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WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES PREVIEW (p. 36)

usdf Connection u s d f. o r g

March 2018

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

Still in the Saddle

Senior Riders’ Success Strategies

Valegro: The Making of a Champion By Charlotte Dujardin

Elma Garcia-Cannavino and Wenesa

Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559

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Thank You

Circle of Friends

Grand Prix

2017 CIRCLE OF FRIENDS DONORS

Carol Robertson Thacher Family Filanthropy The Lumpkin Family Foundation

Marilyn Cassidy Denise N. David Dr. & Mrs. Race Foster Liselotte Fore Radene Gordon-Beck Sherry Guess Carol Lou Kennedy Colonel and Mrs. J. Moan Rosemary L. Olson Barbara Putnam Dr. Deborah Stanitski Pamela Jean Winters

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($1000 - $2499)

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($5000 +) Rowan O’Riley Family Foundation In Memory of Ravel’s Bolero

Intermediate ($2500 - $4999)

Candace Marietta Faber Nancy J. Hutson Elizabeth D. Meyer Judith E. Jones

Fourth Level ($500 - $999) Beth & Alan Baumert Jessica W. Beier Donna Byers Chesapeake Dressage Institute Kristin & Bob Cordiak Janet L. Foy Laura L. Freeman, DVM Jackie & Chuck Harris Deborah F. Stanitski Helen C. Vandervoort Lisa & Thomas P. Whetzel, MD Sydney M. Williams III In Memory of Captain Andy de Szinay

Third Level ($250 - $499) Arielle & Jerald Brodkey Philanthropic Fund Maryal Barnett Ilene Boorman Arielle & Jerald Brodkey

JoAnne Balling Bronwyn Lee Cordiak CeCe Christenson Fern Z. Feldman Jessica L. Friedrich Jaralyn Gibson Judith Grass Sharon A. Haggard Halcyon Hurst Farm Caroline & Theodore Jacob Diana E. Kuehn Rebecca Sue Lewison Laura Maloney Peta Jean Wyllie Trust Candace Platz Wendy K. Smith Vickie R. Szombathy Judi Tudor

First Level ($50 - $149) Gail Abercrombie Eva-Maria Adolphi Leslie Anderson Amy Diane Barcroft Murphy Sherri L. Barnes Jennifer Barton Aimee C. Batten Carol Campbell Bauer Alice Beacham

Marian J. Berg Debra K. Bishop Barbara Breen-Gurley Amy Bresky Karen S. Bressler Gigi Brittain Lisa A. Campagna Anne S. Campbell Kevin & Inez Campbell John D Cassel Teree Castanias Anne Chapin Terry L. Clark Barbara Anne Clarke Sandy Eleanor Collins Ronald Cook Ann Elizabeth Corrigan Linda B. Deyo Donna K. Donaghy Elizabeth Dow Rhonda Lynn Dretel Mary Duke Anne Mary Field R. Leah Forrest Marti Lee Foster Ruth L. Frey Jessica Friedrich Doris M. Gahwyler Felicia Gentile Cauleen C. Glass Norma Glenn Judith Ellen Grass Julie Ballard Haralson Madeline Joanne Hartsock Elizabeth Hotchkiss Jana Rae Howell Sue E. Hughes Cynthia Ingram Eileen Keipper Debbie Kretchmar Diana Kuehn Natalie P. Lamping Linda Goad Larisch Anne T. Laver Rebecca Sue Lewison Wendy Mantell Katy Martin William David McChesney

