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2010 WIHS Published Equine Print Clips Report


September 2010 | www.ridingmagazine.com 1


Washington International Horse Show Diana DeRosa chats with California’s Robert Ridland about his role in this East Coast tradition.

Co-show managers, David Distler and Robert Ridland. Photo © Diana DeRosa

When West goes East there’s a difference in the way things are done. Such is the case with the annual Washington International Horse Show, an event that inspires the most talented hunter, jumper and equitation riders to converge in the heart of Washington, DC. This year’s event takes place Oct. 26-31 and so we asked Californian co-show manager Robert Ridland to give us some input with a California slant. He was more than willing to offer his thoughts. With the understanding that this is an indoor show in a large city which has its own difficulties, how would you compare this show to the shows you do in California?   Not at all comparable, of course! The closest resemblance to an event that we manage is the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas because it is a horse event that is outside of its normal environment or “comfort zone,” if you will. The Blenheim EquiSports horse shows that we produce in San Juan Capistrano and Del Mar are fortunate to be held in facilities with specific-use competition grass fields along with ample room for stabling and warm-up areas. That of course is not the case in Washington D.C., nor for that matter in the UNLV parking lot in Las Vegas! The similarity between Washington and the Las Vegas World Cup Final is that everything that is horse-related has to be brought in including, most importantly, the stalls and the footing...and in a hurry!    You undoubtedly see the California riders competing on the West Coast and then coming East for WIHS. Riders like John French and Archie Cox. Other than the traveling, from your perspective, what are some of the things they have to adjust to?   Having been based as a rider on both coasts, I can appreciate the big difference between coming indoors from the West Coast versus the East. When I lived on the East Coast, we had the luxury of going home between shows (even if only for a day), and more importantly being able to

24 California Riding Magazine | September 2010

Robert Ridland being interviewed by Washington Post columnist John Kelly.

John French and Small Affair. Photo © Diana DeRosa

Photo © Diana DeRosa

“What we need to do is to keep reminding our peers that preserving over a half century’s worth of history and tradition is vital, not just for Washington, but for our sport.” swap horses and bring in a “fresh string” for the next show! No such luck when you come from over 2,500 miles away! What do they bring to this show?   They bring to the competition some of the best horses and riders in the country, particularly in the hunter, junior and equitation divisions. Only the top open and international jumper riders typically choose to stay in California at that time of year because of the conflicting West Coast World Cup schedule. What’s it like to be behind the scenes at WIHS?  Organized chaos! But seriously, the “behind the scenes” team (many who have been there for years) is as professional as any group that I have ever worked with. Although David Distler does the bulk of the “heavy lifting” and almost all of the logistical preparations, both of us are so confident in the professional team behind us that we spend much of the time just “getting out of the way!” Was there anything that surprised you when you first came onboard?   No! I expected it all! What do you feel you bring to the show as a Californian?   What I feel I bring to the show has very little to do with the fact that I live in California. Rather,

it comes from my long history of involvement with Washington wearing other “hats,” first as a junior rider (back in the old Armory) and later as an international rider, as well as a TV commentator and course designer at both of the two most recent venues. What do you feel the staff of the show and especially you and David need to do to ensure this show continues to thrive despite the tough economic situation the country is facing right now?    Being involved (even in a small way) with the monumental effort that goes on year-long, brings a great sense of appreciation for the sacrifice and commitment that so many people put into keeping the legacy of the Washington International alive. What we need to do is to keep reminding our peers that preserving over a half century’s worth of history and tradition is vital, not just for Washington, but for our sport. With the demise of the horse show at Madison Square Garden several years ago, Washington was shoved into the position of being the premier indoor horse show in the United States. We cannot afford to lose it!  Why did you want to be a part of running the Washington International Horse Show?   Because I have a very strong desire to see the long tradition of the show continue for years to come. An international horse show held in an urban environment in our nation’s capital is of course a logistical nightmare of unbelievable proportions. However it is a little piece of our sport that we must fight to preserve. It will always be easier to find a piece of land out in the country that has few of the inherent complications and costs of putting on an event in a metropolitan environment. However, the more we take our sport away from the people (for the sake of expedience), the more we lose our connection with them.   Article reprinted with permission, California Riding Magazine, September, 2010.


Riding Magazine

Page 1 of 3

California Riding Magazine • September, 2010

Washington International Horse Show Diana DeRosa chats with California’s Robert Ridland about his role in this East Coast tradition.

Co-show managers, David Distler and Robert Ridland. Photo © Diana DeRosa

When West goes East there’s a difference in the way things are done. Such is the case with the annual Washington International Horse Show, an event that inspires the most talented hunter, jumper and equitation riders to converge in the heart of Washington, DC. This year’s event takes place Oct. 26-31 and so we asked Californian co-show manager Robert Ridland to give us some input with a California slant. He was more than willing to offer his thoughts. With the understanding that this is an indoor show in a large city which has its own difficulties, how would you compare this show to the shows you do in California? Not at all comparable, of course! The closest resemblance to an event that we manage is the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas because it is a

http://www.ridingmagazine.com/riding_onlinemag/articles/2010_09/ridland.htm

3/4/2011


Riding Magazine

Page 2 of 3

horse event that is outside of its normal environment or “comfort zone,” if you will. The Blenheim EquiSports horse shows that we produce in San Juan Capistrano and Del Mar are fortunate to be held in facilities with specific-use competition grass fields along with ample room for stabling and warm-up areas. That of course is not the case in Washington D.C., nor for that matter in the UNLV parking lot in Las Vegas! The similarity between Washington and the Las Vegas World Cup Final is that everything that is horse-related has to be brought in including, most importantly, the stalls and the footing...and in a hurry!

