Four advanced young dressage riders have been selected for the 2002 Advanced Young Rider European Training/Education Program, a joint project of The Dressage Foundation and the United States Dressage Federation, Inc. (USDF).
An independent selection committee chose Gwen Poulin (FL), Joanne Chmiel (IL), Brandilee Hilbert (NY) and Amanda Johnson (IA) to make the second trip to Europe for this program. Kathryn Fleming (IL) and Bridget DiPasquale (CA) are the first and second alternates, respectively. The group will be led by Olympic medallist Michael Poulin and Heather Bender, both from Florida. A Board Member of The Dressage Foundation who is also an original benefactor for this program, has made a donation to pay for the travel expenses of the two adult chaperones on this year's trip.
Through generous support from The Dressage Foundation's Captain Andrew de Szinay Fund, the group will be traveling to Belgium to Judy deWinter's Dressage Stables, where they will observe a variety of horses in training at various levels. The group will also travel to Germany in July to observe the training of Jean Bemelsman, a top German trainer and Grand Prix coach. The group will then attend the FEI European Young Rider Championships in Italy to see their peers in action before returning home.
While traveling, the young riders will record their observations in writing and provide photos for daily uploading to a special website developed just for the trip, which was donated through The Dressage Foundation by Krista Kotlarz and her company, CyberNET Engineering, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Access to the website will be through the USDF (www.usdf.org) and The Dressage Foundation (www.dressagefoundation.org) websites, allowing riders worldwide to learn from the virtual journey.
"The dedicated and conscientious independent selection committee was very impressed with the quality of the candidates," stated John Boomer, President and CEO of The Dressage Foundation. "They had a very hard job narrowing the candidates down to just four. However, basing their decisions on essays, competition scores, recommendations and commitment, the committee has selected a wonderful group of young riders."
For more information on this program, please contact Sheila Forbes at the United States Dressage Federation, 220 Lexington Green Circle, Suite 510, Lexington, KY 40503; 859/971-2277 or John Boomer at The Dressage Foundation, 130 N. 10th St., Lincoln, NE 68508; 402/434-8585.
Image copyrighted: Mary Phelps