As promised, here are the questions from the application I had to fill out for the Gold Star Clinic! I didn’t include my answers, but I did include some thoughts on the questions, format, etc. in italics below. Let me know your thoughts!
- At what age did you start riding?
- At what age did you start jumping?
- Is your family involved in the horse industry?
- Have you participated in any other disciplines? Check as follows: Hunter, Jumper, Equitation
- How many years did you compete in the Hunters?
- Do you feel your Hunter experience helped you develop as a Jumper rider? Please explain.
- How many years did you compete in Equitation?
- Do you feel your Equitation experience helped you develop as a Jumper rider? Please explain.
Pretty basic stuff so far.
- Did you compete in the Talent Search competitions?
- Have you competed in any Equitation Finals? If so, in which did you compete and at what age(s) and year(s)? Did you place?
- At what age did you start riding in Jumper competitions?
- Have you competed in the National Junior Jumper Championship and Prix de States competition? If so, at what age(s) and what year(s)? Did you place?
- Have you competed in the North American Children’s, Junior or Young Rider Championships? If so, at what age(s), level, and in what year(s)? Did you place?
- It is important to know how you felt about the experience of competing at the Junior Jumper Championship/Prix de States and the NAChJYRC. Please write about that experience and how it did or did not impact your riding career.
- It is important to know how you felt about the experience of competing at the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships. Please write about that experience and how it did or did not impact your riding career.
Clearly this above section was aimed at people who had a fairly prolific career as a junior or are currently juniors. I had to put N/A for pretty much all of these except the last question about Team Finals.
- When you started your riding career, did your parents feel that they had enough information about the sport to make informed decisions on competitions, trainers and horse selection? Please explain.
Again, this is clearly aimed at junior riders. Also I competed mostly locally and at small rated shows at the 2’6″ level as a kid, so my parents didn’t really need any info.
- Have you ever taken dressage lessons? If so, did you find it beneficial and why?
- Do you have a young horse between the ages of 3 and 7 that you are working with?
- Do you know and follow top breeding bloodlines?
- Do you have an interest in your horse breeding and development? If so, please explain how it is important for your future and the future of the industry.
- Have you had any education on conformation, lameness, feeds and nutrition, shoeing, health and welfare of the horse? If so, was it helpful information and do you use the education you received? Please explain.
I found this section interesting- looking for diverse knowledge bases. I thought some of the yes/no type questions should have prompted more explanation (which I provided unprompted because I like to say stuff).
- Physical fitness is a key component to top athlete performances, please describe your personal fitness program. Well that’s kinda a leading question, dontcha think?
- Have you ever participated in a clinic or the USHJA Emerging Athlete Program? If so, who was the clinician, did you feel it was beneficial and why? This was a tough question to answer- no I did not do the EAP, but yes I have clinicked. It wasn’t a USHJA registered clinic though, so does that count? I ended up mentioning it, but I think this should (1) be separated into two questions and (2) clarified.
- Have you ever been a working student or have you been an apprentice for anyone other than your current trainer? If so, who did you work for and at what age? What did you learn from the experience? Well yeah, as a kid. Which wasn’t THAT long ago, so I think it should count.
- Do you use visualization techniques when competing? This was just a checkbox yes or no, but I would’ve loved a chance to write more about this.
- What do you feel are your riding weakness and strengths? Please explain.
- What are your immediate goals? Please be specific.
- What are your long term goals? Please be specific and explain how you intend to reach those goals.
- In what way do you think that the USHJA/USEF can help you to reach your goals? Lemme suck up to you real quick.
- Do you intend to become a professional or are you already a professional? This application was for a junior/amateur program, so not sure why there was an option to say that you are currently a professional.
- Please list your goals for the current competition year. Be sure to include your tentative schedule for both yourself and your horse(s) (i.e. Zone Jumper Team Championships, NAJYRC, Prix des States, Equitation Finals, Nations Cups, and international competitions, as well as any preparation for these targets). This was another section that felt tough for me to answer as a working amateur, because the honest response is “it depends on whether or not I get a good year-end bonus and how much time off my boss approves before she gets fed up with me missing meetings to go compete.” I have plenty of goals, but my budget requires me to be flexible on those and pass up on things I’d otherwise like to do. Most of these big shows listed are specifically for junior riders (which I am not) or for those competing at very high heights (which I am also not). Team Finals is pretty much the only nationally recognized program for ammies at the 1.15m level.
- Provide a written recommendation from a show jumping professional/trainer.
- Write a short essay describing your equestrian goals and future plans. 1 page maximum. Let me tell you, it was HARD to get this down to 1 page. As evidenced by the posts on this blog, I can talk for days about my plans and goals and my path forward. Thousands and thousands of words.
- Submit any additional information you wish to have considered by the selectors. Like…anything? Anything at all?