2014 Lendon Youth Dressage Festival Midwest included Headline Speaker - Ayden Uhlir

Thursday, July 3, 2014
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Fruitport, MI – Lendon Gray understands the drive to excellence on the high performance level in the sport of dressage and creates a path for youth. The Lendon Gray Youth Dressage Festival held at Hampton Green Farm, June 26-27, 2014, set a way for youth, the age’s 8-21years, to learn correct dressage. With three manageable phases, a written test, a dressage test, and an equitation class, the challenge for the youth participants proved rewarding. The unique competition designed by Dressage4Kids makes the horse as unimportant as possible by adding a written test and an equitation class to the dressage test. With three phases equaling a little more than 30%, the competitor has a chance to shine with any kind of horse or pony. The competition included an optional horse inspection and a great prize for the winner. Basic yet straightforward, Lendon’s caring yet honest nature shines through to each and every participant as they smiled with confidence throughout the event. Ayden Uhlir, the 2013 NAJYR Young Rider Division Champion, gave several inspirational talks to the youth. With Nike as her title sponsor and quite a young lady for the future of our sport, at 19 years, Ayden’s wit and fun-loving nature hummed with honest integrity that encompasses a give back to youth attitude. She encouraged, motivated and inspired the young riders by: helping them ring-side, sharing her story, and giving encouraging advice.

Hampton Green Farm Located in Fruitport, Michigan, a beautiful farm located on the western side of the state, and just a few short miles from Lake Michigan. The home for over 50 USPRE, Spanish bred horses, owned by Kim and Frederic Boyer, Hampton Green Farm nestles in absolute beauty with young horses in big fields, separated by age group. The youngster slept in bunches during the weekend with all the activities surrounding them.

As the first equestrian rider to be sponsored by Nike, Ayden shared her drive in the sport, showed that integrity and caring nature makes an impact, and offered riding test tips after the competitor’s dressage test.

First, she shared her strive for being the best athlete she will become. She works every day to be able to answer every dressage horse biomechanical problem with the question “Why?” Training with Christine Traurig , an Olympian and German born who grew up riding the young horses at the Hanoverian Elite Auction, Ayden works day in and day out with the best mentor possible to accomplish that feat. She said, “Every horse will teach the rider something. The horse doesn’t have to be a top horse.” And she spoke about how preparation is where opportunity meets, in other words, hard work must be the daily basic foundation.

Ayden works hard to help others. She keeps a blog on all her training, her competition experiences, and all she learns. With interesting and inspirational write-ups including full details on aspects of her life affected by the sport as she navigates her way up the levels.

The Blog can be found at: http://dressagespot.blogspot.com/

As for her sponsorship with Nike, she said, “You make an impression all the time, in front of every person you meet. The sponsors want to know you are a good person.” She explained how she created a Sponsor Book, and the Nike representatives called her and met with her on the very same day. She truly does deserve to be the ambassador for our sport and must have made a great impression.

Other wonderful tips and stories came through the weekend by Randi Heathman, an Independent Educational Consultant for equestrians searching for the best college choice and experience. She honed her craft at Albion College where she gained knowledgeable experience in college admission. She guides students and their families through the search, application, and financial aid process all while helping to understand the drive and motivation of the young equestrian’s goals.

Lendon Gray also passed on what she’s seen in the sport, what she’s done to step by step accomplish her goals, and how to strive for a future in dressage.

A special thank you to Kim and Fred Boyer for making the weekend so educational for the competitors and their parents – the weekend truly touches lives and helps to build the strong foundation for a great future in the sport of Dressage.

The Results: 2014 Lendon Gray Youth Dressage Festival Midwest Championship Award Winners:

Overall High Point Champion: Katrina Sadis - Sponsored by Wildlife Gallery Festival Plaque

Reserve Champion: Kerrigan Gluck Sponsored by Lendon Gray, Little Horse Statue

High Point FEI Rider: Katrina Sadis Sponsored by Millbrook Tack, Double Bridle

High Point Written Test: Nicole Gallant Sponsored by Marilyn Fahringer

High Point Dressage: Katrina Sadis Sponsored by Marilyn Fahringer

High Point PRE: Kerrigan Gluch Sponsored by USPRE Saddle Pad & Shirt

High Point Equitation: Kerrigan Gluch sponsored by Laurie Moore Dressage, Saddle Pad, Whip, Gloves & Stock tie

Turn Out Inspection Award: Claire McNulty Sponsored by Joan Esterline, Carolyn Van Cise Memorial Award

Intro Turnout Award: Katrina Hogan Sponsored by Lendon Gray, Stuffed Pony

High Point Pony Award: Katrina Sadis Sponsored by Tractor Supply, Bucket of Supplies

High Point Horse Started By Rider: Emma Kemmink Sponsored by HGF Tote Bag

High Point Sportsmanship Award: Chloe Grahek Sponsored by Shoreline Dressage, Pad & Wraps

Newbie Award: McKenna Rhoades Sponsored by Andrea Landis Dressage

MVP Volunteer: Oliva Stille Sponsored by Concord Ridge Equestrian Center

Other thanks must go to the sponsors:

Wildlife Gallery

Jamaica Stall Rental

United States P.R.E. Association

Millbrook Tack

United States Pony Club

A1 Tents


VanKampen Boyer Molinari Foundation

For more information on Lendon Gray’s Youth Dressage Festivals, D4K organization, The Winter Intensive Training Program (WIT) please go to: http://www.dressage4kids.org