Lexington, KY- The United States Equestrian Federation's Dressage Developing Program, made possible by a generous gift from Akiko Yamazaki and Red Husky Foundation through U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation, has gotten off to a successful start in 2013. The program opened with two observation competitions, at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W in West Palm Beach, FL, January 17-20 and at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI3* in Burbank, CA, February 21-24. Debbie McDonald, USEF Developing Dressage Coach, and at least one other named selector (Lendon Gray, Anne Gribbons, Scott Hassler and Jeremy Steinberg) have attended these sessions in an effort to identify talented, developing combinations with potential for future team and international success. The next step in the program will be for selected combinations to take part in mandatory training outings. These outings will be with McDonald, who will work alongside riders' personal trainers to observe the combinations' training. Additional training outings will be held in California and other locations throughout the spring and summer; dates and information will be forthcoming.
The second Florida Observation Competition will be held March 14-17, 2013 at the WEF Dressage Classic CDI3*. Riders seeking to advance in the program are encouraged to participate in this session. The first training outing will be held April 2-3, 2013 in Wellington, FL. Riders will only be required to participate one of the two days and McDonald is able to travel to individual farms for the session. Riders wishing to participate in this outing and be considered for funding will need to complete an application by March 20, 2013. In order to be considered for future training outings, riders must submit applications to the USEF Dressage Department by June 1, 2013.
"Now that we have had two observation competitions, I must say that the quality of horses and riders coming up makes me very optimistic about the future," said McDonald. "I am excited for our first training session in Florida and thanks to our amazing sponsor we are going to be able to give deserving combinations the chance to further their training through grants. This is a great incentive for everyone who thinks they have a nice horse to get out there and show it."
The program's goal for the Fall of 2013 will be awarding grants to selected top combinations, approved by the High Performance Dressage Committee, with the aim to provide funding for developing combinations to seek further training and competition experience.