PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: Get Involved Today
The American Polocrosse Association’s Player Development Program is designed to provide programs to improve all levels of play for all members of the APA. It consists of three separate but connected programs:
Coaching Accreditation Program
Educates, trains, and certifies APA members through a multi-level accreditation program from beginner to advanced, in order to provide safe, effective and standardized coaching.
Domestic Development and Clinic Coordination Program
Provides administrative support for the domestic growth of polocrosse and to coordinate clinics of all levels for APA members and clubs as well as introductory clinics for non-members interested in learning more about the game.
International Tour Program
Provides a program that allows APA members the opportunity to apply, be identified, assessed, and; if selected, trained to play on APA teams representing the United Sates at international competitions.
For more information regarding these programs you may contact the Chair of Player Development listed on the Board Member page. A full PDP Manual is available as a pdf download.
TEAM USA is part of the PDP program and participants in the PDP International Tour Program are groomed for potential participation on World Cup teams.
For current Player Development Program Manual and Applications please visit our Forms and Documents page.
UMPIRE PROGRAM: Umpire Certification
The backbone of the Umpire Program is the Tournament Umpire. At APA sanctioned tournaments, a Certified Umpire will be provided to act as Tournament Umpire to maintain a standard throughout the tournament for both umpiring and game play.
Tournament Umpires also assist the Tournament Organizers. Smaller tournaments will have help organizing schedules etc., and others would have an expert to assist with some of the more complicated nuances associated with larger tournaments. After the tournament, the Tournament Umpire reports back to the Chief Umpire on any issues associated with umpiring, rules, etc…
Before the next tournament, the Certified Umpires will address any issues, and players would hear of these adjustments from Tournament Umpires before play at APA tournaments. The process of umpire related information going in and back out of each tournament allows us to seamlessly make changes with the aim to stay current with the style and needs of the players of the Association.
Please contact me if you have an interest in becoming a certified umpire or want to host an umpire clinic.
American Polocrosse Association Chief Umpire
- Umpire Program Guidelines
- Umpire Program Bylaws
- Full List of APA Umpires
2017 YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Benefits of Membership
The APA Youth Development Program (YDP) works to encourage and develop skills in youth polocrosse players. The APA currently supports U16 and U21. U16 members are those players who are under 16 on January 1. U21 members are those players aged 21 or under.
Members of the YDP are automatically “long listed” for any international exchange tours arranged by the APA (inbound or outbound). These tours are exceptional opportunities for youth to improve their level of play and engage with players from other countries. The U16 program has held alternating annual inbound and outbound exchanges with New South Wales, Australia; 2017 is an inbound year for this exchange. U16 members may also have opportunities to exchange with players from Great Britain, Zambia, or South Africa. In recent years, U21 has exchanged with Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Members who are selected for tours are responsible for the costs of travel associated with the tour.
While the historical focus of the youth development program has been on international exchanges, the program also is committed to providing domestic clinics and coaching for youth players.
The YDP is dedicated to building the future leaders of polocrosse. The YDP will provide a minimum of 2 youth clinics annually, at a free or low cost to members. These clinics focus on skill building, horsemanship, strategy, and sportsmanship – all critical elements for improving play and performance. When feasible, the YDP will provide tournament coaching for members, recognizing that coaches are typically also players and scheduling conflicts may arise. YDP members may also be called upon to coach/assist with peers and less experienced members.
Members are expected to uphold the APA Code of Conduct at all times. As youth representatives of the APA and of the USA, YDP members are visible to the national and international communities. A high level of sportsmanship and excellent behavior is required.
The YDP is an all‐volunteer program. Members and their adult supporters are expected to fully participate in programs and activities of the YDP, including assisting with fundraising, equipment/field setup, helping coaches/managers, and other tasks that may be necessary to conduct activities.
Members are required to have access to 2 qualified horses. A qualified horse is one that plays at or above the member’s current level of play. The extra horses are needed regardless of whether the member is participating in an inbound tour. Extra horses may be used at clinics for members flying across the country to participate, as spare horses for incidences of lameness or injury, for members to experience riding/playing other horses, and other such support of the YDP members. When inbound tours are held, extra horses will be provided to international players. Horses for inbound tours are expected to be fit and capable of play at the B or A grade level.