Robert Ridland being interviewed by Washington Post columnist John Kelly. Photo © Diana DeRosa

You undoubtedly see the California riders competing on the West Coast and then coming East for WIHS. Riders like John French and Archie Cox. Other than the traveling, from your perspective, what are some of the things they have to adjust to? Having been based as a rider on both coasts, I can appreciate the big difference between coming indoors from the West Coast versus the East. When I lived on the East Coast, we had the luxury of going home between shows (even if only for a day), and more importantly being able to swap horses and bring in a “fresh string” for the next show! No such luck when you come from over 2,500 miles away! What do they bring to this show? They bring to the competition some of the best horses and riders in the country, particularly in the hunter, junior and equitation divisions. Only the top open and international jumper riders typically choose to stay in California at that time of year because of the conflicting West Coast World Cup schedule. What’s it like to be behind the scenes at WIHS? Organized chaos! But seriously, the “behind the scenes” team (many who have been there for years) is as professional as any group that I have ever worked with. Although David Distler does the bulk of the “heavy lifting” and almost all of the logistical preparations, both of us are so confident in the professional team behind us that we spend much of the time just “getting out of the way!” Was there anything that surprised you when you first came onboard? No! I expected it all!

http://www.ridingmagazine.com/riding_onlinemag/articles/2010_09/ridland.htm

3/4/2011


Riding Magazine

Page 3 of 3

John French and Small Affair. Photo © Diana DeRosa

What do you feel you bring to the show as a Californian? What I feel I bring to the show has very little to do with the fact that I live in California. Rather, it comes from my long history of involvement with Washington wearing other “hats,” first as a junior rider (back in the old Armory) and later as an international rider, as well as a TV commentator and course designer at both of the two most recent venues. What do you feel the staff of the show and especially you and David need to do to ensure this show continues to thrive despite the tough economic situation the country is facing right now? Being involved (even in a small way) with the monumental effort that goes on year-long, brings a great sense of appreciation for the sacrifice and commitment that so many people put into keeping the legacy of the Washington International alive. What we need to do is to keep reminding our peers that preserving over a half century’s worth of history and tradition is vital, not just for Washington, but for our sport. With the demise of the horse show at Madison Square Garden several years ago, Washington was shoved into the position of being the premier indoor horse show in the United States. We cannot afford to lose it! Why did you want to be a part of running the Washington International Horse Show? Because I have a very strong desire to see the long tradition of the show continue for years to come. An international horse show held in an urban environment in our nation’s capital is of course a logistical nightmare of unbelievable proportions. However it is a little piece of our sport that we must fight to preserve. It will always be easier to find a piece of land out in the country that has few of the inherent complications and costs of putting on an event in a metropolitan environment. However, the more we take our sport away from the people (for the sake of expedience), the more we lose our connection with them.

http://www.ridingmagazine.com/riding_onlinemag/articles/2010_09/ridland.htm

3/4/2011


Sapphire Is Presidential At Washington International Horse Show

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http://chronofhorse.com/print/24055?page=show

Published on The Chronicle of the Horse (http://chronofhorse.com) Home > Sapphire Is Presidential At Washington International Horse Show

By Mollie Bailey and Lisa Slade Created 2010-10-31 00:28

Washington, D.C., Oct. 30 There aren’t many people who would consider the Washington International a warm-up show. But the veteran team of McLain Ward and Sapphire made a stop in the nation’s capital a priority before heading to Europe this winter and topped the $100,000 President’s Cup CSI-W. “My plan all along was that if Sapphire came out of the world championships well, we would do two shows in Europe in December,” said Ward, Brewster, N.Y. “I wanted to do one warm-up show, and she’s handled this well in the past.” Aaron Vale on Paparazzi 10 and Pablo Barrios with G&C Quick Star 11 both jumped clear short courses to take second and third. Seven of the 24 entries found a faultless path around Michel Vaillancourt’s first round course, packed into the compact Verizon Center. “I tried to build a course that would flow and make sense in a very tight environment,” said Vaillancourt. “I’ve got great riders here, so I have to make a test that’s suitable. I try to be fair, but we also try to create a show.” Vale logged the first clear jump-off round by slicing the turns through the tight rollbacks. “The whole jump-off was filled with fast riders,” said Vale. “Everyone was a speed demon in there.” Barrios followed up with a more measured clear aboard G&C Quick Star. He took his time after that speedy mare logged an uncharacteristic 20 faults last week at Harrisburg. Sapphire walked into the ring next, and Ward knew he’d have to turn on the afterburners and slice every turn to catch Vale. Ward took advantage of his horse’s huge stride and left a few strides out while leaving every rail in the cups. “I’ve always said the one thing about Sapphire is that you have to do a few less strides to get the footspeed,” he said. “I knew with those guys coming I had to put the pedal down and hope it stood up.” Not to be outdone, Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Ashley tried to follow up last week’s win at Pennsylvania National [1] with another, but they ticked a rail. Still, the three open jumper classes Pessoa won earlier in the week earned him the leading open jumper rider and the leading international rider titles. Winning at Washington wasn’t lost on Ward, who topped the class in 2008 aboard the same mare. “It’s an important venue for us, and I think it’s great to be here in the city,” he said. “I hope we can stay for many years. It gives us a real electric atmosphere, and I feel this is still one of the most prestigious grand prix to win in this country.” Keenan Claims Equitation Blue

11/5/2010 10:29 PM


Sapphire Is Presidential At Washington International Horse Show

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http://chronofhorse.com/print/24055?page=show

