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Boyceville horse trainer receives $2,000 Dressage Foundation scholarship

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE — Karen Lee, owner of Hay River Equestrian in Boyceville, has been awarded a $2,000 Dressage Foundation scholarship to study for a month with a dressage trainer in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Dressage Foundation announced December 16 that a total of $10,000 had been awarded to dressage instructors in the United States through the Major Anders Lindgren Scholarship program, funded through The Dressage Foundation’s Carol Lavell Gifted Memorial Fund.

Lee has earned her United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Bronze and Silver Medals, Bronze Freestyle Bar Medal and is an “L” graduate with distinction from the USDF “L” judges program.

Lee will be studying with Amanda Johnson, a dressage rider, trainer, clinician and instructor who trains and teaches out of Barn F at Sunflower Farms in Bristol.

Johnson has a wide variety of accomplishments in the sport of dressage, including the USDF Horse of the Year Reserve Champion at Third Level in 2013 with her horse, Foley.

Throughout the summer, Johnson teaches two-day dressage clinics in Boyceville, Elkhart Lake, Stevens Point and Wausau.

“This is a great opportunity to study and bring information back to my local students,” Lee said. “I may be the one who got the scholarship, but I am hoping to share what I learn with riders in our area.”

The scholarship gives Lee an opportunity to engage in intense study of dressage and helps pay for the expenses of lessons with Johnson.

“Dressage is a sport that has many levels and there is always room for improvement,” Lee said.

One of Lee’s students, McKayla Hohmann, 13, of Colfax, the daughter of Candice and Wade Aspen of Colfax and Scott and Sarah Hohmann of Osseo, and Humble Hazel, a champagne-colored mare owned by Lee, were part of a three-horse first-place team at the U.S. Pony Club national competition in training-level dressage at Lexington, Kentucky, in July. McKayla and Hazel also took second place overall at the national competition in a musical freestyle performed to a Led Zeppelin arrangement. In September, McKayla and Hazel won the Region 4 United States Dressage Federation championship in training level, junior rider, in Iowa.

Lee provides riding lessons in dressage at Hay River Equestrian for riders of all ages and abilities, from beginners to more advanced. She also trains her own horses and takes in horses for dressage training.

Humble Hazel was rescued from a Trempealeau County farm in 2008 and was among 27 mares and stallions that had been left to fend for themselves.

At the time of her rescue, Hazel was an adult mare who had never been handled.

The scholarship allows Lee to take Hazel and a more advanced horse, Bacara, for her month of lessons with Amanda Johnson.

Lee will refine her upper level riding skills with Bacara, an American Warmblood Society registered mare. Hazel will go to improve her ability as a school horse, to allow others to learn to ride dressage.

“I enjoy teaching riders of all levels,” Lee said. “I am looking forward to taking both Bacara and Hazel with me.”

For more information about Hay River Equestrian and Lee’s riding program, visit