Debbie McDonald, Betsy Juliano and Robert Dover
Lexington, Ky. – February 1, 2017 – The US Equestrian Dressage Sport Committee has approved requirements for the Elite Program in 2017. In addition, they finalized plans for a revamped Development Program and selected the US Equestrian Dressage Development Coach.
The newly-launched Elite Program is established to provide support and resources to athlete/horse combinations that have proven they are internationally competitive. The US Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Managing Director oversee the program with oversight provided by the Program Selectors and the Dressage Sport Committee. Combinations qualify for the program based on scores received at CDI3*/CDIO3* or above competitions in the last 12 months.
The athletes will work with Technical Advisor Robert Dover to set goals and determine schedules. Athletes will receive training grants and other support to assist them in reaching their agreed upon targets. They will also have access to educational opportunities and logistical support. Being or not being part of the program has no impact on selection for Games and Championships.
“In the last four years, our goal was to create a very strong machine that would produce an Olympic medal for our dressage team, and the next four years will be spent continuing on that momentum and increasing the number of top combinations in the United States,” Dover said.
The following athlete/horse combinations meet the criteria for Elite Program membership (listed in alphabetical order):
Allison Brock (Wellington, Fla.) with Claudine and Fritz Kundrun’s Rosevelt, a 2002 Hanoverian stallion
Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) with her own Verdades, a 2002 KWPN gelding
Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) with Diane Perry’s Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding
Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) with Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde, a 2007 Rheinlander mare
Note: Peters and owner Akiko Yamazaki agreed to give the ride on Legolas 92 to Dawn White-O’Conner. White-O’Conner is Peters’ longtime assistant trainer and she will be competing Legolas 92 this year.
The Dressage Sport Committee also finalized plans for the Development Program. Through this revamped program, athletes with perceived ability to make the podium or contribute to podium scores within the following two quadrennials will receive strategic guidance and resources. View complete information and requirements for the program. The Development Program continues to be generously supported by USET Foundation Trustee Akiko Yamazaki and the Red Husky Foundation.
Helen Claire McNulty and Checkmate with Debbie McDonald
Debbie McDonald was selected by the Dressage Sport Committee as the US Equestrian Development Coach, pending contract negotiations. After a short hiatus in 2016, McDonald returns with over 10 years of experience helping the Development Program grow and moving athlete/horse combinations along the dressage pipeline.
“This revitalized program is going to give more individualized support to athletes, as well as their trainers and owners,” McDonald said. “Through this program, we will not only be able to target our funding and educational resources into identified combinations, but we will be able to continue to provide educational opportunities on a broad level.”
“I’m very excited to be working again with US Equestrian and this unique opportunity that the Development Program is going to provide to our up-and-coming athletes.”