The Dressage Foundation Young Rider Olympic Dream Program is Ready to Go for The Eleventh Year!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Posted by The Dressage Foundation

Michael Poulin with Daughter Kate (Photo:
Michael Poulin with Daughter Kate (Photo:

The concept of the Dressage Foundation Olympic Dream program evolved as a result of former Olympian Michael Poulin’s wish to offer an opportunity for gifted Young Riders to enhance their understanding of dressage theory through a European tour. The program is both funded and administered by The Dressage Foundation. The program is open to USDF Young Riders, riding at Fourth Level or above, who are 16-21 years of age. Also, 22-year-old graduates of the 2011 Advanced Young Rider Program may apply. The tentative dates for the trip have been set for August 12-22, 2012. The current plan is to visit Ingrid Klimke, Jean Bemelmans, Wolfram Wittig, Matthias Rath, Hubertus Schmidt and former American team coach, Klaus Balkenhol—depending on each trainer’s availability. Plans also include attending the CDI in Cappeln, Germany. While traveling, the participants will record their observations in daily journals and chronicle events with photos and video to share with their home dressage organizations.

A Selection Committee comprised of leading American dressage persons selects four candidates based on their applications including an essay, DVD and written recommendations. Committee members want to see riding proficiency and commitment to training in the sport of dressage.

The application and further information on this extraordinary program is available on the TDF website (located on the right-hand sidebar of this page) or you may contact Jenny Johnson or Beth Baumert.  Application forms will not be mailed out to young riders this year.

The 2012 applications are due Friday, April 20, 2012. Candidates are encouraged to apply early and follow directions carefully.

This program is made possible by donors to The Dressage Foundation (TDF), a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is “To cultivate and provide financial support for the advancement of dressage.”

Jenny Johnson
The Dressage Foundation
1314 'O' Street, Suite 305
Lincoln, NE  68508
(402) 434-8585

Beth Baumert
Cloverlea Dressage, LLC
266 Route 87
Columbia, CT  06237
(860) 228-9242

History and Goals
In 2000, Michael Poulin, Olympian and National Board Member of The Dressage Foundation proposed a new program idea to take four top young American Dressage riders to Europe for a two-week introduction to European Dressage trainers, riders, facilities, and events. The Dressage Foundation administers and funds this program.

The concept of the program is to allow Young Riders the opportunity to enhance their understanding of Dressage theory through this European tour. The Young Riders observe, discuss and absorb the European training system. They watch their peers compete in shows and championships, and they visit top European trainers and riders. The program is open to USDF  Young Riders, 16-21 years of age, and 22 year-old graduates of the Advanced Young Rider Program, who are riding at Fourth Level or above. Applicants must be U.S. Citizens.  A National Selection Committee comprised of leading Dressage persons selects the riders from applicants who have filled out an extensive application form, written an essay, and have secured written recommendations - both personal and professional. Selection is based solely on merit, riding proficiency, and commitment to training in the sport of Dressage.

This program is not for every young rider. Those selected must be at a highly advanced level of experience and commitment with their riding. For those who are, this introductory excursion into European Dressage means everything, and the riders come home more seriously committed than ever, knowing what they now need to work on to advance and excel in the sport.

Here are the Olympic Dream Program participants to-date:

Kate Fleming (IL)      Jessica Rattner (OR)      Joanne Chmiel (IL)
Kelly Irving (WA)      Brandilee Hilbert (NY)      Kristen Wasemiller (OK)
Katherine Sunder (IL)      Adrienne Lyle (WA)      Amy Gimbel (NJ)
Christina Beal (CA)      Lindsay Whipple (VT)      Elizabeth Barclay (KS)
Josslyn Chandler (CA)      Bobbie Lynn McKee (AZ)      Ashley Peterson (NY)
Natalie Perry (WA)      Ryan Hites (WA)      Martin Kuhn (IL)
Jennifer Roth (OH)      Jena Dick (KS)      Christina Rudman (CO)
Claire Darnell (TX)      Amanda Johnson (IA)      Julie McKean (ME)
Gwen Poulin (FL)      Eliza Sydnor (NC)      Hannah Shook (NC)
Emily Tears (CA)      Jordan Meadows (IL)      Kate Poulin (FL)
Vanessa Simon (CO)      Katie Alms (CT)      Brian Hafner (CA)
Mimi Stanley (ND)      Christine Stephenson (CA)      Kristen Schwaegerle (NH)
Mary Bahniuk Lauritsen (MA)      Jhesika Wells (WA)      Kathryn Butt (SC)
Laura DeCesari (AZ)    

Read about previous Olympic Dream Program experiences: 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006


The following Adult Chaperones have accompanied the Young Riders to Europe:
Michael Poulin      Beth Baumert      Charters Wilson
Rachel Saavedra      Katherine Poulin-Neff      Charlotte Bredahl
Cindy Sydnor      Sarah Martin      Sharon Poulin
Heather Bender      Eliza Sydnor      Debbie Bowman
Ann Guptill      Annie Morris      Simone Ahern
Elizabeth Caron