For all international exchange tours, the APA’s Player Development Committee will select a coach and at least one manager. These adult APA members will be responsible for planning the details of the tours, communicating with parents and YDP members about the tours, overseeing the delivery of the tours, and ensuring the well‐being of players and horses during the tours.
The tour staff – coach and manager(s) – will be responsible for team selection for tours. The staff will plan and hold a clinic for members to try out for the team. The staff may also watch members play at tournaments, in person or video, to assess member’s skills.
Selections for tours will be made as soon as feasible. The YDP will make every effort to select teams early so that members have ample time to plan, fundraise, and work together as a team.
The Crosse-Over-Challenge is a competition which trainers acquire a recently retired TB racehorse, or one determined not suitable to race, and prepare it over a period not to exceed 20 months for competition in polocrosse. Format for competition is designed to test the quality and progress of each horse’s training in regards to ease of handing, agility and responsiveness.
The final evaluation and competition completion will take place at APA Nationals in 2020.
Mission and Goals
APA created the Challenge to inspire members to secure the futures of retired Thoroughbreds through training and promote the sport of polocrosse. In addition to benefitting the horses, the Challenge is intended to help members become knowledgeable trainers in developing quality horses for the sport of polocrosse.
Trainer Eligibility and Application
Any member in good standing in the APA, 16 years or older, can submit an online application to be a participating trainer/competitor. Competitors will be expected to be the only rider and be responsible for all training. Age groups will be determined by number of entrants and ages.
Each trainer will pay a $250 entry fee online when completing the application. If not accepted, the fee will be returned. If the trainer is accepted the fee is non-refundable. See fees and costs below.
Open and Closing Date
Trainer applications may be submitted to APA online from February 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019. Applications are available on the APA main website.
Trainer Application Form
In addition to basic contact information it requests the following below. Please have the information ready when you apply online. Note that APA may use the information you provide in promotional materials.
Competition highlights in APA and/or other disciplines for the last 2 years (600 characters maximum) – This information is important as a means of evaluating trainer experience and talent. Lack of competition experience does not disqualify a trainer from consideration if other evidence exists that the trainer has the skills to succeed.
Narrative describing skills, knowledge and experience (600 characters maximum) – This is an opportunity for trainers to share information other than competition experience that might assist APA in its evaluation. Specific knowledge of nutritional and feeding requirements of OTTBs is expected.
Affiliations –Trainers are asked to describe their relationship to farms and organizations that share APA commitment to equine welfare.
References – Trainers 22 years and under, must provide the names of two people who are familiar with the trainer’s work with horses, along with contact information, relationship to the trainer, and credentials of the references. The APA may or may not contact these individuals.
Video links – Trainers are encouraged to provide videos as evidence of riding skills, particularly if competition highlights fail to adequately demonstrate competence.
An APA Challenge Selection Committee will review applications as they come in and approve or disapprove based on the following factors:
Evidence from the application, from past APA results, and other evidence that the trainer will effectively introduce an off-track Thoroughbred with no experience outside racing, to demonstrating that horse’s talent and trainability for polocrosse.
Trainers knowledge of the specific needs that some TBs require in regards to nutrition and feeding to maintain condition.
Need for geographic diversity
Affirmation and evidence that the trainer is committed to the APA Crosse-Over-Challenge.
APA will contact applicant trainers within two weeks of receiving a complete application with entry fees paid, to notify them of the status of their application.
Once a trainer is accepted into the Challenge, he or she may withdraw at any time by notifying the APA committee via phone or email. Refunds of entry fee will not be given.
In situations where a Crosse-Over trainer is unable to ride at the 2020 Nationals but has been the only rider and trainer of the horse for the months leading up to the event, he or she may make a written request to APA to allow a catch rider to show the horse in the Crosse-Over Challenge. Catch riders will be approved only in cases where the approved Crosse-Over trainer has an extraordinary personal circumstance preventing him or her from showing the horse at the National competition. In cases where catch riders are approved, the horse will be shown in the name of the trainer and prizes will be awarded to the trainer.
