PEPPERELL — The equestrian community will soon shine a new spotlight on its youth and the world of sport horse breeding and showing in-hand.
Ten Broeck Farm, Pepperell, will host a Young Breeders Clinic on Nov. 7 with Britta Johnston. The clinic, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., is designed to educate young people about breeding care, presenting horses in-hand, free jumping and judging conformation.
This learning experience is intended for those under the age of 25. Participants will learn to judge the horse’s potential from the ground, including conformation — how to identify as well as evaluate strong and weak points. They will also learn how to properly present a horse in-hand, practice evaluating free-jumping and receive classroom theory.
Johnston began riding at age 6 in Germany, where she was trained in dressage, show jumping, eventing and vaulting. She earned her bronze medal at 13 and her silver medal at 16 from the German Riding Federation. Specializing in dressage training, Britta has 22 years of experience starting young horses and training them through the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) levels. The FEI, founded in 1921, is the international body governing equestrian sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The Young Breeders Program is spearheaded by Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids. Dressage4Kids, Inc., (D4K) is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization incorporated for the express purpose of providing educational and competitive opportunities for youth riders.
While Gray has ridden in the World Championships, the World Cup, and is a two-time Olympian, she has a limitless passion for developing younger riders and years of service transforming proceeds from fundraisers into valuable scholarships for aspiring dressage riders.
According to Gray, she was approached with the idea of having D4K start a program for young breeders and agreed that the program fit in well with current goals. It also supports her hopes to put together a team to represent the United States in the International Young Breeders World Championships. Six young people between the ages of 15 and 24 may be selected to represent the United States at the championships to be held in France in 2011.
Phil Silva of Ten Broeck Farm, with Marie Banks and Alice Peterson of Blue Ribbon Farm, are overseeing the program. Silva, who is a professional handler with more than 20 years of equine experience, says that there has long been an opportunity to educate and encourage younger people to explore the world of sport horse breeding.
“Experience with a horse on the ground is invaluable,” says Silva. “We try to present the horse in a manner in which they show their best gaits and mold ourselves to each horse’s needs.” Silva explains that when developing young people, well rounded education can’t help but transfer to all aspects of horsemanship, in-hand or in the saddle.
Silva continues: “We are very pleased to be part of this new program. It’s an exciting time and we are looking forward to a very successful event at our farm. These clinics and programs will not only introduce, but also develop young breeders long-term. It is truly a comprehensive effort and wonderful opportunity for area youth.”
Auditors and spectators are welcomed and encouraged to attend the Nov. 7 clinic. For details, registration and information, visit www.tenbroeckfarm.net.