Tag Archives: Dressage4kids

Dressage4Kids News

Thank you, D4K family, for being patient concerning our upcoming activities. We will keep you posted as decisions are made. In the meantime, stay well and let’s all help each other get through this challenging time.

We have already cancelled the first three TEAM clinics of 2020. I know we must be careful keeping each other safe and healthy, but that many of you are still able to ride your horse in your back yard or are at a stable where you can keep six feet away from all humans at the stable. Best of all we can still hug our horses. One of the parts I’m sad about is that many of you were looking forward to getting some instruction. So I thought I would regularly send out some very simple ideas of things that riders of all levels could check on in their own riding. Nothing deep in theory — just little check-ups that any rider can do that will improve your riding.

  1. In one way the easiest, but we know bad habits are hard to break and this is a VERY bad habit for many. Keep your head up at all times. Have anyone watch you (they don’t need to know anything about riding). Can you have your head up and your eyes up no matter what you are doing (picking up your reins, transitions, looking at the spot you want to reach in a leg-yield or a half pass)? We know this has a big effect on your upper body and your ability to develop a strong back.
  2. Keep a soft fist – if your fist is tight your arm will be tight and it will be extremely difficult to keep an elastic arm and to follow the motion of the horse’s neck. Your rein is stabilized by your thumb and top finger and your other fingers should be able to open and close slightly to speak to your horse – to give an aid. Remember the idea of holding a child’s hand? Don’t let the child run out in traffic (with an open hand) but he’ll be screaming if you squish his hand too tightly.

I would love to hear from you with other suggestions I can share with everyone. Those of you who have used my goal sheets know my favorite questions: “What have you worked on all year that you should have fixed by now? Why haven’t you fixed it?” Share with me what that is and go out and fix it.

Stay well and happy riding.

Dressage4Kids | graydressage@gmail.com | dressage4kidsorg.presencehost.net

Dressage4Kids Scholarship for Children of the Americas Invitational

To be eligible for the scholarship award, applicants must have participated in a Dressage4Kids program.

The Children of the Americas Dressage Invitational includes 2 days of training followed by 2 days of competition for children ages 12-14 from Canada, the United States, Mexico, South America, and Central America.  Riders compete in the FEI Children’s Preliminary Test A and the FEI Children’s Musical Freestyle.

Scholarship applications are due by May 22, 2020.

Click here for more info.

About Dressage4Kids Inc

Dressage4Kids, Inc. is a non-profit organization incorporated for the express purpose of providing educational and competitive opportunities for youth riders and the adults who support them.


Come Celebrate with Us at the Dressage4Kids 20th Anniversary Celebration

Saturday, October 13th from 5:30-9:30pm

Dressage4Kids is celebrating its 20th anniversary and we would like to invite you to join us in celebration!

Over the past twenty years, Dressage4Kids has touched the lives of thousands of dressage enthusiasts who have developed into our present international competitors, professionals, and lovers of horses.

The party will take place on Saturday, October 13th, coinciding with the 2018 NEDA Fall Symposium featuring Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record holder Charlotte Dujardin.

The Dressage4Kids celebration will be held at The Boylston Rooms in Easthampton, Massachusetts and will commence following the conclusion of Saturday’s activities. Attire is casual – guests are welcome to come directly from the Symposium.

The Dressage4Kids celebration will include food and festivities by Myer’s Catering and DJ Rob Alberti.

For tickets, to make a donation, and for more info, go to: https://dressage4kidsorg.presencehost.net/news-events/20th-anniversary-celebration.html.

Dressage4Kids Competitors Treated to Rewards from The Horse of Course at Youth Dressage Festival

Lendon Gray with her Dressage4Kids students at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Saugerties, NY (August 22, 2016) – Since 1999, riders ages four through 21 have gathered to compete in the multi-faceted competition of the Youth Dressage Festival, the flagship of Lendon Gray’s non-profit organization Dressage4Kids. The Youth Dressage Festival furthers Dressage4Kids’ mission of crafting true horsemanship in the future generations of high-performance dressage. Dedicated sponsors who share the organization’s mission, such as The Horse of Course, stepped up to help make this year’s Youth Dressage Festival – held on August 12-14 at the HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds in Saugerties, New York – a success.

