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2 EQUESTRIAN VAULTING Editor in Chief: Megan Benjamin Guimarin, Assistant Editor: Alicen Divita Copy Editor: Katharina Woodman Photographers: Gaelle Cimetiere, Lynne Owen, Kate Revell, Michelle Solorzano, VaultingPhotos.com Writers and Contributors: Katariina Alongi, Sheri Benjamin, Alicen Divita, Kalyn Geisler, Isabelle Parker Designer: Leah Kucharek, Red Hen Design Equestrian Vaulting magazine is the official publication of the American Vaulting Association. Comments/suggestions/questions are welcome to For information on advertising rates, how to submit editorial content and more go to For address changes go to and click on Membership Updates to make the change. If you are having problems receiving your copy of the magazine or wish to receive additional copies, contact the AVA National Office (ph or No part of this publication may be reproduced either in whole or part without written permission. Copyright by American Vaulting Association Equestrian Vaulting magazine is published three times a year. AMERICAN VAULTING ASSOCIATION 1443 E. Washington Blvd. #289 Pasadena, CA GIVE THE GIFT OF EQUESTRIAN Learn techniques to improve compulsories & encourage creativity in freestyles. Instructor: Patti Skipton 2011 AVA Mentor of the Year 2014 Dates: April 6-11 $ 398 April $ 198 Jun. 29-Jul. 5 $ 598 Any skill level is welcome! Ages Warm Beach Camp presents: UP TO 60% OFF! Photo by Lynne Owen (800) WarmBeachVaulters.com EQUESTRIAN VAULTING American Vaulting Association Directory 2013 AVA VOLUNTEER BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS President: Connie Geisler, Executive VP: Kelley Holly, Treasurer: Jodi Rinard, Secretary: Jill Hobby, VP Competitions: Linda Bibbler, VP Development: Scott Donovan, VP Education: Carolyn Bland, VP Membership: Sheri Benjamin, BOARD MEMBERS Carol Beutler, Robin Bowman, Elizabeth Brigham, Carolyn Conner, Blake Dahlgren, Tammy Denault, Julie Divita, Kenny Geisler, Megan Benjamin Guimarin, Marianne Rose, Peter Senn, Patti Skipton, Patrick Stevens, Allison Yeager REGIONAL SUPERVISORS Region I: Peggy Van Hook, Region II: Isabelle Parker, Region III: Kathy Rynning, Region IV: Dena Madden, Region V: Beth Whillock, Region IX: Lisa Zielenske, Region X: Jane Egger, VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE CHAIRS /SPECIAL PROGRAM DIRECTORS Adaptive Vaulting: Peter Senn, AVA Blast: Lynn Stevens, Barrel Initiative: Open Competition Awards: Carol Beutler, Competitions Secretary: Suzanne Detol, CompWeb: Tom Oakes, Constitution & Bylaws: Open Equestrian Vaulting Magazine: Megan Benjamin Guimarin, Friendship Team: Melanie Schaubhut, & Greta Shryock, Grants: Jan Garrod, Grievance: Kendel Edmunds, Guys in Vaulting: Open Historian: Amy McCune, Horses: Carolyn Bland, Horse/Lunger Training: Carolyn Bland, Horse Recognition: Julie Divita, Horsemanship Programs: Megan Grove, Insurance: Open Membership Awards: Kathy Smith, Nationals 2014: Linda Bibbler, National High Point: Carol Beutler, Pony Club Partnership: Beth Whillock, Publications: Laury Blakley, Safety : Dena Madden, Sponsorships: Peggy Van Hook, Technical Committee: Kelley Holly, Trade Shows: Scott Donovan, Vaulter Fitness: Megan Benjamin Guimarin, Volunteer Recognition: Kathy Smith, Website: Cindy Rohrer, AVA NATIONAL OFFICE Craig Coburn, National Office Manager 1443 E. Washington Blvd. #289, Pasadena, CA Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon PST Ph: , Fax: FEI Vaulting Committee Chair: Emma Seely, USEF Board Members: Connie Geisler, and Linda Bibbler, USEF Board/Elected Athlete: Devon Maitozo, USEF Vaulting High Perf. Comm. Chair: Linda Bibbler, USEF Vaulting Technical Committee Co-Chairs: Craig Coburn, and Suzanne Detol, USEF Youth Council Member: Annalise VanVranken, Volume 45, Issue 3 Equestrian Vaulting Designed by: Leah Kucharek, Red Hen Design, 2 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

3 EQUESTRIAN VAULTING FEATURES 8 Team Vaulting Drills: Building a Foundation of Confidence and Trust Kalyn Geisler 10 Extending the Ladder, Coaching Coaches: Using Self-Reflection to Become a Great Coach Katariina Alongi AVA National Vaulting Champions 16 Event Photos AVA USEF Youth Sportsman's Award Nominee: Miranda Prints 24 Beginners Guide to Competing Internationally Alicen Divita 28 Mastering Vaulting After 30 Sheri Benjamin ON OUR COVER: Abigail Huckaby of Golden Gate positively shines in her trot freestyle with Chunky Monkey. COLUMNS 4 Vaulter Fitness Circus Fitness: Mastering the Perfect Handstand Alicen Divita 6 Horse Smarts Forming a New Partnership: The Logistics of Borrowing a Horse at Home or Abroad Alicen Divita 20 Coaching Corner How to Assess Your Vaulting Season: Setting Goals & Planning the Season Ahead Isabelle Parker 31 Events Calendar Photo courtesy of Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com 3

4 VAULTER FITNESS CIRCUS FITNESS By Alicen Divita It s time to mix it up and get upside down! Get your teammates together and try these fun exercises that are guaranteed to help improve your handstands (and impress your friends). Mastering the Perfect Handstand TRY LIFTING A LEG TO CHALLENGE YOUR CORE! Feet on Ball A great exercise to develop core strength: play with different versions of plank with your feet on the ball. As a challenge, try one-legged handstand pike-ups, pressing to full handstand and gently landing with the opposite leg on the ball before returning to plank. Level 1: Plank with feet on ball Level 2: Plank to pike Challenge: Plank to pike, one leg lifted Handstand Balance with a Partner Instead of just holding a handstand against a wall, try it with a partner who is actively helping you find your balance point. Have them start holding you with both hands, then slowly release one at a time, gently tapping you back into place every time you start to fall. With a tight body and legs squeezed together, make sure to spread your fingers and use your whole hand to balance. Starting in a push-up or a plank, toss your partner into a controlled handstand. A third partner can spot from behind. Handstand Partner Toss To develop core strength and practice maintaining tight form in a handstand position, have a teammate toss you from a plank position to handstand. If you lack tension in your body, your partner will not be able to toss you no matter how hard she tries! For an added challenge, bend your arms into a deep push-up before the toss. This is a great exercise to develop strength for swing exercises. Photos courtesy of Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com 4 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

