Wellington, FL (February 19, 2014) – For Lendon Gray, teaching young riders about a horse’s digestive system is every bit as important as representing the United States in the Olympics. Training a 14.2 hand Thoroughbred/Connemara cross to be a Grand Prix horse (or… pony?) is a perfectly attainable goal. Adding a written test on stable management to a dressage competition is necessary. Lendon Gray’s unorthodox approach to being an accomplished dressage rider and instructor has earned her extraordinary respect and admiration from her many students as well as peers in the equestrian community.
Lendon Gray, of Bedford, NY, shared with other equestrians her passion for dressage and for developing the next generation of riders at ShowChic’s ShopTalk on February 11. Gray spent the evening engaging her audience in stories of her dressage career, and speaking about the importance of promoting a successful future for dressage through organizations such as Dressage4Kids.
Dressage4Kids is a non-profit organization founded by Gray that promotes youth to become true horsemen. Gray’s philosophy that proper horse care, self-discipline, and knowledge of the sport are equally as important as skillful riding shines through the programs that Dressage4Kids offers. One of the organization’s best-known programs is the Youth Dressage Festival, during which young riders compete in areas such as a written test and an individual dressage test. Currently, the second annual Dressage4Kids’s Winter Intensive Training Program is underway. “WIT” is three months of rigorous training in which a group of the most promising young dressage riders in the country are given riding lessons by Gray and tackle topics like rider fitness and equine nutrition.
When taking a look at Gray’s own history as an equestrian, it’s no surprise that she places so much emphasis on teaching her students to be well-rounded individuals. Even while excelling as a professional rider since the age of 15, Gray graduated high school as valedictorian of her class and went on to college. She rode on two United States Olympic teams (in 1980 and 1988), and also represented her country at the 1991 World Cup in Paris. Among other accomplishments, Gray has won five gold medals at U.S. Olympic Festivals.
Young dressage riders strive to follow in Gray’s footsteps by learning from her example and instruction, and— as was apparent to her audience at ShowChic’s ShopTalk—she loves investing her time and skill in these youth.
Michele Hundt, owner of ShowChic, commented “ShowChic is always looking for ways to support the equestrian community, and having Lendon at our February ShopTalk was very educational. We always enjoy hearing about her career as a rider and about how she is working to grow the future of dressage through Dressage4Kids.”
For more about ShowChic Dressage or ShopTalk, click www.showchicdressage.com or call 561-319-2121.