Horse Eligibility and Registration
To be eligible for the 2020 Crosse-Over-Challenge horses must meet the following three requirements.
1. Must be registered with The Jockey Club and have a lip tattoo or Jockey Club microchip. Note that horses who meet the other requirements of eligibility but were never tattooed can be approved if they have registration papers and proper identification. If horses obtained from Elite TB, this requirement is waived.
2. Must have raced or been in training to race. Horse must have been in training or have raced after December 1, 2017. If horses are obtained from Elite TB, this requirement is waived but may not have had any prior training in another discipline.
3. Must not have started in training for a second career before December 1, 2018 other than a maximum of ten allowable rides or training sessions that introduce skills specific to non-racing careers. See conditions below.
a. Horses that cross-trained in other disciplines during their active racing careers are eligible as long as they did not show or compete in those other disciplines.
b. Horses that competed in sports other than racing before December 1, 2018 are ineligible.
The APA has established a relationship with Elite Thoroughbreds, in Franklinton, LA, where TBs will be available at no charge to participants. http://elitethoroughbreds.com. It will be the trainer’s responsibility to select and arrange transport of the horses. Challenge Committee Member, Ashley Barbour, is available for assistance in selection of a suitable horse. Once the trainer’s application is approved, contact information and horse acquisition instructions will be sent. Do NOT contact Elite Thoroughbreds directly; all contact must go through Ashley Barbour.
If requested, Elite TB suitable horses will be available at Central Zone tournaments and Regional tournaments for adoption.
If trainers are unable to secure a Thoroughbred from Elite TB, they may acquire an OTTB from another source. The online and the printed Retired Racehorse Resource Directory are excellent places to start. They include 300 farms, organizations, and racetracks, as well as lists of Facebook groups and searchable web sites. Any adoption fee through these other sources will be the responsibility of the trainer.
Horse Ownership or Contract
Once adopted, the trainer becomes the owner of the horse and may choose to either keep the horse after the Challenge or place it into the live auction to take place at Nationals 2020. If the horse is auctioned, the trainer will be eligible to 95% of the auction price, with the other 5% to be paid to the APA to further the program. The APA retains the right to remove the horse from the owner at ay time during training or at the Challenge, if it is determined the horse is neglected or abused. If a horse adopted from Elite Thoroughbreds, is determined to be unsuitable for polocrosse, within the first 60 days, it may be returned/exchanged to Elite Thoroughbreds as long as it has not been injured during the training process. If the horse is injured during the training process, Elite Thoroughbreds will allow the TB to be returned AFTER rehabilitation is complete.
For a horse to be eligible to compete, the trainer must have been the only rider/trainer of the horse after being acquired and the trainer must ride the horse in the National competition, unless a catch rider is approved.
Horse Registration Form
Trainers should register their Challenge horses as soon as they acquire them. All trainers must register an eligible horse using the online Registration Form no later than June 1, 2020. That form will include the following:
Jockey Club name,
Date of last race or published work, if available.
Name of previous owner,
Name and contact information of current owner,
Narrative describing how you or owner acquired horse,
Narrative describing any training done between retirement from racing and adoption date,
Identification of any aftercare organizations that assisted in transitioning the horse from racing,
Additional notes about horse’s history, if available
Photo of horse with you
Conformation photos, and horses head photo.
Trainers grant APA permission to publish all information in their horse registration form except for their email, address, and phone number.
Horse Withdrawal and Replacement
Trainers may withdraw a horse from the Challenge at any time by notifying the Challenge committee with an explanation and notification of horse’s future care.
Trainers may replace a scratched horse with any eligible horse as late as June1, 2020
Replacement horses must be registered with the online Challenge Horse Registration Form.
Entry Fees and Other Costs
The entry fee per horse is $250 to be paid online at the time of application. If the trainer is accepted the fee is non-refundable.
Crosse-Over-Challenge Horse Sale Fee
Trainers who choose to auction their horse in the Challenge Horse Sale at 2020 Nationals, will pay a 5% consignment fee to the APA to help to further fund the project.
