The inaugural USEA Emerging Athletes 21 (EA21) program national camp wrapped up on Friday after a wonderful week of education and excitement. USEA Director of Coaching, David O’Connor led the camp with 19 selected athletes for the EA21 national program this year, which took place at Overlook Farm South, in Ocala, Florida.
This year’s USEA EA21 program would not have been possible without the help of many people, and the USEA would like to thank everyone involved. Extraordinary thanks goes to Sara Kozumplik and her entire team at Overlook Farm for hosting this year’s national camp. Kozumplik's farm is owned by Edy Rameika and is run by the wonderful staff members of Amanda Thompson Gonzalez, Sara Kelson, Janelle Fleming, and Sierra Lesney. The team were able to stable all the horses on-site, and Kozumplik graciously opened her home to the athletes and staff for the morning educational lectures, and lunch breaks.
Director of Coaching, David O’Connor offered incredible expertise, and put significant effort into launching this year’s program. Shannon Lilley also receives special mention for helping with logistical planning for the entire program and national camp, and she also helped arrange the catch-ride horses for the west coast athletes who requested them. Lilley also helped negotiate a reduced fee for cross-country schooling at the Florida Horse Park, and the USEA would like to thank Ms. Vanderwalt at the Florida Horse Park for offering the cross-country course for use on Thursday.
Seven catch-ride horses were provided to riders who flew to the east coast for the national camp, and those horses were provided in thanks by: Shannon Lilley, David O’Connor, Sara Kozumplik, and Joe and Ruthie Meyer. “I thought the opportunity to catch-ride was great because you get the opportunity to learn to ride different horses. You are not always going to have the horse that you are used to in your back pocket if you want to be a professional and go through the levels of the sport,” commented Reno, Nevada young rider Sarah Ross.
Kerrits sponsored this year’s USEA EA21 national camp, and provided embroidered jackets and hats to all the national camp athletes. Ride iQ also supported the national camp this year by providing some educational content and media coverage, as well as subscriptions to all EA21 athletes to their educational services. WeRideTogether also sponsored the camp by providing lunches for the athletes, and offering a discussion with help and resources about keeping safe spaces in barns and equestrian programs.
The USEA would like to thank all the special guest speakers that appeared throughout the week, including Emma Ford, Max Corcoran, and Chris Barnard.
The USEA would like to thank the entire USEA EA21 Task Force for introducing the program in its inaugural year, and those members include: Max Corcoran, Bec Braitling, John Bourgoin, Rebecca Brown, Jonathan Elliott, Mia Farley, Sara Kozumplik, Shannon Lilley, Lauren Nicholson, David O’Connor, Diane Pitts, and Diane Snow. The EA21 regional coaches put in a significant amount of additional time and effort for the program, including Bec Braitling, Shannon Lilley, Rebecca Brown, and Emily Beshear.
Lastly, the USEA would like to thank the USEA Foundation and all those who helped fundraise and donate to pull off this program in its first year. The USEA looks forward to continuing this educational development program moving forward.
About the USEA Emerging Athletes 21 Program
The purpose of the USEA Emerging Athletes 21 program (EA21) is to identify and provide consistent quality instruction to the next generation of elite event riders. The aim is to create a pipeline for potential team riders by identifying and developing young talent, improving horsemanship and riding skills, and training and improving skills and consistency.
The USEA Emerging Athletes 21 Program was launched in 2022 with a model of five summertime regional clinics taught by selected USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) instructors, leading to a winter national camp consisting of selected Young Riders from the regional clinics. Athletes who are 21 years or younger, are current members of their USEA Young Rider Area program, and are established at the Training Level or higher, are eligible to apply for the EA21 program. Applications for the 2023 regional clinics will open in January/February, 2023.
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