Jill Irving Extends Youth Mentorship Program at Florida’s 2022 Winter Circuit to Netherlands–

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Canada’s Jill Irving at Florida’s Global Dressage Festival. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

June 15, 2021

Jill Irving is extending her Youth Equine Mentor Program to Europe by inviting four Netherlands riders to Wellington, Florida next winter to observe close up the professional dressage and jumping competitions that draw participants from around the world.

Jill, on Canada’s dressage teams at 2018 World Equestrian Games and the gold medal squad at the 2019 Pan American Games, launched the program in 2016 aimed initially at exposing young Canadians to many facets of top sport. The program didn’t happen in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Jill wants it back on track for 2022.

“This program has been one of the most important things I have been able to achieve,” she said. “I have so many volunteers that have made it possible.

“I’ve always wanted to add European youth and decided this year would be a time to invite participants from the Netherlands.”

Jill plans to compete at the Rotterdam CHIO July 1-4.

The purpose, she said, is to provide grass roots young up-and-coming dressage and hunter/jumper riders the invaluable opportunity Wellington offers to observe top professional competition first hand–riders, trainers, farriers, veterinarians, officials and others.

Among the features is Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids Winter Intensive Training Program where the visitors meet young equestrians from all over North America and participate in parts of Lendon’s program.

The athletes do not bring horses and are in Wellington for about five days.

Applications can be made on http://jillirvingyouthequinementorprogram.ca/. A lottery will be held to select participants.

“What has been so remarkable,” Jill said, “is the top riders that continue to stay involved in this program yearly.

“What’s so incredible is that everyone involved is a volunteer.”