Atlanta Youth Dressage Challenge inaugural competition took place at the Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) in Conyers, GA, featuring Lendon Grey, Gwen Poulin and several other high performance athletes. The challenge, created by Lendon Gray and Dressage4Kids, consisted of three elements to create a division: a written test based on a particular reading assignment, a dressage test, and a dressage equitation class. The challenge scored each section worth 100 points apiece for a total of 300 points. Riders from Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and Bermuda prticipated in this event. A special thanks to title sponsor, Custom Saddlery!
Helena Stokes, mother of Emma Grace Stokes, who just turned 11 years old, said, "Our dressage trainer, Sheri Davis-Pruitt, mentioned the Atlanta Dressage Youth Challenge to us about two months ago. It was a good fit for Emma Grace, who had never shown her horse Whiskey (a.k.a Moonshine Kate) in an A-rated show. Dressing up in show clothes and taking them to Conyers was a good stepping stone to entering an A rated show in the future. As required, Emma Grace read the entire D Manual and put some things she learned to practice that reaped rewards in the show. She cleaned her saddle with tooth picks, as per the suggestion in the book. Her hard work got rewarded with a second place ribbon in the “turn out” category.
Lendon Gray and Gwen Poulin took turns sharing their careers in the horse business during our Saturday night dinner. Both Lendon Gray and Gwen Poulin shared their honestly with humor on their journeys, and I believe the participants will remember their stories for years to come.
Rebekah Mingari, age 17, said, “I learned not to underestimate the ability of my horse, that I can always learn something, and even he can learn how to develop as well. I also make it easy for him to cheat, and when he does I help him; I learned that I can't let him take advantage of me, and I'm the only one who can show him how it is supposed to be. I also learned that I need to discipline myself more, even though I may be riding alone, I still need to work on the "hard stuff" and do it correctly.”
Janie Pride – owner of Dutch Pony Ico, competing at the Grand Prix level with Elle Turner shared, "We were so excited to be accepted into the two day Emerging Dressage Athletes Program. Lendon has such a good eye and gave Elle specific exercises to improve her work in the Grand Prix. The clinic helped Elle and Ico received a 61.388% on her JR/YR Grand Prix test at Poplar Place Farm this weekend. Thanks so much to Lendon for her help. The riders watched each others' rides and really had a chance to bond. Elle learned so much from the guest speakers' talks on proper feeding, whether to lease or purchase a horse, the psychology of upper level competing, and the ups and downs of competition. Elle, Elle's Mother (Eleanor) and I learned so much."
She continued, "Elle and Ico also competed in the Dressage4Kids Festival. The riders had to ride a Dressage Test, take a written test over given subject material, have a turnout inspection and ride in an Equitation class. Eleanor and I were so proud that Elle won the Dressage Test section with her Intermediare-1 test and was fourth in the turnout inspection. Many, many thanks to Lendon Gray, Liz Molloy, Gwen Poulin, the speakers and our new friends."