It always helps to see a warm and friendly face when heading to warm up for that all-important test or jump round. In this series, the United States Evening Association (USEA) is partnering with Athletux to feature those around us who help make these events happen, the volunteers. Without them horse shows and programs could not succeed, and these volunteers go above and beyond to make sure every rider feels comfortable and confident. Do you know a volunteer who should be nominated as Volunteer of the Month? We are looking for our next feature. Email your tips to [email protected].
For Tayler Owen, horses were always a part of life. Owen is Texas-born-and-raised and she began riding at the age of six under the guidance of a very special trainer, Alyce Hinkle. Hinkle was very active in the eventing community and is a very well-known figure in Area V. She not only was involved in coaching the next generation, but she also spearheaded the Area V Young Rider program for many years. Owen reflected, “I grew up in a household of riders and evented my whole life.” Even after taking a break after receiving her degree from Texas Christian University to, in her words, “figure out what I wanted to do in life,” Owen was drawn back into the sport.
While her return was under sad and difficult consequences as Hinkle sadly passed away in 2011, it gave Owen the reason she needed to return to the sport that had given her so much while she was young. She wanted to carry on Hinkle’s legacy, which involved volunteering whenever she could. While she had always tried to volunteer at any event she attended when competing, it was in the years after her return, that she immersed herself in the community.
For Owen, she was always drawn to the Young Rider program. While it was also because of Hinkle’s legacy, Owen always enjoyed working with the program and it was then that she was offered her biggest volunteer role yet, that of Area V Young Rider Program Coordinator. Owen knew there was no better opportunity and no better legacy to follow and jumped at the chance to try and make even half the impact on these young riders that was made on her while she was growing up. Thus, a new coordinator was born, and a fantastic one at that, according to the young riders involved in her program.
In only her second year at the helm, Owen not only grew the program exponentially, but she also developed the program to further include more of the younger, lower-level riders. To develop the lower-level side of the program has been a goal of Owen’s ever since she took on the role, and so far she has succeeded on both the lower-level and upper-level front. Owen has brought in more riders to the program than ever before and she also added in new programs, like monthly team challenges at various events, to keep things exciting for riders of all levels. She finds it keeps the kids motivated as well - another bonus. Combining this with adding in more educational opportunities and clinics has made the program more exciting than ever before.
While admitting that trying to compete at the lower levels herself whilst running the program is time consuming, Owen still tries to continue to volunteer whenever she can and includes the young riders in her efforts as well. She feels volunteering is so important and wants to be sure her young riders feel the same. Just recently at Meadowcreek, Owen reached out to the organizer and asked, “What do you need?” When he responded and said they needed help setting up show jumping, Owen immediately grabbed some of her young riders and got to work. She wants them to feel like she is right there with them no matter what and it is this dedication to giving back and to her young riders that has made such an impact.
When asked what her favorite part of the sport is, Owen was quick to respond and explained, “The relaxation, the camaraderie, the togetherness, all of it is so incredible.” She added, “I just really enjoy how in the event world everyone is here for everyone and everyone has open arms.” It has been all these reasons and more that keep Owen coming back. The sport has made such an impact on her life and now she hopes to be able to continue to do so for others.
It is easy to see how much of an impact Owen has made on the community already. She is a recognizable figure in Area V and one that people continue to turn to for support and advice. Without Owen, many feel the Young Rider program may have fallen apart and everyone agrees that without her support, it would not be where it is today. To take on such an incredibly difficult volunteer role is hard but Owen was able to do it with grace and style. Now, she looks to the future. Owen shows no signs of slowing down from volunteering or competing so be sure to look out for her as she balances both and when you do see her, give her a huge thank you because eventing would not be the same without her!
Do you know someone who should be recognized as Volunteer of the Month? We are looking for our next feature. Email your tips to [email protected].
A relentless rain didn’t put a damper on the first horse inspection at the 2019 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International Three-Day Event in Elkton, Md. The CCI3*-L presented first in front of the ground jury of Helen Brettell (GBR) and Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride (USA) and all 62 horses were accepted to start the competition. C Me Fly ridden by Colleen Rutledge and Jos UFO De Quidam ridden by Heather Jane Morris were both sent to the hold, but were accepted upon reinspection. Lasse 73 ridden by Jennifer Salinger was asked to jog twice, but was accepted after the second pass down the lane.
The USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East and West Coast Championships will take place this weekend on opposite sides of the country. On Thursday and Friday, October 17 and 18, the East Coast Championships will take place at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. Then on Sunday, October 20, the West Coast Championships will run at the Fresno County Horse Park (FCHP) in Fresno, California.
Rutledge Farm is thrilled to welcome back two-time Olympic gold medalist Phillip Dutton to host his second eventing clinic as a part of the Rutledge Farm Sessions clinic series. Since 2017, Rutledge Farm has been dedicated to bringing premier educational opportunities to Middleburg, Virginia to support the development of the sport at all levels and for multiple disciplines, including eventing, show jumping, dressage, and equitation.
Experience the 2019 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships through the judge's eyes! The USEA will be hosting YEH judging seminars during the 2019 USEA YEH Championships. The seminars will be led by the world-renowned judge and co-chair of the YEH Committee Marilyn Payne. All interested parties are welcome to attend.