Being put on the developing riders list for 2009 was exciting in itself but partaking in the experience was really a dream come true. Everyone always asks what my goals are, in reality I’ve always just wanted to become better than I was the day before, the competition before and train my current horse with more style than the last one. Then there is always that peep of conversation my dad and I had when I was 8 years old…. My dad always said that one day I’d be good enough to ride for the USET, my dad was a very smart man!

Captain Mark Phillips was the coach for the entire week, he trained the “Training List” riders and the “Developing Riders list”. Our first session was at Paradise Farm in Aiken, SC. This day was focused to fine tuning your cross country position, aids, and mental strength! This was Charly’s first go at some cross country schooling exercises for the year so I was a bit apprehensive as to how he’d behave, I was very pleasantly surprised and had a fantastic school.

The rest of the sessions were held at Three Runs Plantation, a new equestrian housing development in Aiken, SC. Three Runs really treated us well, the footing was phenomenal, everyone was very friendly, and they held a great brunch for the riders and spectators.

Mark worked with Charly and I a total of 4 times. After the cross country schooling we then proceeded to flat sessions; Mark really like Charly’s presence and movement but thought that we could work a little on submissiveness! No more being a bully! I thought this was a fabulous idea and was really impressed with how much we got done in the couple of days. Charly and I ended our last session getting to do two show jump rounds. Mark had a course set up that was HUGE. The idea of the jump school was to be very accurate with how the horse was ridden to each jump, and to dare myself and the horse to get quite close to each fence so that he really had to give a good bascule over the top.

Mark will be coming back over to the US in March and Charly and I have been invited back to his next set of training sessions 🙂