The U.S. Equestrian Federation and the U.S. Dressage Federation have named the first participants in the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program. USDF Dressage Youth Coach George Williams and USEF Dressage Assistant Youth Coach Charlotte Bredahl-Baker selected the following eight athlete-and-horse combinations for membership based on their evaluation at the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic Jan. 2-5, as well as their likelihood of developing into future team athletes.
- Aleyna Dunn (Rancho Santa Fe, California) with her Bivera, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare
- Benjamin Ebeling (Moorpark, California) with Amy Ebeling, Elizabeth Meyer and Ann Romney’s Behlinger, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding
- Isabel Linder (Kewadin, Michigan) with Hai Wei’s Elvis, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding
- Tillie Jones (Lincoln, Nebraska) with her and Tish Jones’ Apachi, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding
- Rebekah Mingari (Depauw, Indiana) with Kerrin Dunn’s Allure S, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare
- Natalie Pai (Wellington, Florida) with Melanie Pai’s Unlimited, a 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding
- Chase Shipka (Marshall, Virginia) with her and Darcie Shipka’s Zigal, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding
- Christian Simonson (Ventura, California) with Christina Morgan’s FRH Rassolini, a 15-year-old Hessen Warmblood stallion
“It is inspiring to see the up-and-coming young talent and exciting to think that through the [Discover Dressage USEF/USDF] Emerging Athlete Program we can help these athletes develop to their fullest potential, while at the same time incentivize others to continue to push to make their dreams a reality,” said Williams. “On behalf of all of us involved, we are very grateful for the generous support of Discover Dressage, without which this would not be possible.”
As participants in the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program, these combinations will receive access to resources such as score analysis, the USEF human sport science and medicine program, strategic planning meetings, possible financial assistance towards agreed-upon targets, opportunities to participate in USEF Training Sessions and clinics, as well as one-on-one coaching. Members are reviewed approximately every six months. In order to retain membership, athletes must meet their respective established targets within six months of their acceptance into the program unless the youth coaches grant an exception. In addition, athletes must continue to meet the minimum selection criteria of 68 percent through completion of three USEF Dressage National Championship/Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North qualifying competitions and/or CDI or CDIO –Y/J/P/Ch events.
Membership to the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program is on a rolling basis following each training and evaluation session. Athletes in the U25 division who are not qualified for the USEF Dressage Development Program are also eligible for support and membership to the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program, as well as children and pony riders looking for educational opportunities. The next training and evaluation session will be at Hampton Green Farm in Wellington, Florida, Mar.. 6-7. The application deadline is Feb. 21. View the complete 2018 training and evaluation schedule here.
In order to participate in the training and evaluation sessions, athletes must submit an application and have competed at a minimum of three qualifying competitions for the USEF Dressage National Championships and NAJYRC and/or CDI or CDIO-Y/J/P/Ch events over the course of six months. Wild card invitations will also be considered. Athletes are welcome to reapply for training and evaluation sessions if not selected for a session or membership into the program.