The Youth Development Squad (YDS) of the Dressage Ireland South East Region has been in operation since 2010.
Anne Marie Dunphy HSI Level 3 Coach Dressage, Sport Ireland HSI Tutor/Coach Developer, has been the Squad Coach since its inception in 2010. Through her superb training many of the young riders from 12 years ago are now competing extremely successfully not only here in Ireland but across the Continent and in the UK.
In 2020 & 2021 Rachel Carr and Oscar O’Connor represented Ireland in Budapest & Strzegon at the European Championships for Ponies. These two young riders came and discussed their wonderful experiences at the December meeting of the Squad.
Since Jillie Rogers, BHSI Performance Coach DI list 3 Judge, has been involved in the organisation of the Training Days there have been two groups of riders, now named for the Olympics – Paris for the older/more experienced riders and Tokyo for the younger/Trailblazers. Stable Management sessions are given by Jillie to each group. At the December Training Day, we discussed the horse’s Digestive System and at the Easter Training it will be the Skeletal Frame. At lunch time Anne Marie presents an Equitation Theory lecture. In these sessions group participation is actively encouraged which in turn helps to promote friendships between the riders and the parents. Lunch is a noisy group affair!
Whilst Anne Marie coaches each rider for 40 minutes Jillie will sit with the others in the group and encourage them in their positive reflections of each other during those coaching sessions.
Training days happen in the school holidays, including the midterm breaks. Usually we are at Spruce Lodge Training Facility, by kind permission of the Keogh Family. In the summer school holidays, we try to have 2-3 days and these usually take place at Jillie’s home near Ferns. We can accommodate 12 riders in total, and with the two groups this makes for a long morning or long afternoon – after all this is SQUAD Training – dependent on which group the rider is allocated to.