5 Squeeze your core as you pedal one arm at a time in a plank. Arm Pedals Stair Climb Put the strength you learned in the arm pedals to work by walking up a set of stacked mats. Try it first with a partner in a wheelbarrow position, and then in a handstand once you re ready. Level 1: Stair climb in supported wheelbarrow Level 2: Stair climb in handstand with a spot Challenge: Walk the stairs in handstand without a spot This exercise will show you just how much core tension is needed to balance on your hands. Starting in a wheelbarrow or plank position, try lifting one arm straight back by your side. Once you have mastered this exercise, try the same pedaling action in a handstand with a partner s support. Make sure to keep pushing up out of your shoulders throughout the exercise. When you get comfortable with this exercise, try it without a partner. Soon enough you ll master the one-armed handstand! Practice your perfect handstand as you pedal one arm at a time. Plank Hands on Ball Holding plank with your hands on a yoga ball or other unstable object helps to develop an awareness of how you can use your hands and fingers to balance. Bonus! Challenge yourself by handstanding on various objects for balance! About the Author: Alicen Divita is a certified yoga teacher and a graduate of the University of California Berkeley. Alicen is currently studying to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine. She is a two time Gold Women s Champion and placed eleventh at the recent Vaulting World Championships in Le Mans, France. Athlete pictured: Woodside Vaulters' Tessa Divita, Audrey Kiernan, Siddartha Kreaden, Kristen Kuhn, Rachel Polati, Miki Yang 5

6 HORSESMARTS Forming a PART Vaulting at any level is about the partnership we vaulters and lungers share with our horse. We know their gait, their likes and dislikes, and often, we have tailored our entire vaulting style around our equine partners. When we travel, however, sometimes we don t have the luxury of toting our horses along with us. This is the guide for vaulters borrowing horses at home and abroad. Photo courtesy of Lynne Owen/VaultingPhotos.com Getting to Know Your New Partner From the Comfort of Your Own Home It s a good idea to check out videos of the horse with whom you are going to compete before you arrive for a practice or competition. Look for signs that he is comfortable. From what you can tell, what moves make him uncomfortable? What makes him swish his tail? Find former scores from the horse if you can and ask vaulters who have worked with the horse before for advice to help you piece together your horse s story. Additionally, here is a checklist of questions you might consider asking your new lunger, or asking yourself as you get to know the horse, to determine if the horse is a good fit: Are there any particular moves or areas of the horse s body to which he reacts sensitively? You may want to start recrafting your routine to accommodate for the horse s sensitivities if needed. What level of vaulter has the horse carried in the past? Advanced vaulters performing 6 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3 tricky, weight-shifting exercises require horses with excellent balance, while less advanced vaulters might want a horse that can withstand the occasional thump and bump. How many competitions has this horse been to, and is his behavior at competitions different than at practice? If it is, how can you recreate that competition behavior in the practice circle or vice versa! Things to Find Out Before the Competition Borrowing a horse can be logistically complicated beyond the challenges of vaulting with a new partner! Here are some of the logistical questions you ll want to answer before you even arrive for your first practice: Financial Questions There isn t one specific way to arrange payment for the use of a horse. You will want to make sure to discuss as much as possible beforehand, so there are no false assumptions or issues down the road. What is the fee for full use of the horse during the competition? What is the fee for training beforehand? What other expenses will I be required to cover? Will the costs be divided evenly between everyone using the horse? Training Questions Practice time is often scarce when borrowing a new horse. Be sure to make the most of it by knowing as much as possible ahead of time. When will we be practicing on the horse? What does a typical practice with this horse look like? Do vaulters work at the walk, trot, and canter? How much horse time (roughly) is allotted per vaulter? Will other vaulters be practicing on the horse as well? Will practice time be divided evenly between vaulters? Competition Logistics Questions Different clubs and lungers handle the details of a competition differently. Knowing how to help your lunger and groom on competition day will make everyone s competition run more smoothly.

7 New By Alicen Divita NERSHIP The Logistics of Borrowing a Horse at Home or Abroad Who will handle transportation logistics for the horse? Who will pay for the lunger s fees, including transportation, hotel, etc.? Who will pay for the groom s fees (if applicable)? At the competition, who is responsible for tacking the horse up before/cooling him down after we compete? Do they have competition-appropriate tack? If so, what kind of surcingle do they use? Can you use your own if the handles are vastly different? If the borrowed horse does not pass the vet check or if something happens, do they have a reserve horse they will be bringing? Do you have to pay for the use of the reserve horse? When do they plan on arriving at the competition? When do they expect me to arrive at the competition? Note: While all of these things are important to know, it s also important not to bombard your new lunger with questions and expectations when they aren t expecting it. Set up a time to chat on the phone (or Skype/Google Hangout works great for international calls) so that your lunger is prepared for a plethora of questions. Also, when borrowing a horse abroad, it is important to be mindful of language barriers. Choosing to be concise and to the point may be appreciated. Making the Most of your Practice Time First, find out how many practices you will have with your new horse and how many days you will have before the competition itself. From there, work backward to figure out what you will need to accomplish at each practice. Bond on the Ground No matter now much time you ll have to practice with your new horse, spend as much time as possible bonding with him on the ground. Offer to take him on long walks, to feed him, and ride him if you re capable. Spend time with him in his stall, mucking, grooming, and just hanging out. The more comfortable he is with you and the more comfortable you are with him, the better. Build Confidence The first practice should be spent developing a relationship with your new equine teammate. You should do a basic warm-up as you would at home, followed by a few of your easiest, most confident moves. This is as much to allow the horse to become used to you as it is about you getting used to him. Practice Full Routines If you only have one practice, it s a good idea to start with compulsories. After that, take a competition-style freestyle warm-up round, and then try running through your entire routine. If things don t work, simplify until they do. If you have more than one practice, you can take it a little more slowly. That said, the more Photo courtesy of Lynne Owen/VaultingPhotos.com clean full routines you have under your belt before entering into the competition arena, the more confident you will feel. Make a point of running through your routine at least once each practice. If you have time, take it a step further and stage a dress rehearsal before you leave for the competition. Test out new pad covers, uniforms, and equipment. Practice your run-in and bow, and get a sense for the timing of a trot circle. You will definitely want to have played your music (run-in, compulsory, freestyle, and technical test if you have one) as much as possible for your lunger and horse to hear. Make sure your lunger knows your routine, so they know when the opportune times are to send the horse forward or keep him steady. The better you know your horse and lunger, the more confident you will feel in the competition arena. Borrowing a different and unknown horse can be stressful, but it s also a great opportunity to meet new equine teammates, lungers, and to make new friends from new clubs. 7 Photo courtesy of Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com

8 FEATURE TEAM VAULTING DRILLS By Kalyn Geisler BUILDING A FOUNDATION OF CONFIDENCE AND TRUST You don t set out to build a wall. You don t say I m going to build the biggest baddest, greatest wall that s ever been built. You don t start there. You say, I m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall. Will Smith We spend countless hours working to improve our compulsories by practicing drills to improve form, build strength, and gain flexibility. This drill-based style of training can be applied to team vaulting as well. Somewhat counterintuitively, independence is a very important part of team vaulting. Each vaulter in a double or triple must be independently stable and capable of moving in harmony with the horse and their teammates. If a standing base cannot stand on her own with proper alignment and balance, she will not have the strength or balance to support a flyer. Likewise, if a neck base sits with bad form and poor posture, she will not be able to provide the support needed by her teammates. This is also true Vaulter 1 mounts to seat and moves to seat on the neck Vaulter 2 mounts to seat Vaulter 2 assists Vaulter 3 in mounting behind Vaulter 2 8 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

