New England Dressage Association’s Spring Symposium Is A Success

2012 NEDA Spring Symposium's Carol Lavell and Michael Poulin (Photo Courtesy of Carole MacDonald)


The New England Dressage Association (NEDA) continued to bring forward top educational opportunities for its members and dressage enthusiasts with their 2012 Spring Symposium taking place this past weekend. The Spring Symposium was held at Apple Knoll Farm in Millis, Massachusetts with Olympic Bronze Medalists Michael Poulin and Carol Lavell.


Poulin and Lavell were teammates on the 1992 United States Barcelona Olympic Team, along with Robert Dover and Charlotte Bredahl, and hold the unique relationship of being teacher and student, mentor and colleague. Carol and Michael broke away from a regular symposium format, and provided an atmosphere where discussions were held amongst the entire group for the duration of the event. The informal format provided a place where the basis behind their training methods was able to be fully explored, focusing on the foundation behind each exercise and movement practiced on a young horse, all the way up through international levels.


“You have a predesigned idea of what you’re doing to accomplish when you’re developing movements, but working with Carol and Michael allowed us as riders, the opportunity maybe not to work on the movements themselves, but the building blocks instead. This was “the process” as Carol and Michael called it that was the focus behind the three days of learning,” said demo rider Heidi Jo Hauri-Gill.


“What I really loved was the clarity of the development of things, of being able to head home knowing I can achieve the same success as at the clinic because things were broken down in easy to understand pieces. It’s strong enough in my mind now, and through watching “the process” with others, that because I don’t work with a trainer but once a month I’m able to continue my training and building up to the next step in my training.”


The demonstration horse and rider combinations showcased throughout the weekend were:

Joy Bahniuk and Safari

Doris Carlson and Wilhemena

Bobbi Carleton and Rawleigh

Joy Congdon and Wilkinson

Kelly Coyne and Lawool

Linda Currie and Gemini

Jennifer Dillon and Dirigo

Tracy Durham and Voluntario Interagro

Ann Guptill and Picardi

Heidi Jo Hauri-Gill and Willioso

Jordon LaPlaca and Double Domino

Gwyneth McPherson and Flair

Gwyneth McPherson and Flyer

Gwyneth McPherson and Angus

Carolyn Tulumello and Bodacious

Jessica Viveiros O'Donnell and Brendan


During the Symposium, Poulin and Lavell shared their experiences of what it was like to train and medal in the Olympics as well as impart their wisdom as long-time devotees of the art of dressage. “So many wonderful people came out to not only celebrate a great educational experience of dressage, but took the opportunity to embrace the other festivities we had taking place such as a Para-Dressage overview and educational piece, as well as a celebration for NEDA’s 40th Anniversary with our past and current Presidents Kathy McHugh, Paul Cormier, Sybille Craft and Priscilla Endicott,” said Linda Mendenhall, NEDA Spring Symposium Coordinator.


Heidi Jo Hauri-Gill  added, “To me, this was the first time I really felt like a piece of the whole pie. The large turnout we had on Saturday was so supportive of what not only I was doing, but what all the riders were doing as well. Everyone was “one” with us. It was almost as if they were saying to say “come here, we want to learn with you and be a part of your experiences,” and that is what NEDA brings to the table in all they do.”


For more information about NEDA and the educational events they’ll be offering including the NEDA Fall Symposium with Ashley Holzer and Stephen Clarke at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, ME, please visit

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