An Emerging Athlete

Photo Credit: Noel Floyd

The sport of Dressage is an artistic discipline that demands precision from horse and rider in a variety of skills. A great coach is a critical part of the equation, and in that sense I am very lucky to work with U.S. Olympian, Adrienne Lyle. Beyond her training and the work we do together, it is important for me to always be honing my craft, learning how to succeed in this sport I love so much.

A tremendous asset available to young U.S. Dressage riders is the opportunity to be invited to participate in the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program. The EAP is a helpful pipeline for riders under the age of 25 to learn, and improve their skill set. Proudly sponsored by Discover Dressage, whose mission is “To inspire and encourage American youth to discover dressage, inspire lifelong learning and success, to promote healthy competition and advance the accessibility of the sport of Dressage to all areas of the U.S.,” the program provides strategic guidance and educational opportunities for riders to develop their skills and advance to the quality of other competing nations.

Led by USEF Dressage Youth Coach George Williams, riders are given an extensive array of resources, which include the United States Olympic & Paralympic Council Fitness and Sports Psychology sessions, Media Training, Bio Equine mechanics, Equine nutrition, and Veterinary information. Along with positive critique, available data and competition planning, the EAP is an asset for young riders who aspire to have a successful career in Dressage.

I was invited into the program, which involves a once yearly meeting at the USEF center in Gladstone, New Jersey, and arranged Zoom meetings throughout the year. It has given me access to resources that help both my riding technique, physically and mentally, and allow me to strengthen my weaknesses. Working with sports psychologists has helped me to stay focused in the ring, and gain insight in how to better care for my horses’ well being, which is essential to me as a rider. I feel tremendously fortunate to be part of the Emerging Athlete Program.