Putting 70-plus eventing coaches and instructors in a room and asking them to share their opinions and experiences could be considered the definition of organized chaos. But at the 2022 and 2023 Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) Educational Symposiums, the resulting thoughtful and creative discussion has become a popular educational segment of the symposium, the fruits of which will be helpful to coaches and students alike.
For the information of those who have not yet attended the newly formatted (new in 2022) ECP Educational Symposium, the attending coaches are engaged in an interactive program where they contribute to the discussion, and share their experience, as they develop teaching strategies with their group throughout the three-day program. The attendees are randomly divided into groups of 8-10 and assigned a color (blue group, white group, red group, etc.). This group becomes their working group for the entirety of the symposium. For every interactive activity, the groups are paired with an ECP Faculty member who serves as the moderator of the group discussion. The Faculty members are rotated from group to group for each new activity so that the attendees get to know the ECP Faculty and are exposed to various teaching styles and methods of communication throughout the event.
There is also a diversity of coaching experience in each group, from Level V coaches with a few elite athlete students to Introductory level instructors with large riding school programs, and everything in between. This format has made for informative discussion and problem solving with long term implications.
Since the new symposium format was initiated two years ago, the opening group activity on the first day has been the Round Table Discussion. Think of it as the “warm up round” for participants to get in the groove of working together as a group to discuss ideas and develop common strategies. Each group is given a giant flip chart and some colored markers to record their discussion and their resulting strategies.
In 2022, the question posed to the Round Table groups was:
“What are the three main issues facing instructors and coaches in modern eventing?”
As you might imagine, the discussion was lively and productive. Different issues and challenges were identified for different skill levels of riders, age groups, competition levels, varied horse ages/experiences, and support systems. Each group was asked to summarize their discussion in writing on their flip chart.
Remarkably, though the variables were many and diverse, the resulting concepts identified by each of the ten groups had universal themes which can be categorized under five general headings:
In 2023, the Round Table challenge was built out from the 2022 discussion. Groups were asked to address the top issue identified by the 2022 Round Table session:
“Solve for: Managing Expectations. What are the top strategies for creating realistic expectations, goal setting, and measuring progression?”
The ensuing discussions really tapped into the creative juices of the attending coaches. We learned of many great practices already in use by both seasoned and younger instructors, and many concepts were expanded on to develop comprehensive strategies for students and coaches to employ in their programs and practice.
It is worth mentioning that every group referred to the “USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels” as one of the most important resources available to coaches, students, and parents, particularly as a reference for setting and managing expectations.
At the conclusion of the discussion period, the top strategies put forward by the 10+ groups could be captured under four general headings:
Communication strategies for effective horse and rider development
Demonstration and measurement of skills
Training and practice strategies to support goals
The ECP program is committed to developing world-class coaching for our sport. This development and certification of coaches includes the required knowledge of what to teach, which is the sum of a coach’s education and experience in the training of horses and teaching of riders. The ECP also acknowledges that great coaching must include the often-overlooked aspects of how to teach, how to communicate, and how to manage the student athletes, keep them safe, and help them set and achieve their goals. To this end the ECP continues to seek innovative means to bring increased knowledge to our eventing Coaches, and the ECP Educational Symposium is one such activity which is available to both certified and non-certified coaches, riders, students, and supporters.
Save the Date: The 2024 ECP Educational Symposium will be held Jan. 30, 31, and Feb. 1 at Barnstaple Eventing in Ocala, Florida.
With the holiday spirit in full swing and the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for the 2024 eventing season. From paperwork to packing, there’s quite a bit to do before you’re ready to get out there and enjoy the season with your horse. Check out these tips from the team at STRIDER, and get your 2024 season kicked off in the most organized way possible.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation is pleased to announce the Eventing Pathway Program Lists for 2024, including the Elite, Pre-Elite, Development, and Emerging Programs. In addition to these Eventing Pathway Program updates, several opportunities will be available in 2024 for both Program and non-Program athletes.
The United States Eventing Associations’ (USEA) Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) is pleased to announce the dates and location of the upcoming 2024 ECP Symposium. The annual ECP Symposium, which is held in the southeast to accommodate the migration of eventers for the winter season, will be hosted at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2024. This three-day immersive educational experience is recommended for anyone who is interested in learning more about eventing coaching, including current coaches, riders, parents, owners or avid supporters. Click here to download the registration form today!
The USEA is incredibly proud to allow the thrill of the 'chase to live on for those who want to experience the unforgettable rush of the classic long format three-day event through our USEA Classic Series events. Long-format events from the Beginner Novice to Preliminary levels are still a reality with the USEA Classic Series and include roads and tracks, steeplechase, and cross-country on "endurance day," as well as horse inspections. In addition, educational activities are offered at the USEA Classic Series Events to help prepare competitors, especially those who are contesting their first-ever long format event.