Take 12 young dressage riders, pair them with some of the best trainers in the country, add a heaping dose of information, stir up some fun, and immerse them in the Courtney King Dye Horsemastership Clinic for five days, and you have a recipe for success. The July 28-Aug. 1 clinic held at Scott Hassler’s Riveredge in Chesapeake City, Maryland, features the young equestrians receiving one-on-one lessons with superstar dressage trainers Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, Alison Brock, Robert Dover, Lendon Gray, Scott Hassler and Courtney King-Dye, along with a host of other learning activities. In addition to the 12 riders, four participating auditors will also take part in all the activities except riding.
The clinic is sponsored by Dressage4Kids (D4K), the non-profit whose mission is to encourage riders under 21 to become true horsemen and to support programs for adults who, in turn, educate youth all while having fun. Started by Olympic athlete Lendon Gray, D4K’s Emerging Dressage Athlete Program nurtures young riders while providing jam-packed days of fun and information. After 6 a.m. barn chores, participants have a 7 a.m. fitness class followed by lessons with some of the biggest names in dressage. Field trips to neighboring farms including the Fair Hill Therapy Center, guest lecturers and a barbeque make the Courtney King- Dye Horsemastership Clinic memorable for the participants. Auditors of any age are welcome for a fee of $25 per day.
“This is very much in line with what Dressage4Kids does,” Gray said. “We don’t necessarily have all the high powered kids with all their fancy horses, we have those riders who are coming up and also those riders who have been active in Dressage4Kids who are becoming professionals."
This is Rosie Julian-Simoes’ fourth Horsemastership Clinic. The 19-year-old from Barrington, Illinois, has been a part of two winter clinics, the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinics, held in Wellington, Florida, and this is her second summertime Courtney King-Dye Horsemastership Clinic. She brought Adagio, a 15-year-old German Riding Pony (El Donauwind-Gilla) owned by Donna Stockton with her to Hassler Dressage at Riveredge. Julian-Simoes counts herself fortunate to have the support of her mother and trainer, Julie Julian, as well as Stockton, Adagio’s owner.
“He’s 15 hands of fury,” she laughed. “His name means slow but he’s not.”
Julian-Simoes and Adagio recently claimed the blue ribbon in the Prix St. Georges at Dressage at Lamplight II in Wayne, Illinois, and the rider hopes to bring him out at Grand Prix next year after he masters his one-tempi changes. She said she’s looking forward the most to the one-on-one instruction during the clinic.
“Not only is this an opportunity to ride with top instructors, but the hospitality at Riveredge and the beautiful facility make this experience seem almost surreal,” she said. “It’s every rider’s dream to be at a facility as grand as this.”
Gray said D4K has clinics and activities all over the country. D4K will begin its Youth Dressage Festival Aug. 7-9 at HITS on the Hudson Showgrounds in Saugerties, New York, with more than 300 participants, it’s largest event ever. That will be followed by D4K’s first West Coast Emerging Dressage Athlete Clinic, to be held at the DevonWood Equestrian Centre in Sherwood, Oregon, Aug. 12-13.
“Anyone is welcome, but we are always excited to find upcoming talent who hasn’t yet had a chance to make a name competitively,” Gray said.
Julian-Simoes knows she has benefited by participating in the D4K activities.
“Thank you to Lendon Gray, the instructors, Hassler Dressage at Riveredge and its owners, Leslie and John Malone,” she said. “None of this would be possible without all who support Dressage4Kids.”
Check out all Dressage4Kids has to offer at http://www.dressage4kids.org. To learn more about Hassler Dressage, including a map so you can audit the clinic, go to http://hasslerdressage.com/hasslerdressage.