiner. In 1982 she won the B-Level Pony Club National Championships. In addition, Mogie was a working student for Derek di Grazia in 1984, which opened up a lot of connections that are key to this day. From 1982-2007, she competed with horses that she produced through the upper levels and successfully competed at the Fair Hill 4*L in 2005. Mogie had the opportunity to compete in many USEA Areas throughout her career. USEA Areas: I, II, III, IV, VI, VII, IX, and X. Moving full-time to the East Coast in 2012 allowed her to focus more on coaching and course design while continuing to compete at the lower levels on clients’ horses. In 2004 she received her USEA ECP Level IV certification. Mogie has coached several riders through the 5* level in the US, along with the World Championships and 4* competitions in Europe. In 2017, she achieved her USDF Bronze Medal and became a USEF Licensed Cross Country Course Designer in 2008, receiving her “R” in 2020 and her FEI Level 2 in 2022. She is actively pursuing her USEF “S” and FEI Level 3. She is designing courses for Stable View 3*-BN, TerraNova 3*-BN, and GMHA. Past events: Maryland Horse Trials, Sporting Days, CDCTA, Ram Tap, The Event at Kelly’s Ford, Rebecca Farms, and Tryon 4*L Assistant CD. She spends her winters in Area III, Aiken, SC, and summer and fall seasons in Area II, Maryland. Mogie works daily balancing an eventing training program at home, coaching, and XC course design.
Dana Bivens| Board Member, At-Large
Dana has been eventing since age 14 and competed at the CCI3*S level. Originally from Southern California, Dana currently lives in Virginia. Dana has two young event horses competing at the Training and Preliminary levels. Bivens was a working student for many years and taught/rode full-time after college before returning to graduate school. Dana now works as a Congressional and Legislative Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dana is interested in expanding eventing opportunities to all ethnicities and is a member of the USEA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
Shawn Ortiz | Board Member, Area X
Shawn Ortiz has been an eventer and a participant in the Area X Adult Riders program for over 25 years and has competed in events up to the Preliminary level, mainly in Area X and Area VI. Ortiz is currently competing at the Training Level with her horse “Liberty,” and recently purchased a new horse, “Justice,” who Shawn aspires to bring to the FEI level. Ortiz recently retired from the U.S. Air Force after a 35-year career as an Intelligence Officer. Ortiz lives in Tolleson, Arizona, with her husband, Hector. Shawn has two children and eight grandchildren. Ortiz is looking forward to serving Area X and all eventers as a member of the Board of Governors.
Molly Pellegrini | Board Member, At-Large
Molly is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and earned her BS in Finance from Boston College. She worked in Treasury Management and Hospitality Services Management before she and her husband, Hank had their 4 children. Since then, she has worked for and served on many Non-Profit Boards, including The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, YWCA, Tulsa Zoo Management, Tulsa Community Foundation, Route 66 Marathon, Monte Cassino School, National Charity League, and Pony Club. She became involved in Eventing when they moved from Oklahoma to Orange County, California in 2014 and her 10-year-old daughter changed from the Hunter/Jumper discipline and fell in love with Eventing, spending 6 years training with Lisa and Brian Sabo and being active in Newport Mesa Pony Club. She was an active volunteer at West Coast events, and she served on the Area 6 Council as Young Rider Representative until the family moved to Wayne, Pennsylvania in 2020 where they are diving into the Area 2 and East Coast Eventing Community.
Jennifer Howlett Rousseau | Board Member, At-Large
A career equestrian, Jennifer began riding at age five just outside of Montreal, Canada. Her first experiences with horses included competing at Nationally rated hunter/jumper shows, fox hunting, and ultimately achieving her “A” Pony Club rating. It was through Pony Club that she was first introduced to the sport of Eventing at age 13.
Jennifer’s early career included working for a top hunter/jumper trainer, riding competitively for a big dressage training barn, and starting young Thoroughbreds for the track. Along with these varied positions came the opportunity to groom at an Olympic training camp, serve as a veterinarian’s assistant at the 1976 Olympic Games and continue to compete through the upper levels of dressage and Eventing. After spending a year in New Zealand riding jumpers and event horses, she returned to the Montreal area and developed an active Eventing training business which grew, as the sport grew, through the 1980s and early 90s. Her special interest lay in developing Young Riders, several of whom represented her home province of Quebec at the NAYRC.
She was recruited in 1992 to manage a private equestrian estate in Northern Illinois and immigrated to the United States. She spent her first ten years there developing a private breeding/training program and starting a family of her own. In the early 2000’s she began building an active teaching and training program under her own business banner, L’Esprit Equestrian, LLC. In the summer of 2020, L’Esprit Equestrian relocated to the beautiful Jigsaw Farms in Woodstock, Illinois, where they have been hard at work developing a top-quality Eventing and cross-country training facility.
Jennifer is a USEA ECP (formerly ICP) Level IV Certified instructor (certified through Intermediate/3* level), serves on the USEA ECP committee, and is a certified Trainer with USHJA. Recently awarded the Broussard Grant for licensed officials, she has successfully completed the requirements to become a “r” Eventing judge. Her interest in developing Young Riders has continued to inspire and produce riders competing at the NAJYRC, and in 2017 she served as the Young Rider coach for Area IV riders, winning the Team Gold Medal in the NAYRC 2* (now 3*) competition. L’Esprit Equestrian continues to flourish as a top Eventing training program, producing riders and horses through all levels of competition, including fielding 15 riders for the 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships.
About the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention
The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place each December and brings together a large group of dedicated USEA members and supporters to discuss, learn, and enjoy being surrounded by other eventing enthusiasts. The USEA organizes multiple seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums, and tons of fun! The 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel in Savannah, Georgia on December 7-11, 2022. This year will be special as the USEA honors new inductees into the USEA Eventing Hall of Fame. Click here to learn more about the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
At the August USEA Board of Governors meeting, a proposition was brought forth to officially recognize what is commonly referred to as “Starter level” as a USEA division. For many years now, Starter level has been offered as a test at USEA approved events. The decision to recognize the level officially would allow those competing in Starter level divisions to receive recognition on the USEA Leaderboards and to compete at the Starter level at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in the future. The motion was approved to recognize this level, and the USEA staff have been hard at work preparing all of the rules, guidelines, and standards that will go along with this level’s recognition for the 2024 season.
Karma is developing into one of the fastest and most-reliable cross-country horses in the West. The 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare and James Alliston won their third-straight blue ribbon together at either the four-star or Advanced level in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California, with the only double-clear cross-country round on Saturday.
Most couples share a kiss and part ways at 8:00 a.m. as they head off to their own work days, but eventing power couple James and Helen Alliston do it all together. We gave our USEA members the opportunity to submit their questions for this West Coast-based couple, and USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown gets them to share all on many topics: eventing in the U.S. versus the U.K., who is the most competitive of the two, dealing with warmer temperatures, why James likes to drive illegally slow, and so much more!
The Plantation Field International CCI4*-S concluded today with the cross-country phase, and the final standings were nearly a matter of “last one standing.” As Tropical Storm Ophelia brought a torrential downpour to the area, a number of riders decided to opt out: of 39 competitors, only six completed, and 17 withdrew before the start of cross-country.