Lendon Gray Coaches the Second Annual Winter Intensive Training Program (WIT)

Lendon Gray coaching at the second Winter Intensive Training Program Photo: Betsy LaBelle
Lendon Gray coaching at the second Winter Intensive Training Program Photo: Betsy LaBelle

The Dressage4Kids Winter Intensive Training Program (WIT) started January 2, 2014 launching for the second year, three months of training led by Lendon Gray, chairman of Dressage4Kids. What’s most exciting about this program, it not only covers riding instruction, but also rider fitness, cross training, nutrition, sports psychology, media training, horse care, riding theory as well as other top international rider riding instruction. The program grows each year due to a few key people who make this program possible for the 15 lucky young riders. Hampton Green Farm’s owner Kimberley Boyer who generously provides her farm, many giving supporters, and of course Lendon Gray, who puts her heart into the youth for three months. The 15 young riders were chosen from many applicants and are all very excited for this amazing opportunity. They have been selected not only for their talent as Dressage riders, but for their desire to learn, determination, and citizenship. Here is a glimpse of three riders who will be in Florida for the full winter season:

Emma Staley, 21 yrs old, Cherry Hills Village, CO, riding Mattu, 15 yrs, Swedish WB is currently in her senior year at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. She found the Winter Intensive Training program on Facebook and worked out a way to participate. She said, “Before I even got accepted to the WIT program, I rearranged my fall semester schedule so that if I got accepted into the program. I only need 9 more credits in order to graduate with my BS in Equestrian Science. Although I had to jump through many hoops to make it all work, I was able to turn the WIT program into a 6 credit EQS Internship through school. I will also be taking Microeconomics online through Columbia College. The completion of these two courses will allow me to graduate on time in May of 2014.”

She shared, “This program is all about being disciplined. We start the day out at 6:30am every day. Even on Monday, which is our off day, we must be at the barn by 6:30 to feed our horses and clean our stalls. That in itself is discipline. Along with extreme time management, we must also find time to keep up with the homework in the program and outside schoolwork. The riding lessons and daily fitness routines are all about discipline, pushing yourself to try harder, and trying to overcome our difficulties. If you don't have extreme discipline, you would not be able to do this program.”

“My horse, Mattu is currently schooling third level, and my hopes are to be able to show him at third level this winter in Wellington. He is an incredibly talented horse with the potential to go far. I plan to take advantage of all of the incredible opportunities that Lendon Gray is providing for us so that Mattu and I can become the best team we can be,” said Staley.

Alexandra (Alex) Gainer Age, 20 yrs old, North Canton, Ohio, riding Princeton, 14 yr old, Thoroughbred at the 2014 WIT Program Photo: Betsy LaBelle
Alexandra (Alex) Gainer Age, 20 yrs old, North Canton, Ohio, riding Princeton, 14 yr old, Thoroughbred at the 2014 WIT Program Photo: Betsy LaBelle

Alexandra (Alex) Gainer Age, 20 yrs old, North Canton, Ohio, riding Princeton, 14 yr old, Thoroughbred who previously worked as a working student for Mica Mabragana a top FEI rider for Argentina and a long-time student of Lendon Gray. Alex shared, “When I was a working student for Mica Mabragana, I got lessons from Lendon. I used to get so upset. I would cry ever single lesson. Now, here I am and I haven’t cried yet! It’s really an exciting opportunity.”

In talking about her horse, Gainer shared, “Princeton is an Off Track Thoroughbred competing at Prix St. Georges level. He was given to me about 4 years ago from the generous Antonella Bath. We only thought he could go to Second Level at the time, but he keeps amazing us. We hope to qualify for the North American Junior Young Rider Championships!”

About the program Gainer said, “I’m learning all aspects of everything, horse care, mental training, riding. It’s great!”

Matthew Baillargeon, 20 yrs old, Casco, Maine riding A Touch of Grace "Gracie,” PMU Rescue so my guess is Perch X QH. Matt shared, “My horse traveled to Maine from Canada at 4 months old. I bought her when she was 4 years old. She was very green and we had very rough stuff to go through. She previously had no dressage training and I couldn't even walk a lap around the arena, let alone trot or canter. She isn't your typical dressage horse but I have shown her USDF First level and have one score towards my bronze medal. I'm hoping to show her down here as well to earn my second USDF First level score.”

In talking about the WIT program, he said, “In this program you have to be extremely disciplined. I don't have anyone down here with me so every night I set about 5 alarms to make sure I actually get up. Once I'm up, the day flies by. Between lessons, lectures, barn maintenance our days are very full.”

Growing up in Maine, Matt said, “Lendon has just been amazing. I have never ridden with someone like her in my life. She’s constantly pushing me to strive for greater. She’s very tough. She’s teaching me how to be prepared. I could never get this education back at home.”

Ali Perkins, 20 yrs old, North Yarmouth, Maine riding Piper, 17 yr old, Dutch Warmblood at the 2014 WIT Program Photo: Betsy LaBelle
Ali Perkins, 20 yrs old, North Yarmouth, Maine riding Piper, 17 yr old, Dutch Warmblood at the 2014 WIT Program Photo: Betsy LaBelle

List of Participants:

Ali Perkins, 20 yrs old, North Yarmouth, Maine riding Piper, 17 yr old , Dutch Warmblood

Madison Chamas. 13 yrs old, Millstone Township, New Jersey, riding Rolex, 15 yr old, Oldenburg

Kya Endreson, 19 yrs old, Southern Shores, NC, riding Souvenir KS (Sophie), 8 yr old, Hanoverian

Alexandra (Alex) Gainer Age, 20 yrs old, North Canton, Ohio, riding Princeton, 14 yr old, Thoroughbred

Katja Creswick, 15 years old, Ravenna, Michigan, riding Vinton (the V-man) 15 yrs old, American Warmblood

Meghan Watt, 16 yrs old, Saratoga Springs, NY, riding Invicto MC, 8 yrs old, PRE

Matthew Baillargeon, 20 yrs old, Casco, Maine riding A Touch of Grace "Gracie,” PMU Rescue so my guess is Perch X QH

Grace Gregory, 20 yrs old, Brentwood, TN, riding - Latatiana (Bella), 10 yrs old, Old/Hanoverian

Allyssia Bryant, 18 yrs old, Livermore Falls, ME, riding Display , 15 yr old, Westfalen

Caroline McConnell, 14 Years old , Warwick, NY, riding Toblerone, 9 Years old, Welsh cross

Alex Gainer, 20 yrs old, North Canton, OH, riding Princeton, 14 yr old, Thoroughbred

Katrina Sadis, 15 yrs old, Ann Arbor, MI, riding Plody 10, 18 yr old German Riding Pony

Jessica Spracklin, 18 yrs old, Hamilton, OH, riding Sir Mystic Smoke (Leo) 9yrs old, TB/QH 

Emma Staley, 21 yrs old, Cherry Hills Village, CO, riding Mattu, 15 yrs, Swedish WB

Katelyn Victoria Kok (Katie), 20 years old, from New Hampshire - participant in 2013 and assistant to Lendon who oversees the fitness workouts

Kerrigan Gluch is 16 yrs old from Michigan  - also a working student at Hampton Green Farm

Rachel Chowanec 18 yrs old, comes from Columbia, Connecticut - also a working student at Hampton Green Farm

 
 



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