The Horse of Course is a premier full-service tack shop led by CEO Beth Haist. The company has been a longtime supporter of dressage competitions across the United States. Although based in Claremore, Oklahoma, The Horse of Course is outfitted with a traveling mobile unit that is always on the move, and was a popular attraction this past weekend at the HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds. The Horse of Course is known for its collection of fashionable and functional equestrian gear offered at affordable prices.

As an official sponsor of the Youth Dressage Festival, The Horse of Course donated polo wraps and embroidered saddle pads to the top placing ten riders of each of the 25 divisions. The event saw over 325 young riders compete in three phases – a written test, an individual dressage test, and a group equitation ride. When not displaying their talent in the saddle, competitors were also taking part in in-hand classes such as the Handler Class and Judging Sport Horse Conformation Class. The youth also had the experience of practicing their vet jogs for feedback.

The Horse of Course was delighted to sponsor the event, and enjoys constantly giving back to the sport of dressage to benefit all ages and levels of riders. Molly Lane, the Sponsorship Coordinator of Dressage4Kids and the Youth Dressage Festival, said, “I cannot thank The Horse of Course enough for their wonderful support of this unique and extremely popular event. On behalf of all of us on the committee, thank you!”

After rewarding the developing riders at the Youth Dressage Festival, The Horse of Course now continues to travel to equestrian events across the country. Next up will be several of the Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation Regional Championships. First, the Horse of Course will travel to the Region 4 Championships in Mason City, Iowa, then to the Region 1 in Williamston, North Carolina, and finally to Region 8 back in Saugerties, New York. The Horse of Course will also return to the hotly anticipated Dressage at Devon in Pennsylvania this year, as the company has been a loyal supporter of this show for over a decade.

The Horse of Course is dedicated to providing riders with the highest quality products at affordable prices, and the company’s knowledgeable staff is skilled in all areas of horse tack. The Horse of Course has an impeccable reputation for finding the perfectly fitting bit for horses, and also has professional saddle fitting, flocking, and repair services available. To see the company’s full mobile schedule and for more information on the services and popular brands available at The Horse of Course, such as Pikeur, Vespucci, Cavallo, Passier, and Sommer, visit www.thehorseofcourse.com.

The Horse of Course, Inc.
Beth Haist, CEO
888-49-HORSE (46773)

Bethany Peslar and Everglades Dressage Donate Prix St Georges Horse to Dressage4Kids

Alexa Derr partners with Versace N, donated to her by Everglades Dressage through Dressage4Kids (photo courtesy of Alexa Derr).

Reinholds, Pennsylvania (March 19, 2015) – “As a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, we are able to accept horse donations which we then match to a home with one of our riders,” said U.S. Olympic Dressage veteran Lendon Gray, founder of youth-driven Dressage4Kids (D4K) and Winter Intensive Training Program (WITP). A recent horse-and-rider match made between Dressage4Kids rider Alexa Derr and Versace N., the 13-year-old, 16.3-hand, bay Prix St Georges Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sandor Hit x Harina) donated to Dressage4Kids by Bethany Peslar of Everglades Dressage, turned out to be a perfect fit.

“Versace N. is such a great horse. Now it’s his time to make dreams come true for a young rider. He and Alexa are a great match, and I’m happy that Everglades Dressage could give back to our dressage community while paying it forward to the next generation,” said Bethany Peslar.

“This could be an Under 25 Grand Prix horse for her,” said Gray, who has watched Derr on her former Young Rider horse, Just Livingston, grow as an equestrian over the three years that she has been riding in Gray’s programs. “When Bethany offered Versace N., the timing was amazing. Alexa had been riding through the D4K, WITP, and Emerging Dressage Rider programs on a very nice Young Rider/Intermediate horse — whose lease was up almost the same day that Bethany contacted us.”

“My stomach dropped when I received a text from Lendon to call her as soon as possible,” the Florida Young Rider Division Youth Champion Derr said. “The text came a few days after I was told the Young Rider horse I was leasing had a buyer, so I was sad and in limbo about my future. I am still in awe that Lendon and Dressage4Kids thought of me to be the rider of such a well-bred horse.”

