At the World Equestrian Center, we believe in supporting and educating the next generation of riders and horse people. We strongly believe that what happens outside of the show ring has a direct correlation to what happens inside of the show ring. With good horsemanship at the core of what we do, we aim to encourage this value in each and every exhibitor that shows at our facility. We believe that doing our part to educate the future generation of professional horsemen is essential to preserving the integrity of our beloved sport. The WEC Cadets Horsemanship Program was launched in 2016 to accomplish this goal.
The Cadets Horsemanship Program is a mini clinic held on Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m. during every World Equestrian Center sanctioned show. The clinics feature professionals who lecture on topics ranging from basic barn skills to advanced equine care. The clinics provide young riders with the opportunity to learn about all aspects of equine industries from top professionals in their areas of expertise. Riders competing as Juniors are eligible to sign up for the Cadets Horsemanship Program, and there’s an added benefit to doing so: at each Cadets Horsemanship Program clinic, there is a random drawing for 40 Cadets in attendance to receive a horse show credit of $250, and one Cadet in attendance to receive a horseshow credit of $500.
With a wide variety of topics and an expert clinician speaking to each one, Cadets can expect to greatly expand their knowledge of both equines and equine industries. The Cadets Horsemanship Program has hosted a myriad of equestrian professionals including veterinarians, farriers, grooms, braiders, stable managers, equine nutrition experts and physiologists such as masseuses and chiropractors. Horse show officials including stewards and course designers have lent their expertise as well as those involved with aspects of the industry that are outside the ring or the stable such as equine magazine publishers and those involved in the development of many of the unique products used in the equine industry. Some previous topics covered at the Cadets Horsemanship Program include US Equestrian drugs and medications rules, biosecurity, equine health and nutrition, course designing, rider fitness, and even the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA). While the education Cadets can take back to the barn immediately is useful, we also expand Cadets’ knowledge of career fields in equine industries, and even host clinics designated to that specific topic. Many clinicians remind the Cadets that there are countless ways to forge a career path in the equine industry, and that riding and training horses is not the only option.
The fun and interactive clinics utilize a variety of learning techniques from lecture-style discussions, to visual learning through worksheets, and even hands-on learning thanks to the donation from different stables of horses or ponies and aisles of stabling or tack rooms. To add to the fun of the clinics, generous vendors and sponsors frequently support the Cadets Horsemanship Program with contests, giveaways and raffles associated with the program topics as well.
The popularity of the Cadets Horsemanship Program has grown steadily since its inception with sessions that frequently have 50-100 Juniors in attendance. The program has awarded more than $250,000 annually in horse show credits to Junior riders who have participated in the program. We are always welcoming more young riders to join us for our clinics, and any young rider who wishes to participate in the program during a World Equestrian Center sanctioned show should sign up for class #2000 when placing their entries online at horseshowing.com. For more information on the Cadets Horsemanship Program, and to stay up-to-date on upcoming clinics, please visit the Cadets Horsemanship Program Facebook Page.