By Ross Creech
With the next iteration fast approaching, it seems only natural to shine our next ‘Spotlight On’ the USDF Sport Horse Handlers Clinics. Established through the ever-active USDF Sport Horse Committee, these clinics are designed to educate owners and exhibitors of sport horses on the basics of preparing horses for in-hand competition and inspection, as well as show ring rules and procedures.
Open to young riders, amateurs, and professionals, these clinics afford participants the opportunity to learn from and work closely with some of the top handlers North America has to offer. Throughout this weekend-long event, participants will learn about a variety of topics related to handling sport horses. Outside of the actual handling techniques, presenters will also cover topics related to business strategies for promoting oneself as a professional handler, and safety and consistency, as it relates to handling and competing young horses in hand.
For those interested, at the time of publication, the next USDF Sport Horse Handlers Clinic is scheduled for April 1-2, 2023 at Hilltop Farm in Colora, MD. Scheduled for this year’s event are renowned handlers Michael Bragdell and King Santacruz, with Susan Graham-White providing a judges perspective. Applications are currently being accepted and can be accessed through the USDF website.
Also, to date, as of date of publishing, the following are current USDF members who have completed a USDF Sport Horse Handlers Clinic and are available for handling in Dressage Sport Horse Breeding classes.
*For the most up-to-date list, visit the USDF website.
Keep in mind that the USDF Sport Horse Handlers Clinics are just one of the many sport horse-related education offerings, which also include the ever-popular USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forums as well as the Youth/Young Adult Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Seminars, to name a few. In addition, USDF also offers numerous award and recognition opportunities for sport horses, breeders, handlers, etc. To learn more about everything ‘sport horse’ USDF has to offer, visit the website or contact the USDF office. If you have ideas to share related to sport horse programs, feel free to reach out to your representatives on the USDF Sport Horse Committee.