17 februari 2016

Record number of participants at 1st USEF Developing Driver Clinic

Following a banner year in 2015, the United States Equestrian Federation's innovative Developing Driver Program is once again off to a successful start. Current participants and graduates continue to find their way to the winner's circle, and a record number of drivers were welcomed for the first official USEF clinic of 2016, held February 4-7 in Florida under the guidance of U.S. Team Coach Thorsten Zarembowicz. 

The objective of the USEF Developing Driver Program (DDP) is to increase the number of drivers and their horses/ponies competing at high performance levels, and to develop drivers that may become future international competitors – a mission which continues to be a proven strategy as the 2016 competition season got underway at the Little Everglades CDE in Dade City, Fla. Thanks to the support of organizer Ellen Ettenger, a special 1* division with the option to complete an Intermediate marathon was offered specifically with Developing Drivers in mind, drawing 11 entries with a Developing Driver Program participant winning every division. For single ponies, Jennifer Keeler led the field while Daphne White topped the single horse class, and Craig Grange won the pair horse division. At the open Intermediate level, current and past Developing Driver Program participants Muffy Seaton, Bettina Scherer, and Scott Adcox won the single pony, single horse, and pair horse divisions (respectively), and in the 2* horse division, which also served as a selection trial for this summer's FEI Single Horse World Championships, DDP graduate Nifty Hamilton drove to victory.

In the pursuit of continuing this successful trend, USEF held the first Developing Driver Clinic of 2016 at the stunning Grand Oaks Resort in Lady Lake, Fla., a venue which has also been designated as an official USEF Elite Equestrian Training Center. With a record number of 15 drivers invited to participate, the training schedule was expanded to four full days of intensive lessons, demonstrations, and lectures.

Applications are still being accepted for the next USEF Developing Driver Clinic, scheduled for April 8-10 in Southern Pines, N.C. Thanks to the generous support of donors including Misdee Wrigley Miller, a full roster of additional clinics are planned for the remainder of 2016, with dates and locations to be announced on the USEF website. For more information regarding the Developing Driver Program and upcoming clinics as well as how to become a financial supporter of future clinics, please contact Lizzy Staller, Director of Driving, at estaller@usef.org