Many hunter/jumper competitors are familiar with the young horse programs presented by the USEF and USHJA that provide age classes with regulated height graduations for the development of Grand Prix jumpers and Performance hunters. While these programs offer valuable experience to young horses, the height requirements can be limiting to late-blooming horses or amateur riders riding young horses at lower heights. For these very reasons the Paso Robles Horse Park has developed the 2EX Young Horse Program presented by Markel Insurance to be offered at their B Series horse shows.
The 2EX Young Horse Program is an opportunity for horses seven and under to gain EXperience and EXposure at a rated horse show. As everyone knows, the best way to gain experience for young horses is to take them to shows, but that entails a high price tag which is typically the biggest hurdle to pass. At our B shows, all horses seven and younger receive a stall for the full week of showing at only $75. In addition to experience, many young horses are being trained to sell, so they need exposure. We offer a complimentary video service to capture at least one round for every young horse that opts in. These videos are professionally recorded and edited, then posted to the Park’s YouTube channel with any information requested by the owner.
This unique program was designed with the future of hunter/jumper horse sports in mind as young horses embody the future and contain the potential and dreams we all chase. However, in addition to the time, the cost of gaining show-ring experience for these young horses can be daunting. Recognizing this, the Paso Robles Horse Park has diligently worked to identify the needs of their young horse competitors and develop a program that can support those needs and enhance young horse development on the West Coast. This program wouldn’t be possible without the presenting sponsor of the program, Markel Insurance. Their dedication to the development of the young horse aligns with the Park’s vision and they are very excited to partner in this endeavor.
Like traditional young horse classes, entry to the 2EX Young Horse Program is very simple! Competitors just have to indicate that they are a young horse on their entries and bring some proof of age to the show office for the stall discount. The video service is optional and riders can opt in through an online form on our website.
After launching the 2EX Young Horse Program during the 2020 B Series, the Paso Robles Horse Park has received excellent feedback and looks forward to another successful year of promoting young horse development!
2020 2EX Young Horse Program participant Katie Kopensky, trained by Dana Andersen Equestrian, recounts that “not only does this program allow you to bring a young horse along at an affordable rate at a show with an 'A' rated atmosphere, it also helps highlight your young horses with professional videography! It's nice to look back at the year recapped via videos, as I'm sure it will be even more rewarding to look back years later. This program also allows you to take your time with your young horse. There is no pressure to be at a certain height by a certain age, which I think is one of the biggest benefits; there is no pressure to push my horse beyond his comfort zone.” Kopensky has been a competitor at the Park since it first opened in 2015 and has attended all three levels of showing at the facility: schooling shows, B shows, and Classic shows.
Katie Kopensky rides “WT Dionysus” in the 2EX Young Horse Program. Photograph courtesy of Stories Told By Film.