By Ellanor Beohning
2018 USDF Youth Convention Scholarship Winner
The Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention was a wonderful experience! I would absolutely recommend applying for the 2019 Youth Scholarship. I learned so much about rule changes, proposals, and how to get more involved as a youth rider. I was able to attend sessions not only focused on youth programs, but also the Board of Governors meeting, competition sessions, and many more! There truly is something for everyone at the convention and I am excited to share a few of my favorite highlights with you!
There were several sessions targeted just for youth riders. While I have been competing for several years, there are many programs offered through USDF that I gained a better understanding of. I would encourage others to check out the website as there is a lot of information there for youth riders to explore. I learned there is a Shining Star Program that recognizes outstanding youth sportsmanship. There are USDF Youth Clinics and you should apply, or at least audit your region’s clinics. There are programs starting at grass roots through your GMO, through the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships. Really, this sport is truly for anyone, at any level, on any type of horse or pony. In one session, it was great to hear how other youth riders balance family, school, and riding. There were creative suggestions on how to make time for your family, attend school, and still actively pursue your riding goals. It was most exciting to get to meet some of our nation’s top dressage stars: Adrienne Lyle, Kasey Perry-Glass, and Olivia LaGoy Weltz!
Did you know the Pyramid of Training has changed? There was an educational session detailing the pyramid and how/why it has been changed. The biggest take away (besides four pages of notes) from this presentation was how the pyramid flows and circulates between each level, a circle of training through the horse in a progressive manner. I had heard of the Pyramid of Training before, but it just made the understanding much more relatable in my daily riding.
I would highly encourage anyone interested in the sport of dressage to attend the convention. Not only are there youth scholarships, but I learned there are also adult grants available to attend as well. There are so many learning opportunities, and one cannot attend all the sessions offered! I enjoyed listening to rule change proposals, how and why rules are being changed, how to use the USDF website more effectively to find information, additional programs offered, and financial resources available. A fun fact about my time there is that I ended up with nine pages of notes! I am looking forward to 2019 and have already marked the dates to attend in Savannah, GA, to learn even more. Thank you USDF for the opportunity to attend the 2018 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention and for the many opportunities you provide the youth members of dressage!