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United States Dressage Federation

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Youth Programs

USDF offers many programs for those under 21 with a current membership. Plan to compete in USEF licensed/USDF-recognized competitions? You are eligible for USDF’s Youth Participating Membership. If you aren’t interested in competing, but would like to continue to learn about dressage, you may be interested in the USDF Youth Education Membership. Join now!

Youth Programs

USDF/USEF Young Rider Graduate Program

The Young Rider Graduate Program is designed to help bridge the gap between young rider status and the professional world of international competition, teaching, training, and equine business management.

USDF Sport Horse Youth Handler/Judge Seminar

This new program is oriented toward youth with an interest in sport horse breeding and handling, and to familiarize them with the breeding and showing of dressage prospects and breeding stock. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with breeders, handlers and judges who will address a variety of topics. Participants will also have the opportunity for a “hands on” handling opportunity.

USDF Dressage Sport Horse Youth Breeders Seminar

This course is an introduction for youth and young adults to the Sport Horse Breeding Farm, its purpose, operation, and overall goals. The participants will have two full days at one of the largest dressage sport horse breeding farms in the country. Included in their time at the farm will be sessions specific to both Mare and Stallion Management, the handling of foals and young horses and their training – from first haltering to under saddle as an FEI horse; and ideal conformation and movement of the dressage sport horse will be introduced. Participants will also have the opportunity to gain experience evaluating the gaits of young horses under saddle.

Youth Awards and Recognition

USDF Youth Dressage Rider Recognition Pin Program

The USDF Youth Dressage Rider Recognition Pin Program is designed to recognize the accomplishments of youth in the dressage community at all levels. This program is open to students who are currently enrolled in grades 6-12 of a middle/ high school or home school program and are a Group or Participating Member of USDF. Pins can be earned in each year of enrollment in the program. The program year will run from July 1 through June 30.

USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year

This prestigious national award recognizes a USDF youth member who demonstrates a commitment to USDF’s mission through exceptional volunteer effort and commitment.

USDF Youth Shining Star Award Program

Offered by the USDF Youth Programs Committee, this award recognizes outstanding sportsmanship by USDF youth members. Anyone other than a parent, may nominate a USDF youth member for this award.

USDF Nomination for USEF Youth Sportsman's Award

The USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award was designed to develop leaders in the equine industry from all breeds and disciplines. Each year, USDF seeks nominees who demonstrate an ongoing commitment and dedication to both organizations through their promotion of the horse.

USDF Arts Contest

This annual contest was designed to highlight the creativity and beauty of dressage and to allow USDF members to express their interest in the sport outside of the competition arena. Winners will have their work published in the yearbook issue of USDF Connection with the grand prize winner used as the cover of the USDF Member Guide. The contest offers two youth categories (15 and under; 16 to 21) and two art divisions (Art and Photography). More information about the program can be found here. Contest rules and the entry form are available here.

Youth Scholarships and Grants

USDF Youth Convention Scholarship Program

These scholarships provide financial support to young dressage enthusiasts (age 21 or younger) to help defray the expenses associated with attending the annual convention.

Ravel Education Grants

This grant is designed to recognize the most outstanding displays of sportsmanship among USDF youth. All USDF Shining Star Award recipients who are current USDF Group or Participating members will be eligible for these grants, which can be used to cover expenses associated with attending an educational dressage event of their choice.

Other Grants and Funding

Other grants and funding are available through The Dressage Foundation for participation in USDF educational programs. For more information, please visit their website.

Youth Clinics

USDF Jr/YR Clinic Series

The USDF Jr/YR clinic series is designed to develop educational opportunities for riders ages 14-21 and to provide a necessary stepping stone in the youth pipeline by including a ‘talent search’ element. Riders will be coached by well-known and highly respected instructors including George Williams, Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, Jeremy Steinberg, and Anne Gribbons.

Youth Competitions

Youth Regional Team Competitions

These competitions may be hosted in each of the nine USDF regions and are open to anyone age 21 and under riding between Introductory Level and Grand Prix. Each competition features an educational component, along with riders competing on teams and much more fun and excitement.

USEF/USDF Dressage Seat Medal Program

The USEF/USDF Dressage Seat Medal Program celebrates excellence in equitation and strives to develop a solid foundation for future success in the international dressage arena. Youth wishing to qualify for theUSEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals must compete in the USDF Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Finals held at the Great American/USDF Regional Championships.

USDF North American Junior and Young Rider Dressage Championships

The NAJYRC is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders, age 14-21. The competition is run under rules of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale), the international governing body for equestrian sport, and is the only FEI championship held annually on this continent.

Please view our NAJYRC page.

Questions about the Youth Programs? Contact the Youth Programs Liaison at youth@usdf.org.

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