Big Expansion of USA Dressage Development Program With Gift from Akiko Yamazaki

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Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang, owners of Ravel, with US jumping Chef d'Equipe George Morris watching Ravel compete at Aachen. Germany in 2009. © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

The U.S. Dressage Developing Program led by Debbie McDonald will be expanded to include seven clinics and two training camps in 2012 with a grant from Akiko Yamazaki through the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation of which she is a trustee.

The program administered by the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s High Performance division aims at developing the nation’s up-and-coming dressage horses and riders who show potential to represent the U.S. in international competition.

The developing training camps are a new part of the program and one four-day session will be held in New Jersey and the other in California in the fall.

Included will be individual lessons with Debbie, an Olympic and world championship medalist and the first American to win the World Cup Final, as well as group discussions on topics ranging from sports psychology to media training. Invitations to the camps will be based on rider performances at developing clinics and in CDI competitions throughout the year.

The developing clincs will take place in Florida, New Jersey and California, by invitation only and based on criteria established by the USEF High Performance Dressage Committee. Priority is given to athlete/horse combinations on the Developing Rider list for training.

“Akiko’s knowledge and her passion for dressage has been a motivating influence for this country’s high performance programs,” said Jane Forbes Clark, USET Foundation President. “She is not only a true leader as a horse owner but also in her charitable giving in support of our United States Equestrian Teams.”

Debbie McDonald said: “I would like to thank Akiko and the USET Foundation for their continued and generous support of this country’s high performance programs. Akiko’s vision for a stronger country with more depth is exciting. We all want to see the sport in this country grow and realize it is not going to happen overnight. I am excited about the idea of taking a few combinations from each coast at the end of year and having a multiple-day camp. Working together we will build the future of dressage in the U.S.”

Akiko is a Grand Prix amateur dressage rider and the owner of Ravel, the KWPN Contango gelding ridden by Steffen Peters.