Jane Elizabeth McGough Carol Meschter Gage Joseph Miles Karen R.W. Morgan Christine Mudge Evelyn M. Murphy Stacie Briton Myers Judith H. Nauseef Judith L. Nordstrom Laura Jeanes Pendleton Marla N. Perlstein Carol N. Phillips Jill Rene Posadas Patricia A. Price Christine Marie Prucino Anna Noelle Rockwell The Roseman Family Amy Rothe-Hietter Paula Runnells Anne A. Shermyen Diane Shott Christina L. Sieber Lillian Simons Chris Skarsten Skyline Sport Horses, LLC Wendy K. Smith Deborah Kay Stout Sally S. Summerall Marline Elizabeth Syribeys Nicole Tone Tucson Dressage Club Laureen K. Van Norman Kathy C VanCamp Maura Weis Beth Ellen White Rachael M. Williams Virginia K. Williams Beth Williams Barbara B. Wolfe Sylvia L. Workman Peta Jean Wyllie Janet Wygal Zoller Sonia M. Zugel Barbara Lee Zukowski In Memory of Dona Carina In Memory of Robin Henry

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28

36

42

In this Issue

22 28 36 42

Force of Nature

Whether it is TV commericals or dressage, Elma Garcia-Cannavino gives it her all By Kelly Sanchez

4 Inside USDF Welcome to Tryon

6 Ringside The Elephant in the Room

Still in the Saddle

By Penny Hawes and Anne Gribbons

Senior dressage riders share their strategies for success

By Margaret Freeman

By Jennifer O. Bryant

16 freestyle connection On the Same Sheet of Music By Cindi Rose Wylie

to be in carolina

20 all-breeds connection Spotlight: Westfalen NA

By Jennifer O. Bryant

52 The Tail End Why We Do What We Do

2018 World Equestrian Games preview

Valegro: The making of a Champion

An exclusive book excerpt from the long-awaited memoir By Charlotte Dujardin

By Meredith Rogers

22

In Every Issue

8 MEMBER CONNECTION 10 Heads UP 21 Sponsor Spotlight 48 Shop @ X 50 USDF Connection Submission Guidelines 50 Usdf OFFICE CONTACt DIRECTORY 51 Advertising Index on our cover Adult-amateur rider Elma Garcia-Cannavino and Wenesa at the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. Story, p. 22. Photo by SusanJStickle.com.

Volume 19, Number 9

USDF Connection

March 2018

3


inside usdf

secretary@usdf.org

USDF OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE BOARD PRESIDENT

Welcome to Tryon My tiny town, in a small rural county, prepares to host the World Equestrian Games

VICE PRESIDENT

Lisa Gorretta

18120 Snyder Road, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023 (216) 406-5475 • vicepresident@usdf.org

Margaret Freeman

Starbucks. So probably the single biggest thing you need to know if you plan to visit for the WEG is that organizers plan to sell 50,000 tickets a day, but this county just isn’t designed to house and feed that many people for even a day, much less for two weeks. Hotels are yet to be built (and maybe won’t be in time for WEG). Bellissimo purchased a factory nearby to build temporary housing for WEG athletes and the team officials and others accompanying them. So where will you, the WEG spectator, stay? Charlotte is more than an hour away. Asheville, NC, and Greenville/Spartanburg, SC, are a little closer, with not much between either area and the TIEC. However, guest cottages and house rentals have been sprouting up all around the TIEC as it looks to expand beyond its current eight-month operation. Winter competitions in Florida and California dominate the American dressage calendar, and we have to look beyond the WEG to assess the TIEC’s impact on dressage shows nationwide. I’ve been to the TIEC to judge, volunteer, and spectate, not to mention shop and dine. Every time I roll onto the grounds, there’s something new and more expansive in scope. While this remarkable project is only four years old and seemingly tucked away in a remote corner of western North Carolina, its influence will eventually be felt in every corner of the country. s

4 March 2018 • USDF Connection

200 Aurora Lane, Tryon, NC 28782 (828) 859-6723 • secretary@usdf.org TREASURER

STEVEN SCHUBERT

79 Jewett Street, Georgetown, MA 01833 (978) 360-6441 • treasurer@usdf.org

REGIONAL DIRECTORS REGION 1 DC, DE, MD, NC, NJ, PA, VA

BETTINA G. LONGAKER

8246 Open Gate Road, Gordonsville, VA 22942 (540) 832-7611 • region1dir@usdf.org REGION 2 IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, WV, WI

