The Dressage Foundation Chooses Four Young Riders for Olympic Dream Program

For Immediate Release
Friday, May 28, 2010

          Lincoln, NE –Four advanced young riders have been selected for the 2010 Advanced Young Rider Olympic Dream Program, which annually sends young riders to Europe for an intensive 10-day dressage experience. The program is administered and funded annually by The Dressage Foundation (TDF).  On May 12, an independent selection committee, after reviewing dozens of applications, chose Mimi Stanley (ND), Brian Hafner (CA), Christine Stephenson (CA) and Kristen Schwaegerle  (NH) to make the ninth annual TDF trip to Europe. The committee chose Laura-Hope Gammell (RI) and Kathryn Butt (SC) as the first and second alternates, respectively, however, the original winners will all be participating. The selection committee based their decision on candidates' essays, competition scores, recommendations and signs of commitment to the sport of dressage. John Boomer, past President and CEO of TDF said, "The committee was very impressed with the quality and quantity of this year's candidates, and they have selected a wonderful group of young riders."
          The program, conceived by Olympic medalist and TDF board member, Michael Poulin (FL), will be led this year by Ann Guptill (CT) and Annie Morris (NY). Beth Baumert (CT) is serving as administrator as she has since the program's inception. Poulin believes TDF's Olympic Dream program helps American young riders reach their potential. He aims to fuel "the power of the dream" for young people, and help them "develop a sense of proportion, a sense of themselves and of being proud of who they are and what they're doing." 
          On June 28th, the group will travel to Frankfurt, Germany. The tentatively plan, subject to the schedules of German trainers, is to visit former U.S. team coach, Klaus Balkenhol, Spanish team coach, Jean Bemelmans and German Olympians, Ingrid Klimke and Hubertus Schmidt. The group will also visit Schafhof, the home of former German Olympian, Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff, and her trainer Klaus Martin Rath, along with his son, Matthias Rath who was a reserve rider for the German Olympic team in 2008. The group will return to their home towns on July 8. While traveling, the young riders will record their observations in daily journals and chronicle the events with photos and video to share with their home dressage organizations.
          Primary chaperone, Ann Guptill is a USDF Certified Instructor and is on the faculty for the program. She has won numerous regional and national titles at all levels, including the 1987 Pan American Games team silver medal. Ann teaches students of all levels at her Fox Ledge Farm in East Haddam, CT ( In addition she and her husband Ed Iarusso operate Equestrian Arts Productions, a musical freestyle company (  The second chaperone, Annie Morris, is a USDF Certified Instructor through Fourth Level, who has been training with Lendon Gray for four years.
          "This annual trip is made possible by very generous donors," said Jenny Johnson of The Dressage Foundation. "We're very grateful to those who make this trip possible." Further information on the Advanced Young Rider Olympic Dream Program will be kept current on the TDF website:
          The Dressage Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is "To cultivate and provide financial support for the advancement of Dressage." For more information contact Jenny Johnson, The Dressage Foundation, Wells Fargo Center, Suite 732, 1248 "O" Street, Lincoln, NE 68508. Telephone: 402-434-8585 Fax: 402-436-3053. Email:

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit, email, or call (859) 971-2277.