Lillie Keenan wasn’t exactly expecting a blue ribbon in the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic Final. Keenan, who just turned 14, debuted at the major equitation finals last year. This time around, she tacked up a new mount she first sat on just a few weeks ago, Uno, on loan from Madeline Turner. But none of that mattered, and Keenan topped the finals over Molly Braswell and Michael Hughes. “You can always hope for the best,” Keenan said. “I knew I could trust the horse; I just had to make sure I could trust myself.” But Keenan’s biggest challenge didn’t come from her age or her new partnership with Uno. The night before the competition she was running a 103-degree temperature. “I took my temperature before my mom was there, and I said, ‘Mom, I’ll only tell you my temp if you promise you'll allow me to show tomorrow,’ ” recalled Keenan. “She wasn’t happy with the temperature, and I had to stay in bed for 16 hours. But I’m fine now.” Keenan came into the jumper phase in second place behind Braswell, who rode her own The General. The jumper phase gave Keenan the edge—but by less than a point. The New York, N.Y., rider sealed her victory when the top 10 riders swapped riders for the work off, and she laid down a seamless trip on Chase Boggio’s Massimo to earn scores 91.00, 86.753 and 91 from judging teams Allison Robitaille, Ralph Caristo, Jimmy Torano, Christine Tauber, Linda Hough and Joe Fargis for that round. “I was a little nervous,” Keenan said of getting on Massimo. “He’s huge, but I knew he would march right around and deal with everything perfectly. I was just trying to be as smooth as possible.” Keenan, who rides with Andre Dignelli and Patricia Griffith at Heritage Farms, picked up the ride on Uno when her regular equitation mount sustained an injury. “I always thought this horse would win a championship from the day we got him,” Dignelli said. “They graciously loaned him to Lillie for Harrisburg. It was a good fit, and the other horse is not back in action. They continued to loan him to us for this week and next. We are really indebted to them, because without the horse you have no opportunity for this to happen. He’s a special horse.” Keenan, who had a wildly successful [2] career in the pony divisions before moving up to the horses, easily adjusted to Uno, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Potsdam—J. Olympia) gelding during their short time together. “He’s a really lovely horse,” she said. “He has such a big stride, and he’s so automatic. You have to stop yourself from doing too much. He wants to do everything for you, and it’s almost like if you get in his way it won’t have as good of an ending. You just have to stay out of his way and let him do his job. He knows what he’s doing—it’s like he knows the course. If you’re looking right, he’s going right.” Griffith, who brought Keenan through the pony ranks, was delighted with her first win at a major equitation finals. “I couldn’t be more proud,” Griffith said. “Like Andre said, I knew right away she was going to win. I knew she would win at least one final. I didn’t know it would be at [show age] 13, but I’m not surprised at all. When I watch her, I’m so proud because I’ve seen her through all the stages, and I tried to instill her style. Now people say, ‘Oh, you look like Lillie,’ and I say, ‘Oh, I hope so.’ ” Saturday Tidbits: Vivian Yowan’s win in the Washington International Horse Show Pony Equitation Finals was bittersweet—it was her last competition on Grand Slam Farm LLC’s Rockette. Yowan, 13, Darien, Conn., has leased the 12-year-old mare for a year now and competed her in both medium pony hunters and pony equitation classes. While Yowan, who rides with Jenny Martin-Rudaz, said Rockette can get cranky in the under saddle classes, she behaved herself today. “She’s really good at the equitation all together,” Yowan said. “She’s really good with the rollbacks. I thought [the course] was very good. You had a chance to gallop forward, but you also had to show rollbacks and the trot.

11/5/2010 10:29 PM


Sapphire Is Presidential At Washington International Horse Show

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http://chronofhorse.com/print/24055?page=show

[Winning] means a lot to me because this is my first time doing the equitation at Washington, and my last show on Rockette." Tracey Weinberg topped both the $10,000 Ambassador’s Cup Amateur-Owner Classic and the overall amateur-owner championship aboard Larone. Weinberg, who competed at the Washington International for the first time as a pony rider in 1975 and rides with Joe Fargis, has owned the 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Concorde—Utica) stallion for five years now. “Larone is a dream come true, frankly,” Weinberg, Lovettsville, Va., said. “Everyone should have a Larone. He’s the pony I never had. He taught me how to ride, quite frankly. When you ride Larone, he makes you think you know what you’re doing but you really don’t. When you get on another horse you realize it. He’s a special horse.” Karen Polle, New York, N.Y., piloted her own What Ever, an 11-year-old Belgium Warmblood (Darco—M. Sellie) mare to the junior jumper championship today. Polle, 17, is fresh off team and individual gold medals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Randolph College/USEF Junior Jumper Championships. Check out the our coverage of yesterday's junior hunters [3], and you can find results at the Washington International Horse Show website [4]. tagged in: Indoors [5], Washington International Horse Show [6] Horse Shows Indoors Washington International Horse Show © 2005-2010, The Chronicle of the Horse, All rights reserved

Source URL: http://chronofhorse.com/article/sapphire-presidential-washington-international-horse-show Links: [1] http://chronofhorse.com/2010pennnational [2] http://chronofhorse.com/article/keenan-continues-her-winning-streak-pony-finals [3] http://chronofhorse.com/article/california-girls-shake-washington [4] http://wihs.showjumping.tv/sms/results_class_list.php?hsn=1005 [5] http://chronofhorse.com/category/tags/indoors [6] http://chronofhorse.com/category/tags/washington-international-horse-show

11/5/2010 10:29 PM


Photos & Video | The Chronicle of the Horse

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Photos & Video Horse Shows Âť 2010 Washington International Horse Show Juniors

Next Galleries Scenes From Last Season October 2010

2010 Ride For The Cure October 2010

Illusion and Olivia Esse

photos by Mollie Bailey

Los Angeles native Olivia Esse earned the grand junior hunter championship aboard Illusion.