KEN LEVY

330 North Mill Creek Road, Noblesville, IN 46062 (317) 773-4532 • region2dir@usdf.org REGION 3 AL, FL, GA, SC, TN

Susan Bender

1024 Grand Prix Drive, Beech Island, SC 29842 (803) 295-2525 • region3dir@usdf.org REGION 4 IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD

Anne Sushko

1942 Clifford Street, Dubuque, IA 52002 (563) 580-0510 • region4dir@usdf.org REGION 5 AZ, CO, E. MT, NM, UT, W. TX, WY

HEATHER PETERSEN

22750 County Road 37, Elbert, CO 80106 (303) 648-3164 • region5dir@usdf.org REGION 6 AK, ID, W. MT, OR, WA

Carolynn bunch

18430 111th Place SE, Snohomish, WA 98290 (360) 577-6201 • region6dir@usdf.org REGION 7 CA, HI, NV

CAROL TICE

31895 Nicolas Road, Temecula, CA 92591 (714) 514-5606 • region7dir@usdf.org REGION 8 CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT

DEBRA REINHARDT

160 Woods Way Drive, Southbury, CT 06488 (203) 264-2148 • region8dir@usdf.org REGION 9 AR, LA, MS, OK, TX

SHERRY GUESS

18216 S. 397th East Avenue, Porter, OK 74454 (918) 640-1204 • region9dir@usdf.org

AT-LARGE DIRECTORS ACTIVITIES COUNCIL

Sue Mandas

9508 Bridlewood Trail, Dayton, OH 45458 (937) 272-9068 •ald-activities@usdf.org ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL

KEVIN BRADBURY

PO Box 248, Dexter, MI 48130 (734) 426-2111 • ald-administrative@usdf.org Technical COUNCIL

SUE MCKEOWN

6 Whitehaven Lane, Worcester, MA 01609 (508) 459-9209 • ald-technical@usdf.org

COURTESY OF Margaret Freeman

A

421 Park Forest Way, Wellington, FL 33414 (937) 603-9134 • Fax: (740) 362-5539 president@usdf.org

SECRETARY

By Margaret Freeman, USDF Secretary s an officer of USDF, I’ve tried to gauge the nationwide impact of the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) erupting in my own North Carolina back yard. Five years ago, there was nothing on the property except for a few small farms. There was certainly no flat space for even a single dressage arena. Mark Bellissimo and his Tryon Equestrian Partners, then a consortium of five families, purchased 1,400 acres of hilly terrain here and got immediate approval from horsefriendly Polk County. Even before the first spade of clay was turned, Bellissimo’s stated intention was to build the world’s finest equestrian center. He had his sights on the 2022 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), but when Bromont, Canada, backed out of the 2018 hosting commitment two years ago, he boldly decided to make equestrians worldwide sit up and take notice well ahead of schedule. (See page 36 for a preview of the 2018 WEG.) The problem of building an equestrian center at the base of a mountain range was solved with bulldozers, which lopped off hills to create a flat moonscape of red clay. The result: Bellissimo was able to build exactly what he wanted, with no compromises. There quickly appeared 1,000 stalls and a dozen competition rings with excellent footing. There is a core area of services for humans as well, with restaurants and stores and many more to come. Since its 2014 opening, TIEC has become the largest taxpayer in Polk County. The town of Tryon (population 1,600 and 10 minutes from TIEC) is the largest town in Polk County, which itself (pop. 20,000) is the smallest county in the state. There’s all of one motel and not a single

