Welcome to the dressage spot, a place for the young (or young at heart) dressage riders wanting to gain information on the sport of dressage, training tips, equine health care, maintenance and fun!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Today’s information again is focusing on information for the NAJYRC competition.  First, USDF region 9 put together an amazing brochure for potential riders, parents and trainers.  Take a look at it at http://www.usdfregion9.org/JRYR/NAJYRC-Region-9-Qualifying-Guidelines%20Program%20FINAL%20ONLINE%20Format.pdf

     This brochure was put together by Inez Campbell, a long time dressage mom, in my old region.  It is very user friendly and was written from the perspective of someone who has participated in NAJYRC competitions before.  The brochure gives riders and parents a tentative look at things like what the NAJYRC competition may cost.  Furthermore, it includes a great section on “what to expect” and frequently asked questions.  It walks you through the entire qualifying and competition process.  By far the best site for NAJYRC information! 

     Interestingly today I stumbled on a website for NAJYRC.  This looks like the official site separate from USEF or USDF website.  It is www.youngriders.org/Default.aspx     Unfortunately, this site didn’t seem as user friendly or as complete as the Region 9 page.  However, it will be updated with more ‘legal’ information as new qualifying dates and information comes out for the 2013 season.

     Another interesting service available for youth riders is the USEF High School Equestrian Athlete program.  I am a three year participant and plan to send away for my senior year patch soon.  This program is cool because so many youth riders don’t get recognition from our schools for our high school sport.  We are outside the normal high school competitions so we don’t get letterman’s jackets cool regalia!  The USEF HSEA program gives youth riders a chance to earn recognition for their hard work in their discipline as well as get free stuff and a chance to shop in an exclusive part of the USEF Catalog. 

     I can tell you the jackets are well made and really warm!  They look amazing as well.  You can get your name and your horses name on the sleeve of the jacket.  I remember thinking once when at a horse show where several of us had on our HSEA jackets that we looked like a team (or a gang J).  Thinking of a gang of dressage riders makes me smile.  Hard to think of anything that the participants are called Queens or Princesses as having a gang.  Anyway you have to be a USEF member to participate.  You have to complete a form and then log your activities.  There are a set number of requirements depending on your equestrian discipline.  But once you get your log signed, send it in and get your pin.  For details see the USEF site at:  http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/Youth/highschool/highschool.aspx

     Hope to see you sporting your jackets at the USDF Convention in December!

Friday, October 19, 2012

USDF, USEF and more!

     For the first few weeks of this blog I thought I would spend some time on the governing bodies of our sport.  Today I want to discuss the United States Dressage Federation (USDF). The United States Dressage Federation is dedicated to the equine discipline of dressage. Its mission is to education, recognize achievement and promote the discipline of dressage. At the local level general membership organizations (GMO’s) are the outlet to USDF.  USDF is governed in the national levels of training to fourth level by the United States Equestrian Federation which governs all equine sports in the United States.  International levels of competition are regulated the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).

USDF has a great website at www.usdf.org which has untold amounts of valuable information for anyone considering the sport of dressage.  On the website they have information on everything from membership and awards to links to free books on footing and how to select a dressage horse!  Spend some time reading through the site.   For junior and young riders the site gives basic information from the structure of our international governing body to the initial costs for shows and how to find a trainer. 

Furthermore, the website discusses junior and young rider awards and programs.  Junior rider divisions are classified as those of ages 14-18.  Young rider divisions continue the programs through the age of 21.  The North American Junior and Young Rider Championship is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders. Equestrians come from the United States, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands to vie for team and individual FEI medals. The competition is run under rules of the FEI and is the only FEI championship held annually on this continent.

In order to participate a potential junior or young rider must be a USDF member and a USEF member.  They must also declare their intention to participate according to USEF regulations which are listed on the USEF website.  The specifics to qualify for 2013 NAJYRC are at the link below

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Beginning!

I remember when I first started riding lessons.  Like today, I lived and breathed horses.  I wanted my own pony so badly I made all kinds of promises to my parents.  Eleven years later I am a seasoned dressage show veteran.  I look back over those years and I think about all of the learning my parents and I did.  There were so many questions, so little guidance.  This is not a sport like little league where you sign up and they give you a date, a time, a place and even soo after beginning a position to play.  Here in the b eginning you feel very alone in a sea of endless possibilities.  My parents bought and sold horses.  We had questions about everything and very little idea of how to analyze answers.  We were so clueless we bought a saddle before we bought a horse!  I can laught now looking back; but those times were frustrating (and expensive) for my parents and me.  So I want to help others relieve some of the pains of those lessons.  I thought about how to help as many dressage buffs like me as I could of all ages and training levels.  I decided upon writing this blog.  So today, on its inaugural entry I thought you could get to know me.

My name is Ayden Uhlir.  I just finished riding in the junior division this year.  It was an amazing year full of roller coaster highs and lows.  The dreamlike moments for me were winning the Festival of champions Junior National Championship, the individual gold at NAJYRC and two bronze medals there as well.  But my year has been about so much more than winning; it has been about looking to the future.  As a high school senior it is the time that most of us contemplate what is coming in the next few short years.  As I spend my time looking toward my future it became clear to me that my future is tied to the future of the sport of Dressage in the United States.  I want to help it in any way that I can to grow, to develop and to progress.  The possibilities are endless.  In the immediate future I made some drastic changes in the last three months.  I left my home, my friends and my family to move to Kirkland, Washington to train with the USEF National Dressage Youth Coach Jeremy Steinberg and his amazing training partner Shauntel Bryant.  In my short time here my perspective of the future and of training has exploded and deepened in so many ways.  I have gotten their permission to share this knowledge every week with you on these pages.  I will mix my weekly lessons with information on NAJYRC, USDF, USEF and other dressage organizations and support group information.  I would love for you to contact me with questions and concerns you may have in your own training or competing.  I want this to be a place for everyone to discuss dressage; and in particular for junior and young riders to persue and share all of the issues we have together.

Looking forward to growing together,

Ayden Uhlir

Sunday, October 7, 2012


This site is under construction. I am gathering materials, links, information and will have my first post on Sunday.
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