California Riding Magazine • February, 2010

Carly Anthony and Ricky Neal
USHJA's Emerging Athletes spotlights two stars among 12 winning young horsemen.

Carly Anthony, 16, of Redmond, WA and Richard “Ricky” Neal, 17, of Pasadena, were the inaugural winners of the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session. For their accomplishments, Anthony and Neal will each receive 30 days of advanced training with a high performance athlete, as well as $1,500 in gift certificates from Dover Saddlery to purchase show clothes.

When asked how they felt about winning, both expressed their excitement. “It is an honor and I feel very privileged to be chosen as one of the two winners. I am extremely happy for Ricky, he deserved it and I am very proud of the rest of my peers for riding as hard as they can and being the best horsemen they can be as well,” stated Anthony. Neal shared her excitement. “To be chosen from a group of riders of this quality is really an honor so I feel pretty fantastic. “

Anthony and Neal were among the 12 finalists to travel to Julie Winkel’s Maplewood Stables in Reno for the three-day Training Session. Riders were each given horses provided by Winkel, and attended seminars and presentations on conformation, natural horsemanship and general equine health. They were trained by international show jumper and WEG bronze medalist Peter Wylde for the first two days. On the third day, the riders were broken into three teams of four to compete in a Nations Cup format competition.  Each team was named after a famous show jumper: Team Fein Cera-Chef d’ Equipe-Peter Wylde; Team Authentic-Chef d’ Equipe-Sally Ike; and Team Sapphire-Chef d’ Equipe-Eliza Shuford.

On Saturday night, parents and auditors were able to feel like they were part of the team during a rider reception. The teams were auctioned off in a fundraising effort. Team Sapphire brought the highest bid of $1,400 while a total of $3,330 was raised. Each of the top bidders donated their portion of the proceeds back to the Emerging Athletes Program.

Team Sapphire, consisting of Alexa Anthony, Arden Cone, Molly Osier and Ricky Neal took the gold with no faults over two rounds. Team Authentic, consisting of Amelia McArdle, Elizabeth Kenny, Nelson Bierwirth and Hayley Barnhill took the silver with a two round total of eight faults and Team Fein Cera, with Nick Gegen, Matt Wildung, Kathryn Hayley, and Carly Anthony, took home the bronze with 15 faults.  

Each rider was evaluated heavily on their riding skills, as well as their horsemanship in the barn and in the ring, and on a written exam. EAP Committee members Melanie Taylor, Winkel, Ike, Eliza Shuford and Kathy Moore, as well as Wylde, Mindy Bower and Dr. Midge Leitch evaluated the riders each day to select the overall two winners.

“I am passionate about developing horsemen and not just riders,” stated Taylor, head clinician for Level 1 and 2 and chairman of the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program. “This program has provided our industry with an opportunity to make that happen. I have been very impressed with not only these 12 riders but with all the riders that applied and went through the selection process. They all showed a commitment to their horses and to their riding. Carly and Ricky displayed an overall excellence and are ideal young horsemen to be named inaugural winners.” 

USHJA president Bill Moroney shared his congratulations. “The creation of the Emerging Athletes Program and its development has been seemingly effortless, which speaks volumes for the necessity of a program of this nature. I congratulate each finalist and applaud Carly and Ricky on the hard work, determination and effort they put forth, which led to their being chosen as the inaugural winners.”

Complete coverage of the EAP National Training session will be available in the February issue of USHJA In Stride. For more information on the EAP contact Melanie Fransen at 859-225-6717 or mfransen@ushja.org.

The USHJA gives a special thank you to Dover Saddlery, the product sponsor of the EAP National Training Session, for providing all 12 riders with a fully stocked grooming box, two polo shirts and a vest, as well as $1,500 to each winner for the purchase of show clothes.