Local Equestrian Gabriella Conte Heads to Ohio to Participate in Prestigious Young Riders Competition
Local equestrian Gabriella Conte was recently selected as one of 16 finalists in the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s Emerging Athlete Program (EAP), a national program that provides opportunities for young riders to advance their education within the show jumping and hunter arena.
As a finalist, Conte will head to the University of Findlay in Ohio this November to participate in an extensive, four-day clinic with renowned riding clinicians, stable managers and sport specialists. At the end of the clinic, one rider will be named as the Emerging Athlete Program winner for 2013.
Conte said her journey began in May when she sent in a written application. From there she attended a regional clinic in Virginia where she worked with and was observed by some of the country’s leading riders and trainers.
EAP education program manager Carrie Vaught said Conte, along with 15 other riders throughout the country, were selected out of some 200 to move on to the national training session in Ohio based on riding and stable-management skills, written test results and potential shown during the regional clinic.
Conte said she is thrilled to be one of 16 to advance.
“I have already learned a lot from the regional clinic and look forward to the next phase in Ohio,” said Conte.
Conte began riding when she was four years old. Today she trains with her mom Rachel Agee and Sue Chambers who own Harmony Ridge Stables in Lothian and Chad Keenum out of the Plains, Virginia.
A recent graduate of Southern High School, Conte said she spends about 20 hours a week riding her horses. She has won many ribbons over the years at prestigious shows including the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Devon Horse Show and The Capital Challenge which is held yearly at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro.
“I am always looking for ways to better myself as a rider,” said Conte. “EAP has been an invaluable experience.”
For aspiring riders Conte has this advice – “set goals and accomplish them one step at a time, trust in yourself and have fun.”