Chasing the NAYC Dream, Presented by Dressage Today

Thank you Dressage Today for allowing me to share my experiences and help other youth riders reach their NAYC goals! You can find this wonderful article published here.

So, you’re hoping to compete in the Adequan®/FEI North  American Youth Championships (NAYC) presented by Gotham North? Congratulations! The NAYC, formerly known as the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), is a goal that hundreds of young equestrians pursue every year. 

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Introducing the Fifth Annual Dressage Dreams!

Vienna Farm is proud to present the fifth annual Dressage Dreams Summer Youth Camp!

The clinic, running May 26-27, will be headlined by USDF Gold Medalist Jessica Frieman, who will be offering private lessons to each rider both days.

As is the custom in Dressage Dreams clinics, each day will feature a supplemental education session.

Offering advice on how to present your horse for a veterinarian are experts Christine Machin and Kimberly Bodytko.

Alison End Fineberg will present our second education session with ground exercises for better balance in the saddle.

The clinic accepts riders of all levels, through age 25, who want to grow in their knowledge of dressage and experience an outing with their horses in a relaxed, friendly, and educational environment.

I would highly recommend this clinic to any youth rider who perhaps is looking to get more exposure with their horse before tackling the more stressful situation of a show. The format of the camp strengthens all aspects of a rider, both in the saddle and in the barn. The atmosphere is always very inviting and fun, and we would love to have you!

Meet your North East young rider neighbors & make some new friends!

The cost for the two-day camp is $350. The audit fee is $25 per day or $10 for SMDA members.

There is limited onsite stabling available, with local stabling available (please inquire for more information.)

Please contact Amy Libby at (207) 749-3779 or

A Youth’s Perspective on the 2017 USDF Annual Convention

My dad and I arrived on Wednesday, November 29th at the Blue Grass Airport, checked into the Hyatt Regency, and planned out our week that included both the Convention and as much sightseeing as we could manage.

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Wellington WITees- An Article for School Journalism

This article includes a few edits from my teacher. The assignment was to write an article of any kind on any topic. I received a 95/100 for this project. Special thanks to Leah Tenney for answering my questions, and Lendon Gray for offering this amazing program!

WITees are lucky to be missing this scene! Unknown Artist & Rider

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My First EDAP Clinic (Focusing on the Ride) — DAY TWO

On Day Two of the Emerging Dressage Athlete Program (EDAP) clinic, I was able to find Atara’s “special trot” in our warm-up. The “special trot” is the trot I call that I can easily sit, stop, walk, and canter from, adjust within, and perform any lateral movement. Because I found it so quickly, we were able to work on more stuff in my lesson.

During the warm-up (before my lesson started), I walked her around and let her look at anything she wanted to. My only say was to not run off and to avoid the other horses; the rest was up to her. Once she settled, I took up a contact and asked her to be a little deep, keeping my hands quiet. This helped her pay more attention to my seat, and I made sure I could stop, slow down or speed up from it alone. I also asked her to yield off each of my legs on a medium-sized circle (about 15 meters, maybe a bit smaller). Once she was loose, licking the bit and bending easily off my legs, we went to trot. I looked for the same thing in the trot as I asked for in the walk, with more straight lines. We did lots of bending exercises: leg yield from the track in and to the track, serpentines, and also some halt/rein-back. As Sue Williams once told me in a clinic, I looked for the feeling that the bit was a piece of gum in the horse’s mouth, creating the feeling that she gently chews the bit. I found that this image really helps find a supple connection. Another image I kept in my head was from Tanya, who says to loosen your wrists as if you were ringing a tea bell.

Once Lendon came out, and I had found out special trot, we asked for the canter a couple of times. We were more successful than the first day but decided to leave it at a good place. She said she felt content that I have some new tools to try out, and that practice will mainly help find a good canter. Instead of further pursuing it, we continued various trot lateral work.

We kept Atara’s trot active and attentive while keeping forwardness and control. We did lots of shoulder-in to volte to half-pass, as well as renvers, travers, and transitions within each (while in shoulder-in, trot to walk back to trot). We also performed my first half-pass zig-zag, which went pretty well. Lendon talked about the importance of setting up the changes of bend to the audience. She also explained how a half-pass is simply a diagonal line in travers, or a shoulder-in on a diagonal line (which was funny, because when I first learned how to do a half-pass, Tanya told me to go on a diagonal line, then asked me to do a haunches-in. “Congratulations, you’ve just done your first half-pass,”, she’d said). Lendon also emphasized not to allow the haunches to lead in the half-pass. She said that it was a very sloppy rider mistake, and can easily be avoided.

My First EDAP Clinic (Focusing on the Ride) — DAY ONE

This past Thursday/Friday, at Pineland Farms’ Equestrian Center, I attended and rode in my first (of hopefully many) EDAP clinic with Lendon Gray. It was a fantastic experience to bring Atara somewhere new and to see how we did with a fresh pair of eyes.

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Our First Lesson….

Tonight, May 4th, I had my first real lesson on Jure since November! It was greater than I could have asked for, she felt super, and I felt like I was back riding in the Kathy Connelly clinic that I had ridden in almost exactly a year ago.

We (Tanya Rennie, Jure and I) tried a new exercise; we started out with an upbeat walk, halting into each corner, then focusing on bending and maintaining balance throughout. We then warmed up the trot, staying elastic, relaxed and on the bit, while largely cutting corners. Once we had warmed up, we continued the same exercise at the trot, but walking into and through the corner. Coming out, we kept Jure light on my leg, seat, and hand aids, ringing my wrists as if they were bells to keep her light and getting the best possible trot right from the get-go. A few walk-canter-walk transitions were one of the greatest highlights of my ride (even though I could highlight the whole thing!); since I have been struggling a bit with the canter depart, maintenance, and depart on Atara, cantering on Jure was a dream!