Lincoln, Neb. – May 17, 2016 – Four athletes have been chosen for the 2016 International Dream Program that annually sends U.S. young riders to Europe for an intensive dressage experience. The program is administered and funded annually by The Dressage Foundation (TDF).
Rachel Chowanec (New Mexico), Emily Gill (Ohio), Rebekah Mingari (Kentucky) and Lillian Simons (Connecticut) were selected to participate in this year’s program. The selection committee based their decision on candidates’ essays, competition scores, recommendations, videos of their riding and signs of commitment to the sport of dressage.
The program, conceived by Olympic medalist and TDF board member Michael Poulin, will be led this year by chaperones Charlotte Bredahl-Baker and Jen Verharen. Beth Baumert is serving as administrator as she has since the program’s inception, and Eliza Sydnor Romm is assisting her. Poulin believes TDF’s International 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 July 11, the group will depart for Germany, where they will attend the World Equestrian Festival to watch some of the top riders in the world train and compete. They will have the chance to sit with judges, discuss training with coaches and riders, and watch the warm-up as well as the competition rides.
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 Charlotte Bredahl-Baker was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team. She has trained extensively in Europe and is the USEF Assistant Youth Coach for dressage. Jen Verharen is a USDF Certified Instructor through Second Level and an ‘L’ Program Graduate with distinction. She is a USPC A Graduate, National Examiner and USDF Silver medalist.