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2010 Washington International Gambler's Choice Costume Class Sapphire Wins Again, And Goldika Retires

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2010 Galway Downs Fall CCI Saturday Cross-Country

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11/14/2010


Photos & Video | The Chronicle of the Horse

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Photos & Video Horse Shows Âť 2010 Washington International Gambler's Choice Costume Class

Next Galleries Sapphire Wins Again, And Goldika Retires November 2010

2010 ASPCA Maclay Finals November 2010 Photo by Mollie Bailey

Mystery Rider

Any guesses as to the identity of this camouflaged rider?

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2010 Washington International Gambler's Choice Costume Class

Sapphire Wins Again, And Goldika Retires

2010 ASPCA Maclay Finals

Blog: Katie Christiansen Blog: Lauren Sprieser

2010 Syracuse World Cup Qualifier

Blog: Sara Lieser Eventing Horse Care

2010 Galway Downs Fall CCI Saturday Cross-Country

Horse Shows Junior Reporter: Alexandra Crown

2010 Syracuse Invitational Costume Gambler's Choice

Lifestyles Other Disciplines Dressage

2010 Galway Downs Fall CCI Friday Dressage

Chasing Hunting

http://chronofhorse.com/photos_videos?nid=24265

11/19/2010


Sapphire Wins Again, And Goldika Retires | The Chronicle of the Horse

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Sapphire Wins Again, And Goldika Retires By: Erica McKeever

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After returning from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, it took all the people several days to recover,

Mystery Rider

but not Sapphire! The plan for her was to have a couple of weeks off before starting work again to be ready to compete in Europe at the end of November . But after a couple of days in the field, she was feeling very fresh— so fresh that we decided to put her back into work. She didn' t want to settle in the field, just wanted to gallop around bucking, so we worried for her safety and rode her before we turned her out. She seemed really happy with this plan. Meanwhile everybody left for the Pennsylvania National horse show, which was going to be one of Goldika' s last stops before retiring at the Royal Winter MORE PHOTOS After retiring at the Pennsylvania National, good old Goldika gets to start her new life as a broodmare .

Fair in Toronto. But after showing her in the Gambler 's Choice, McLain decided that was her last class as she tried her heart out. She jumped great, so McLain decided that was enough and to retire her right there.

The horse show had a really nice ceremony for her before the grand prix on Saturday night. McLain bought her a huge basket of donuts, her treat of choice. It was really sad for everyone. So home she came to start her "roughing off" process before going off to her new life having babies ! She will live at Blue Chip Farm in New York. On Saturday , McLain decided to take Sara to the Washington International horse show as he wanted to show her indoors once before walking straight into the grand prix at Brussels. So off to Washington she went. Grand prix night there is always a nice crowd with a good atmosphere. Sara won there two years ago, so it was great for the crowd to see her do it again!

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She jumped two beautiful clear rounds, and the jump-off was superb. When she went in for her ribbon , they replayed her rounds on the big screen in the middle of the ring. She never took her eyes off it, then let out a whinney when it had finished. Sara was really glad to get home from there as they never turn the lights out , so she was exhausted and needed to catch up on her sleep ! Now she's home getting ready to go to Europe for three weeks; she will show in Brussels, Paris and Geneva. Then hopefully she will be ready to enjoy her vacation.

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11/16/2010 1:58:34 PM


Elite Equestrian Informative, Educational, Inspirational - For The Equestrian Lifestyle

Fall 2010

• Pennsylvania National Horse Show • Dressage At Devon • Wound Care Tips • Carousel Antiques Tough Surgery For A Mini

Heartwarming Story From New Bolton Center

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Winning the WIHS President’s Cup on Alaska Was Just the Tip of the Iceberg for Todd Minikus In 1990, Todd Minikus had a “Thrilling” victory in the Washington International Horse Show President’s Cup at a time when he was first making a name for himself in show jumping circles. Fast forward 19 years later and Minikus was at it again and this time the horse was Alaska, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Callie Seaman. That second victory was an exciting three horse jump-off, in the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix World Cup qualifier presented by The Boeing Company where Kate Levy and Lirving du Volsin finished second, and Mario Deslauriers aboard Vicomte D was third. Todd’s crafty skill as a rider as well as his “go for broke” attitude carried them to the winner’s circle. It was also a horse that he is fond of that helped him reach that goal. Todd commented about Alaska, who has won multiple grand prix events including the 2009 grand prix qualifier in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “He has a lot of quality. He is a careful horse, and he is very good with his technique. He doesn’t have enough mileage really at this point, but he always gives it a good effort. When he guesses, he usually has the right answer, so he is a very enjoyable horse, and I am glad I have him to ride.” After standing there in the ring holding the prestigious President’s Cup trophy Todd later commented, “There is history behind the President’s Cup; it is for sure one of our most prestigious grand prix.” That victory and others throughout the week earned Minikus the Leading Jumper Rider title sponsored by the Blundon Family as well as the Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy.

