Valley equestrians saddle-up for US Hunter Jumper program

The Arizona equestrians participating in the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s Emerging Athletes program, from left are: Carly Sweeney, Ella Longo, Sophia Vaughan, Madeline James, Grace Gallagher. (submitted photo)

Five young equestrians from the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley areas participated in the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s Emerging Athletes Program in Parker, Colorado, in early August.

In total, 19 athletes from across seven states are beginning their journeys in the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program by participating in the Regional Training Session at the Colorado Horse Park. The five-day session was led by clinicians Kip Rosenthal and Nanci Snyder, according to a press release.

Riders all apply to be invited to participate. The five young women, who all ride at Betty Beran’s Smoke Tree Ranch Hunter Jumper facility in Scottsdale, are:

  • Grace Gallagher, 12, Scottsdale
  • Madeline James, 20, Scottsdale
  • Ella Longo, 15, Paradise, Valley
  • Carly Sweeney, 14, Scottsdale
  • Sophia Vaughan, 13, Scottsdale

Miss Gallagher was awarded grants from the USHJA Zone 6 and Zone 8 Committees to attend the session, the press release stated.

Ms. Rosenthal, an accomplished and respected rider, trainer and USEF R-rated judge in both Hunter and Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation, lead the mounted instruction, while Ms. Snyder, an experienced international stable manager, lead the instruction in the barn.

EAP Regional Training Sessions are held over five days with athletes participating in mounted flatwork, gymnastics exercises and coursework, as well as intensive stable management lessons, the press release stated. Athletes at the Colorado session will participate in a sport psychology session with Ms. Rosenthal, and have an opportunity to learn from Littleton Equine’s Dr. Will French, DVM, about alternative and integrative therapies.

The Emerging Athletes Program is supported in part by a generous grant from U.S. Equestrian, as well as individual donors through the USHJA Foundation. For more information visit

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