May 6, 2005 -- A group of New England riders have joined forces to support the campaign for the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) National Education Center and Endowment Fund, while simultaneously honoring the vision and leadership of two-time Olympic dressage rider Lendon F. Gray.
At a reception held recently at the Connecticut home of Renee and Guy Leibler, over $90,000 was pledged toward a goal of $250,000 to name the Lendon F. Gray Bookstore at the new USDF center in Lexington, Ky. Additional contributions have raised the total so far to $145,000.
Gray is the winner of more national dressage championships than any other rider in the U.S. She represented the U.S. at the 1978 World Championships and the 1991 World Cup as well as the 1980 and 1988 Olympics. Gray also penned a monthly series of training articles in Practical Horseman and is the author of the book Lessons with Lendon.
To the riding public, Gray is perhaps best known as the founder of Dressge4Kids, Inc. a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide quality educational and competitive events for America's young riders. Its flagship event is the hugely successful Youth Dressage Festival, conducted in August. The event attracts over 250 riders each year from 25 states and 10 countries on 4 continents.
Now Feldman and her associates are taking their campaign to name the Lendon F. Gray bookstore nationwide. They chose the bookstore at the USDF site as a "naming opportunity" because to them it best represents what Gray is all about--learning, for riders of all ages and levels.
"My development from rider to horsewoman began when I arrived at Lendon's to rehab my Thoroughbred hunter," explained Theresa Davidson, a Dressage4Kids, Inc. director and long-time client of Gray. "At her barn, horse and rider combinations of all abilities are welcomed and trained with the same high standards she would hold for her most promising students."
Leibler's 10-year-old daughter Isabelle has trained with Gray for five years and last year was the high-score champion at Lendon's Youth Dressage Festival. A separate drive is underway specifically targeting the juniors. Young riders who want to participate in the fund-raising drive can download a specially-designed pledge card (pdf format) from www.dressage4kids.com/pdf/StudentsLetter.pdf.
Feldman and her associates hope to reach their $250,000 goal by the end of the year. Pledges may be made in many ways, and the fully tax-deductible contribution can be paid over a number of years. The full value of the pledge, however, would be counted immediately towards securing the naming opportunity.
Anyone wishing to make a donation or pledge to the USDF National Education Fund and designate their gift for the Lendon F. Gray bookstore can do so by contacting Fern Feldman at FernF@cox.net.