Insights & inspirations await riders & auditors Jan. 19-20 in Temecula.
The 21st Annual Eventing Fundraising Clinic invites riders and horses of all levels to leap into the New Year with new insights, ideas and inspirations. Set for Jan. 19-20 at Galway Downs in Temecula, the intense educational weekend is headlined by new USET High Performance director Erik Duvander and USET cross-country advisor and longtime Galway Downs coach and course designer Ian Stark.
Duvander is a Swedish Olympian and international chef d’equipe who joined the USET in late 2017. Stark, OBE, is a two-time Olympian for his native Scotland and a longtime Galway Downs supporter and celebrity.
Along with these international superstars, 35 of the West Coast’s top professionals are donating their coaching skills. Veteran competitors tuning up for the show season, rally-prepping Pony Clubbers and hunter/jumper riders who recognize the trust- and boldness-building benefits of an expertly supervised introduction to cross-country are among those welcome to participate.
Auditors are strongly encouraged. “It’s a great environment where it’s easy to listen and learn from our new chef d’equipe, Erik Duvander, and the U.S. team’s cross-country advisor, Ian Stark,” explains Del Mar Eventing and Galway Downs organizer Robert Kellerhouse. “Auditing is an incredible experience.” And, it’s free, with a $35 suggested donation for those who can contribute.
Duvander will work with horse and riders prepared to compete at Preliminary and above, while Stark and local professionals including Olympian Hawley Bennett-Awad and USET Pre-Elite Training List rider Tamie Smith welcome pairs of all levels. Stark is a tough taskmaster, Kellerhouse cautions. “It’s going to be full throttle, pedal to the metal in his sessions.”
Duvander and Stark will coach 45-minute private lessons, with all others spending two hours with small groups of appropriately-matched pairs. The focus of each session is up to each participant and Kellerhouse notes that dressage and show jumping are both preparation for safe and winning cross-country rounds.
Stark will be available starting Friday, providing the popular option of having three sessions on three different horses through the weekend. Duvander and the regionally-based professionals offer Saturday and Sunday lessons.
Packages At Various Prices
All lesson sign-ups include stabling Friday, Saturday and Sunday and a ticket to Saturday’s banquet. That night, Duvander and Stark will share plans, priorities and hopes for this year’s Pan Am Games, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and beyond. The weekend’s top-priced package, at $450, includes Saturday and Sunday lessons with Duvander. It’s $225 for a package with a Stark lesson; and $250 for coaching from a regional professional. Banquet tickets can be purchased separately.
Galway regulars can apply volunteer credits toward the clinic fee and/or a banquet ticket.
The clinic marks Duvander’s first visit to Galway Downs, host of the longest running CCI2* in America. That’s one of many feats made possible by funds raised through this long-standing January tradition. For that reason, Kellerhouse describes the professionals who donate their time during the clinic as Galway’s “biggest sponsors.”
Along with Hawley Bennett-Awad and Tamie Smith, the roster of instructors includes fellow longtime returnees: Debbie Rosen, Alice Sarno, Erin Kellerhouse, Barb Crabo, Lisa Sabo and Gina Economou, along with many up-and-comers following in their giving-back footprints. The teaching line-up includes Taren Hoffos, Jennifer Wooten-Macouzet, Emilee Libby, Frederic Bouland, Laura Borgesani, Auburn Excell-Brady, Mackenna Shea, Megan Gastel, Chloe Smyth, Wendy Wergeles, Taurie Banks, Susan Friend, Manuella Propf, Sara Sellmer, Bec Braitling, Rebecca Farley, Adrianna Silvestri, Heather Morris, Olivia Loiacono, Jess Hargrave, Stacia Arnold, Jennifer Johnson, Marilee Paul, Nick Cwick and Makenzie Rollins. Dressage coaches Jo Moran and Donna Weinberg are offering lessons on Friday.
“Funds raised over the years have been the foundation for us hosting much nicer events, having much nicer cross-country tracks and creative designs,” Kellerhouse explains. Longtime Galway Downs fence builder and course designer Bert Wood hatched the fundraising idea and it was first staged in 1999 with local trainers. Next came the idea of a “trainer to the trainers” and, through Wood’s connections, Ian Stark agreed to be the first such coach in 2000.
The breadth of teaching styles, experience and approaches available over the weekend make for an immersive experience for riders and railbirds alike. It’s a great way to start the new year and all in service to a venue renowned as preparation, proving ground and launch pad for equestrian dreams of all kinds.
To ride in the 21st Annual Eventing Fundraiser Clinic, find the sign-up and payment forms on the Calendar page at www.GalwayDowns.net. To audit, just show up at Galway Downs: 38801 Los Corralitos Road, Temecula on Jan. 19-20.