Three youth rider stories illustrate the determination and drive of the group of young riders during the three month 2014 Dressage4Kids Winter Intensive Training Program. As a group, each one of the 15 participants have a beautiful story to tell on what they learned, built, and accomplished with Lendon Gray. We caught up with three of them. Each youth learned foundation building lessons in their dressage training through an amazing program. The Winter Intensive Training Program (WIT) started January 2, 2014 and ended March 28, 2014, launching for the second year, a daily schedule that builds knowledge and confidence in great young riders. The program took place at Hampton Green Farm, in Wellington, Florida, located near all the top industry professionals like veterinary care, competitions, media, and more.
Matthew Baillargeon, 20 yrs old, from Casco, Maine and his horse, A Touch of Grace "Gracie" - a PMU Rescue (Perch X QH) said, “My horse traveled from Canada to Maine as a four month old and I bought her when she was four years old. She was very green and we had some very rough stuff to get over. 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 at First level and have one score towards my bronze medal.
Lendon shared, “Matt with his PMU rescue mare made a huge accomplishment during the program. The mare was a basic First Level horse, though Matt had taught her a good flying change. She’s far from being your typical dressage horse type, but Matt really guided her with focus and determination. His dream for the three months was to compete at Third Level by the end of the program. He worked very hard to accomplish something that might not have been attainable. He pursued each day with great enthusiasm.”
Lendon continued, “When I taught Matt for the first time, the mare would not move sideways. I had to kick Matt off of her and work her in hand to get her to understand that she could cross her hind legs or her front legs. Moving her shoulders or hindquarters sideways was not a concept that she naturally used or thought necessary, but slowly she found her confidence. Step by step Matt worked very hard to teach her that it’s okay to move sideways. During the last week of the Winter Intensive Training Program (WIT) Matt accomplished his goal and received a 61% in Third Level Test 1."
Lendon said with a smile, “That was his goal and we fulfilled it.”
Katrina Sadis, 16 years old, from Ann Arbor, Michigan coached by Andrea Landis and Lendon Gray rode Poldy 10 an 18 year old German Riding Pony through the WIT Program. In the FEI Pony division at the Florida International Youth Dressage Championships in February, they won the division with a score of 66.838% and 67.154%.
Poldy 10 has loads of experience taking three riders in Europe through the Pony divisions, and helped Bebe Davis win the US National Title in the Pony division in 2013, and now helps Katrina build her foundation for a strong future in dressage. Katrina shared, “I’ve had Poldy six months now. I’m learning everything.” Taking part in the three month - Lendon Gray Winter Intensive Training Program, she said, “Lendon is really tough on my position. I’ve never had a pony like Poldy. He’s pretty much like a mini warmblood. If I sit better Poldy goes better. We’re working a lot on half-halts and simple changes. Poldy knows the Pony tests really well, so we try to work on the basics in preparation.”
Lendon shared, “Katrina has tremendous determination as a 16 year old; she only has this one year to compete in the FEI Pony division. She ended up with the pony’s highest score ever during the last CDI at the Global Dressage Festival.”
Lendon continued, “She came with a major goal and she qualified for Gladstone and the US National Championships.”
Winter Intensive Training Program Creates Exciting New Partnership
The Winter Intensive Training Program forged an exciting new partnership between Kya Enderson, Jaime Topinka Nunn, Lee Chamas, Lendon Gray and the horse Eden Roc. Kya Enderson who was a participant of the 2014 Winter Intensive Training Program just received the ride on Lee Chamas’ horse Eden Roc, with the hopes of qualifying for the NAJYRC and Festival of Champions. Kya connected with Jaime Topinka Nunn (Eden Roc’s Trainer and Rider) through Dressage4Kids’ and Lendon Gray’s Winter Intensive Training Program happening now in Wellington, Fl.
Kya, 19 yrs old from North Caroline had great success in the FEI Juniors in 2011 as the National Junior Champion with Pik L, owned by Anne Sparks, and part of the gold medal Junior Team at NAJYRC the same year.
She will be pairing up with Lendon Gray and Jaime Topinka Nunn to hopefully match her pervious victories. Jaime Topinka Nunn, from New Jersey, and the 2014 Winter Intensive Training Program Stable Manager runs her own training business and farm. Her passion is to take young horses up through the levels, just as she did with Eden Roc. She also has been involved with mentoring several young riders along their journeys.
Owner of eden Roc, Lee Chamas said, "Jaime and I have decided that Eden would love a young rider. It was just a matter of finding a right young rider Jaime thought was best for him."
Jaime chose Kya because of her past competitive experience and felt she would easily adapt to Eden in a short amount of time. Jaime mentioned, “Kya is a compassionate person who fits our program both here at WIT and at home in New Jersey.” Within 12 rides Kya was ready to compete Eden Roc at FEI Young Riders. The pair received a 65% and won their class at White Fences.
“I am so appreciative of the opportunity given to me by Lee Chamas and Jaime Topinka Nunn. It is so amazing to sit on a seasoned veteran,” said Kya.
For the last few years Kya has had the opportunity to work solely with young horses. “I cannot wait to see what this year brings. Thank you to Lee, Jaime for your trust and support in allowing me to compete Eden. None of this would have been possible without the Winter Intensive Training Program and Lendon Gray. This program has not only challenged me to grow in the present, but open doors for the future!”
To learn more about The Winter Intensive Training Program go to: http://www.dressage4kids.org/winter-intensive-training-program/