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2014 Lendon Youth Dressage Festival Midwest Features an Exciting Line-Up of Speakers and Clinicians

2014 Lendon Youth Dressage Festival Midwest Features an Exciting Line-Up of Speakers and Clinicians


Registration is now open for the 2014 LYDF Midwest, and it is shaping up to be another unforgettable experience for youth riders in the Midwest! This all-youth horse show is open to any rider under 21, and consists of 3 divisions: a Written Test, a Dressage Test, and an Equitation Test. Modeled after the highly successful LYDF in New York, the Midwest version is a one-day event, preceded by an Emerging Dressage Athlete clinic and a Friday night rider/parent dinner. Dates are:

Saturday, June 28: Lendon Youth Dressage Festival Midwest

Thursday and Friday, June 26-27: Emerging Dressage Athlete Clinic

June 27: Exhibitors/Parent Party

Where: Hampton Green Farm, Fruitport, MI

The following speakers and commentators will be involved with this year’s event:

Founder and President of Dressage4Kids: Lendon Gray

Two-time Olympian Lendon Gray believes dressage is for every horse and rider. Generous, outspoken, and pragmatic, Lendon has devoted her energies to the improvement of all riders (not just the privileged ones) and all horses (even the littlest ones).  With the goal that all youths might learn how to become not just better riders, but all-around horsemen, Lendon established Lendon’s Youth Dressage Festival (formerly known as the Northeast Junior/Young Rider Championships) in 1999.

With the formation of the Youth Dressage Festival (YDF) came the creation of the organization Dressage4Kids.  Originally just the name of a website, D4K has blossomed into a full-fledged non-profit, operating the YDF, the Weekend Educational Program, pony-only clinics, the East Coast Dressage Pony Cup, and the Winter Intensive Training program, while transforming the proceeds from these functions into valuable scholarships for aspiring dressage riders.

Lendon will be lecturing to the riders throughout the weekend and overseeing all of the Divisions.


Friday Night Speaker: USEF and NAJYRC Gold Medalist Ayden Uhlir

Ayden Uhlir is the 2012 FOC champion and NAJYRC Junior Individual Gold, freestyle and team Bronze medal winner.   In 2013 she moved up to Young riders and was the first person to ever win back to back Individual Gold when she took both Individual and Freestyle gold and team silver.  She went on to also win the FOC Young Rider championship.  She is most proud however of being awarded the Dressage Style Award at the NAJYRC and winning the USDF Youth Sportsman of the Year nomination for the USEF Youth Sportsman of the Year.  Ayden has participated all three years of the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic with the Emerging Dressage Athlete Program.  Her horse Sjapoer is a 15 year old KWPN by Contango out of Jenna.  Sjapoer was awarded the 2012 KWPN-NA FEI Horse of the Year award. Ayden is the first Equestrian to be sponsored by Nike Corporation.


Saturday Lecturer: Equestrian College Advisor Randi C. Heathman

Randi C. Heathman is an independent educational consultant whose decade of experience in higher education and lifetime involvement in equestrian sports give her a unique foundation from which to assist families. Heathman holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in communication studies.  She honed her craft as senior assistant director of admission at Albion College (Albion, Michigan) while also working extensively with their equestrian program from its opening in 2004. She gained valuable experience in college admissions while guiding students and their families through the search, application, and financial aid process - all while she familiarized herself with intercollegiate riding at the varsity and club level.

She is an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and travels to many college campuses, educational workshops, and equestrian college events each year so that she can be familiar with the unique offerings of a variety of colleges and universities and best assist students in finding their right-fit school.

In 2009, she and her Dutch Warmblood gelding Ricochet were GAIG/USDF Regional Champions at second level in the adult amateur division.  She is a USDF bronze and silver medalist.


Saturday Lecturer: Betsy Labelle, Equestrian Journalist and Author, to speak on “Climbing the Dressage Ladder in America”.

A Dressage Rider in Germany in 2000 and 2003, Betsy has worked with Han-Juergen Armbrust and Sebastian Langehanenberg. Knowledgeable about young horse training, mare performance tests, and preparing young horses for competition, Betsy’s horses have won championships in the Oldenburg mare inspections, in Hannover and in Devon. Betsy rode the Stallion, Routinier (Rohdiamant x Inshallah) to Prix St. George from 2005 through 2008. She's trained several young horses up the levels with Felicitas von Neumann-Cosel and Anne Gribbons. Betsy is a graduate “B” from North Star Pony Club in Minnesota.

Betsy's journalistic accomplishments: a Press Release Journalist and Photographer assistant writer for Equestrian Sports Productions(ESP) during the inaugural year for the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida in 2011-2012.

From 2013 to current, Betsy works as Feature Writer for Dressage Daily, Dressage Today and several other publications.


Dressage Judge: Maryal Barnett, USEF “S” Judge

Maryal Barnett is a FEI “C” Dressage Judge, an USEF “S” Dressage Judge and a Canadian Equestrian Federation Senior Dressage Judge. Additionally, Maryal has shown her own horses from training level through Grand Prix.  During her competitive years, she won the Midwest Dressage Association’s “Award of Excellence” through the levels to Grand Prix.  Her horses have also won numerous local and national awards, including the USDF Horse of the Year (training – USEF Intermediate 1).

Maryal Barnett is a full-time dressage instructor working out of Nottingham Equestrian Center (of which she is a part owner) in East Lansing, Michigan.  She teaches at many other stables throughout the state of Michigan and gives regular clinics in Illinois, Indiana, New York, Missouri and Wisconsin.  Many of Maryal’s students have earned local and national awards; and they are USEF Judges and USDF Certified Instructors themselves.


Equitation Judge: Elizabeth Crosby, USEF “R” Judge


LYDF Midwest Prizelist and Entry Form now available on the Home Page of this website.

EDAP riders must apply through the Dressage4Kids website. Information and Application available at


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