Sights from the FEI Youth Clinics

Region 9

The USDF FEI Youth Clinic Series is an educational opportunity for youth riders striving to compete at FEI levels. The goal of this series is to promote hardworking, talented youth riders who want to rise to the top of the discipline. These clinics are taught by top US riders including George Williams, Anne Gribbons, and Lilo Fore.  In 2023, Olympian Sabine Schut-Kery will also be added as a clinician.

Each clinic includes two days of private lessons, theory sessions, and auditing. Eight riders between the ages of 14 and 21 are selected to participate in each clinic.

Here, we take a look at the FEI Youth Clinics held in 2022 with first-hand accounts from some of the talented youth riders who participated. 

Region 1

November 19-20 at Yellow Wood Dressage in Chesapeake City, MD and featuring George Williams.

From Melissa & Marley M. – I just wanted to send many thanks to USDF for such an amazing Region 1 FEI Youth Clinic this past weekend.  What an incredible experience for these kids and their parents to connect and share knowledge and their own experiences.  It was so well planned and executed, so many thanks to everyone involved behind the scenes and to Debbie DelGiorno for being there to make it all happen.  It was such a great group of kids, parents, and auditors.  We are so grateful to have this opportunity and to ride in such a beautiful facility with the incredible George Williams!

Region 2

October 29-30 at Stromatt Sporthorses in Waynesville, OH and featuring George Williams.

From Keri P. – Photos submitted by Keri P.

From Gabriela G. – I really enjoyed being able to attend the FEI Region 2 Clinic with George Williams. My pony and I have only been together for about 5 months, and he had never been to a dressage show before we went to Waterloo together this summer. We successfully showed our FEI Children’s test and are working on moving up to the Pony division this winter. Riding with George Williams was great, he really helped me work out how to keep my show nerves under control when I am away from home. I really liked him, and he is very understanding and knowledgeable. I am excited to keep working on our tests, and I can’t wait for the next steps. Thank you so much to everybody who put the clinic together, it is really appreciated.

Region 4

October 15-16 at Providence Farms in Palmyra, NE and featuring Lilo Fore.

From Katia S. – The regional Jr/YR Rider clinics are always a highlight of my season, and the Lilo Fore clinic this October was no exception! I was able to gain a huge amount of knowledge from my own lessons, the other riders’ lessons, and the theory sessions. In just two days, Lilo was able to break down my riding, get to the root of my problems, and tell me exactly how to fix them! I also really enjoyed the community aspect of the clinic, since I am not able to be around other young dressage riders very often. This clinic was both inspiring and educational, and I hope to attend more in the future.

Region 5

October 15-16 at Nighthawk Equestrian Center in Longmont, CO and featuring George Williams.

From Ryler H. –

When I was selected for the USDF FEI Clinic with George Williams, I was really nervous. I knew how talented the other riders were, and I thought I wouldn’t be good enough. But what I learned from George Williams is that no matter how far along you are on your training journey, the fundamentals of riding your horse stay the same.

On the first morning when I entered the arena, George Williams came over and said hello to my pony Diamond, and I immediately felt more comfortable because I could see how much he loved the horses. George Williams was really fun to learn from, but he also pushed me to be more firm and still when asking my pony to be round. He taught me a lot about pushing her hind legs up to the bit and making Diamond carry herself in a consistent frame. We worked on turns on the forehand as well as leg yields to practice bending through the neck but also the rib cage. This was my first big clinic experience, and I am so glad that it was with George Williams. He was so kind, caring, and knowledgeable about both the riders and horses, which was what made it a really enjoyable experience.

I also met so many awesome people, who all made this such a supportive community. I learned about other people’s dressage experiences and found it inspiring to see other Junior and Young Riders who were working on more advanced exercises. I also just enjoyed spending time with them. I absolutely loved this experience and hope to be able to do it again.

Region 6

November 5-6 at Pirouette Enterprises in Wilsonville, OR and featuring George Williams.

From Alina- This clinic showed me how many opportunities there are for young riders like me. Dilly and I loved riding with Mr. Williams! He was so kind and even though we are not the traditional pair, we learned so many ways to improve! He listened to each of us and really helped. Thank you for the opportunity to ride in this clinic.

From Anna G. – I really enjoyed my experience at the Region 6 FEI Youth Clinic with George Williams! George is an excellent coach, and I learned so much between my own rides, theory sessions, and watching the other riders. This clinic was also a great way to meet fellow young riders in my region. Thank you USDF and George Williams for supporting FEI Youth across the country!

From Julia H. (a parent) – Wyatt had a phenomenal learning experience and gained so much knowledge over the 2 days. She also created lifelong friendships and is already looking forward to next year and more opportunities.

From Catie S. – I really appreciated the opportunity to ride in the JR/YR clinic.  It was a wonderful learning experience, and I am excited to use the riding exercises and instructions from Mr. Williams as I continue to train and advance my riding.

Region 7

November 5-6 at Peridot Equestrian Center in San Marcos, CA and featuring Lilo Fore.

From Ann B. (a parent) – What’s most exciting is that there were 5 (3 in this photo) youth riders from the region that attended the event. Thanks to everyone for all the planning and the support of USDF for this amazing clinic!

From Emme C. –  The Region 7 clinic with Lilo Fore was superb! Lilo’s insight and advice was unlike any I’ve ever had. Her judging experience made this so educational, and her positive attitude made it so uplifting and motivational! I would just like to say thank you to everyone who helped make this clinic possible! It was such an educational experience!

Region 9

November 19-20 at the Equestrian Center at Twinwood in Simonton, TX and featuring Lilo Fore.

From Becky B. – Despite cold and pouring rain on Saturday, everyone had great rides and we all had a lot of fun!! Lilo is a gem.

From Aubrey C. –  It was such a wonderful experience for MK!

From Sarah M. – Everyone had a ball! Lilo is absolutely amazing! So passionate, encouraging, and fun through her teaching. Thank you so much for your help with this clinic!

USDF Region 3 and Region 8 will be hosting FEI Youth Clinics in the near future.  Check the USDF website for the latest information as details will be posted there as soon as they are available.

 The FEI Youth Clinic Series is made possible with funding support from The Dressage Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation. You can learn more on the USDF website.

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