Calling all Youth! The time has come to fill out an application, download a video and train for three months in Florida. If you are under 21, an aspiring dressage rider, and want a chance to train in the best environment possible, then this is the program for you. The Winter Intensive Training Program runs for three months (January-March). Taking place in Wellington, Florida, a full schedule of learning includes: daily riding lessons, rider fitness, theory, field trips and lectures on many pertinent subjects. A member in the 2013 WIT program, Alexandra (Alex) Singh (17 years old) from Slingerlands, NY, shared, “When I received the email notifying that I was accepted into the D4K Winter Intensive Training program, I was in shock. I was both ecstatic and slightly intimidated by the thought of riding with Lendon Gray and many other top riders. I am so fortunate to have participated in a program which allowed me to grow tremendously as a rider.”
She continued, “During WIT I learned to stop being complacent and challenge both myself and my horse. I found that I had a tendency to settle for "all right" instead of pushing for “more,” as Lendon so often put it. In my riding today, I feel much more confident in making small changes during a movement and throughout my ride as a whole in order to reach a greater final result. Now when I feel I am losing quality I have a toolbox of questions, and small but useful variations, I can use to improve the ride.”
This program takes determination, drive and passion. Any rider under 21 may apply to take advantage of opportunities this program has to offer. Last year's participants ranged from Training Level to Grand Prix, from age 13 to 21. All were fiercely driven to reach their goals.
The program is not for the casual dressage rider, but for aspiring young riders that are committed to be the best they can be. Grace Gregory, (19 yrs old) from Tennessee said, ”I learned so many great things in the WIT program this past winter, such as braiding, taking care of my athlete (my horse) and how to get the most out of each ride. But there were three things I learned that really made a huge impression on me:
1. How to ride your test. In the past I had always just gone through my test right before the show and that was it. But in the program Lendon had me do every little movement and look at it and see what needed to be fixed so I could get the best score on that movement. I cannot tell you how many times I did halt rein backs until my horse could finally do them straight. Now I really think through my test and try to make each movement count.
2. I learned how to show. Before going, I had only shown a handful of times, and I always had my mom there to help me get ready. Showing in Florida, I was in charge of getting ready, making sure I had everything, and being on time. The funny thing about that was that I actually was more relaxed by myself. Well, maybe not the first show, but the rest of my shows I felt at peace and had lots of fun. I realized I could do it on my own and be responsible for all that had to be done before the show.
3. I also learned that I want to be in this business for the rest for my life. It was the most stressful, tiring and difficult three months of my life, but I loved every moment. I want to be like Robert Dover, David Marcus, Shelly Francis, Jacquie Brooks and of course, Lendon Gray. I want to train, show, and one day compete for my country in the Olympics.
There is time during the day for participants to continue school and/or be tutored. Housing and schooling are to be arranged by the participant. Last year as many as seven participants shared housing and those without cars were able to get rides with those who had cars. This is to be worked out by the participants. You may attend for the full three months or a shorter amount of time, if stabling permits.
If this program interests you, please feel encouraged to apply by sending in the application.
You will need to put a short video of you riding on the web for viewing by the committee.
It does not matter how much experience you have, at what level you’re currently riding, or the horse you have. Your dedication, passion and discipline must shine on your application.
Participants in the Winter Intensive Training Program are held to high standards of character and professionalism.
If you have any questions contact Lendon.