New USEF Dressage Developing Programs and Championships to Create a Pipeline for U.S. Talent

The United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.® announces the launch of new USEF Dressage Developing Programs. The new 2007 USEF Dressage Developing Programs are an initiative to recognize and reward up-and-coming talent in the sport, and will include the following:

  • 2007 USEF National Junior Dressage Championship (riders 14 – 18). Formerly the Junior Team Dressage Championship, the top 12 junior riders in the country will now qualify for the National Championship contested in head-to-head competition.
  • 2007 USEF National Young Rider Dressage Championship A brand new national Championship offered to riders 16 – 21.
  • 2007 USEF National Young Adult “Brentina Cup” Dressage Championship (riders 18 – 26 at the FEI Intermediaire II level). The second year for this well received National Championship.
  • 2007 USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship This will be a new National Championship division for 7 – 9-year-old horses at the FEI Prix St. Georges level.

In a new format for this year, the Collecting Gaits Farm USEF National Junior, Young Rider, and Young Adult (“Brentina Cup”) Dressage Championships will all be held in Gladstone, New Jersey, June 14 – 17, 2007, in conjunction with the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Intermediaire I and Grand Prix Championships at the USET Foundation/Collecting Gaits Farm “Dressage Festival of Champions”. “Bringing the top horses and riders from all five divisions together will be an unprecedented event,” says Jennifer Keeler, USEF National Director of Dressage. “Having the top competitors in the country, from Juniors to Olympians, all together in one location will be a fabulous opportunity to showcase not only the sport but our country’s developing talent in dressage.”

The USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship (for 7- to 9-year-old horses) will be held in Lexington, Kentucky, September 14 – 16, 2007, in conjunction with the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships (4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds). Inspired by a popular German championship for this age division, this program continues USEF’s initiative to recognize up-and-coming dressage talent – not only for riders, but also for horses. “This Championship is the next step in encouraging the development our future U.S. Team horses,” explains Ms. Keeler. “Similar to the Brentina Cup for riders, this Championship bridges the gap between the Young Horse ranks and High Performance at the Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire I level.”

“Jennifer Keeler and the members of the USEF Dressage Committee have worked together tirelessly over the past several years to make this happen,” states Gil Merrick, USEF Managing Director of Dressage and High Performance Dressage. “It is a true mark of their success that the discipline of dressage now has a fully connected pipeline of programs through which riders and horses in the USA can develop from the grass roots all the way to the High Performance level with an eye towards one day representing our country as a member of an international dressage team.”

Dressage competitions throughout the country have been designated as official 2007 Qualifying Competitions for these USEF Developing Dressage Programs. Also, new score tracking and ongoing USEF ranking lists will be implemented for each division, which will be used not only for the Championships themselves, but also to determine invitations to training sessions with U.S. coaches Klaus Balkenhol and Debbie McDonald, and possible participation in foreign invitational competitions. “I am very excited about this program,” states Debbie McDonald, USEF Dressage Developing Coach. “Now it will be possible to identify those talented competitors who are the future of dressage. My goal is to bring my expertise and experience to help develop both horses and riders for our next international U.S. dressage teams, and in this way be able to give back to the sport that has been so good to me.”

Complete selection procedures, applications, and competition information for the 2007 USEF Developing Dressage Programs are now available on the USEF website. For more information, please contact Jennifer Keeler, USEF National Director of Dressage, or (859) 225-2024.