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Californian Richard Neal wins Emerging Athlete honor

From the Newstrader - January 21st, 2010 - General News
Carly Anthony and Richard Neal earn honors from the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association's Emerging Athletes Program.

Whitney Allen photo

Carly Anthony and Richard Neal earn honors from the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association's Emerging Athletes Program.

RENO, Nev. — Richard “Ricky” Neal, 17, of Pasadena, Calif., and Carly Anthony, 19 of Redmond, Wash., were named the inaugural winners of the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session. For their accomplishments, they 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.

“It is an honor, and I feel very privileged to be chosen as one of the two winners. I am extremely happy for Ricky,” Anthony said. “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 as well.”

Neal shared her excitement and said: “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 Maplewood Stables in Reno for the three-day training session. Riders were each given horses provided by Julie Winkel, and attended seminars and presentations on conformation, natural horsemanship, and general equine health. Riders were trained by Peter Wylde for the first two days and 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 with Chef d’ Equipe Peter Wylde, Team Authentic with Chef d’ Equipe Sally Ike, and Team Sapphire with 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. 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 with Alexa Anthony, Arden Cone, Molly Osier, and Ricky Neal took the Gold with zero faults over two rounds.

Team Authentic with Amelia McArdle, Elizabeth Kenny, Nelson Bierwirth, and Hayley Barnhill took the Silver with a two-round total of eight faults.

Team Fein Cera with Nick Gegen, Matt Wildung, Kathryn Hayley, and Carly Anthony took 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 a written exam. EAP Committee members Melanie Taylor, Julie Winkel, Sally Ike, Eliza Shuford and Kathy Moore–as well as Peter 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. This program has provided our industry with an opportunity to make that happen,” said Melanie Taylor, head clinician for Level 1 and 2 and chairman of the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program. “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 horseman to be named inaugural winners.”

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,” Moroney said. “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.”

For information about the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session, visit: www.ushja.org

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