One of the auditors selected to attend the first annual Emerging Dressage Athlete’s Program was 16-year–old Ayden Uhir from Texas.Uhir was invited to attend by Lendon Gray after she participated in a clinic in Region 9, Texas. Here is Ayden account and some photos of her week, December 26-January 1, in Wellington, Florida
My first days at the Emerging Dressage Athletes Robert Dover Mastership Clinic were like a roller coaster ride; full of extreme highs and big curves. I remember arriving in sunny Wellington on Christmas Day. My mom and I had spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day driving in from Texas. I was a little sad about missing the holidays but we tried to make the journey festive by hanging dozens of paper snowflakes to make it look like it was snowing inside our car! After 23 hours in the car together we were happy to arrive at Jennifer Baumert’s home. She had agreed to let us stay with her family and even included us in their family holiday festivities. When she told me I would be sleeping in Courtney King-Dyes’ old room I was elated.
I giggled and under the guise of playing with Lucas, Jen’s adorable red headed two year old, I started jumping on the bed. My spirit was soaring.I hoped some of Courtney’s magic would still be lingering in her room. Maybe I had already gotten some just by being here.
The next morning was the first curveball; 6 am workout with Bob, Robert’s personal trainer. Directly after Lendon Gray asked us “how many of you learned that you aren’t as fit as you thought you were?” Brandi Roenick and I were the only ones to raise our hands. But by the next morning everyone was having trouble walking so I think it was a universal lesson.
From that first training session until the next Saturday afternoon we were learning every minute. The clinic was so complete and showed me how so many important things come together. Dozens of people have input into the success of one 5 minute dressage test! I was enthralled by the all of the speakers who enlightened me about feeding, shoeing, journaling, visualizing, and caring for my horse, myself and those around me who support my riding goals.
This clinic gave me a very solid foundation to help me obtain my future goals. I am that young girl like many of us, who dreams of a life dedicated to horses and to our amazing sport.I want to ride and train horses to the highest achievement I am able.My goal is to represent the United States in international competitions someday. Last year was my first in the NAJRC division. It was an eventful season with my new horse Sjapoer. I was so lucky that Ms. Van Essen agreed to sell me her baby. She had bred Sjapoer from her own mare Jenia and the famous Contango.
Finally, I wanted to say the greatest thing about EDAP was making friendships. People in our sport are spread across the USA.
Often, we see people only once or twice a year at competitions. And then you only get to know them from a competitive perspective. EDAP and our week together in Wellington gave all of us time to bond outside of being competitors. I built memories with other riders that will most likely be part of my entire life.
We are now a support group for each other. We constantly chat on facebook and share many aspects of our lives, not just our scores.I thank Lendon Gray, Robert Dover, Courtney King-Dye and all the other participants of EDAP for changing my life.