Charlotte Bredahl-Baker and the U.S. Equestrian “Select Athlete One-on-One Youth Program”
Written by Betsy LaBelle - In Dressage - Friday, June 9, 2017
Olympic U.S. rider, trainer and 4* FEI Dressage Judge Charlotte Bredahl-Baker has dedicated herself to be the best U.S. Assistant Youth Coach she can be. This year, she launched a new coaching program for riders in the Junior Division, Young Rider Division and U25 Grand Prix Division called the “Select Athlete One-on-One Program.”
With a lifetime of knowledge in bringing quite a few horses to the FEI levels, as well as judging and riding in several big international championships, Charlotte wants to impart her knowledge and establish long-term support and collaboration similar to riders, trainers and judges in Europe. Wanting to encourage trust and be an ally in the journey up the levels, Charlotte stated, “So far, there are about 25 riders who have been invited to take part in this program. They come from all over the country. I’m going to try and see as many as I can in person. I know it’s not possible to go all across the country, but many of them are in Florida for the winter season. This year I’ve gone from farm to farm in Wellington and seen quite a few for one or two days each time. For the ones I don't have a chance to see in person, I will provide a video review with the rider and trainer. They send me a video and I get on the phone with the rider and trainer and we talk through the video. I give them my feedback and encourage them to send me another video after they have had a chance to work on the things we discussed. Some of them have been super receptive to that."
There are certain criteria that young athletes must fulfill in order to be invited to participate in this program. Once a rider and their trainer have been selected, Charlotte will do her best to go to their farm and provide in-person support, or otherwise will offer evaluation perspectives as a trainer and judge through video review. “The whole idea,” she explains, “is to establish a relationship with the trainers because if you only see a rider a couple of times a year in a clinic for only two days, you can't make much of a difference. I think it’s very important to work alongside a trainer.”
The benefit of this program is to have ongoing support for both riders and their trainers, someone to call on when there is a problem with a difficult step up the levels with a horse or when a trainer just wants a judge’s point of view before a competition. Charlotte hopes to establish long-term relationships in order to encourage riders to thrive when things get difficult. Due to the big steps from the Junior Division to the Young Rider Division to the U25 Grand Prix Division and beyond, Charlotte wants to encourage growth and advancement.
Beth Baumert Endorses Charlotte Bredahl-Baker’s U.S. Equestrian Select Athlete One-on-One Program
"This country needs to develop Young Riders who can challenge the Young Riders in Europe, and Charlotte's USEF program puts us on that road,” Beth Baumert said. “Her training is strictly classical and although it is challenging, it is couched in kindness, consistency and encouragement. Charlotte is also great at supporting the trainers and she works with our young riders locally."
She continued, “Because our country is so different than any other country, we cannot do it in the same way, for example, as the way Germany does it. We, as trainers cannot say, ‘Here is a great young rider’ and send them to the training center in Warendorf to be seen at the DOKR head of federation program directors for future opportunities. We need someone who is like-minded to come to us and support us as trainers. It’s a great program.” She added, “I think of Charlotte as our traveling Warendorf.”
The first time Charlotte worked with Beth was in 2016 when Beth had been coaching 19-year-old Molly O’Brien and the 18-year-old Lusitano stallion Grand Prix schoolmaster named Telurico owned by Pierre Pirard. “Charlotte was extraordinarily helpful, kind and consistent and encouraging. She did not give compromises, but she did give tons of breaks and tons of encouragement. It was wonderful.” Soon after that winter, Molly started riding the Grand Prix Oldenburg stallion Jubilant aka ‘Eubie.' Thanks to his special owner Anne Wood, "Eubie" has been partnered with Courtney King, Mica Mabragana, and now Molly.
“Charlotte helped us a few times down in Florida with Eubie and it was the same thing,” Beth said. “She confirms for me that I am on the right path with Molly.” It is Charlotte’s goal to be in collaboration with the trainer for every yong rider.
Molly, who hails from Tucson, Arizona and continues up the levels through the North American Junior/Young Rider system competing in the Junior Division in 2015 before moving to Connecticut to work with Beth. Now preparing Jubilant, the horse and rider pair has their first qualifying score at the 2017 Palm Beach Derby scoring a 67.632% in the FEI Young Riders Individual 2017 test.
For a long time, Beth Baumert has been a coach, rider and trainer of dressage horses and students. She spends most of the year training riders at her farm, Cloverlea Farm in Columbia, Connecticut, and the winter months in Wellington, Florida. Her daughter, Jennifer Baumert is a highly competitive Grand Prix rider with many FEI wins under her belt.
Silke Rembacz (Trainer) and Sierra Keasler (U25 Rider) Also Praise the US Dressage Program
“This was our first and second time utilizing Charlotte and the Select Athlete’s One-on-One Program,” Silke Rembacz said. “I loved the fact that she let us choose whether I was to teach or she was to teach. I opted for her to teach and then I would ask questions or say what about this or something about that. I really liked that part about it. It’s not easy for somebody to come in. I think this is a good way because every young rider gets to the higher levels a certain way and having somebody come in and give their input is a very good idea.” She added, “Charlotte offered some truly great suggestions.”
Coach and mentor to Sierra Keasler, Silke grew up near Bremen, Germany and came to the United States in 1986. An active FEI competitor and coach, she is based both in Ringoes, New Jersey and Wellington, Florida.
“For us with Lux [Lux Stensvang], you really need to know him,” Silke revealed. “He’s a great horse and each horse is unique. Because I look at Sierra and Lux every day and I know them and I know how they react, as a person to come in who doesn’t see them every day, Charlotte can say, ‘What about that?’ or ‘Have you tried this?’ She’s picking up on things to discuss and work through.” Silke added, “It’s the same as my teaching a clinic. As an outsider, I go in and suggest something and the student understands it in a whole new way. Perhaps, they try the exercise I show them and they see where that is taking them. It’s like a discussion on ways to improve. They show me their way and I show them my way and maybe later they mix them together for the next step in their horses training. And I think that is very good to do it that way.”
Sierra Keasler also commended Charlotte, “What I like most about her program is that she allows the trainer to be a part of the lesson. Everyone goes into her program like a team and she really incorporates the trainer. It’s not like a clinic with someone completely new and completely different from your program. She works with you and your trainer. Silke and I really appreciated that. She was very good at adjusting her program for Lux, me and Silke. When Silke was out of town, she came out and helped me. Silke was very happy because we’ve gotten very comfortable working together with Charlotte.”
Sierra added, “While it’s nice to know Charlotte is a judge, she doesn’t say, ‘that’s a 6 or that’s a 7.’ She’s teaches more like a rider or trainer. She was able to look at our overall picture and helping me make Lux shorter here or there and she had me sitting up quite a bit more at certain times. She coached with Silke and I could see them meshing well together in their coaching me. She’d teach me and then Silke would talk with her for a second. There was open communication about how Silke might do something and how Charlotte might work through it. They were pretty much teaching me together about how to make certain things better.”
To read about the “Select Athlete One-on-One Program” and criteria requirements, visit https://files.usef.org/assets/Xykp_QVka8Y/2017-select-coaching-program-memo-to-athletes-1052017.pdf.
To learn more about Charlotte Bredahl-Baker’s background, visit http://dressageretreats.com/