Trainer Code of Conduct
The Thoroughbred Crosse-Over-Challenge exists to promote the trainability and performance of off-track Thoroughbreds and to promote the importance of horse responsiveness and riding skills in the sport of polocrosse. Trainers participating in the Crosse-Over-Challenge agree to support the mission of APA.
The APA board and Challenge Committee welcome direct input, including criticism and suggestions. Evidence of ineligibility, horse abuse, or other serious concerns about any trainer in the Challenge is also welcome when presented directly to APA. Use by trainers of social media and other public forums to make allegations against their peers or against the APA will be cause for review by the APA and could lead to removal from the competition.
Riders will complete an agility pattern to include the following:
Figure-eight with lead changes at the canter both directions
Two roll-backs (left and right)
Two turns (left and right – tightness of the turn will be judged)
Two tight circles (left and right)
A check and release
Two complete stops and step-backs
Working with another horse – player pair to show calmness and responsiveness
A diagram of the pattern will be made available to trainers upon arrival at the National tournament, in the packets.
Racquet and Ball Work
Each player will demonstrate racquet work including each of the following skills.
Near side pickup
Off side pickup
Ten –Yard throw near-side
Ten yard throw off-side
Catching and throwing the ball with another horse – player pair.
If agreed by the top 6 competitors, a shortened chukka will be played to allow judges to see horses perform under a game situation.
If necessary, the top three scoring horses will perform both agility and racquet and ball work for an additional score during the finale.
Polocrosse Agility will be judged with a maximum possible score of fifty points. Each of the following will be scored on a scale of 0 to 10: calmness of horse (10 points), responsiveness to rider’s aids (10 points), adjustability of pace (10 points), quality of lead changes (10 points), quality of stops (10 points).
Racquet and Ball Work will be judged with a maximum possible score of fifty points. Each of the following will be scored on a scale of 0 to 10: calmness of horse (10 points), responsiveness to rider’s aids (10 points), adjustability of pace (10 points), willingness to maintain straightness and pace during strokes (10 points), speed and agility (10 points).
The top three placed horses may earn an additional 100 points during their finale performances. The final placing for the top three horses will be a sum of their two scores. Placing below third will be based on their single performance score.
All scores are the average of points awarded by each of the judges.
Attire and Equipment
Attire and equipment should be in accordance with the APA rules.
Horse Protection Policy
When a trainer enters a horse in the Crosse-Over-Challenge, he or she agrees to take responsibility for the horse’s wellbeing and to sell or place it in a responsible manner. If a horse is withdrawn, whether it is replaced by another horse or not, the trainer will submit a with-drawl form indicating the status of the horse. If any trainer is found to have knowingly sent a horse entered in the Challenge to a kill buyer or to a livestock auction to be sold for under $1,000, the trainer will be removed from the competition and be banned from participation in future APA events.
Abuse and Neglect
Alleged instances of horse abuse or neglect during the training process or at the National Competition will be investigated by the APA Challenge Committee and be grounds for elimination. Evidence of abuse or neglect during the event should be brought directly to the tournament committee. Evidence of abuse or neglect affecting horses entered in the Challenge before the event should be brought to the current tournament committee or APA directly by phone or email at (email@example.com). Allegations by participants of abuse or neglect made in public forums will be considered a violation of the Trainer Code of Conduct.
Judges in all tournaments are authorized to eliminate horses for unsoundness. Lame horses should not compete.
Any horse that arrives at a tournament with a Henneke Body Condition Score of 3.0 or less (out of 9) will not be allowed to compete. Information on Body Condition Scoring can be found at https://ker.com/tools/library/horse-body-condition-score-chart/ . Eliminations based on this rule will be made only by the Tournament Committee in consultation with a veterinarian. Horses from Elite TBs may be removed from trainers that are found to be abusive or neglected.
Crosse-Over trainers release and hold harmless the American Polocrosse Association, its Board of Directors, its staff, members and its sponsors from liability for damages resulting from their participation in the Crosse-Over-Challenge before, during, and after the event. Trainers acknowledge that they participate at their own risk and will sign liability waivers upon arrival at the tournament. If the participant is under the age of 18, a parent/legal custodian must sign on their behalf.