Diane Snow photo.
Horses and riders from the Eventing 25 list gathered in Ocala, FL at Ms. Jaqueline Mars' beautiful Meredyth South Farm last week to take part in the High Performance training sessions under Coach David O'Connor's watchful eye.
Much like the E25 sessions that took place in California, the 4-day clinic included mounted lessons as well as lectures taught on the ground which focused on veterinary care, nutrition, shoeing, and general horsemanship.
In the saddle, Coach O'Connor spent two days coaching the riders on the flat, one day of gymnastic and grid work, and the final day was spent in the cross-country field. The exercises in the field started out very simply with a bank complex exercise. Then, the riders hopped through the bank bounce complex to a corner, adding to the technicality of the exercise. Each progression built the confidence and refined the accuracy of the horses and riders.
The horses varied in experience, as did the riders. Some of the riders had completed the E25 sessions last year, and others were new to the experience. Both the greener horses and the 3-star horses, as well as all of the riders, finished the week more confident and tuned-up for the season.
"As a first-timer in the Eventing 25 program, this week has been an eye-opening experience for me," said Ariel Grald, who rode Carol Rittenhouser's Irish mare, LBF O'Leagh's Image. "I'm fortunate to train with international event riders at home, but to be immersed in an intense and focused program, with many talented peers, has certainly brought my riding to another level. David is a wonderful coach and expects utmost concentration and rider awareness. The lectures taught a comprehensive approach to managing our upper level horses. I'm so grateful to have participated in this program and thank David, Joanie and Ms. Mars for the use of her fantastic facility. It was a great kickoff to the 2014 season!"
Coach O'Connor will continue to work with these riders throughout the season. Learn more about the USEF High Performance Lists
, and check out the list of riders invited to the Florida Training session below.
Nora Battig (Granite Bay, CA) and her own Steppin' Out
Steppin' Out is a 2005 Trakehner/Thoroughbred mare
Alexandra Blyskal-Sacksen (Landenberg, PA) and her own Sparrow's Nio
Sparrow's Nio is a 2003 Connemara/Thoroughbred gelding
Zach Brandt (Thousand Oaks, CA) and his own Cavallino Cocktail
Cavallino Cocktail is a 2002 Irish Sport Horse mare
Jenny Caras (Marietta, GA) and her own Fernhill Fortitude or Fernhill Stowaway
Fernhill Fortitude is a 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding
Fernhill Stowaway is a 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding
Danielle Dichting (Roswell, GA) and her own The Graduate
The Graduate is a 1998 Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding
Sarah Dunkerton (Soso, MS) and her own and Richard Dunkerton's Matapeake
Matapeake is a 1999 Thoroughbred gelding
Ariel Grald (Randolph Center, VT) and Carol Rittenhouse's LBF Oleagh's Image*
LBF Oleagh's Image is a 2005 Irish Sport Horse mare
Katherine Groesbeck (Temecula, CA) and her own Oz the Tin Man
Oz The Tin Man is a 1997 Anglo-Arabian gelding
Emily Renfroe (Magnolia Springs, AL) and her own Walk the Line
Walk the Line is a 2002 Hanoverian mare
Caitlin Silliman (Chestertown, MD) and her own Catch A Star
Catch A Star is a 2000 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare
Lizzie Snow (Milwaukie, OR) and Diane Snow's Ringfort Tinkaturk
Ringfort Tinkaturk is a 2005 Irish Sport Horse gelding
Julie Wolfert (Bucyrus, KS) and her own Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is a 2001 Thoroughbred gelding
*This pair has been 'Talent Spotted' on to this list.
Meghan O'Donoghue (Carbondale, IL) and her own Pirate
Pirate is a 2002 Thoroughbred gelding