A Bit About Todd Todd, who was born on June 11, 1962, grew up just outside Des Moines, Iowa but nowadays calls both Wellington, FL and Central Valley, NY home since he spends an equal amount of time in each location. While his career is by no means coming to an end, he’s achieved a lot so far since entering the grand prix arena in 1985. In addition to winning the President’s Cup in 1990, Todd was named Leading Gentleman and Leading National Rider at the Washington International Horse Show. On Thrilling, a former racehorse he purchased for $1,000 and taught to jump, he won all the WIHS Open Jumper classes. “It was at the Capital Center,” he recalled. “I had a pretty memorable first year there. It was the first time I had taken an open jumper horse to the indoors. Thrilling won everything we entered at Washington


that year. “Those were the days when there was still a Nations Cup series in the fall and we went on from Washington to Madison Square Garden and then to the Royal. Things are different now, but Washington is still a great show.” In 1997, he rode Ravel to win the prestigious $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational. He won the AGA Budweiser Grand Prix of Indianapolis five times. He’s competed in numerous World Cup Finals and was the alternate with Oh Star for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. In 2001, he was named USEF Horseman of the Year, Chronicle Rider of the Year and he won the William C. Steinkraus Equestrian of Honor Trophy. That same year he won the $100,000 Rolex/USET Show Jumping Championship at the Festival of Champions. More recently, in 2007, you could read articles with the headline “It was a Minikus Day at the Hampton Classic” and features about winning the $25,000 Open Jumper Speed Finals at the Pennsylvania National or negotiating a double clear in the $75,000 Footings Unlimited Grand Prix at HITS.

Also in 2007 he was a member of the Pan American Games Team that won the Bronze Medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That time he was riding Pavarotti. In May of 2010 he won the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson aboard Pavarotti. And those are just the tip of the iceberg. Yet if you ask Todd which of his many victories means the most to him he responds, “I don’t think there is one specific highlight that really stands out. I just think somehow manipulating my life to get up every day to ride horses and make a living is my


greatest achievement. It’s something I really enjoy doing. It doesn’t matter if it is breaking a young horse or being on a Pan American team. I still get the same kick out of teaching a baby to take its first jump as winning a grand prix. Some people only want to be show ring riders. I like the horses and really take pride in being a good horseman.” Todd places the Washington International Horse Show high on his list of fond memories. Surprisingly, when talking about his 2009 victory on Alaska it was a mention by the announcer that he first talked about. “I remember that the announcer pointed out that it had been 19 years since my first win. I kind of wish it hadn’t taken that long to get my second blue at Washington, but it felt great. It is really fun to be downtown in the Nation’s Capital and there are lots of great things to do on your down time during the show.” When asked if we’d see him again at the 2010 Washington International Horse Show it didn’t take him long to answer. “Now, for sure I plan to qualify!”


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Diana De Rosa

David Distler - Check Out The Trunk Of His Car If you go into the trunk of David Distler’s car at any time what do you think you will find? Since he is a well respected horse show manager, judge and steward whose list of what he’s done reads like a who’s who, you might guess it has something to do with horses or his job. But you’d be wrong, because in the trunk of David’s car waiting proudly are two baseballs. Not one but two.

You may think he wants to be ready at any time to play catch with his son. But then you remember, the lad is not even two years old yet. It could be that he wants to do things in his youth that he may have wanted to try but that being engulfed in horses took away. In the end you’d find out that this happening man - who when asked how he is doing will respond with “just ducky” has those balls ready to be signed by the next well known baseball player so they can be added to the 35 he already has. David doesn’t collect horse shoes or trinkets from the various places he goes but he doesn’t miss a chance to get a baseball signed. That’s not the only surprise waiting for you when you check out what more there is to the man whose string of achievements is so impressive that there is no way to list them all. So before we continue any further on the David Distler journey you need to read about just a few of his accomplishments.

David Distler in his position of manager of the 2009 Washington International Show. Distler is Show Jumping Co-Manager with Hugh Kincannon of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. He is also assistant to Kate Jackson, Director of Competitions. Diana

David was President of the Ground Jury for the De Rosa Photo 2003, 2005 and 2009 World Cup Finals and on the Ground Jury for the 2008 Olympic Games. He is the FEI Steward General for the United States. David is the Honorary (overall) FEI Steward General for Show Jumping and the Chair of the USEF Jumper Committee. He was the Chairman of the FEI Competition Committee (which has now been disbanded) and he recently stepped down from his position as Chairman of Zone 1 Jumper Committee.

http://www.examiner.com/equestrian-in-new-york/david-distler-check-out-the-trunk-of-his-car

3/17/2011


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Although so many of the things on his list are “Olympic impressive” David is probably best known as the show manager of the Devon Horse Show. Yet it’s important that you know he was the Coordinator for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and manager and or coordinator of every Olympic and World Equestrian Games Selection Trials since 1988 (and for Pan Am Games since 1991). And if that were not enough, he has been an FEI jumper judge since 1989. He earned his “O” rating in 2004, which is why he’s been able to officiate at such events as theHong Kong Olympics, the Pan-American Games, Dublin Horse Show, Spruce Meadows and others. And while the list continues to go on; by now you get the idea. David is good at what he does and people call him when they need horse show things done. With such an impressive list it’s hard to wonder which is the most impressive to the man himself. In the end you would find that it is none of the above but rather the recent birth of his son. Liam was born on Veterans Day (11/11/09) and it is the wonderment of a child that brings a smile to David’s face and peace in his heart. Liam and his wife Sharon are what life is really about for him now passing the half century mark (February 10, 1954). So, despite the fact that he’s starting out the life of a father in his 50s David is thrilled. “I can’t even explain it,” David readily admitted. “Everyone told me what it was like to be a father but until Liam was born I didn’t get it. Being a dad is wonderful and it kills me to miss any part of his growing up. Even now I miss being with him.” In fact, recently between shows David had only 16 hours that he could manage to be home before flying from one show to the next and he took advantage of the chance to get no sleep, change diapers, give Liam spoonfuls of baby food and just be there to hold and cherish his son. As tired as he was when he left for his next gig “it was worth every second,” he admitted. Fortunately, when he can’t get home, Liam and Sharon fly to meet up with him at the venues where he is working. They spent five weeks with him in Florida and a few weeks at other shows throughout the year so far. Before he was even six months old, Liam had flown five times. Horses and David While horses may or may not be what Liam does in the future (and in fact David may encourage him not to), David’s life has been pretty much engulfed by horses and the horse world. His first memory was being led around on a horse (or was it a pony because at six years old who knew the difference). “My sister used to ride but my parents wouldn’t let me but at six I started mucking stalls and would get rides in exchange for my work, or what they considered work,” he commented. David’s riding career was short lived but longer than most. “I rode from when I was six until I was 19. I started to ride dressage until I was about 11 or 12 and then I found that jumping over stuff in the woods was a lot more fun. So I changed barns and started jumping,” he explained. The rather slender, but soft spoken (most of the time) man graduated Mamaroneck High School in 1972. He skipped college but rather headed straight for a life with horses beginning right out of High School in 1973 by working for Ronnie Mutch teaching riding and grooming.

