Winter Dressage Education

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The calendar for 2012 seems to be flying right into my face, without a breather from the holidays.? First comes the Weekend Educational Program this week.

The WEP (plus the Youth Dressage Festival in July, where I'm judging) are both projects of Dressage4Kids, inspired and led by Lendon Gray.? (If you?ve read this blog before, you know I'm on the committee.) Even though those are both huge projects, Lendon outdid even herself with the first Emerging Dressage Athletes Program held last week in Florida.? The EDAP invited promising young riders to Florida for an intensive week of training (overall horsemanship, not just riding) with real stars in the field, including Olympic riders Robert Dover, Courtney King Dye and USET Team leader Anne Gribbons.? As I looked over the names of invited riders, I saw several who have attended both YDF and WEP for years, and I hope all these programs for young people will be a source of inspiration as well as knowledge and experience.

WEP is a weekend of lectures that D4K holds every January in Connecticut.? It started out aimed for kids, but there are plenty of topics for people at all levels of experience and ages.? This year we have a rock star as featured speaker, biomechanics researcher Dr. Hilary Clayton. We have ?tracks? for instructors, eventers/pony clubbers, ?mini? riders, plus lots of other subjects.? I'm doing the judging stuff, including a forum just for dressage judges on Sunday afternoon.? Before that I'll be talking on ?How to Get an 8 or Higher,? ?First Level: The Black Hole of Dressage,? ?What Judges Wish Instructors Know,? and ?Taking the D (Dread) Out of Eventing Dressage.?? I'll need to put my skates on, since I don't want to miss hearing Dr. Clayton and some of the other speakers as well.? If you want to go, the info is on the www.dressage4kids.com website.

Another project I'm doing for the weekend is a survey of favorite horse books. Reading and education is a vital part of the D4K mission, and the YDF includes a written test.? I think it would be fun to see what other horse books people are reading and enjoying and will maybe be a source of inspiration for other WEP attendees.? I often think back about the horse books I enjoyed as a kid, and I sometimes wonder if kids today are still reading them even though they have other good choices now.