New Dressage Programs Provide Educational Opportunities For Under 25 Riders

A High Intensity Training Session was held at the United States Equestrian Team headquarters in October, 2017. The event kicked off a new program aimed at educating dressage riders under age 25. Credits: US Equestrian

LEXINGTON,  Ky. — Young Dressage riders can hone their skills under newly launched training programs.

US Equestrian (USEF) and the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) launched Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program. The USDF also announced five new education events, as a part of the USDF National Education Initiative.

The Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program is aimed at providing strategic guidance and educational opportunities to athletes under the age of 25. The program will provide access to educational opportunities and competition planning for qualified athletes.

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Discover Dressage, and their President Kimberly Van Kampen, has stepped forward as title sponsor for the Dressage Emerging Athlete Program for the next four years. With a mission to ‘inspire and encourage American youth to discover dressage,’ Discover Dressage’s partnership with the program is an exciting addition. 

The program launched with a High-Intensity Training Session (HITS) Oct. 13 to 15, through in Gladstone, N.J. Following the scheduled Training and Evaluation Sessions led by USEF Dressage Youth Coach George Williams and USEF Dressage Assistant Youth Coach Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program will select athletes for membership who have the likelihood of developing into a future team athlete.

“I’m excited to see this new program launched,” said Williams. “I believe by establishing a clear pathway for our young athletes, we can help them to achieve even greater success.”

To participate in the Training and Evaluation Sessions, athletes must have competed at a minimum of three qualifying competitions for the USEF Dressage National Championships and FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) and/or CDI or CDIO-Y/J/P/Ch events over the course of six months. Wild card invitations will also be considered.

Athletes in the U25 division who are not qualified for the USEF Dressage Development Program are also eligible for support and membership to the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program, as well as Children and Pony riders looking for educational opportunities. The Emerging Athlete Program will also recognize and work with organizations, clubs, or individuals that provide educational events and opportunities to youth dressage athletes through the development of the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Partner Program list.

Additional benefits of program membership include opportunities to participate in training sessions and clinics, select one-on-one coaching, access to USEF human and equine sports science and medicine educational programs, score analysis, assistance in competition age bracket transitions, and possible financial assistance towards agreed upon training and competition targets.

Training and Evaluation Sessions will be conducted several times throughout the year, and athletes can apply online. Find out more about the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program online

The primary objective of the USDF National Education Initiative (NEI) is to create and support new and affordable programs, hosted by USDF Group Member Organizations (GMOs), that engage members. Each of these events is USDF University accredited, with attendees automatically earning USDF University credits. GMOs that participate in the USDF National Education Initiative demonstrate their commitment to providing affordable, quality educational opportunities at all levels.

The following events have been newly approved for 2018 and are also receiving funding support through USDF National Education Initiative Grants.

Ride-a-Test with USEF ‘R’ Dressage Judge Nancy Lowey 
Hosted by the Commonwealth Dressage & Combined Training Association 
March 19, 2018 
Marshall, VA

Ride-a-Test with FEI 4* Dressage Judge Sandra Hotz and USEF ‘S’ Dressage Judge Sue Mandas 
Hosted by Central Florida Dressage 
June 30-July 1, 2018 
Weirsdale, FL

Clinic with Retired FEI 5* Judge, USEF ‘S’ Judge, and USDF Instructor/Trainer Examiner Lilo Fore 
Hosted by the Kentucky Dressage Association 
August 3-5, 2018 
Location TBA

Clinic with USDF L Graduate with Distinction Jennifer Malott Kotylo 
Hosted by the Michiana Dressage Club 
April 6-8, 2018 
South Bend, IN

Camp with Janice Dulak creator of Pilates for Dressage® 
Hosted by the Green Country Chapter of the Oklahoma Dressage Society 
March 9-11, 2018 
Pryor, OK

For more information about all NEI opportunities, and information on how GMOs can apply for the program and grant funding, visit the USDF website at, or contact the USDF office at For a list of all upcoming education events, visit the USDF Education Calendar at

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is dedicated to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit, e-mail, or call (859) 971-2277.

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