Morganne Young ’11, Olivia Smith ’14 and Sarah Hibler ’14 were selected for the Zone 3 Emerging Athletes Program Level I Training Session, a competitive program of the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association. During the two-day session in May at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, they rode with Olympic gold medalist and internationally recognized rider and trainer Melanie Smith Taylor.
Young was riding Sweet Briar’s “Love Z.” Smith and Hibler rode their own horses, “Time Will Tell” and “He Said He Wood.”
The Emerging Athletes Program aims to develop complete horsemen and horsewomen by identifying and nurturing talented riders younger than age 21 and providing them with support and assistance in achieving their full potential. The program creates opportunities that many typically wouldn’t have to work with world-class trainers and riders, and to advance their education in pursuit of professional careers.
Each participant must apply for acceptance and submit letters of recommendation, including from her current trainer. Selections are based on the application and take into consideration merit, competition record and recommendations.
Young, Smith and Hibler are eligible to advance to the Southeast Regional EAP Level II Training Session in September and could eventually be picked for the National Level III session, which will be held Nov. 18-20 in Mundelein, Ill. The winner of the national session receives a 30-day training scholarship with the trainer of her choice. Last year, the top two finishers were also given invitations to the prestigious George Morris Horsemastership Clinic.