The Prelim to PRO Team Series presented by Triple Crown Nutrition concluded the 2016 cycle at the Plantation Field International CIC and Horse Trials in Unionville, PA. Nine PRO Junior riders made up three teams competing for top team and individual honors at the CIC* level. Haley Carspecken, Arielle Aharoni, and Campbell Jourdian of Team Furlong’s Healthy Horse won the team Championship, and Haley also won the individual title.

“Prelim to PRO has been such a wonderful experience from beginning to end,” Carspecken said. “The program provides everything that a young rider would need to know about heading into a future professional career. From the team experience, educational lectures and mentorship, and the amazing prizes we all received from the wonderful team sponsors, Prelim to PRO will be a top organization for up and coming riders.”

Carpecken and her horse True Grace were the overall winners of the large and competitive CIC* young rider division, giving her the individual win in the Prelim to PRO Series Championship. For her top placing in the Series Championship, Carspecken won a full kit of tack from World Equestrian Brands LLC which includes an Amerigo Saddle, girth and leathers, Vespucci Bridle with reins and breastplate, an EA Mattes Sheepskin half pad, Equilibrium Airlite Cross-Country Boots and Stretch & Flex Wraps. She will also act as a brand ambassador for World Equestrian Brands LLC for the next year.

Each member of the winning team received a Vespucci bridle and reins courtesy of World Equestrian Brands. The runner up team--Tayler Stewart, Savannah Fulton, and Mikaela Kantorowski on Team World Equestrian Brands--received Airlite Cross Country Boots and Stretch & Flex Wraps courtesy of World Equestrian Brands.

“I can’t thank Triple Crown, World Equestrian Brands, Amerigo, and B.W. Furlongs Healthy Horse for the support and winnings we received,” Carspecken said. “I would recommend this program to any young rider looking to further their career in the eventing community and I believe that next year the program will grow even bigger.”

Guiding the Next Generation

Prelim to PRO is a program created and organized by the PRO Junior Board, which formed in 2014 with founding members Karri Bellamy, Caroline Martin, and Jorgen Olijslager with the help of advisor Samantha Lendl. The PRO Junior Board designed the Team Series to bridge the gap between the Preliminary and one-star levels of eventing through education and community development.

“I am most excited to see this program grow and touch as many young riders as it has touched me. The road to becoming a horseman has been laid down for the young riders through the Prelim to PRO Team Series and I encourage everyone to step up and take advantage of this incredible opportunity,” said Bellamy, who has also benefitted from her work on the Board.

“The experience I have gained from being on the PRO Junior Board has been monumental, from learning how to write emails to potential sponsors, speaking at the seminars during the events, and interning with PRO under Samantha’s guidance at Rolex. I have been able to expand my education in more ways than I could have imagined.”

Another goal of the Prelim to PRO Team Series is to mentor and educate the next generation of young riders by introducing them to a team experience prior to the full NAJYRC experience. The series works to establish the foundations of becoming a reliable team member and horseman, allowing young riders that may not have the financial backing, have aged out, or have not completed the qualification process for NAJYRC to be integrated into a team experience.

Campbell Jourdian said, “Since I have been a part of Prelim to PRO, not only have I learned new things about horses and competition but I have also made new friendships. Prelim to PRO has taught me how to be a part of a team and how to help cheer on your fellow teammates who are chasing the same dream as you.”

In addition to the team experience, the Prelim to PRO program and its sponsors offer educational opportunities ranging from equine nutrition and tack fitting to working with sponsors and developing media skills. Several seminars were held during the Championship and the attending riders learned valuable lessons that will help further their riding careers.

“Whether it be Triple Crown on equine nutrition, Furlong's Healthy Horse on ways to maximize veterinary care and management, or World Equestrian Brands who help keep our partners feeling and performing their best, a lot was learned in those seminars,” Savannah ‘Woodge’ Fulton said. “It's so great to see companies like these stepping up and offering knowledge, incentives, and prizes to the next generation. A big thanks to them and to PRO for supporting this program.”

Going from Prelim to PRO

Individuals must be Junior members of PRO in order to participate in the Team Series. To qualify for the Team CIC* Championship, riders are required to obtain qualifying scores at the Preliminary level as individuals at at least one designated event (the qualifiers for the 2016 Championship were Carolina International March 24-27, Surefire Farm Horse Trials June 24-26, and Millbrook Horse Trials August 2-7).

In addition, riders must obtain three Nationally Qualifying Results at the Preliminary level by having no more than 50 penalty points in a USEF Dressage Test, no cross-country jump penalties with no more than 36 time penalties, and no more than 16 show jumping jump penalties. Rider’s may only use a single nominated horse within the division as their qualifying horse for the championships.

Competitors at the Championship are stabled together and have daily meetings to discuss the days competition and educational activities. In addition to the seminars, each Team is assigned a professional coach to work with them throughout the event. This year, Sharon White coached Team B.W. Furlongs Healthy Horse, Buck Davidson coached Team World Equestrian Brands, and Allie Knowles coached Team SSG Gloves.

“Having a professional, such as Sharon White, walk the CIC1* cross country course with the B.W. Furlongs Healthy Horse team was a big help to the three teammates,” Carspecken said. “Getting pointers from someone other than your everyday coach can open your eyes to see new things that maybe you and your coach didn't think of, and that is why I love this program so much. It gave me new learning experiences from talking to representatives of big equine companies to being interviewed after our rides, to meeting professional riders, it truly gave me a feel for the big time leagues.”

Emily LaPolla echoed this sentiment: “Being apart of the Prelim to PRO team for Plantation CIC* was an amazing experience. The seminars were very educational and being given a coach to walk the courses with was a very cool experience...All in all this was a great experience, meeting all the other Prelim to PRO competitors and being able to compete with all the top level riders. I'm excited for what next year brings.”

Individual Placings for 2016 Triple Crown Feed Prelim to PRO Team Series:
1st- Haley Carspecken
2nd- Tayler Stewart
3rd- Arielle Aharoni
4th- Savannah Fulton
5th- Olivia Dutton
6th- Campbell Jourdian

Team Placings:
1st Place: Team Furlong's Healthy Horse- Score: 85.2
Haley Carspecken & True Grace
Arielle Aharoni & Dutch Times
Campbell Jourdian & Modern Man

2nd Place: Team World Equestrian Brands- Score- 99.2
Tayler Stewart & Ideal Contini
Savannah Fulton & Brave New World
Mikaela Kantorowski & Ringfort Swan Song

3rd Place:
Team SSG- No Score
Olivia Dutton & Santa’s Playboy
Paige Cianculli & Dark N Handsome
Emily LaPolla & Pioneer Partner

Thank you to our sponsors who make the Prelim to PRO Team Series possible!
Triple Crown Feed
B.W. Furlong & Associates
SSG Gloves
FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips
World Equestrian Brands