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3/17/2011


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From 1973 to 1974 he worked with Dr. Rost, getting even more involved with the things he needed to know for his future as a show manager. It was around that same time that he started working the ingates at horse shows. That persisted until 1985 and was combined with some horse show announcing. Throughout all of this time David continued to ride but recognized early on that he was not going to be as good as his peers, Leslie Howard, Norman Dello Joio, and many other riding stars that by today have earned their Olympic medals. “I wanted to do it professionally at the upper level but realized I wasn’t good enough to do it successfully. I knew I wasn’t at their level and I wanted to be at their level.” So David thought about what else he could do. “When I was 18 or 19 I followed Pamela Carruthers around then worked for Dr. Rostand started doing ingates and announcing a little bit as well as handling the jumper crews. The year 1985 was pivotal for the quick talker and fast thinker. He wasn’t feeling like he could make it in the horse world and was seriously considering looking for a new direction in his life. “I was tired of it all because I didn’t see it going anywhere.” Then he received a call asking if he wanted to be the Assistant Manager of the Devon Horse Show. That was followed by another call in 1986 from Gene Mische asking if he’d be interested in the Technical Coordinator job in Florida and then in 1988 he was asked to co-manage the National l Horse Show with Peter Doubleday. In between, there’s that list I mentioned earlier of all the other positions and selection trials that he’s handled. Most recently, years after the National Horse Show moved from its home at Madison Square Garden, David is back heading up the indoors again. This time it’s for the Washington International Horse Show, a position he started in 2008 after he’d already been hired by the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games as co-manager of the show jumping with Hugh Kincannon. Since then, David has been asked to wear a second hat for WEG and that is as the assistant to Kate Jackson, Director of Competitions. So, his job description goes from the narrow focus of the show jumping to the rather overwhelming overseeing of the entire event of eight disciplines. While WIHS and WEG are two very different entities, it is the challenge that he loves most. “Managing is my favorite thing and I love challenges and WIHS is a challenge. For Washington we have to close off streets and our time constraint is just incredible. As is typical in the horse show world everyone wants everything.” I allowed just a little more work talk from David because his insight was so valuable. He wanted to talk a bit more about Washington because of the difficulty that show poses with a setting in a large indoor arena but in the confines of a major city. “It is a funny thing, a catch 22,” he continued. “You need to get people in the seats to attract sponsors. If you get sponsors, you can provide more prizemoney. If you have more prize money, you get better riders, which gets more people in the seats, which gets you more sponsors. But if you have to depend on the exhibitors to pay the way, and design a show around that premise, you won’t get the spectators to come.” HOME AND DAVID David’s life is one big hustle and bustle whether home or on the road but nowadays he finds time for Liam so don’t expect him to pick up the phone when his cute baby boy is in the room. At home he oftengets up ahead of his wife and

http://www.examiner.com/equestrian-in-new-york/david-distler-check-out-the-trunk-of-his-car

3/17/2011


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son at around 5:30 or 6:00, not because he wants to but because sleeping is not one of those things he does well. First things first - on goes the coffee maker, then a bit of casual (as he calls it) exercise. “I do some stretching and aerobic stuff for half an hour,” he mutters. “I am old. I need to stretch.” Then it is into the shower before having some baby time. David finds time to take care of Liam before launching into running errands, doing paperwork, answering emails, solving problems on the phone, being part of committee conference calls and all the other things that make up his work life. At the horse show, he’s the one you see zooming by on the golf cart or surrounded by a slew of answer seekers on his way to solve the next problem. At home, David finds solace in staying home, or close to home. “It’s a treat to go to the supermarket just to get away,” he admitted, and he’d rather rent a movie than go to the movies. Our conversation started to take that detour away from work because while work defines him, it’s not the entirety of the man. We spoke a bit about the influence his parents have had on his life. David’s dad, Walter Distler, is also well respected in horse show circles and to David he is “one of the most decent honest men I know. I hope I took that from him. I would like to think that I did.” At 80-years-old his father still stewards at many horse shows. As an aside David admitted that “when it is all said and done, I would like to be remembered as an honest decent person who tried to make a difference in a good way.” When he talked about his mother, Elsie, it was with great affection. “My mother is a very loving person. “ David comes from a large family. He has two younger brothers, John and Jim, and two younger sisters, Tina, and Laura. He also has an older sister Karen. In addition to his dad’s influence there were many lessons to be learned throughout his life. “Honey Craven taught me to never talk down to anybody and I have to say I never saw him do it.” “Francois Ferland from Canada is one of the most wonderful men in the world. He taught me a lot of things about controlling my emotions which I sometimes have difficulty doing. I lose my temper more than I should and say things I shouldn’t but I try to be fair and honest.” When asked what makes him happy after his wife and son it is being “involved with an event that goes well or when someone comes up and thanks you.” His least favorite phraseis “it’s not my fault. I hate it when someone says that,” he declared. His favorite word is “Liam.” And as far as why David might not want his son to be involved with horses he explained, “If he wants to, great – whatever he wants to do. But I was so involved all my life and I never did any extracurricular activities. I always wanted to play tennis. I would like him to do all the stuff that I didn’t do.” And if someone wanted to follow in his footsteps he would hesitate encouraging them to do that. “Go to school. Learn to do something where you can stay home with your family and enjoy being home,” is what he’d probably tell them. “I was 54 when I had my child and have lived in airports for 30 years.”

