Los Alamos Pony Club’s Erin Kober Wins Charles Owen Technical Merit Award

Erin Kober of Los Alamos riding Dakota Night in a competition earlier this year at the Las Cruces Horse Trials in the cross country phase. Photo by Cristie Cumberworth.

LAPC News:

Los Alamos Pony Club member Erin Kober, 17, won the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award July 26 in the Cobblestone Farms Horse Trials in Dexter, Mich.

Kober, riding her horse Dakota Night, an 18-year-old Morgan/Arab cross (aka Cody), is a HB/C3 Traditional rider in the USPC certifications. Her plans for Pony Club advancement include HA/B Traditional testing within the next two years. She is a rising senior at Los Alamos High School.

Erin was in first place at Cobblestone in the Open Training division (jumping 3’3″) after the cross-country phase and finished the show jumping phase with no penalties. She was awarded the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award for safe riding on cross-country out of all the training level riders. 

“I could not believe I got a 9.5 out of 10 for the gallop on cross country with little Cody – and it was a fantastic way to finish my summer with coach and instructor Dorothy Crowell,” Erin said. “Getting the Technical Merit award for the cross country riding phase was better than any ribbon.”

About the award:

The Charles Owen Technical Merit Award was founded by the USEA Professional Horsemens’ Council. The hope is that this award will provide incentives for riders who demonstrate safe and appropriate cross-country technique, and will also educate riders and trainers as to what constitutes safe riding across country. Riders entered in the designated divisions will automatically be judged during their cross-country rounds and will receive score sheets with written comments, which will provide valuable feedback for them and their trainers. Judges qualified to evaluate riders to receive the award are: Level III and IV ICP instructors, USEF licensed event officials, and USET Senior Team riders.

This year the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award will be judged at the Training level for junior and amateur riders.

Winners of the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award receive a Charles Owen Body Protector and helmet bag. In addition the highest scoring junior and highest scoring senior at the end of the year will receive a Charles Owen helmet at the USEA Annual Awards Ceremony.

The judging criteria are based on technical merit and safe riding on cross-country and include the following elements:

  • Gallop: Appropriate speed for level, terrain, conditions, type of obstacle, and balance. 
  • Preparation Period: Demonstrates change in balance appropriate for type of obstacle. Choice of line of direction/approach, riders demonstrates proper aids, horse responsive to aids. 
  • Execution of Jump: Jumped in proper balance with no twisting or drifting. Safe negotiation by horse with no badly hanging legs, rider stays in balance. 
  • Rider Position: Secure, effective position, use of upper body, fitness.
  • General Impressions: Horse appropriate for level, rider in control, partnership of horse and rider, confidence of horse and rider, competence and preparation for level.