TDF's Young Rider 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?
TDF is excited to announce the Young Rider Dream Program will once again be held in Wellington, Florida, in January 2024. This program will allow young riders to experience some of the best of international dressage right here in the United States.
January 23-28, 2024
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 Third Level or above and should not have previously trained and/or competed in the Wellington area 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.
- Must be a U.S. Citizen
- Must be age 18-22 during the dates of the program
- Must have experience training and competing at Third Level or above
- Must not have previously trained or competed in or around Wellington, Florida, during the winter season.
The online application form and all required documents must be submitted to The Dressage Foundation on or before October 7, 2023. A final decision will be announced by the end of October. 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, Olympian Michael Poulin 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 and 2023, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Young Rider Dream Program visited Wellington, Florida. Each year, five Young Riders took their first trip to Wellington and met with top industry professionals including instructors, trainers, judges, and facility owners. This amazing experience opened their eyes to what is possible for them and their future involvement in our sport.