Dressage4Kids™ Winter Intensive Training Program
Will not be held in 2023
January – March
The Winter Intensive Training (WIT) Program, held January through March in Wellington, Florida, provides an overall educational program for riders under age 26. WIT is not for the casual dressage rider, but for aspiring young riders who are committed to achieving excellence. This program takes determination, drive and passion. The participants will have a full schedule of learning that includes fitness, theory, tests, riding lessons, field trips, and lectures on many pertinent subjects. It involves three months of pure growth and first-hand experience to open the young rider’s eyes to how they can best reach their full potential as a dressage rider. We encourage riders of all levels - some riders may enter WIT at barely Training Level while others are schooling Grand Prix. All our riders experience tremendous growth over the season, no matter their stage of training. Past participants include Nick Hansen (2013), Hannah Irons (2016), Kayla Kadlubek (2016 and 2017), Jori Dupell (2017), Annelise Klepper (2017 and 2018), all of whom have won gold medals at the North American Youth Championships and/or the National Championships.
Two-time Olympian Lendon Gray is the main instructor of the program. Lendon Gray was voted into the USDF Hall of Fame and has been the long-time teacher for international riders such as Courtney King-Dye, Chris Hickey, Mica Mabragana, Meagan Davis, Jocelyn Wiese, Rachel Chowanec, Isabelle Liebler, and Gwyneth McPherson. The goal of the Winter Intensive Training Program is to give opportunities for youth riders to participate in consistent and extensive training not only in riding, but in all areas of horse care, riding and training theory, and competition skills.
A normal day in the program starts at 6:30am with basic barn chores. Each rider must take care of his or her own horse as well as help with maintaining the facility where the program is held. After chores, lessons begin. Days vary with private lessons, semi-privates or group lessons. Lendon Gray is the primary instructor, but guest instructors Charlotte Bredahl, Ali Brock, Stephanie Brown-Beamer, Steffen Peters, and Michael Poulin also taught in 2020. While lessons are in progress, riders are encouraged to watch, ask questions, and take notes in a provided journal. In the afternoon, there is typically a lecture where participants learn from top experts in their respective fields of nutrition, sports psychology, learning skills, fitness, shoeing, etc. Participants will also take field trips to tour international riders’ facilities (2020 participants visited Tuny Page/Stillpoint Farm, Helgstrand Dressage, Jan Ebeling, Steffen Peters, Ali Brock, Oded Shimoni/Tinne Wilhelmsen), audit clinics and symposiums, visit world-class veterinary/surgical/breeding facilities and experience everything Wellington has to offer. Topics throughout the program are diverse and cover virtually every aspect of horsemanship. High quality lectures by subject matter experts, hands-on learning, and shared experience totaling decades of leadership in the field are designed to nurture each participant into a knowledgeable and complete professional.
There are opportunities to compete at two show grounds in the Wellington area. Both the Global Dressage Festival grounds and White Fences are nearby and offfer shows almost weekly. WIT also holds informal schooling shows with excellent judges at our stable. While these opportunities are available, no one is required to show.
All participants must also maintain a regular fitness program. Guest instructors demonstrate different activities in which riders may participate. Fitness might include yoga, equilates, running, swimming, weight-lifting, general aerobic training, as well as balance and coordination exercises.
Any rider under 26 may apply to take advantage of the unique opportunities the WIT program has to offer. It does not matter how much experience you have, at what level you’re currently riding, or the horse you have. Your dedication, passion and discipline are what must shine on your application. Participants in the Winter Intensive Training Program are held to the highest standards of character and professionalism.
Below are listed blogs from the 2013 WIT riders. These blogs will give you a good idea of what the program was like. Contact Lendon Gray at email@example.com if you have questions.
Ready to get started? If this program seems like a good next step in your journey, please feel encouraged to apply by sending in the application now. There is no deadline. The first selections are made in the beginning of August. As space allows later applications are accepted. You will need to post a short video of you riding online for viewing by the D4K selection committee.
The program fees include your stall, hay, basic shavings, lessons, coaching at showings and stable management supervision. It does not include expenses for vet, farrier, transport, show fees, supplements and your living or food expenses.
There is time during the day for participants to continue school and/or be tutored. Housing and schooling are to be arranged by the participant. Last year many participants shared housing and those without cars were able to carpool. These details must be worked out by the participants. You must attend for the full three months; a shorter amount of time may be reviewed on a case by case basis and only if stabling permits.
Apply today for your chance to participate in this life-changing program!
Apply to the Winter Intensive Training Program
Fill out the application using the fillable form fields below or send it via email to Lendon Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All form fields are required. Incomplete forms will not be processed.
WIT will not be held in 2023.