Lincoln, Nebraska - The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) has declared 2002 as the Year of the Freestyle. Musical freestyle dressage combines the beauty and strength of the horse with the stirring impact of music. Now a featured aspect of the Olympic Games, musical freestyle dressage has great audience appeal.
Several promotional and educational activities have been planned for the year. A freestyle logo has been designed and is available on pins, t-shirts, and polo shirts. A poster and an educational brochure, featuring FEI rider Betsy Steiner and the stallion, Hilltop Giotto, has also been produced promoting the benefits of freestyle. All of these items are available through USDF. The 2001 Annual Convention featured a panel discussion on freestyle, conducted by Olympian Susan Blinks and international competitors Tom Noone and Kay Meredith, and moderated by FEI-I judge Janet Brown. An audiotape of the program is available from USDF.
Freestyle will be the focus of the 2002 USDF National Symposium, to be held November 1-3, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The event will feature USDF University sessions on Friday afternoon on choreography and judge training. On Saturday and Sunday, freestyles will be presented by two riders at each level: First through Fourth level, Intermediate I, and Grand Prix. The rides will then be critiqued by a panel of experts including former European freestyle champion, judge, and freestyle clinician, Jeanie Loriston-Clark (Great Britain); FEI-O judge, Stephen Clarke (Great Britain); USDF Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle champion, Debbie McDonald (Idaho); and top freestyle designer, Terri Ciotti-Gallo (Florida). Saturday evening will feature a freestyle gala, which will be choreographed by freestyle specialist, Tigger Montague (Virginia).
A short promotional and educational videotape will be sponsored and produced by Equestrian Arts Productions of East Haddam, Connecticut. It will serve to introduce the sport of dressage through freestyle and is expected to be available by summer 2002.
The following riders have been invited to submit a video clip of their ride for consideration in the production: a) qualifiers and participants in the 2001 ABIC/USDF Regional Championship freestyles, b) participants in the 2000 ABIC/USDF Regional Championship freestyles, c) participants in the 2001 North American Young Riders Championships, d) first and second place winners of the 2001 Cosequin/USDF Musical Freestyle awards, and e) USET long-listed riders.
The United States Pony Club has joined the USDF in declaring 2002 the Year of the Freestyle. Freestyle workshops will be presented during their annual convention February 2. Additional freestyle clinics, competitions, and performances held throughout the country will be publicized in a calendar in the monthly USDF Connection as well as on the USDF website: www.usdf.org.