What’s A Kid To Do?
I get asked often by kids and their parents what they can do to achieve their goals of someday becoming a great success, even earning a spot on the Olympic Team. Some might think I would say, “Whoa! Don’t even dream so big when you are so young”. But I actually tell them the opposite. I want our kids to dream huge and believe that with talent and hard work, among other attributes like focus, determination, honesty, humility, and genuine LOVE for horses, people, and Dressage, they can make their dreams come true.
I was just at the North American Junior/ Young Rider Championships where I saw many, many very good riders with excellent seats and positions. Most did not have the horse-flesh necessary to be competitive on the world stage and this must change for America to produce sustained success in the future. Our culture must keep on growing from one where participating is the goal to one in which excellence is a must! This means we must create a world-class Pony division with great numbers of children riding and competing within a division that recognizes the importance of starting in such a way that builds great riding and superb seats from the beginning on animals of appropriate size for these kids. PONIES!
Naturally, we have to give them a “party” to go to if we want parents to purchase ponies for their children. Our shows must incorporate top class pony divisions and I feel certain the USEF is on its way to creating the avenues for such shows to offer comparable classes to the Pony Hunter divisions. The models are there, both for Dressage in Europe and the Hunter discipline in America from which to draw on for insight as to what we need in our sport. Having kids excelling from the beginning on great ponies is going to be one of the biggest game-changers for American Dressage sport. Our kids will gain the confidence they need, coming from experience at this level, that will drive them to dream big and believe even bigger in their ability to become the Olympic champions to which they aspire and all Americans desire.
GO TEAM USA!!!