Feb 01, 2022

Tangible Tools for Success: Access an Exclusive Preview of the USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) Eventing Handbook by the Levels is going to be an asset to every program, no matter if you are a trainer, rider, parent, or eventing enthusiast. The USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Committee dedicated two years to putting together a guide that includes teaching and training principles that work harmoniously with exercises and concepts from every level from Starter through Advanced. If you are intending on attending the 2022 USEA ICP Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9, then you will be one of the first individuals to access the full copy of this extremely beneficial tool.

Today’s excerpt from the USEA Handbook by the Levels comes from the Exercises and Concepts section. Included for every level and every phase, the Exercises and Concepts section gives riders and instructors tangible tools which will measure the rider’s abilities and skill levels. These exercises and concepts were intended to work harmoniously with the teaching and training principles documented in the Universal Overview section of the handbook. Included below are the Exercises and Concepts sections for cross-country at both the Training and Intermediate levels.

Exercises and Concepts for Training Level Cross-Country:

The instructor should confirm the rider’s understanding of and ability to perform all exercises identified under Starter through Novice Level Cross-Country Exercises.

Canter and gallop - Quality and variations:

  • All cross-country exercises at this level should prioritize the rider’s ability to access different canters from the gallop.
  • Riders should practice producing a variety of canters, all with correct jumping balance, out of cross-country pace, and maintain each to a fence.
  • The transition from gallop to jumping balance should be practiced, perfected, and ultimately performed smoothly and within a few strides, as skill level improves.
  • Routinely practice maintaining an appropriate gallop pace and rider position for level-appropriate intervals and distances.
  • Practice the use of a watch to monitor speed.

Preparing for increased technical questions on cross-country:

  • Use a show jump setting: To create turns, lines, and distances which introduce riders and horses to increased technical skills.
  • To incrementally introduce increased accuracy, initially by jumping a single fence on an angle, and progressing to offset fences, narrow fences, and corners.
  • In a cross-country setting: Banks up/down, water, skinnies, and corners in combination with other fences on related distances.
  • Jump single fences, banks, ditches, and water with terrain features on approach and/or on landing.

Exercises and Concepts for Intermediate Level Cross-Country:

The instructor should confirm the rider’s understanding of and ability to perform all exercises identified under Starter through Preliminary Level Cross-Country Exercises and Concepts.

The Intermediate level rider and their instructor should create exercises which prepare the horse and rider for the increased technical difficulty and increased overall speed required for the Intermediate cross-country course. Cross-Country exercises should include:

  • Maintaining a balanced gallop at level-appropriate speeds and distances with adjustments according to terrain.
  • Practicing rideability within the gallop which permits smooth transitions in balance, speed, and stride length.
  • Increasing the difficulty of exercises which encourage accuracy and agility, such as more acute angles and turns.
  • Using turning lines which may be ridden in a different number of strides according to the line (direct vs bending).
  • Encouraging boldness and control by combining more imposing questions such as tables and oxers with accuracy questions such as skinnies and corners on related distances.
  • Producing the appropriate balance, energy, speed, length of stride, line, and timing for all types of fences and combinations.
  • Preparing through practice for every manner of combinations of fences and terrain as might be expected at this level, including bounces in combination with other fences and/or terrain influence.

The ICP Symposium has undergone a reboot and will feature an interactive and inclusive format that encourages participation and input from active professionals at all levels through a hands-on live teaching session. While geared towards eventing professionals, the ICP Symposium is open to all who wish to attend and will feature relevant information that all riders and eventing enthusiasts can learn from. As an added perk, early registrants will receive an advanced copy of the new USEA Eventing Handbook! Register for the ICP Symposium here.

About the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program

Instructors are essential to the training of riders and horses for safe and educated participation in the sport of eventing. The USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) was initiated in 2002 to educate all levels of eventing instructors with crucial training principles upon which those instructors can continue to build throughout their teaching careers. ICP offers educational workshops and assessments by which both regular instructors, Level I through Level V, Young Event Horse (YEH) instructors, and Young Event Horse professional horse trainers can become ICP certified. Additional information about ICP’s goals, benefits, workshops, and assessments as well as names and contact information for current ICP-certified instructors, YEH instructors, and YEH professional horse trainers are available on the USEA website. Click here to learn more about the Instructors’ Certification Program.

The USEA would like to thank Stable Secretary and Parker Equine Insurance for sponsoring the Instructors’ Certification Program. Additionally, Parker Equine Insurance offers 5% off to all ICP instructors and Stable Secretary provides a 25% discount on their subscription services to all ICP instructors.

Jan 31, 2023 Educational Activities

USEA's Tip Tuesday: Cross-Country Positions with Karen O'Connor

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.

Jan 30, 2023

USEF New Phone and Fax Number

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.

Jan 30, 2023 Instructors

USEA Podcast #327: All About the Eventing Coaches Program

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!

Jan 29, 2023 Education

3 Steps to More Successful Saddle Time in 2023

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.

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