The two have been getting to know one another since January. “Versace is the highest quality horse I have ever had the opportunity to ride. I was attracted to his sweet personality and expressiveness under saddle. His playfulness and curiosity are really beginning to show as he begins to trust me. He’s already found my weakness, which is his puppy dog eyes and gentle demeanor. It gets him cookies every time!” Derr, of Reinholds, Pennsylvania, laughs.

“I will forever be grateful to the Peslars and Everglades Dressage for donating Versace to Dressage4Kids. Their timing was impeccable. I was just starting my search for a potential FEI partner,” said Derr, who represented the 2014 NAJYRC Region 1 Young Rider team in Kentucky and competed at the USEF Festival of Champions and Region 1 Finals. “D4K has opened doors to train with Olympians at the Courtney King Dye Horse Mastership Clinic, be a member of the Emerging Dressage Athlete Program, and compete at Lendon’s Youth Dressage Festival — all of which have shaped the horsewoman I am today.”

Gray added, “I know Alexa will take good care of him and get the instruction they’ll need to build a great partnership. They’re working well together. She’s an excellent rider who will take the time to get to know him — she’s more interested in the partnership than the show ring. The rest will be up to them.”

“I am continually humbled by the generosity and support of the horse community. It is so important that we stay connected and empower each other to move forward. When someone like the Peslars donates to Dressage4Kids, who then pairs a horse with someone like me, it gives talented, dedicated riders a chance to apply all they have learned and dreamt about. I want to show my gratitude through more than a thank-you or how we perform in the ring. So once my college semester is over, I plan to host a fundraiser for Dressage4Kids. I want my opportunity to lead to opportunities for other riders,” states Derr.

Everglades Dressage, title sponsor of the first CDI ever held in Florida — the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W — is owned and operated by Bethany Peslar. For Peslar, supporting her sport is a way of life: In addition to sponsoring the Derby, Everglades Dressage has been supporting competitors at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival by presenting Everglades Dressage Rider Achievement Awards throughout the show series to salute those who demonstrate excellence in the show ring, improvements in their riding, or strong efforts and dedication to working well with their horses.

“Partnership is elemental to dressage. I’m so proud Everglades Dressage could play a part in bringing Versace and Alexa together as a perfect fit,” Peslar said.

To learn more about Everglades Dressage and Grand Prix rider and trainer Bethany Peslar, visit www.evergladesdressage.com.

Bethany Peslar
Everglades Dressage

Lendon’s Winter Educational Program Update

Photo by: Mary Adelaide Brakenridge/PSdressage.com.

The Weekend Educational Program is only weeks away. Here are the details:

January 31 – February 1, 2015
Nonnewaug High School, Woodbury, CT
For Riders of All Disciplines and Levels, Instructors, and Parents.

Designed for riders of all ages, disciplines, and levels; parents; and trainers, the Weekend Educational Program seeks to include everyone from the horse community, and the two-day event provides great networking opportunities with fellow riders and trainers from multiple disciplines.

This year Dressage4Kids welcomes international dressage competitor Laura Graves as a keynote speaker. At the recent World Equestrian Games, Laura finished 5th in the Grand Prix Musical Freestyle and was the highest placed member of the US Dressage Team. She has brought her outstanding horse, Verdades, from a youngster to competing at Grand Prix. We are so pleased that she can come to talk to us given her busy schedule.

We also welcome inspirational speaker and mountain climber, Donna Decker, who has climbed the highest mountains on all seven continents and completed a successful summit of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest, in 2012. We all learn so much from a successful person in any field, and look forward to hearing from Donna.

Online registration for the Weekend Educational Program is now available:

Online Registration

Discounted rates are available only until January 17th, 2015. Register now to take advantage of the discount!

The tentative schedule is also now available online:

Tentative Schedule for Saturday

Tentative Schedule for Sunday

Please note that Dressage4Kids, Inc. reserves the right to alter or modify the advertised speakers and/or schedule as necessary.

For more information regarding the Weekend Educational Program, please go to www.dressage4kids.org or contact Susan Sieber, Event Coordinator, at ssieber@interstatelumber.com or at (203) 223-4261.