9 for flyers, who are the pinnacle of any team freestyle. The flyer must be able to remain tight and in control so as not to influence her bases centers of gravity. When learning new team moves, vaulters must first learn to do their piece of the structure independently. For example, if a vaulter wants to base standing backward, he should be able to stand backward freely and confidently on his own. Oftentimes, stand bases are too reliant on their supporting bases (i.e. sitting or kneeling bases), which limits team freestyle options and adds greater risk to any position. Being able to balance while remaining supple and relaxed makes a competent base. Similarly, if a flyer wants to stick a juggler (a supported arm-to-arm handstand), she needs to have a solid handstand on her own first. Frequently, flyers do not have the body control necessary to perform their piece of the structure. The more independence each team member has, the more stability and harmony they can achieve when working together. A great way to drill this concept is to practice line freestyles, a team drill in which each member of the team cycles through positions on the horse in height order. The focus of this drill is to work in harmony with each other while sharing space and practicing independence. Line freestyles are the perfect tool for early season training, because they give team members a chance to get comfortable on the horse together and focus on clear communication. A basic line freestyle could look something like this: 1. Vaulter 1 mounts to seat and moves to seat on the neck 2. Vaulter 2 mounts to seat 3. Vaulter 2 assists Vaulter 3 in mounting behind Vaulter 2 4. Vaulter 2 moves to a kneeling position and Vaulter 3 moves to a standing position 5. Vaulters 1-3 put their arms out and independently share space on the horse for a count of four strides 6. Vaulter 1 dismounts from the neck 7. Vaulter 2 moves to sitting on the neck 8. Vaulter 3 moves forward and assists vaulter 4 onto the horse behind them. and so on. This process repeats until all members of the team have performed each position. Once the team has mastered this basic line freestyle, start to adjust it to meet your difficulty level. For example, practice mounting your flyers from a standing position instead of sitting or even try adding simple lifts and more complicated structures. In any line freestyle, the transitions are just as important as the moves, so make sure to practice communication and maintain balance, harmony, and coordination when moving from one position to the next. If your squad has lofty goals, go after them! See the big picture and create building blocks to achieve those goals. Remember: drills are not just for compulsories! About the Author: Kalyn Geisler is a coach and lunger at Wildfire Vaulters, a club she founded with her husband Kenny in A successful vaulter herself, Kalyn earned the team bronze medal at the 2004 Vaulting World Championships in Stadl Paura with Coastline Vaulters and has won multiple team and pas de deux National Championships Photos courtesy of Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com Vaulter 2 moves to a kneeling position and Vaulter 3 moves to a standing position Vaulters 1-3 put their arms out and independently share space on the horse for a count of four strides Vaulter 1 dismounts from the neck Vaulter 2 moves to sitting on the neck Vaulter 3 moves forward and assists vaulter 4 onto the horse behind them 9

10 FEATURE Coaching Coaches: Using Self-Reflection to Bec Extending the Ladde Thirty years ago, when I was fifteen years old, I became a vaulting coach. Having only vaulted for one year myself, I knew little about vaulting and even less about coaching, yet I found myself in charge of a group of eight children and a pony. I remember being excited but also somewhat overwhelmed. How would I teach the children what I knew? And what about all the stuff I didn t know? (Which, in hindsight, was a lot.) It was the eighties and the sport of vaulting was completely new in Finland, my home country. Having learned vaulting from a German handbook and a three-day eventer who had once seen vaulting in Germany, I was everything but equipped to coach. Luckily, I didn t realize how much the odds were against me when I was fifteen. Had I known what I didn t know, I might have quit right there and then. Instead, I found the seed of my inner teacher, a completely new characteristic in my still-developing persona, and put myself to work. Years later, I worked with several coaches from Germany, who helped me further understand what vaulting was all about. I soon realized that there was more to coaching the sport than knowing all the drills for compulsories or how to put together a decent team freestyle, so I decided to pursue an education in the field of athletics. Could a college degree in coaching perhaps help me become the coach I wanted to be? In many ways my college education did just that. I learned about anatomy and physiology as well as psychology. I learned to train strength, endurance, speed, and how to balance it all out depending on the discipline. I studied child development, learning theory and pedagogy, the instructional theory of education; I even demonstrated my knowledge in coaching sessions that were graded and evaluated for organization, clarity, and instruction. I am fortunate to have a coaching degree under my belt, but even with all the knowledge I gained in school, what has mattered the most in my coaching career are all the hours I have put in at the barn, the gym, the rink, the field. At the end of the day, you can study theory until you are blue in the face, you can read books and attend workshops and watch others, you can even be a retired world class athlete, but it isn t until you actually coach that you have the opportunity to start to grow. Learning to coach happens informally, through experience. But and this is important we don t simply learn from the act of experiencing. If we wish to grow as coaches, our experience has to be examined, analyzed, and considered before it can make a shift in our knowledge. How many times during my coaching career have I performed poorly, made the wrong decision or forgotten to plan ahead? Many. We all do. Instead of walking away from these mistakes, shrugging them off as unimportant, we should embrace them as gifts, as they are the defining moments from which we can learn. What could I have done differently? What knowledge, help or resources do I need next time? What do I do well already, what is my expertise, my asset, my strength, and how can I build on that? All these are valid questions every coach should ask themselves at some point in time. Self-reflection is crucial for your evolution as a coach; it is like building a ladder which you attempt to extend further and further to reach greater heights. If the ladder stops extending, you are limiting yourself, which is not only a disadvantage to you, but to your students as well. Self-evaluation is not always easy, and looking into the mirror can be humbling. We are all human and despite all the coaching manuals, there really is no handbook on how this is done. We often rate a coach by their knowledge of athletic techniques and tactics, but organizational awareness, leadership abilities, and time management skills, not to mention the ability to communicate with, give feedback to, motivate, encourage, be fair with, listen to, and respect the students can be even more important. It took me years to realize that athletes Photo courtesy of Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com 10 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