http://www.examiner.com/equestrian-in-new-york/david-distler-check-out-the-trunk-of-his-car

3/17/2011


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David’s Non Horsey Passions It was in my desire to find out about his other passions that I discovered he was a collector of autographed baseballs but I was soon to learn that is not his only secret. Very early in his life, he moved to California (1975) and wrote for television. But David freely admitted, “I hated California. I am a New York boy.” David loves history and most of the books he reads, whether fiction or nonfiction, have an historical perspective to them. “History fascinates me. I like reading biographies. I love novels too that have history involved.” One of his favorite authors is Pete Hamilton but there is something about the endings that David just hates. It’s like running a horse to the edge of a cliff with no way to cross to the other side. Peter’s endings leave David hanging. “I hate his endings. It is as if he stopped writing and got up and left the typewriter.” David specifically talked about one of the books that left him riveted each day after reading a chapter or two – specifically “Snow In August,” where the lead character runs off at the end with a mystical creature. He also enjoys books by David McCullah, and stories he’s read about the American Revolution and even the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s that curiosity for answers that gets him every time. “I like to store useless trivia and have a bunch of it in my head,” he revealed. I guess I know who to go to the next time I’ve got a question I’d like an answer to, assuming it’s a pretty useless question. We delved a bit more into the non-horsey part of David’s life because suddenly he was coming alive and I was truly fascinated to find out these hidden treasures. Who knew he kept two baseballs in the trunk of his car. Did you? And did you know he likes Broadway? I love going to the theatre,” he commented and explained that although “ “Shakespeare boggles my mind,” he recalled that in ninth or tenth grade he did one of those class trips to see MacBeth. It was that play that would keep him coming back ”.for more. “I was mesmerized by these people performing on the stage While he never went back to see another Shakespeare play, when I asked him what he has seen the list was pretty impressive, from Neil Simon, who he says is his ‘’hero” to Phantom of the Opera ,Guys and Dolls, and so many more. “I like Broadway shows, off Broadway, remakes, straight plays, and more. I think they are all just fantastic,” he freely disclosed. While it only takes him 50 minutes to get to New York City from his home in Norwalk, CT, these days those same plays and others are what David calls “so frigin expensive now.” If he were to be even more honest, Liam has now become his dancer with the wiggling legs, singer with the learning tunes and ever changing personality from joyful laughter to tired fits of crying to sudden bursts of enthusiasm. David’s stage has now become his character of a son and the ever changing faces he presents to his father. It was then that I learned about his passion for autographed baseballs. “I won’t stand in line for money but I will for a baseball.” Those 35 baseballs he has include autographs of such greats as Whitey Ford, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra (his idle growing up). He even admitted to having drunk Yoo-hoo as a youngster even though he hated the stuff, but he drank it because Yogi Berra said to drink it. “I still collect them,” he boldly admitted. “It started about 25 no maybe 30 years ago.” It had a lot to do with the fact that he was in Florida during the winter and that’s where the Yankees did their training. There use to be baseball card shows with Yankee players available for autographs.

http://www.examiner.com/equestrian-in-new-york/david-distler-check-out-the-trunk-of-his-car

3/17/2011


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But it was at the Devon Horse Show that he got Don Mattingly to autograph his virgin ball, yet untouched by a human pen. He just walked up to him and asked for his autograph and discovered that he is “the nicest guy in the world.” When David and I talked it was at the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. We were surrounded by working journalists, rattling trucks that sometimes made it difficult to hear his answers and even a press conference for which we had to take a break. There were moments here and there where I could see his mind wander a bit, surely he was thinking about the person who just interrupted our conversation with their attempted phone call or the email he glimpsed at on his blackberry, but when our conversation stopped being about horses, so did the distractions. He was focused, interesting to talk to, revealing and unaware of his noisy surroundings. It gave me an insight into what makes him so good at what he does. When it was all over I thought about our conversation and realized that it wasn’t the many accolades he’d received that I took away from our talk. Rather it was those two baseballs that I will one day make him show me and the passion he showed for his wife and son. And the last thing I recall about our conversation was that when you ask David how things are going or how he is doing his response will be “Oh just Ducky!” World Equestrian Games

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3/17/2011


The Horse | The Fine Art of Footing at the Washington International Horse Show

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The Fine Art of Footing at the Washington International Horse  Show 

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by: Edited Press Release

• General

October 08 2010, Article # 17075

• Footing

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The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) takes place Oct.26-31 in the nation's capital, and plans are already in the works to ensure the footing is up to the standard demanded by

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internationally ranked riders and their horses. "Hosting a horse show in the center of a major metropolitan city is very different from a putting

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on a show in the country," explained Eric Straus, WIHS CEO. "We must build an arena and bring in the footing." When it comes to choosing type of footing, the staff at WIHS places the horses' safety at the top of the list. But they also have to deal with the reality of quickly creating an arena in the Verizon Center that has stable and reliable footing.