Also of note regarding the 2015 Youth Dressage Festival Required Reading:

Knight Equestrian Books is honoring gift certificates and the Dressage4Kids discount rate, but is no longer accepting online orders. Please contact Janet Blevins at (207) 882-5495 to place your order for the Required Reading Books.

Dressage4Kids, Inc. is a non-profit organization incorporated for the express purpose of providing educational and competitive opportunities for youth riders and the adults who support them.

Click HERE for BROCHURE you can post at your barn <<<.

To see videos of last year’s (2014) programs, CLICK THIS LINK <<<.

The 2015 WEP speakers roster includes:

Carole Baker, BHSI Teacher, Dir. Emeritus Equine Program at Post University

Andrea Beukema

Joy Black

Denise Branecky, Vet Student

Sarah Bronson, Executive Director of Riding to the Top Therapeutic Riding Center

Liz Caron

Beth Clarke, JD and owner of the Equine Business Institute

Donna Cloutier, Photographer

Sydney Collier, Para Dressage rider and competitor at the 2014 World Equestrian Games

David Collins, Dressage trainer and author of Dressage Masters

Dr. Emily Dean, DVM

Donna Decker, Mountain climber who has summited Mt. Everest

Robyn Dolby, Artist

Dr. Matt Eliott, DVM and author of Stallside

Deb Fabiani, owner of Arbitrage Tack

Fern Feldman

Margaret Freeman, USEF “S” Judge

Laura Graves, competitor at the 2014 World Equestrian Games

Lendon Gray, Two-time Olympian

Rachel Greene-Lowell, Eventing Trainer

Ann Guptill, USDF Certified Instructor

Vicki Hammers-O’Neil, USDF Certified Instructor

Steve Kraus, BS, CJF, Head of Farrier Services at Cornell University

Robin Levine, Fitness Instructor

Brian Lomax, founder of PerformanceXtra™ and Mental Toughness coach

Sandra Mendelson, Certified Equine Photopuncture Therapist and Holistic Health Coach

Maureen Pach, BHSAI Certified Instructor and USPC National Examiner

Ron Postleb

Michele Rosa

Carla Sharp

Kristen Soto, Equestrian Vaulting Instructor

Bonnie Stetson, owner of Centaured Massage and massage therapist

Brian Stuart, Equine Dentist

Ayden Uhlir

Jamison Wallace, Centered Riding Instructor

Liz Webb, Horse Management Faculty

Kate Wilson, owner of Dutchess Bridle & Saddle

And many other distinguished guests.

Dressage4Kids, Inc. reserves the right to alter or modify the advertised speakers and/or schedule as necessary.

Have a safe New Year!
Lendon Gray


Bebe Davis Is “Paying It Forward” with a Donation of a Lifetime to Dressage4Kids

Bebe Davis and Bohdjan. (Photo courtesy of Debby Witty)

Bedminster, NJ (Novmeber 13, 2013) – As the “Season of Giving” approaches, 15-year-old Barbara ‘Bebe’ Davis is not asking what she can get but instead what she can give. This season, Bebe Davis donated her two top FEI dressage ponies to a foundation that promotes dressage education and horsemanship for riders 21 years and younger, Dressage4Kids LLC.

The famed ponies, Poldy 10 and Bohdjan, earned Davis record breaking dressage scores like her 75.9% score in the FEI Pony Individual Test in 2012 and in 2012 a Champion and Reserve Champion placing at the USEF Festival of Champions.

“I wanted to donate them to Dressage4Kids because I wanted to give others the the opportunity to do what I did. A lot of people are not as fortunate as I am and I want to share my blessings with them. I hope that our donation helps to strengthen and grow the pony program here in the United States,” stated Bebe Davis.

Bebe Davis along with her father, Michael Davis, are members of the Piaffe-Performance dressage team, under the tuteledge of Dr. Cesar Parra. The Davis Family is an avid supporter of the dressage sport not only as competitors but also as sponsors of Parra’s successful slew of horses, including Van the Man, Simply Nymphenburg, Borett, Linder, Fiderhit OLD, and Grandioso, who Parra rode to 2011 Pan Am Games Team Gold.

