I have taken a little bit of a hiatus from the blog, but there are so many exciting events I am attending this year, I am back to posting!
I was really excited to attend the USDF/USEF Young Rider Graduate Program January 15-16! I have attended this conference before, which is a weekend event held every other year in West Palm Beach, FL for riders 20-28 riding and competing at third level or above.
This program is a weekend of lectures from top professionals in the equestrian industry, including veterinarians, riders, trainers, breeders, coaches, lawyers and other professionals. It is so enlightening, refreshing and invigorating to hear the experiences of other industry professionals, many of whom offer their life story and bits of advice, even if they are at the conference to speak on a specific topic.
Having attended this conference before, I had an idea of the weekend's flow. That said, the information from this program was invaluable, and I am so grateful I was able to attend. Many different topics were covered over the weekend, such as sponsorship, horse syndicates, structuring a business, evaluating dressage horses for top sport, and opportunities as professionals in the industry in the USA and abroad.
There was a palpable anticipation that I felt each morning, as I waited to hear from the top-notch list of presenters for the day. This year they had speakers like Dr. Kraig Kulikowski speaking about Equine Sports Medicine, Olympian Christine Traurig speaking about the USEF Young Horse Program, and Para-Olympian Rebecca Hart speaking about Horse Syndication.
There was an overwhelming theme from many presenters (especially those from USEF) that increased funding and support is going to develop high performance combinations. Many presenters, like Rebecca Hart, were open about the fact that international competition requires creativity, connections, and a network of support. Lawyer, Yvonne Ocrant spoke to the legal aspect of syndication, which was information program participants were thrilled to learn more about.
As if the classroom learning was not thrilling enough (which I assure you it was), the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 1 CDI-W had rescheduled the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by AMCI Group to benefit Brooke USA for Saturday night (due to bad weather Friday). Some participants, myself included, chose to go watch the freestyles after the program was over for the day.
All in all the weekend was such a blast. I walked away with many new ideas and contacts. As always, the weekend was well run, thanks to USDF Youth Programs Coordinator, Roz Kinstler, and Jan Scarborough, USDF Education Coordinator, as well as other staff at USDF and USEF.