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TDF's Dream Program

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History of TDF's 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.

From 2022-2024, 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.