11 By Katariina Alongi ome a Great Coach r People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates. ~Thomas Szasz are not only learning a sport under my guidance, they are learning about fairness, resilience, perseverance, success, failure, self-esteem, self-confidence, teamwork, communication, self-awareness, kindness, encouragement, responsibility, anger management, emotional agility the list goes on. A coach is not only creating athletes; a coach is creating human beings. It can be up to you and me to help a child find their inner courage or learn to believe in themselves. It can also be up to you and me to take that courage away. A sobering thought, to say the least, but assessing your own abilities will help you understand your strengths as a coach as well as the pitfalls to look out for. In the process, you will not only grow as a coach, but surely as a human being as well. How to Self-Reflect Self-reflection requires time and commitment and is more effective if done with another person. My best seasons in coaching have been the seasons I worked with another coach or as part of a coaching team. But even if you are coaching alone, talking to another coach from another team or club about recurring problems and issues can be helpful. Often coaches don t have a peer to talk to and that is when taking the time to reflect using a written exercise can be crucial in evaluating how you operate within the context of a practice, competition or an entire season. I recommend it to everyone, even those who are lucky enough to have peer support. Below is an example of a basic exercise that can help you self-evaluate and reflect on a single practice. Reflecting on the Results Look at your numbers. What is your highest score? Is this an area of coaching in which you excel regularly? What personal strengths do you have that help you in this area? For example: If your highest score is in delivering feedback, perhaps your strength is your positive outlook in life, which makes it easy to encourage your students. Or maybe you have good technical knowledge and have a knack for detailed corrections and knowledge of different learning styles. Whatever your strengths are, write them down, reflect on the importance of these skills and how you could use them in other areas of your coaching. Now, look into your lowest numbers. Let s say you have given yourself a four in time management. Perhaps you had planned to work on flight exercises first on the barrel, run through team compulsories on the horse second, and work on a part of team freestyle at the walk third, but you ran out of time and only managed the first two exercises. Also, practice ran overtime and you had no time to do conditioning because it took so long to put the horse away. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself: How did a low performance in time management affect the other areas (numbers) on your evaluation? How did it affect the overall score? If this practice is what a 4 in time management looks like, what does a 6 look like? What about an 8? Get detailed in your answer; write down what you would like to see happen. What needs to change to achieve a 6/8/10? What are the personal skills you will need when improving this area of your coaching? Do you need outside help (another coach, the athletes, parents, etc.)? Write down one to three small steps you can take to better this score for future practice. Imagine having an 8 in time management every practice. How will this affect the other numbers? What about the big picture; how will this affect you and your athletes in the long run? Repeat this for each number, if desired. Make it clear to yourself what your goals are for each area. EXERCISE 2 EXERCISE 1 Shortly after the practice is over, rate each area of the practice and your own performance by circling a number between 1 (very poor) to 10 (excellent!). Be brutally honest, as this is only for your benefit. Planning vs. execution of plans Organization of practice/athletes Communication with athletes/other coaches Time management Feedback (quality/quantity) Motivation (of coach) Overall score for the practice (other) If you are more inclined to write essays than play with numbers, you can also write a short answer to each of the following questions: What went well and why? What went less well and why? What have you learned? What can you work on? Write three things you can do differently next time. About the Author: A native of Finland, Katariina holds a degree both in Life Coaching and in Sports Science with a major in coaching. She coached the Finnish National Vaulting Team for over a decade before moving to California where she teamed up with Coastline Vaulters to win a team bronze medal at the 2004 World Championships. Along with vaulting she has coached different sports such as dressage, gymnastics, floorball and soccer for 30 years to children and adults alike. Currently she works in Santa Cruz, CA as a life coach and writer, teaches rider biomechanics and emotional intelligence to equestrians, and coaches her son s soccer team. Website:

12 Photos courtesy of Lynne Owen and Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com Gold Women Elizabeth Ioannou, Mt. Eden Vaulting Club with Urfreund Rosengaard and Emma Seely Gold Men Kristian Roberts, Half Moon Bay Vaulters with Hudson and Carolyn Bland Silver Siddartha Kreaden with Limerick 2013 AVA National Bronze Men Daniel Janes, Warm Beach Vaulters with Prize, Patti Skipton, Promise, and Elise Valsquier Copper Women Carlee Heger, Mile-High Vaulters with Xena, Shelby, and Jodi Rinard Coppe Sequoia Thom with BHR John Boy J 12 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

13 Women, Woodside Vaulters and Krista Mack Silver Men Kaleb Patterson, Warm Beach Vaulters with Prize, Promise, and Patti Skipton Bronze Women Kristen Kuhn, Woodside Vaulters with Limerick and Krista Mack Vaulting Champions r Men as, Lazy River oe and Valerie Carter Trot Women Helen Mills-Selch, Blue Star Vaulters with Prince and Nicole D'Auriol Trot Men Ari Sanders, Technique Equestrian Vaulting Club with Tong du Chon and Chase Kaylor 13

14 Photos courtesy of Lynne Owen and Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com A TEAM Mt. Eden Sun Team with Urfreund Rosengaard and Emma Seely B TEAM Warm Beach Chronicles with Promise, Elise Valsquier, Prize, and Patti Skipton 2013 AVA National Open Pas de Deux Cassidy and Kimberly Palmer, Half Moon Bay Vaulters with Cheval and Carolyn Bland Preliminary Pas de Deux Hannah Beehler and Carlee Heger, Mile High Vaulters with Shelby and Jodi Rinard 14 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

15 C TEAM Above and Beyond/Apex Avant-Garde with Curious George and Saacha Deamborossio TROT TEAM Above and Beyond/Cascade Madagascar with Curious George and Saacha Deamborossio Vaulting Champions Open 2-Phase Pacific Coast Vaulters with Cheval and Carolyn Bland Preliminary 2-Phase A Vaulting Connection/Therapeutic Horse Connection Exception with Caspian and Karin Schmidt 15

16 2013 AVA NATIONALS Photos courtesy of Lynne Owen and Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com 16 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

17 17

18 Photos courtesy of Lynne Owen & Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com CVI PACIFIC CUP 2013 RISING CLINIC 18 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

19 G STARS C Photos courtesy of Michelle Solorzano HARBOR VIEW VAULTERS HALLOWEEN FEST Photos courtesy of Gaelle Cimetiere 19