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Washington's footing is a mixture of limestone screenings. "We have a very small window to get the material in and out, so if we had to use what they have at a permanent facility it would take too much time and require too much maintenance," explained show manager David Distler. "We

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get the limestone screenings shipped in locally and they are easy to maintain." Tony Hitchcock, COO of WIHS, continued, "Our recent tradition has been to purchase new footing and (after the conclusion of the horse show) sell it at a discount to a local school or riding program or to donate it." One example of this was in 2007, when seven hundred tons of the lime sand footing (a mixture of lime stone siftings and sand) valued at $14,500 was donated to the U.S. Park Police Mounted Unit. Getting 700 tons of footing in and out of the Verizon Center is another tough situation. On the day before the show begins approximately 15-20 trucks are lined up at the top of the loading ramp ready to make their delivery, which adds to the traffic congestion. It takes about 40-45 total truckloads and about eight hours to bring in all the footing for both the main arena and the indoor schooling area. Once in the arena the footing has to be unloaded and spread. Some of this is done by tractor but human help is also necessary. Approximately five workers are on hand to ensure that a quality job is done in record time. "If it needs it, we wet it down as it goes in. The footing has to be moist in order not to create a dust bowl," commented Distler. Yet, once the trucks are gone and the arena is quiet for a few minutes only those who were present know how much effort was put into creating this fine art of footing. When the first horse enters the Verizon Center, there will be carefully installed and devotedly maintained footing for the 500 competitors from all over North America as the 52nd Washington International Horse Show gets underway. Diana DeRosa Recommend Print

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The Fine art of Footing at the Washington International Horse Show The multi-use venue in D.C.'s urban center presents unique challenges for show management. By Diana DeRosa October 29, 2010

The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) in Washington, D.C., presents a challenge that few other competitions face. Each year, this prestigious, year-end hunter/jumper show must be built from scratch inside a major city's sports arena. With this comes the difficult task of laying down new footing and ensuring that it is up to the standard demanded by internationally ranked riders and their horses. "Hosting a horse show in the center of a major metropolitan city is very different form putting on a show in the country," explains Eric Straus, WIHS Chief Executive Officer. "In the case of the WIHS, we must build an arena and bring in the footing." The night before the WIHS might feature a basketball game or rock concert. The next morning, there is an amazing transformation to one of the nation's premiere equestrian competitions. The biggest test begins as the riders enter the ring and scrutinize the footing. In the riders' minds, there are key factors that come into play when deciding whether or not the footing is good enough. The horses must feel secure when they land after a fence or canter around the arena. Riders are also concerned with their horses' comfort, both mentally and physically, and a horse's soundness and performance have a lot to do with the footing. Quality Control

While the staff at the WIHS place the horses' safety at the top of their list, they also have to deal with the reality of quickly creating and dismantling an arena that includes stabling and reliable footing.

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The footing at the WIHS is a mixture of limestone screenings. "We have a very small window to get the material in and out, so if we had to use what they have at a permanent facility, it would take too much time and require too much maintenance," explains show manager David Distler. "We get the limestone screenings shipped in locally, and they are easy to maintain."

Dressage Arenas Dressage arenas & arena accessories Easy install arenas. Free Shipping!

"In the end, the quality of locally available footing is key," adds Tony Hitchcock, WIHS chief operating officer and HITS, Inc., senior vice president. "Our recent tradition has been to purchase new footing and sell it at a discount to a local school or riding program, or donate it." For example, in 2007, 700 tons of the lime sand footing valued at $14,500 was donated to the U.S. Mounted Park Police.

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Getting 700 tons of footing in and out of the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. is logistically difficult. The police and fire departments and Homeland Security all have to approve the show's plans, including the delivery of the footing. Since the WIHS takes over the streets surrounding the Verizon Center from Saturday at midnight until 6:30 a.m. the following Monday, it requires a police presence at the end of each closed street to help secure the roads and direct traffic.

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11/5/2010


The Fine art of Footing at the Washington International Horse Show - HorseChannel.com

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"We must present our site, traffic and stabling plans to the Mayor's Special Events Committee, which is operated under D.C. Homeland Security," explains Straus. "All affected city agencies review the proposed plans, and will make comments for modification if needed." On the day before the show begins, approximately 15 to 20 trucks are lined up at the top of the loading ramp, ready to make their delivery, which adds to the traffic congestion. It takes about 45 truckloads and eight hours to bring in all the footing for both the main arena and the indoor schooling area. Once in the arena, the footing has to be unloaded and spread. Some of this is done by tractor, but manual help is also necessary. "If it needs it, we wet the footing down as it goes in," says Distler. "It has to be moist in order to not create a dust bowl. Once the trucks are gone and the arena is quiet for a few minutes, only those who were present know how much effort was put into creating this fine art of footing." When the first horse enters the Verizon Center for the WIHS, there is carefully installed and maintained footing for approximately 500 competitors from all over North America. Send This to a Friend

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Reader Comments Interesting. I use whatever the weather decides is appropriate. Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME Posted: 10/29/2010 11:34:21 PM That is pretty crazy! I am used to country shows. LOL! Deborah, Reno, NV Posted: 10/29/2010 11:42:36 AM wow that's impressive! Emily, Cedar City, UT Posted: 10/29/2010 8:03:26 AM

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