“It’s a lifestyle for our family and being able to compete along side, and maybe even one day against, my daughter is a true gift,” commented Bebe’s father, Mike Davis.  “As we were considering the alternatives for the ponies, as a family we agreed that building our dressage riders from within is important and by donating these two ponies we would be giving back to and helping to improve this sport that we all love.”

Now, Bebe Davis and her new mount, Rotano, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding are compting on the FEI Junior dressage circuit and most recently won the coveted ACGO/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship.

Bebe Davis and Poldy 10. (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)
Bebe Davis and Poldy 10. (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)

Looking back over her years with her first ponies, Bebe commented, “The ponies helped me tremendously, and I am so grateful to them for that. I grew as a rider as well as a person. I think that all of the work that I did with ponies helped me have a seamless transition between the FEI Pony and FEI Junior divisions.”

Dressage4Kids welcomed the ponies, Poldy 10 and Bohdjan, into their program and plan to educate the next generation of riders with their two new FEI level dressage stars.

For more information on Dressage4Kids or to make a donation, please access: www.dressage4kids.org.

To follow Bebe Davis’ continued success and learn more about dressage training, please visit www.bebedavisdressage.com.

Michael Davis
781 844 2172

Stars of Tomorrow Set to Shine as Robert Dover Horsemastership Week Returns to Wellington

Rebecca Cohen and her Westphalian gelding Downtown will participate in the Robert Dover Horsemastership Week along with a number of other top young riders. (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Wellington, FL (December 28, 2012) – The second annual Robert Dover Horsemastership Week (RDHW) will be presented January 2-6, 2013 in the Van Kampen Arena of the Global Dressage Festival show grounds and at Tuny Page’s Stillpoint Farm.  The week will shine a spotlight on what its U.S. Olympic namesake, Robert Dover, calls the dressage world’s ‘stars of tomorrow,’ coinciding with a George Morris Horsemastership Clinic for top junior jumping riders.

“I am very excited to once again be holding the Robert Dover Horsemastership Week at the beautiful Global Dressage Festival venue.  The Emerging Dressage Athlete Program has become enormously important in identifying and nurturing our talented juniors and young riders,” said the six-time Olympian and USDF Hall of Famer.  Dover began riding at age 13, starting dressage at 19 and, nine years later, competed in his first (1984) Olympics, going on to qualify for every squad thereafter through 2004.

RDHW riders were chosen from Lendon Gray Dressage4Kids (D4K) Emerging Dressage Athlete clinics, North American Junior Young Rider Championships, U.S. Equestrian Federation Festival of Champions, and the Dressage Seat Medal Finals.  Among the dozen riders representing hometowns in Texas, New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Connecticut, Washington, California, and Louisiana is one Florida rider:  Rebecca Cohen.

Continue reading Stars of Tomorrow Set to Shine as Robert Dover Horsemastership Week Returns to Wellington

Second Annual Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic on January 1-6

Wellington, FL – December 22, 2012 – Equestrian Sport Productions is pleased to announce that the Second Annual Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic will be held at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, site of the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, on January 1-6, 2013. The clinic will consist of training with world-renowned dressage riders as well as lectures from the industry’s best horsemen and women.

The riding clinic will take place at the Van Kampen Arena at the Stadium and coincides with the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session for hunter/jumper riders on the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival show grounds.

Twelve riders and 10 official auditors will participate in the clinic and will have the chance to work with amazing dressage riders, trainers, and judges such as: Six-time Olympian Robert Dover, 2012 U.S. Olympians Jan Ebeling and Tina Konyot, U.S. Olympians Lendon Gray and Courtney Dye, international riders Katherine Bateson Chandler, Tuny Page and Michael Barisone, and international judges Gary Rockwell and Anne Gribbons.

Continue reading Second Annual Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic on January 1-6

Dressage Radio Episode 85 by Back on Track – Do Young Riders Specialize Too Early?

Debbie McDonald and Lendon Gray discuss young riders’ careers in dressage, their opportunities for riding different horses, spending time with horses out of the barn, and the importance of horsemanship in the sport. A fascinating conversation with two great horsewomen, so take a listen…

Dressage Radio Episode 85 – Show Notes and Links:


Listen, Download or Subscribe: