See a Zone 10 EAP Training Session First Hand!

Earlier this year the United States Hunter Jumper Association, Inc. announced the 2009 USHJA Emerging Athletes Program, a unique series that offers an unprecedented opportunity for young riders at various levels to learn from some of our nation’s top show jumpers. They received an overwhelmingly fabulous response from all levels of riders. Almost three hundred applicants, many of whom have not competed in ‘A’ horse shows or have a high level horse, will be selected – twenty-four from each zone – to participate in their zone’s 2-day clinic – eight riders at 3’, eight riders at 3’6” and eight riders at 4’. The applications received to date were well prepared and showed a very hard working, dedicated group of young athletes.

Watch Olympic medalist Melanie Taylor work with riders who show talent on horses with limited abilities, young horses, difficult horses, as well as pony jumper rider participants. Additionally, participants will do all their own work from horse care to course setting, learning about the skills of riding well from the ground up.

This exceptional format makes the EAP a wonderful audit to riders and trainers who find themselves in similar situations every day – it is a chance to truly relate to the clinicians and partakers. As an auditor, one will have complete access to the techniques used to identify talented young riders competing at the grassroots level of competition in our sport, nurture budding talent regardless of the means, and support the emerging athletes that embody the future of Hunter/Jumper sports.

Forty-eight riders from Training Level 1 will then be selected to join in one of four regional clinics. The next twelve chosen from the regional clinics qualify for a week-long intensive session, culminating in a Nations Cup type competition. Finally, the top two from this session will be invited to train for 30-days with an experienced trainer.

As Committee Co-Chairman Melanie Smith states, “This is a program for emerging athletes that is only the start of something very big and important to the future of the next generation of our sport. USHJA and the members of the Emerging Athletes Committee are committed to making this program one that will provide a stepladder for young talent to reach their goals of riding on a team representing the United States someday.”

Nurturing Young Talent

2009 USHJA Emerging Athletes Program Level I Training Sessions

The United States Hunter Jumper Association, Inc. is pleased to announce the 2009 USHJA Emerging Athletes Program. Level I Training Sessions, offered in Zones 1-10, begin in April. Please note that the application deadline for Zones 1 and 3 is February 23, 2009 and Zone 10 is March 23, 2009.

The mission of the Emerging Athletes Program is to develop and implement a system of identifying and nurturing talented young riders, by providing them with the support and assistance necessary to facilitate the opportunity to reach their full potential by creating a national program as a pipeline to international competition. The Emerging Athletes Program will provide young riders in our sport with the opportunity to learn from our country’s top professional riders and trainers.

The Training Sessions will evaluate the rider’s horsemanship, knowledge and riding ability. Following each Level I Training Session, the clinician(s) will evaluate the riders and create a ranking list to determine which riders will be invited to participate in the Regional Level II Training Sessions. After the Regional Level II Training Sessions, a select group of riders will be invited to participate in the National Training Session. The National Training Session will include extensive instruction with riding sessions, nutritionists, veterinarians, blacksmiths and sport psychologists. This session will culminate in a Nations Cup type competition for the riders. The top two individuals selected from the National Training Session will receive a grant for one month of advanced training.


• The Training Session will be divided by fence height: 3’, 3’6 and 4’0
• A maximum of eight (8) riders will be accepted per height section
• Applicants can be up to 21 years of age
• Applicants must be a current member of USHJA in good standing

Eligibility: Athletes interested in applying for the Level I Training Session must be able to display proficiency in completing jumper style courses over the respective fence height specified in the application.

Application Procedures: All interested riders must complete and submit the application for the Level I Training Session along with the application fee to the USHJA within the posted deadlines. Applications will be reviewed and accepted based on the information provided, including but not limited to merit, competition record and recommendations.

• Applications must be submitted on the official USHJA form and accompanied by the application fee in order to be considered complete. Only completed applications will be considered. All applications will be date stamped upon arrival in the USHJA office.
• Riders will be notified a minimum of 30 days before the scheduled training session if they have been accepted into the program. A waiting list will be created for each Training Session. Should a rider not be able to attend, the next available rider on the waiting list will be contacted.
• Once accepted, riders must return their acknowledgment of acceptance with payment of the Program Fee within fourteen (14) days of notification of acceptance.
• Riders may only participate in one (1) Level I Training Session per each EAP qualifying year.
• All horses must have proof of current vaccinations and a valid Coggins as specified by their state of origin.

USHJA reserves all rights to determine the specifications, requirements and application procedures for the Emerging Athletes Level I Training Sessions and the selection and designation of host sites and athletes remains the sole discretion of USHJA.

For a complete listing of application requirements, application and deadlines please visit:


All participants are to provide transportation and accommodations for the rider and horse to and from the training session.

Stalls will be available on-site. Riders are responsible for bringing their own hay, grain, buckets, shavings, etc. for horse. Any applicable stall fees are to be paid directly to the host site.

Riders are responsible for horse care – including grooming and tacking up – for all phases of training sessions. Grooms will not be permitted.

Dress Code for Training Sessions:

• Riders are to ride in buff breeches, tall boots and ASTM/SEI approved helmets
• USHJA will provide all riders with polo shirts to be used during the training session

All horses must be serviceably sound before the start of the Training Sessions on all days in order to be eligible to participate.

Level I Application Fee: $25

Fees are to be paid directly to USHJA and must accompany the Application in order to be considered for the program.

Level I Program Fee: $225

The Program Fee must be paid to USHJA within fourteen (14) days of acceptance into the program.

Please contact Melanie Fransen at with any questions.