Young dressage rider Ayden Uhlir is gearing up for the finale of American Equestrians Got Talent (AEGT) with star-studded back-up singers. She won the first competition in the Equestrians Got Talent fundraiser for the USET, and she is working on a song from “Burlesque” on Mondays with potential back-up singers Adrienne Lyle, Laura Graves, Reese Koffler-Stanfield, Rachel Chowanac and Molly Paris. A host of talented equestrians from a variety of disciplines will be vying for the top prize of $5,000 in the March finale in Wellington, Florida, but Uhlir and her back-up singers will have smooth moves in hopes of claiming the prize as well as bragging rights. She decided to try out for the AEGT at the urging of her friends at the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic in January who were the first nonfamily members to ever hear her sing as she belted out a tune in the parking lot. She continues to attend the Wednesday night competitions leading up to the finale to conquer her fear of singing in public.
Not one to rest, Uhlir and her long-time friend, Californian Genay Vaughn, have been collaborating to hopefully be a part of a possible first ever U.S. Under 25 team to compete in Aachen, Germany, this summer. They are applying for multiple scholarships while supporting each other from opposite ends of the U.S. and staying focused. If things go as planned, a third friend from the first Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic they attended, Jessica Hainsworth, will also travel as their groom. Hainsworth has been Uhlir's groom at every major event she has won, and Germany needs to take cover when those three are unleashed in Europe.
As the first equestrian to be sponsored by Nike, Uhlir is a role model for young women and girls as an ambitious athlete who is working hard to achieve her goals. Equestrian sponsorship is on the rise and she paved the way for riders when she actively sought out Nike and landed the sponsorship on her own. Nike and other potential Olympic sponsors already have their tickets for Aachen this summer, so Uhlir and friends have even more at stake in their quest to get to Europe as they demonstrate the full potential of increasing mainstream sponsorships in equestrian sports.
Uhlir is already a sensation in the dressage world, and ready to help take equestrians and dressage more mainstream. With several interviews with the popular press under her belt, including “J-14” magazine, “the Teen Choice Awards” “Sweety High,” “Real Talk. Real Women,” and a few other big contracts in the works, her goal to bring dressage to young equestrians and non-equestrians alike is closer to being realized. Endemic sponsors like supporter Kim Boyer and Hampton Green Farms, IRH Helmets, and Custom Saddlery have allowed Uhlir to use the winter show season in Wellington to make the jump from youth rider to the more competitive stage of high-performance dressage.
Although a whirlwind of activity, Uhlir takes time out of her busy schedule to inspire young riders and promote dressage though the Dressage4Kids (D4K) program, a non-profit organization incorporated to provide educational and competitive opportunities for youth riders and the adults who support them. She has attended several D4K events including the Midwest Youth Festival, Emerging Dressage Athlete Program clinics and the Winter Educational Program in Connecticut, to give her perspective on success while inspiring young riders to reach their career goals. Links can be seen on the Dressage4Kids YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbJnr1rcQwfvA2aR2f73RnA.
It could be easy not to like Uhlir: she is gorgeous, she sings and she’s a beautiful rider, but her boundless energy, giving spirit and devotion to her sport make her an inspiration. She knows what she wants. Like cream in milk, she is rising to the top.