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TDF's Young Rider International Dream Program

Have you ever dreamed of going to Wellington? Have you wondered what it would be like to see the best-of-the-best of American (and international) dressage? 

With the uncertainty of the continuing global pandemic, TDF is excited to announce the Young Rider International Dream Program will now be held in Wellington, Florida, instead of Aachen, Germany. This new program will allow young riders to still experience top international dressage, just closer to home!

Program Information
Dates coming soon for 2023

TDF’s Young Rider Dream Program “Wellington Edition” will allow riders who are 18-22 years old the opportunity to enhance their understanding of dressage theory and upper-level training by spending time in Wellington, Florida. Riders will observe, discuss, and absorb all things dressage during the week, led by a dressage professional as a chaperone. No riding will take place during the program.

Applicants must have experience training and competing at 3rd Level or above and should not have previously trained and/or competed in Wellington during a winter competition season. Selection will be based on merit, riding proficiency, a history of volunteering in the dressage community, and commitment to training in the sport of dressage.

This program is not for every youth/young adult rider. Those selected must be at an advanced level of experience and committed to their riding. For those who are, this introduction to international dressage will be an incredible experience, and the riders will come home more seriously committed than ever, knowing what they need to work on to advance and excel in the sport.

This program is not a vacation, but an intense group experience with a total focus on dressage education. Expect very full days and evenings watching training and competition, discussing theory, keeping journals for TDF, and writing an article for publication.

Thanks to generous donors, TDF will cover the costs of travel and lodging and will provide a daily per diem for food. TDF staff and Board will organize all details of the program.

Applicant Criteria

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Must be age 18-22 during the dates of the program
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required
  • Must have experience training and competing at 3rd Level or above
  • Should not have previously trained or competed in Wellington, Florida, during the winter season.

Special Note – TDF will closely monitor the COVID-19 situation as the trip date nears, and all participants must adhere to any Directed Health Measures from the State of Florida. In the event that travel or attending events is not recommended due to the pandemic, the Dream Program trip may be canceled. TDF will track all available information and will make a decision as soon as possible with the health and safety of the participants in mind. TDF is not to be held responsible for any expenses (outside of the agreed-upon trip expenses) that occur by the participants.

The online application form and all required documents must be submitted to The Dressage Foundation on or before TBD.  A final decision will be announced by TBD. The application link can be found in the right-hand sidebar (desktop) or by scrolling down (mobile).

History of TDF's Young Rider International Dream Program

In 2000, Michael Poulin, Olympian, and TDF Board member proposed a new program idea to take four top young American dressage riders to Europe for an introduction to European dressage trainers, riders, facilities, and events.

The concept of the program was to allow Young Riders the opportunity to enhance their understanding of dressage theory through this European experience. The Young Riders observed, discussed, and absorbed the European training system. They watched their peers compete in shows and championships and they visited with top European trainers and riders.

The program was open to Young Riders aged 16-21 and 22-year-old riders who participated in Young Riders the previous year, who were riding at Fourth Level or above. Selection was based on merit, riding proficiency, a history of volunteering in the dressage community, and commitment to training in the sport of dressage.

This program was not for every Young Rider. Those selected were at a highly advanced level of experience and commitment to their riding. For those who were, this introductory excursion into European dressage meant everything, and the riders came home more seriously committed than ever, knowing what they needed to work on to advance and excel in the sport.

In 2022, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Young Rider Dream Program visited Wellington, Florida.  Five Young Riders took their first trip to Wellington and met with 18 industry professionals.