20 COACHINGCORNER By Isabelle Parker How to Assess Your Vaulting Season: SETTING GOALS & PLANNING THE SEASON AHEAD sets of twenty push-ups with perfect form and you can collect the data by testing every two weeks at Saturday practice. Create a timeline: Map out the year on a calendar. Include competitions, demonstrations, vacations, clinics, and other relevant events. Also, jot down the following: When will you train compulsory drills? When do you want to start doing full compulsories with your competition music? When will your routines (freestyle, technical test) be written? When will you take out moves that do not work? When will you be able to run them in time? When will you pick your music? When/how will it be edited to your routine? When will you work on choreography? The 2013/14 vaulting season is well underway and it is time to set concrete goals. Here are some simple steps to follow as you plan for the coming season. Look back at last year. The first step to plan for the year is to do a good assessment of the past season. This is a critical step. Collect Data If you wrote goals for the 2012/13 season, find them. Compile any results including all of your score sheets or Compweb printouts of your scores, medal test results, fitness test results, etc. Compile videos. In addition to competitions, you might also want to include a practice or two. Using the grid on the right, recreate the calendar for last year as best as you can. Include the major events and milestones (competitions, music selected, any injuries, etc.) Interview three people about your season. You can pick anyone who knows you and your vaulting well. (Ideas include coach, parent, and teammate.) Ask them to reflect on your year. What went well? Where did you have room for improvement? What do they see as your strengths? What three words describe you last year? Reflect Review all of your data. What can you learn about last year? Honestly evaluate your accomplishments. Dig in. Why did you succeed? Or, why did you miss your mark? By how much? Consider not only your vaulting, but all of the elements that contribute to your success practice, health, nutrition, fitness, coaching, horse, mental training, schedule, etc. Write down your reflection. Try to be descriptive and comprehensive. Circle three things that you want to repeat this year and three things that you want to change. Set your goals. Based on what you learned about yourself from the previous season, set your goals. Remember to consider all of the elements that contribute to your success practice, health, nutrition, fitness, coaching, horse, mental training, schedule, and any factors specific to you. Consider listing four to six goals total. Be specific and make sure that your goals address your weaknesses too. Sample goals include pass my silver medal commended and earn a 8.0 DOD score at Nationals. Develop your metrics. Every goal should be measurable. (If it isn t measurable, how will you know if you achieved it?) For each goal, write a metric and state how you will collect the data to measure it. For example, if your goal is to improve your upper body strength, your metric could be do three What is your fitness plan? What will you work on throughout the year? Do you have SAMPLE CALENDAR DATE January February March April May And so on... EVENTS SOV Clinic Co Ad Medal Test Sta Dress rehearsal April 25 Spring Fest May 15 "M 3 x 20 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

21 a plan to build strength? Speed? Flexibility? How about mental training (visualization, breathing)? Are these skills you need to develop or build? If you are getting a uniform, add the design and fitting to the schedule too. Make sure you leave time to practice in your new uniform! Make a plan for training during the competition season. How much time will you have during the season? Will there be time for improvements or adjustments to your routines? Will there be time for rest? Share your goals, metrics, and timeline with your support team. This team should include anyone who can help motivate you and keep you on track. Your coach, parents, siblings, friends, and teammates may also have suggestions. Incorporate these ideas! Revisit and review. Your plan should be displayed some place where you will see it often. Check the timeline regularly and complete your metrics. If something isn t working or needs to be adjusted, don t fret - make the necessary changes. However, if you need to make a change, don t forget to learn first. Examine the data you have and use that to make your new goal or set your new metric. Tips for Coaches: Effective goal setting is challenging. Here are some things I ve learned over the years: Keep the goals simple. Set a few goals that target specific areas for improvement and a few goals which will challenge your vaulter to improve his/her strengths. Write very clear metrics especially around the areas of improvement. No one wants to work on the hard stuff. Check these regularly. Include parents whenever possible. They have their eyes on so many of the things you don t see (nutrition, cross training, sleep, stress, etc.). Post calendars at practice/ the barn and celebrate milestones. And most important, pick a moves out date and stick to it. This is the date when any freestyle move which is not working 90% of the time comes out of the routine. I would recommend that this happens at least four weeks before the first competition. It is hard to stick to this, but it really helps. After moves come out, allow the vaulter to spend several practices just running clean routines like in a competition. About the Author: Isabelle Parker has coached Woodside Vaulters for over twenty years. She has worked with every level of team and individual, sending top level vaulters to nearly every World Championships since An AVA r judge, technical committee member, and an FEI steward, Isabelle holds her AVA Gold Medal and competed internationally for the United States. Isabelle is also the Chief Financial Officer of Summit Public Schools. FITNESS COMPULSORIES FREESTYLE TECHNICAL OTHER re strength Work flights Finish writing routines d swimming Work turns Run routines in two parts rt speed training Run in two parts Moves out March 15! Run in 1:10 Drill all five moves Moves out March 15! Run in 1:10 Finalize all music Uniform ordered Run with music Run in 1:00 with music every week Run in 1:00 with music every week. Drill Two moves every practice Practice 1 x week in uniform aintain" workout week Drill two moves every practice. Run Drill two moves every practice. Run every other practice Run every other practice Do run-in with music every practice 21

22 2013 AVA USEF YOUTH SPORTSMAN'S MIRANDA PRINTS Each year, equestrians from across the United States apply for the USEF Youth Sportsman s Award. The application process starts within each specific USEF national affiliate (i.e., the AVA for vaulting), who then nominates one candidate for USEF consideration. The overall USEF Youth Sportsman s Award winner receives a trophy, a $1,000 educational grant, and a USEF life membership ($2,500 value). He/she will also be considered as a candidate for the USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year, with the Overall Reserve Winner receiving a $500 educational grant. The AVA always receives numerous applications for this prestigious award and 2013 was no exception. We had a large pool of extremely qualified applicants who easily embody what this award stands for commitment to the sport of equestrian vaulting, being a positive role model to peers, involvement in the community and exhibiting positive sportsmanship principles. After careful review, the AVA Member Recognition Awards Review Committee selected Miranda Prints from Nu Balance Vaulters as the 2013 AVA nominee! As her coach, Michelle Solorzano, said, Miranda is a talented vaulter, inspiring role model, highly intelligent scholar, team leader, extremely motivated worker, and unique athlete. She wears a coat of many colors and I am lucky to have her on my team. According to Ron Maynard, her high school Spanish teacher, Miranda is an amazing person. She has spent countless hours preparing for her future and helping to make the future of those less fortunate much better. Her mentor, Rachel O Laughlin, shared, I have known Miranda for over a decade, but I have come to know her more in depth as a young adult in the last three years. It has been an honor to watch Miranda flourish and triumph in every task she has taken on in that time. I am confident that she will shine as an example for young athletes everywhere! Seventeen-year-old Miranda is a senior at Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks and the daughter of Andrew and Lisa Prints. Miranda is an accomplished vaulter who competes on Nu Balance s competitive team, as well as their full-time entertainment team, Crown Capall. She has earned such titles as Region II High Point Champion and Reserve Champion and was also a 2010 WEG USA Friendship Team Member. Miranda is very active with the California TOP FIVE RUNNERS-UP DESERVING HONORABLE MENTION Caroline Shubert of Vaulters del Sol, New Mexico. Vaulting coach Greta Shryock says, Caroline has an unbelievable ability to find the best in any situation and can pass that positive attitude on to others. She is a friend to everyone, a positive role model for the younger kids, and a motivation for her peers. Sierra Smith of Golden Gate Vaulters, Colorado. Andy Jennings, competitive soccer coach, shared, Sierra s commitment to excellence, integrity, and sportsmanship are some of the reasons why she was selected as Team Captain this year. She leads by example and also with words. Lizzie Ioannou of Mt. Eden Vaulting Club, California. Vaulting coach Emma Seely wrote, As team captain, Lizzie holds the team together. Her leadership skills guide the team through big decisions and while working toward common goals. She is the girl with the energy and leadership to make things happen. Haley Smith of Golden Gate Vaulters, Colorado. Noel Martonovich, vaulting coach, wrote, Haley has always shown an intensity and desire to improve while still having fun and enjoying her work. Her work ethic at competitions and with the horses sends a great message to younger vaulters who look up to her as a role model. She has a great future in vaulting. Clare Sitzer of Tambourine Vaulters, California. Vaulting coach Kelley Holly states, Clare lives by the golden rules that we all wish to impart to our youth of today. She tackles the challenges of our horse sport of vaulting with determination, a fantastic work ethic, and with gentleness and kindness towards both her human and equine competitors. 22 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

