Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Cohen and her 17.2 Westphalian gelding, Downtown were part of an elite group of young dressage stars selected to participate in the first United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Elite Young Dressage Training Session in Alpharetta, Georgia. The first two-day training session, made possible by a generous donation from Kristen McDonald and the Marquis George MacDonald Foundation, was led by USEF Dressage Youth Coach Jeremy Steinberg. The invitation-only session included Cohen and seven other top youth dressage riders from the East and Central U.S., and was an opportunity for Steinberg to work directly with a core group of promising riders. The training session included two days of instruction as well as lectures and discussions on long term strategic planning, media training, championship selection procedures, and USEF rules. Young riders in the western United States will also have a chance to benefit from Steinburg’s knowledge as the west coast second session of the Elite Young Dressage Training Session will take place November 3-4, at W Farms in Chino Hills, California.
“I’m very honored,” says Carol Cohen about her daughter being selected to take part in the sessions. “I think she’s worked very hard over the last few years, and it’s great to be able to see her progress to this level of riding. I think Jeremy is an incredible clinician,” Carol Cohen continues, “What was most impressive is that he relates to the kids, and he uses a lot of their same language. He explains things to them in their vernacular, which for my daughter in particular made a big difference.”
Rebecca Cohen, who lives in Wellington, Florida, was on the 2010 Region 3 Junior Team and helped her team bring home a bronze medal. She is also a member of the ShowChic Mentoring Program in Wellington. Most recently, she made her debut performance in the Prix St. Georges at the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Fall Festival on September 15th and 16th. “It was my first time out in PSG and I didn’t expect to do that well,” she explains, “Placing in the top 8 in a class of about 30 professionals – It feels pretty cool!” Currently, Cohen is getting ready for the Florida winter season, and is continuing to pursue her goal to qualify for NAYRC in 2013.