Dressage4Kids’ TEAM Program
Training, Education and Mentoring
Dressage4kids, Inc. is very proud to offer the Dressage4Kids’ TEAM Program for dedicated, determined young dressage riders of all ages and all levels. The goal of the program is to find, to help to educate, and to be part of the development of talented youth to become the international riders, teachers, and trainers of the future.
Members of D4K’s TEAM Program are part of a national community of young determined dressage riders. They are regularly sent educational material by email. They may receive special rates at educational events, and are eligible for D4K TEAM clinics which are held throughout the US. Occasionally D4K’s TEAM riders are offered special opportunities such as the 2105 Meet and Greet with Charlotte duJardin and the 2106 two month training with the Hannoverian Verband in Germany.
The program organizes clinics in various parts of the US and from these clinics, participants are selected for national Horsemastership clinics. Top international coaches can also nominate riders whom they feel have special talent for the Horsemastership clinics.
The D4K TEAM program is for Dressage competitors under the age of 21. It is meant as a stepping-stone from participating at the grassroots level to climbing the long ladder on the way to representing the US in international competitions, to becoming successful professionals, and/or to becoming the very best dressage riders they can be. Through this program, dedicated, talented Dressage youth will be sought out in all parts of the US. The teacher(s) in the clinics will ensure that the basics of their education as riders and horsemen are properly established and will give them a road map for their Dressage journey.
Interested riders under 21 can apply by filling out an application and placing online a short video of themselves riding. Once a suitable number of applicants in an area have applied, a clinic is set up. There is no deadline for applications. Any interested riders should apply immediately. In the video, selectors are looking for the correctness of the rider’s seat, connection to the horse, timing of aids, use of half halts, as well as a feel for rhythm, tempo, relaxation, and throughness of the horse – all commensurate to the level of the rider. It is not necessary that the rider be riding at a high level. Riders as young as 8 have participated in the clinics as well as riders working at training level.
During the clinic sessions, the instructors will evaluate and try to improve the rider’s position, use of aids, knowledge, and abilities for competitive Dressage. The riders may also receive written evaluations.
The two-day regional clinics and the five-day national clinics include lessons, lectures, and demonstrations. Riders do not need to have their own horses, if they can find a horse to borrow. At all training sessions, instruction is also provided in stable management, riding theory, fitness, sports psychology, etc.
Lendon Gray headlines the regional clinics, although other international riders/trainers may help so that many parts of the US will be covered. The national clinics will be headlined by Robert Dover and Courtney King Dye. These three professionals have competed in a total of 9 Olympics and 10 World Cups. They have also trained horses and coached riders not only for international competitions, but also for National Championships at all levels as well as for the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships.
D4K’s TEAM Program members have also been offered discounts at symposiums and clinics as well as discounts for online programs. On-going education in various forms is offered to these riders.