Saugerties, NY– Pan Am Gold Medalist Lauren Sammis, who is back in the Grand Prix show ring with Al Guden’s Sagacious HF, spent time with young dressage riders recently when she served as a judge at Lendon Gray’s Youth Dressage Festival at Hits-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. Sammis, who worked for Gray as a working student starting in her early years, was thrilled to take part in Gray’s annual Youth Dressage Festival, an event that attracts young riders from around the world.
“I judged the 7-9 year olds and the 16-17 year olds and they were unbelievably cute and adorable,” Sammis said. “This is exactly what you want your children to be involved with because they were braiding their own horses and ponies, taking written exams and taking part in an equitation class series.”
Sammis added that she felt the festival helped the young riders become real horse people. “They learned the basics that every child involved with horses should know,” Sammis said. “I would like to see the Young Rider Program incorporate more of these ideas into their program. It is a fantastic experience for the kids to take on more responsibility and do the work themselves. Riding and showing is not just the five minutes in the ring, it takes preparation and hard work.”
Sammis, who began riding as soon as she could walk, is no stranger to hard work. As a working student from her mid-teens into her 20’s, Sammis developed a solid foundation from Gray. Now a decorated rider and the founder of Sammis Sales LLC, she has made a name for herself riding Al Guden’s 11-year-old KWPN gelding Sagacious. Together the pair competed in the 2007 US Pan American Games in Brazil, bringing home a Team Gold and an Individual Silver Medal for the US.
In 2009, Sammis and Sagacious made the successful transition to the Grand Prix, winning 10 out of 12 CDI competitions entered. They also proved to be in competitive form in Canada recently, and Sammis said she is looking forward to competing Sagacious at the Grand Prix Dressage Selection Trials for the World Equestrian Games at Gladstone in August. But in the midst of her focused training Sammis found it refreshing to “pay it forward” to some of the nation’s upcoming “future” dressage stars at the Youth Dressage Festival. Following her day of judging at the Dressage Festival, Sammis and friends including Sagacious’ owner Al Guden, gathered to celebrate at Sammis twins 2nd birthday party. Following a fun “youth filled” 2 days, Sammis was back on Sagacious preparing for August and the Selection Trials.