23 AWARD NOMINEE: By Kathy Smith State Fair, scholastic clubs, and her church youth group. Miranda and Nu Balance Vaulters started Athletes for God, in honor of two teammates with diseases. Congratulations, Miranda, on being the 2013 AVA National Nominee for the USEF Youth Sportsman s Award! UPDATE USEF announced that Miranda was selected as the 2013 USEF Youth Sportsman s Award WINNER! She was the top choice among an outstanding group of youth representing their recognized breed and discipline affiliates from across the country. Miranda is now in contention for USEF s prestigious Junior Equestrian of the Year award. Congratulations, Miranda! 23

24 FEATURE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO COMPETING INTERNATIONALLY Looking at a poster of your favorite vaulter competing in a World Championships, have you ever wondered what that experience is like? No more wondering: here s a beginner s guide to competing internationally! There are more opportunities than ever before for vaulters of all ages and levels to compete internationally both at home and abroad and there are many benefits to starting early. The first ever FEI Junior World Championships will be held in the summer of This, along with the recognition of Children as an official CVI class depicts the increased attention given to younger vaulters looking for an international career. If you are interested in competing internationally, this article is packed full of wisdom, tips, and information just for you. BRING THE WORLD TO YOUR HOME! You don t have to go abroad to reap the benefits of our international sport; you can host a foreign vaulter in your own home! This is a great way to start building relationships, so when you re ready to go abroad, you might be able to be hosted by a familiar face. Hosting an elite international vaulter for clinics or a foreign vaulter who wants to train, study, or compete in the US are both great ways to connect with the international vaulting community. Any of the AVA/USEF vaulters who have participated in recent World Championships can help connect you with a hosting situation. Learning the Language of Foreign Vaulting If the letters/numbers CVI CH 1* look like your cat jumped on your keyboard, here are some simple tips to help you navigate the road of international competition. First, unlike AVA or even USEF-recognized events, international competitions are divided by age as well as ability. All international competitions are called CVIs, which stands for Concours de Voltige International (your very first French lesson it means International Vaulting Competition ). The letters following this indicate the age level, as broken down below.* CH = Children Individual Competition, ages 12 to 14 J = Junior Individual and Pas de Deux Competition, ages 14 to 18; Junior Team Competition, ages 18 and under No letter stated = Senior Individual & Pas de Deux Competition, ages 16 and older; Senior Team Competition, no age limit To move up to a higher level, a vaulter must earn scores starting at the entry level, or 1*, in whatever age division he or she competes. A single competition may host all of these age and skill levels, or just a few. For this reason, it is important to make sure when choosing a CVI that it offers not only the appropriate age division, but also the star level at which you have qualified and intend to compete. Individual Qualification Criteria for Junior CVI J 1* Ages Junior World Championship qualification: 6.5 in any one round at CVI 2* or CVI J 2* or at a championship One of the benefits of competing in the Children or Junior category is that you don t have to be up against previous world champions and well-established athletes when you first begin. If you have the opportunity, start as a junior first so you can be recognized and stand out for your talents. No Qualificat Criteria Children CVI CH 1* Ages No Qualificat Criteria 24 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

25 By Alicen Divita *All ages are determined by the calendar year in which vaulters turn that age. For example, a Junior vaulter is eligible from January 1st of the year he or she turns 14 until December 31st of the year he or she turns CVI J 2* ion 6.0 in any one round at CVI 1*, CVI J 1*, CVI CH 1*, CVI J 2*, CVI CH 2*, OR CH-EU-V J CVI CH 2* ion 5.5 in any one round at CVI 1*, CVI J 1*, CVI CH 1*, OR CVI CH 2* Resources: Fédération Équestre Internationale Check out for a calendar of events and international rules. Check out default/files/qualification_criteria_for_2014-new.pdf for full qualification criteria for Children, Juniors, Seniors, and Pas de Deux. United States Equestrian Federation Consider them your go-to resource for everything related to competing overseas. Familiarize yourself with Photo courtesy of Lynne Owen/VaultingPhotos.com 25

26 Advice on Competing Abroad from US Vaulting Stars Be ready for anything. Go into the competition and the training beforehand (if you are lucky to have any) like you would at home. Try not to stress about little things, like the horse being different or one of your moves not working. Be flexible and focus on getting used to the new horse and the new environment. Try not to get too wrapped up in the scores. Have fun, meet new people, and enjoy getting to travel and vault in a different country! Lizzie Ioannou, 2013 AVA Gold Women s National Champion and 2006 World Equestrian Games Team USA Silver Medalist "Looking back on my first time abroad as a vaulter, I would have prepared myself a bit more physically as well as mentally, because not only are you dealing with a time change, you're dealing with a new horse and lunger, too! Don't stress about your hardest moves not working the first day on the new horse. Keep working toward them and only make changes if you absolutely must; too many changes might distract you from performing at your best! -Kristian Roberts, 2013 AVA Gold Men s National Champion Don t get swept away by the fact that you are competing against everyone you ever idolized. Remember, it's still just vaulting. As men, we may be used to winning everything more or less by default, but it s important to understand that we might be beat internationally by a lot. Don't get discouraged; use it to motivate yourself! Gabe Aniello, the first American to qualify for the FEI World Cup Final in 2012 Stick to a proper nutrition regimen abroad. For me that means clean eating, or eating fresh foods with as few preservatives and additives as possible. Blake Dahlgren, three-time world medalist and 2010 World Equestrian Games Team USA Gold Medalist Allow yourself to enjoy the social aspect of the competition, too. Those are the memories that two, five, ten years from now, will outlast the results of the competition. Ultimately, vaulting is about so much more than the vaulting itself. Competing abroad is a unique opportunity to experience other cultures in a totally immersive way. Appreciate it and take advantage of it!" Rosalind Ross, four-time world medalist and 2010 World Equestrian Games Team USA Gold Medalist DO NOT LOSE YOUR CREDENTIALS. [CVI competitions require that the barn is securely monitored 24/7 as soon as the horses have passed vet check. Without your credentials, you won t be let into the barn.] Also, make sure you know ahead of time the differences in logistics and rules between American and international competitions. Emily Hogye, two-time world medalist and 2010 World Equestrian Games Team USA Gold Medalist Photos courtesy of Lynne Owen and Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com 26 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

