Willis & Karin Foley of Belfast, NY sponsored a scholarship for a young rider on an Arabian-bred pony to participate at Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids, Inc.’s FEI Pony Clinic with trainer George Williams that took place in July.

This year’s recipient was 12-year-old Grace Jennings of Thent, New York. Her current mount is a purebred Arabian mare Aastrakhan (*Muftir Ibn Al Malik x Courtney {Safire++}), that was donated to Dressage4Kids by her owner Wendy Luscombe. This well trained mare had been a wonderful schoolmaster for her breeder/owner, winning multiple Regional Championships in Dressage before Wendy sent her to Lendon’s program.

“Aastrakhan first went to a 13 year old girl who had one terrific season on her showing 3rd level and FEI Pony. Now she is with Grace and in 9 months this young rider has gone from not ever having ridden a quiet canter to showing first level and schooling second level,” reports Lendon.

Grace is excited about what she accomplished at the 2-day clinic. “I learned a lot about walk to canter transitions and half-passes. George taught me to trust my pony and let her go so she could do what I was asking. It made a big difference!” The pair’s goal is to be competing in FEI Pony next year.

Clinician George Williams had this to say,” I enjoyed myself immensely during the clinic. When I see young people with talent matched with the enthusiasm I observed over the two days, it is always fun and the world of riding seems brighter. Grace fit right in. She was a pleasure to teach as she definitely has a natural feel along with a great attitude. I found her to be receptive, catching on quickly to the exercises and eager to be pushed.

“She and her pony were a good fit. The mare is more than capable of working at the level required. I wish them the best of luck and encourage Grace to continue to build a solid foundation for a promising future. ”

Grace, an avid event rider, originally sought out Lendon’s help with another pony to improve their jumping. “I considered dressage just another phase of eventing, but Lendon showed me how it can make a difference in everything I do,” says Grace.

Grace’s mother, Katherine says, “Until Lendon created this invaluable resource for children, no one in the dressage world thought they were capable of learning these concepts. She has made a huge difference for young riders. We are very grateful for this opportunity.”

Dressage4Kids, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization incorporated for the express purpose of providing educational and competitive opportunities for youth riders.

The Foleys are lifelong horsemen that breed Arabians, Welsh ponies and crossbreds for sport horse pursuits at their farm Solar Hill Sport Horses. “Our goal is to promote Arabian-breds as equine athletes suitable for adults and children alike,” they said. “Their contribution to today’s equestrian sports is often overlooked.”

To this end, the Foleys are funding awards for the high scoring Arabian-bred pony in both the Hunter and Jumper division at the USEF Pony National Championships. They are also donating an award to the USEA Arabian-bred horse or pony ridden by a junior rider eventing at Preliminary level or above.

More information can be found at http://www.shnpayback.com/Awards.html