A Look Back at the USDF Trainers Conference


The 2017 Adequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference will be held January 16-17 at High Meadow Farm in Loxahatchee, FL. The very first trainers conference was also held at High Meadow Farm in 1994. Since its inception the USDF Trainers Confernce has proven to be one of the most well received educational events for USDF with many of the top dressage experts headlining the conferences. Here, we look back at a few of them.

We do not have a lot of information on what took place in 1994, but we do have photos. If you were there in 1994, we would love to hear from you via social media. Tag @USDF and #1994TC to tell us your story.


According to our archives there were two trainers conferences held in 1998, one in Florida and the other in California. Both of them featured Klaus Balkenhol who would go on to serve as US Olympic Team Coach in 2004.

An excerpt from the 1998 program read: “While riding Goldstern, Klaus Balkenhol won the dressage Gold Medal and Individual Bronze Medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and the Gold Team medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.” If you were in attendance, tag @USDF on social media,#1998TC and tell us your story or share your photo.


Two conferences were held in 2004. An FEI-Level, featuring Ulla Salzgeber, and a National-Level, featuring Kathy Connelly.

2007 & 2009


The 2012 conference featured Christop Hess and was held in Loxahatchee, FL. Photos by Jennifer O. Bryant.

The focus of the conference was on Mr. Hess’ philosophy that perfection in the basic training of horse and rider, at each level, leads to success at Grand Prix.


The 2014 conference (as well as the previous year) saw Steffen Peters and Scott Hassler teaming up. Their 2013 conference focused on identifying each horse’s strengths and weaknesses, improving problem solving skills, and making good training decisions.

Not to repeat what they had done in 2013, Peters and Hassler focused on the critical stages of development and training. Peters again assumed the role of rider and trainer as he alternately rode the horses and worked with their riders. Hassler offered his own insights from the ground and engaged in the peer-to-peer discussion with attendees throughout the conference. Photos by Jennifer O. Byrant


Last year there were two conferences held, one in the east and one in the west.

The eastern conference featured Johann Hinnemann a Master Rider. He is known for his decisive and structured approach to riding and training.

The western conference featured Stephen Clarke renowned judge and trainer.

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