27 What to Expect When Competing Abroad Here are some terms and concepts that are essential to know before competing in a CVI. Vet Check All horses must pass a veterinary inspection (vet check) prior to the start of the competition. This is your opportunity to make your horse look the best he possibly can look, and it is not uncommon to see people spending hours beautifying their horses. It is important that you, your horse, and your lunger show up looking professional. Vet check proceeds in alphabetical order by country and by horse show name within each country, with the host country going last. Chef D Équipe As in most national competitions, the head coach of each club is responsible for checking his or her team members into the office. Internationally, a single Chef d Équipe must be appointed for each country. At larger competitions, this person is often an experienced judge or coach; however, if you attend a competition as the only US athlete, you, your coach, or your parent will be responsible for filling this role. There will be a meeting for all Chefs d Équipes after the vet check to determine the start order of the competition. There may also be additional Chef d Équipe meetings throughout the competition. The Draw Competing abroad, you will not have the luxury of knowing in advance what order and time you will be competing. During the Chef meeting, each vaulter and horse pair will be drawn from a hat in correspondence with a number. Be sure to write the order down because the schedule is often released much later, and at this point you ll just need to focus on getting a good night s sleep! Armband Number Leave your AVA armband at home when you compete abroad. In international competitions, you will be given a new one for use during the competition. Most competition organizers ask for a deposit, so make sure to return your number after the competition to get your money back. It may also be a good idea for the smaller vaulters to bring sewing materials, as these numbers are often quite big and might require some tailoring. Awards Awards are typically held immediately following the performance of the last vaulter of the competition. All members of the same country must wear the same warm-up suit, so make sure to arrange in advance with the other US vaulters what you ll be wearing. Also, leave your hair up and make up on so you look professional. Other Tips Pack your uniforms in your carry-on, as there is always the possibility of things getting lost in transit and full body custom-fit spandex is not easily replaced! Plan your workouts under the assumption that there will be no exercise equipment available. Therabands (stretchy elastic bands) work great to provide resistance without added weight in your suitcase. Bring a journal. This can provide comfort among new things and entertainment for later years when you will be able to relive the first moments you tasted liverwurst and first impressions of what could become lasting friendships. Your Journey Begins Now All the best vaulters in the world started where you are now. The world of international vaulting not only expedites your progression as a vaulter, it opens new doors, new challenges, and lets you explore new worlds. Trust yourself, get excited, and go for it! Photo courtesy of Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com 27

28 FEATURE MASTERING VAULTING 30 AFTER By Sheri Benjamin is a young person's sport." Watching equestrian vaulting athletes as they lithely maneuver on a cantering "Vaulting equine, dismounting with no more effort than stepping off the curb, no adult spectator would think twice about nodding in agreement. Most anyone can recognize the extreme strength and flexibility needed to vault on, perform a routine in harmony with the horse (and sometimes others), and dismount from the horse. Yes, most adults would picture mounting/dismounting a horse while the equine is standing still, and probably with the help of a mounting block. And then there are the outliers. Malcolm Gladwell s famous book of the same name described an outlier as a scientific term to describe things that lie outside normal experience. Vaulters in their thirties, forties, fifties and sixties especially all of them starting the sport after the age of 30? Yup. Outliers they are. Take Kerry Noble of Washougal, Wash., for example. A horsewoman since the age of 12, Kerry was first exposed to vaulting in her early twenties, yet when she expressed interest, someone in the horse community said I was too old. But after giving a presentation on competitive mounted orienteering at an area horse camp some years later, she was invited to a vaulting lesson by vaulting dad and lunger Gary Iversen. I stood on the horse at the walk at my very first practice, Kerry remembers, and I was hooked. She was 31. I love vaulting because it s different, Kerry says. It s challenging. It s terrifying. It satisfies my quest to learn new things. She has competed at local competitions, as well as Regionals and Nationals, since 2006 and holds her AVA Bronze medal. I ve always loved horses, she reported. As a child I wanted a horse, and after my grandparents saw me riding one of our cows, they convinced my mom to get me a horse. She s been involved in many equine activities, from 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) to buying/selling horses at auction and competitive mounted orienteering. Kerry Noble When asked about her current horse situation, Kerry laughs. I have a lot of them, she confesses. Seven altogether, ranging from her vaulting horse Toby, a Belgian Quarter Cross, to Sampson, an Arab Quarter Horse. Of course, let s not forget her pony and a zebra named Zoe. A mechanical engineer by trade, Kerry spends her days as a senior photolithography equipment technician at a semiconductor equipment manufacturer. She appreciates precision, and especially There s the walk, the trot and then the canter, so you can ease into the levels as you develop strength and fitness. enjoys compulsories, where there s a specific set of moves and specificity on how they should be done, so you re always working toward perfecting those movements, she says. Her advice to adults who want to try the sport? There s the walk, the trot and then the canter, so you can ease into the levels as you develop strength and fitness, she 28 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

29 Vaulting is a young person s sport. Lance Brown reports. Just do it! And don t worry about the kids; you re really just competing against yourself for better scores. When Lance Brown of Highland, Utah, first encountered vaulting a few years ago, it was by watching his children, Malia Brown and Jonathan Baird, from the safety of a chair in the parent viewing area. For two years I just watched, Lance says, and I guess somewhere along the line I started to internalize all the moves. At home, it went further than watching. I d secretly mess around on the barrel, supposedly because I was building barrels (LB Barrels) and needed to get a feel for them, Lance explains. One day I was sitting on a barrel at the barn and did a backward click, and Jake [coach Jake Fluekiger of Technique Vaulters] said that I should start vaulting. It s something that, as an Don t let perfection get in the way! Just have fun! Photo courtesy of Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com adult, someone needs to invite you into. I started vaulting at 40, mostly for exercise at first, and then my back started to feel better and I could bend down to put on my socks more easily. Lance s advice to would-be adult vaulters? Don t let perfection get in the way! Just have fun! Lance would like to see more competitive adult classes at local, regional, and even national competitions. We had nine in the adult class at our Regionals, Lance says. I d love to see more support for that, because I believe that competitive adult vaulting could be much bigger. Pete Senn discovered vaulting when he started volunteering at Root Farms in Verona, NY, a 30-acre farm that specializes in equineassisted therapies. He started trading some horse duties for riding lessons at age 40, and eventually Pete and his wife, Kim, moved permanently to Root Farms to become the farm s managers. When the vaulting coach suddenly moved to Alaska, Pete and Kim took over the last three weeks of vaulting. Pete started working to make his body mimic the moves in vaulting books, his only source of beginning training material. I could only show the kids how to vault if I understood it, and the only way to understand it was for me to do it, Pete explains. Training for Vaulting Coaches by Isabelle Bibbler Parker and Emma Seely and Correct Vaulting by Ulrike Rieder were my bibles, and I also attended as many clinics as I could. Pete Senn Photo courtesy of Lynne Owen/VaultingPhotos.com 29

