Sep 29, 2023

The Eventing Coaches Program Focuses on Area and Regional Needs

By Jennifer Howlett Rousseau - ECP Faculty
USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

The USEA Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) has initiated a renewed focus on the diverse challenges coaches in various regions of the country may be facing. To this end, the program is in the process of enlisting representatives in each of the 10 USEA areas to help guide the program as warranted for the unique needs of each specific area.

In August 2023, the ECP requested and received the USEA Board of Governors’ approval to create an ECP representative position in every area. Many areas already have an educational representative on their Area Council, and many of these volunteer representatives are already actively involved in helping coaches access the benefits of the ECP in their areas. Other areas either have recently appointed or are in the process of appointing representatives to fill that role.

Here is the current list of the Eventing Coaches Program Area Representatives:

Area I Bevin O’Reilly Dugan

Area II TBD

Area III Brittany Ezzard

Area IV Liz Lind and Brigitte Kettell

Area V Lynda Lewis

Area VI Bec Braitling

Area VII Katie Peet Walker Bystrom

Area VIII Cathy Weischhoff

Area IX Laura Backus

Area X Shawn Ortiz

The goal is to assist coaches regionally to access the program, keep them informed about the activities and benefits of the certification program, and for the ECP committee and Faculty to glean information and feedback from different areas of the country such that they may better serve and support coaches in each area.

The ECP committee understands that riders and coaches from different areas of the country are experiencing different challenges. There are geographical challenges unique to some of our largest areas, where it may be hundreds of miles to the nearest coach or to the next competition.

There is the challenge of riders finding qualified coaching and instruction, or in some of the more saturated regions of the country, the challenge can be choosing the coach who best fits the rider’s goals. In those Areas outside of the eventing “hubs,” which represent most of the country, there are serious challenges for coaches in obtaining opportunities for mentorship, networking, and professional development. There is no question that the input and feedback from our Area Representatives will positively impact our planning in the near term and for the future.

This is a volunteer position, as are all the Area Council positions. The ECP Rep does not have to be a voting member of the Council, nor does it necessarily need to be held by a Certified Coach. Anyone within the Area who is interested in the ECP, including current council members, can hold the position. The Area ECP representative should be familiar with the program, how it works, and what the program can offer area coaches; in short, be an advocate for both the program and for their area coaches.

Some initial ideas of how an Area representative might serve their coaches through the program might be:

  • Organize continuing education activities (as required to maintain certification) for existing ECP instructors.
  • Organize ‘Introduction to ECP’ and ‘Pre-Workshop clinics’ for coaches and members less familiar with the program.
  • Create and submit ECP related content for their Area social media pages to keep their area coaches both certified and non-certified up to date on clinics, workshops, assessments, safety concerns, rule changes; anything that may concern or affect Eventing coaches.
  • Identify Area coaches who may be interested or approachable for inclusion in the program.
  • Provide or facilitate representation and distribution of information about the ECP program at schooling horse trials and clinics, as well as recognized horse trials.
  • Create a working list of active eventing trainers in the Area, develop regular lines of communication to and within the group with the goals of establishing a regional community.
  • Network with local and regional CT groups and Pony Clubs to use their channels of communication to reach instructors who may be just starting coaching or coaching unrecognized competitions.
  • Provide input and feedback to the ECP committee about the unique challenges coaches in their areas may be facing.

The ECP Area Representative is uniquely positioned to help grow the ECP program. It is hoped that by empowering these representatives to reach out to local coaches and develop an Area network, they in turn are best able to develop strategies for bringing the benefits of certification to a wider group of participants.

The benefits of obtaining certification as an Eventing Coach are numerous and important to a coach’s personal growth and enrichment. Attaining certification as an eventing coach is a way many coaches choose to support the “big picture” of eventing as an Olympic sport. Coaches may seek certification for may varied reasons:

  • To obtain documented proof that they are a certified professional.
  • To connect, interact, exchange ideas, dissect problems, share tools, collaborate on solutions, and get constructive feedback from other professionals and peers.
  • To receive all the resources the program has to offer including workshops, written materials, and mentoring opportunities, which present essential training principles in a developmental sequence.
  • To develop professional relationships with event instructors at all eventing levels in the United States and link to a growing network of event professionals.
  • To enjoy placement of the coach’s contact and other professional information on USEA website (www.useventing.com).
  • To support the need for a common vocabulary, shared horse care principles, and a set of rider and horse development standards, from the lowest to the highest levels of competition, which support safe, effective, and humane event riding.
  • To set the standard and the example for other professionals in our sport, to those just entering the sport at the professional level and to those who already are established as event trainers.
  • To be part of a group which seeks to exemplify and defend adherence to best practices, a key component for the future health and longevity of our sport.
  • To contribute in a concrete and meaningful way to the long-term credibility and survival of our sport in this country and as an Olympic discipline.

The ECP committee will be reaching out to all Area representatives to participate in periodic group Team meetings; to exchange ideas and develop policies which will best serve the needs of eventing coaches in every area of the United States.

Watch this space for more information as this regionally focused initiative unfolds.

About the USEA Eventing Coaches Program

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

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Weekend Quick Links: July 13-14

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered!

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA

Official Shockwave of the USEA

Official Horse Wear of the USEA