2018 HPDS Youth Clinic

One very blustery day in March, seventeen young ladies came to work with their horses at the High Plains Dressage Youth Clinic. Thanks to the wonderful people at Iron Horse Farms in Elizabeth, we were all warm and safely tucked away in their spectacular indoor arena, complete with all the amenities any rider could dream of. From High Plains Dressage and all the riders and spectators, we sincerely thank Grant and Sharon Schneidman of Westmanton Stables for donating their gorgeous facility to the Youth Clinic!

USDF Certified Instructors Joan Clay and Julie Burt were our guest clinicians at this year’s Youth Clinic. Joan Clay is a United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Certified Instructor/Trainer as well as a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist. Joan has won numerous USDF and Rocky Mountain Dressage Society (RMDS) championships and year-end awards over the course of her showing career. She is also an RMDS Technical Delegate and the USDF Region 5 FEI Junior/Young Rider Coordinator. Joan also volunteers as a Chef d’Equipe for Region 5’s dressage teams at the North American Junior Young Rider Championships

Julie Burt is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal rider. She is also a USDF “L” program graduate and USDF certified instructor. Julie has trained many students and horses up the levels and specializes in starting young horses through classical dressage techniques with emphasis on the fundamentals. She loves sharing her knowledge and joy of dressage in her many lessons and clinics.

During our lunch break, Joan gave an introduction and answered questions on the USDF Junior/Young Rider Programs to the spectators and riders. For more information about the USDF Region 5 FEI Junior/Young Rider Program, you may contact Joan at jnclay@comcast.net. There are numerous educational opportunities, scholarships, grants, awards, recognitions and competitions available for young people from ages 10-21.

Joan took questions from the audience, the last of which was, “What exercises do you do for your core?” Joan proceeded to demonstrate a pretty amazing sequence of exercises she practices, including crawling with opposite hand/leg both forward and backward. Joan is truly an athlete!

Both Julie and Joan were amazing in their ability to quickly discern the riders’ levels and give kind suggestions for improvement. I’m always amazed how a good dressage instructor can spot my weaknesses in just one or two 20 meter circles. They worked patiently with each rider, never seeming to tire. The last rides of the day received the same quality instruction as the first ride of the morning. Everyone appeared well pleased and learned something about their horse and their riding. Those of us watching from the sidelines also received quite an education!

A HUGE THANK YOU to High Plains Dressage for their hard work in organizing this clinic for the young people. We also want to thank Stephanie Figgins, Olga Hendrickson, Una Schade, Lori Keilt and Ellen Seibert for all their assistance at the clinic – everything from poop scooping to preparing food to cleaning the kitchen. Thank you, ladies! And we’re looking forward to next year!

Volunteering at these clinics is a tremendous educational opportunity and so much fun. If you’re interested in volunteering at future clinics, please contact Stephanie Figgins stephanieefiggins@gmail.com.

The clinic was held at:

Iron Horse Farms
33591 Pine Hills Pl, Elizabeth, CO 80107
March 4th, 2018