The USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program uses the new
USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships
, which are offered at 1.10/1.15m, 1.20/1.25m and 1.30/1.35m, to identify Jumper riders who have the skill and desire to excel in the sport, while educating these riders to become well-rounded horsemen on their path to excellence.
"The international competition environment is extremely competitive, and the United States is known for developing some of the very best Show Jumping athletes in the world," said Larry Langer, chair of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Task Force, which was responsible for developing the program. "This program will help us better identify talented riders much earlier in their riding careers. The program also serves as an opportunity to educate coaches about how their riders can advance in the sport."
The program begins at the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships where every Championship competitor will be recognized as a 2017 Emerging Jumper Rider and receive a commemorative 2017 Emerging Jumper Rider pin. During a special orientation session at the Championships, riders, trainers and parents will receive comprehensive information about how riders can advance through the sport to its highest levels. These sessions will specifically discuss the Jumping Athlete Pathway, a joint USHJA-US Equestrian effort that identifies and nurtures Jumping athletes as they advance through the sport to enhance future success for Olympic and international teams representing the United States.
All individual medalists at the 2017 USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships will be recognized as 2017 USHJA Gold Star Emerging Jumper Riders. Photo credit: USHJA Archives/Rachel Sowinski
Key sport leaders, including the US Equestrian Youth Chef d' Equipe DiAnn Langer, will be monitoring each set of Championships to assess talent among Championship competitors. At the conclusion of each Individual Zone Jumper Championship, USHJA will recognize all individual medalists as 2017 Gold Star Emerging Jumper Riders by awarding them an exclusive 2017 Gold Star Emerging Jumper Rider pin that can be worn at future competitions to distinguish them. At the same time, trainers of these riders will be recognized as 2017 Gold Star Jumper Coaches and will receive specialized pins that denote their title.
"Riders who come to the Championships are the best," continued Larry Langer. "This program appropriately recognizes their achievements and puts them on the radar of sport leaders at a much earlier stage in their riding careers than has been possible."
Gold Star Emerging Jumper Riders, regardless of age, along with their coaches and parents, will be invited to attend one of three Gold Star Clinics scheduled for the early part of the following year. The Gold Star Clinics will offer horsemanship, stable management, mounted instruction and additional education from top clinicians. Each Gold Star Clinic will offer education for Gold Star Jumper Coaches to help them understand the competition landscape and the opportunities available to their riders as they advance through the sport.
To allow for maximum participation in the first year of this exciting opportunity, the USHJA has reopened the application period and extended the 20 point minimum requirement for the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships in Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10. USHJA will accept riders until all spots are filled or 45 days prior to their zone's Championships, whichever occurs first. All riders who applied and met the criteria at the time of the original application closing deadline of May 1 will be invited to the Championships.
"We are pleased to reopen the application period to provide the membership with an additional opportunity to qualify for this exciting program," said Langer.
"Especially in its first year, we believe giving people more time to apply and qualify for the championships will address challenges some areas of the country have with regard to weather and availability of competitions during the qualifying period."
Riders interested in competing in the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships must submit an application and earn a minimum of 20 points in Children's and Adult Amateur Jumper (1.10/1.15m), 1.20/1.25m Junior and Amateur Jumper, or 1.30/1.35m Junior and Amateur Jumper sections at USEF-licensed competitions. Riders are organized into as many as eight teams based on their total points earned; no more than eight teams of four for each section will be fielded by any one zone.
The Nations Cup-style format of these Championships offers riders a competitive team experience, and competitors have an opportunity to earn Zone Horse of the Year points in their respective Jumper sections. The addition of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program for 2017 will provide this year's competitors with a tremendous opportunity to advance their international competition goals.
The Championships are scheduled as follows with the following new application deadlines:
Princeton Show Jumping Fall I
September 21-24, 2017
Princeton, New Jersey
Application Deadline and Points Lock: August 7
Zones 3 & 4
August 25-27, 2017
Application Deadline and Points Lock: July 10
Zones 5 & 6
Showplace End of Summer
August 11-13, 2017
Application Deadline and Points Lock: June 26
Zones 7 & 8
July 9-16, 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Applications are closed.
National Sunshine Series II
November 10-12, 2017
Application Deadline and Points Lock: September 26
Riders will be recognized for each year of participation in the program as USHJA Emerging Jumper Riders with the year noted and may earn the designation of USHJA Gold Star Emerging Jumper Rider for as many years as they win individual medals in the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships. Sport leadership will track these athletes' accomplishments as they advance through the sport and look for opportunities to support riders' efforts with education along the way.
USHJA extends special thanks to the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Task Force who led the development of this program: Larry Langer, Diane Carney, Missy Clark, David Distler, Marnye Langer, DiAnn Langer and Jimmy Torano.