The USPC has had an article submitted by two members from the Sunshine Region regarding their involvement with the recent ICP Symposium. Jean and Jane Thomas, age 15 and both C-2/H-B members of Wekiva Basin Pony Club were recently selected to be demo riders with their young mounts at the 2015 United States Eventing Association (– USEA) Instructors Certification Program (ICP) East Coast Symposium held January 19 – 20 at Longwood Farm, Ocala, Florida. The — USEA ICP program started in 2002 to “educate all levels of eventing instructors to confirm their knowledge base, both theoretical and practical, upon which they will continue to build throughout their lifetime.” Read more about their fabulous experience.

Each year, — USEA brings in a guest instructor for the symposium in order to further the education of the riders and audience; which is primarily composed of certified instructors attending in a continuing education capacity, and auditors eager to learn what the guest instructor has to impart. This year, the guest instructor was Mr. Christopher Bartle, a native of Yorkshire, England and current Coach for the German Event Team.

Jane and Big Bad Buckaroo

Jane and Big Bad Buckaroo

Kicking off the first day, Jane rode her 5-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Big Bad Buckaroo, in the dressage phase along with another adult amateur rider and her horse. All dressage riders were asked to submit, in advance, two or three movements they hoped to work on with Mr. Bartle. Jane submitted shoulder-in, improving the leg yield and lengthening of stride. Mr. Bartle helped both riders with some excellent exercises using ground poles to improve their accuracy in riding figures as well.

Later that afternoon, Jean rode her 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Junior Mint, in the show jumping phase. Mr. Bartle worked with the small group of five riders and horses for an hour and a half and focused on accuracy, balance and straightness. He also stressed the importance of outside bend to help achieve balance in the horse.

Jean and Junior Mint

Jean and Junior Mint

At the close of the first day, Mr. Bartle gave a lecture entitled “Rules for Cross Country Riding.” The second day followed with Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country instruction for more advanced riders many of whom are professionals.

Overall, the symposium was a great success and always draws a large crowd. Many Olympic veterans were in attendance, including Jimmy Wofford, David and Karen O’Connor, Richard Lamb, Jane Sleeper, Doug and Jessica Payne, Marilyn Little and many others.

This was a great experience and a wonderful opportunity to gain helpful knowledge and skills from one of the greatest equestrian coaches in the world. Jean and Jane were very thankful to the — USEA to have been able to participate.

Be sure to watch for next year’s symposium on the — USEA website or Eventing Nation for your chance to apply as a demo rider or attend as an auditor.

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