30 Pete went from emergency coaching and fiddling around on the barrel to competitive vaulting, and has competed at Nationals the last three years this past year in the Copper Men s division. In past years he had relied on the generosity of members willing to loan their horses, including Mike Strauss, Karin Schmidt, and Peggy Van Hook. It was doubly difficult because not many horses are suited for an adult male. This year, Root Farms has its first canter horse and Pete is getting ready for the season. I ll be 49 in January, so I start with a lot of stretching and yoga, then increase to 100 push-ups and 300 sit-ups a day during the season, Pete explains. I do a lot of barrel work and get limited horse time, but it always seems to work out. His advice for adults considering vaulting for the first time? Even if you don t think you can do it, it s possible, he says. Aside from the benefits of fitness, I could only show the kids how to vault if I understood it, and the only way to understand it was for me to do it. vaulting really helps build selfconfidence and balance. At Root Farms, they ve even turned adult vaulting into an exercise class. We use multiple barrels and incorporate all the vaulting moves, he says. The adults have a ball. The gold standard for adult vaulting in the United States comes via a woman who had already retired once, then unretired from vaulting. Shari Smith-Mead was a dressage and eventing equestrian who worked as a physical therapist for a living. Twenty years ago, at age 40, a vaulting coach asked her to come by to watch so that Shari could put together an exercise program for the athletes. Two practices later she was getting on the horse to try a couple of things to figure out which muscle groups were activated with specific vaulting exercises and she was hooked. I started in a Mommy and Me-type vaulting class because my four-year-old niece happened to be visiting, Shari explains. She left, and I kept vaulting! She had her first clinic with nine-time Gold National Champion Kerith Lemon after she d been vaulting only a month, and was encouraged to continue. The AVA bronze medalist quietly retired after her first ten-year vaulting stint in 2003, when she and her husband, Marshall, retired to a 120-acre farm in Irondale, Missouri. But three years into the retirement Shari got the itch to vault again and found herself back at the National Championships in City of Industry, Calif., vaulting in barrel freestyle, because she had no access to a vaulting horse. There she met Andrea Brown, and her second adult vaulting career was launched. Shari Smith-Mead Today, Andrea is Shari s coach, lunger, and good friend, and Shari makes the trip to Andrea s EVX Vaulting Club in Southern California once a month for a week or more of vaulting time with Andrea s Foxy Lady. My husband Marshall is extremely supportive; he s my Missouri trainer, Shari says. He s installed a pull-up bar in the house and barn, and I do lots of pull-ups I d love to see a Masters Division so that adult vaulters could compete for a longer time period. Photo courtesy of Kate Revell/VaultingPhotos.com and push-ups once or twice a day. Her workout regimen also consists of yoga, taekwondo (she s a third-degree black belt), balance board work, and hours of barrel training. Shari also began coaching, starting a vaulting club in Missouri that put on its first competition/clinic just last month. How long will Shari keep vaulting? It s fun, a challenge, and I keep getting better, Shari explains, not quite answering the question. I d love to see a Masters Division so that adult vaulters could compete for a longer time period, she muses. When pressed if she has any plans for a second retirement, there s a long pause. Maybe, she says. But don t count on it anytime soon. (Editor s Note: If you re an adult who would like to learn to vault, build some grassroots support with your club parents and ask the coach to start a three-month pilot adult vaulting program.) 30 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

31 JANUARY 18 Bear Gap Winter Barrel Fest Elysburg, PA Sandra Snyder: JANUARY 19, 6PM PST AVA Board of Directors Conference Call Jill Hobby: FEBRUARY 1 Tambourine Barrel Fest Petaluma, CA Kelley Holly: FEBRUARY 27 MARCH 2 AVA Annual Convention San Francisco Bay Area, CA Sheri Benjamin: MARCH 2 AVA Board of Directors Meeting Jill Hobby: MARCH 2 AVA General Membership Annual Meeting Jill Hobby: MARCH USEF Developing Vaulter Clinic FallBrooks Farm: North Plains, OR Carolyn Bland: 2014 EVENTSCALENDAR MARCH Vaulting Into Spring Selection Trial TBA, Washington Kathy Rynning: APRIL 12 Tambourine Spring Fest Petaluma, CA Kelley Holly: APRIL USEF Mozart Memorial Selection Trial Somis, CA Patty Littmann: MAY 2 4 CVI 3*, 2*, 1* Pacific Cup Gilroy Gates: Gilroy, CA Linda Bibler: MAY Great Falls/Topaz Spring Fest Herndon, VA Marie Brigham: MAY Region IV May Fest Colorado, TBA Robin Bowman: MAY Garrods Spring Classic Garrod Farms: Saratoga, CA Marianne Rose: MAY CVI 3*, 2*, 1* Chilliwack Chilliwack, BC, Canada Barb Schmidt: JUNE 7 8 Woodside Spring Fest Portola Valley, CA Linda Bibbler: JUNE Region III Championships Eugene, OR Kathy Seelye: JUNE Region IX Championships East Coast, TBA Lisa Zielenske: JUNE 28 Tambourine Summer Fest Petaluma, CA Kelley Holly: JULY 30 AVA Board of Directors Meeting Eugene, OR Jill Hobby: JULY 31 AUGUST 3 AVA/USEF National Championships Eugene, OR Linda Bibbler: SEPTEMBER 2 5 FEI World Equestrian Games Normandy, France Linda Bibbler: SEPTEMBER Great Falls/Topaz Fall Fest Herndon, VA Marie Brigham: OCTOBER Region I Championships Mojave Crossing Event Center: Fort Mojave, AZ Connie Geisler: OCTOBER 26 Mt. Eden s Halloween Fest Garrod Farms: Saratoga, CA Marianne Rose: NOVEMBER 8 9 Annual Judges Forum Portland, OR Kelley Holly: Important Note: These events were gathered directly from the AVA website calendar. If you are a member you can add your club s events/ competitions to the AVA website calendar yourself by logging into the members-only website, going to the calendar section, choosing the year, and then clicking on add an entry to the calendar at the top of them calendar section. RULES CHANGE From the AVA Newsroom Words Now Allowed in Music for All AVA Classes! Hear ye, hear ye! The AVA Board voted to remove the rule prohibiting music with words in all AVA classes starting immediately. Words are now allowed for all AVA classes! By removing Article 603.6t - Penalties and Deductions, the AVA is now permitting music with words and lyrics in all events. "Please do keep in mind, however, that it is very important to make sure that words and lyrics are appropriate for our youth sport," says AVA Technical Committee Chair and EVP Kelley Holly. "If inappropriate words or lyrics are used, a vaulter could end up eliminated, under Article (l) 'unforeseen circumstances'." Gold Division: Now Three Sections in a Single Round The board also passed a new rule for the Gold class. Article 301 now states that "Gold Level consists of one round. It consists of Compulsories, Technical Test, and Freestyle performed in separate sections." Putting this in layman's terms, Kelly Holly noted, "now, instead of Gold being competed as two rounds, with a possible cut after the first round, Gold will now be a single round, with no cuts. In this single round, vaulters will perform one each of Compulsories, Technical Test, and Freestyle in separate sections." Each section will count as one-third of the overall score. This new rule is also effective immediately. 31

32 32 EQUESTRIANVAULTING Volume 45, Issue 3

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1 www.americanvaulting.org 1 Equestrian Vaulting Editor in Chief: Megan Benjamin Guimarin, mbenjamin@americanvaulting.org Copy Editor: Katharina Woodman Photographers: Susie Bors, Alison Cathro, Carl Ellis,

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