The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association will hold an Emerging Athletes Program regional clinic Wednesday, July 9, through Sunday, July 13, at Sweet Briar’s Harriet Howell Rogers Riding Center.
The Emerging Athletes Program aims to develop complete horsemen and horsewomen by identifying and nurturing talented riders younger than 21 and providing them with support and assistance in achieving their full potential, according to the USHJA website. The program creates opportunities they wouldn’t typically have to work with world-class trainers and riders, and to advance their education in pursuit of professional careers.
Each participant must apply for acceptance and submit letters of recommendation, including from his or her current trainer. Selections are based on the application and take into consideration merit, competition record and recommendations.
Throughout the training sessions, riders are evaluated on riding, stable-management and horsemanship skills.
Over four days, a well-known clinician teaches riding skills in rotating sessions while a stable manager holds concurrent sessions covering everything from mucking stalls to grooming, feeding and watering. Each day’s sessions build on the previous clinics.
The regional clinic at Sweet Briar will host 23 riders from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Ohio, Florida, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Three Sweet Briar students — Abby Strohmeyer ’16, Lexi Markmann ’17 and an incoming first-year — are among the participants. Cynthia Hankins will lead the riding clinics while Nanci Snyder teaches stable management and equine care. At the conclusion of regional clinics held throughout the country during the summer, 16 riders will be selected to advance to the National Training Session to work with top clinicians over three and a half intensive days in November.
The Sweet Briar clinic is open to auditors. There is a $50 fee for the general public, which covers all mounted sessions Thursday through Sunday. Discounts for members of equine educational programs such as Pony Club or 4-H are also available. Sweet Briar College students, faculty and staff may audit at no charge. For information about auditing, contact the riding center at (434) 381-6116.