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jbryant@usdf.org

The Elephant in the Room Renewed calls for a qualifying system in US dressage

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t’s baaaack. Coming as no surprise to those who remember the quashed 2008 proposal to institute qualifying standards for moving up the levels in US Equestrian-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competition, live-streamed video of some FEI-level dressage tests at a large show this winter sparked calls for something similar to be done. Suffice it to say that viewers did not like the riding they saw in the videos. The criticisms posted on the Internet and social media largely revolve around two issues: how the rider could be “permitted” to compete at such a level, and how a judge could allow the test to continue. Should the sport’s organizations “do something about it,” as one person challenged on USDF’s Facebook page? In non-championship classes in national-level dressage competitions in the US, there are no prerequisites. No minimum scores required. (One exception: freestyle.) If a competitor so chooses, her first time ever down center line can be at Grand Prix. Some nations do have qualifying systems by which dressage competitors must achieve certain prerequisites in order to advance to the next level. The 2008 attempt to institute such a system in the US, however, was not well received. One who remembers the furor well is US FEI 5* dressage judge Anne Gribbons, who is also one of USDF Connection’s editorial advisors. When I floated the idea for this column, Anne responded: “I was on the USEF Dressage Committee when we tried to establish a system of rider qualification to move up the levels, starting very modestly with easy-to-manage steps to follow. The response was outrage and fury, and several committee members received personal threats from people who thought their rights as citizens were being restricted.”

The outrage prevailed, and the proposal was abandoned. In this country, entering dressage shows remains largely a self-policing enterprise: relying on competitors’ knowledge and common sense, instructors’ guidance, and judges’ feedback to steer horses and riders to the appropriate levels. The reasoning goes as follows: Instructors want their students to succeed, and so surely students will listen when their trainers tell them they’re not ready to move up. Judges want to uphold and promote correct riding and training, and so competitors will use their scores and comments to help determine whether they are on the right track. Except: Self-policing works in theory, but not always in practice. I know riders for whom it’s all about the level shown, either for bragging rights or in pursuit of an award. And we’ve all heard someone bellyaching about the ignoramus of a judge who gave them “unfairly” low scores. Both of these examples suggest that not every competitor is open to taking direction or to constructive criticism. A certain stubborn independent streak runs deep in our American culture. We don’t like to be told what we can and cannot do. We accept certain rules as necessary for the greater good, but in other matters we bridle (so to speak) at those who would seek to limit what we perceive as our rights. Which brings us back to the qualifying-system idea. The US—meaning US Equestrian, which makes the rules for dressage competition—could, as it tried to do in 2008, institute a

6 March 2018 • USDF Connection

usdf Connection The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Stephan Hienzsch 859/271-7887 • stephh1enz@usdf.org

——— Editorial——— EDITOR

Jennifer O. Bryant 610/344-0116 • jbryant@usdf.org CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS EDITORIAL ADVISORS

Melissa Creswick (CA) Margaret Freeman (NC) Lisa Gorretta (OH) Anne Gribbons (FL) Terry Wilson (CA)

TECHNICAL ADVISORS

Janine Malone Lisa Gorretta • Elisabeth Williams

——— Production ——— SENIOR PUBLICATIONS COORDINATOR

Emily Koenig 859/271-7883 • ekoenig@usdf.org

SENIOR CREATIVE COORDINATOR

Karl Lawrence 859/271-7881 • klawrence@usdf.org

——— Advertising ——— ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVE

Danielle Titland 720/300-2266 • dtitland@usdf.org USDF Connection is published ten times a year by the United States Dressage Federation, 4051 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. Phone: 859/971-2277. Fax: 859/971-7722. E-mail: usdressage@usdf.org, Web site: www.usdf.org. USDF members receive USDF Connection as a membership benefit, paid by membership dues. Copyright © 2018 USDF. All rights reserved. Reproduction of articles requires permission from USDF. Other text may be reproduced with credit given to USDF Connection. USDF reserves the right to refuse any advertising or copy that is deemed unsuitable for USDF and its policies. Excluding advertisements, all photos with mounted riders must have safety head gear or USEF-approved competition hat. USDF assumes no responsibility for the claims made in advertisements. Statements of fact and opinion are those of the experts consulted and authors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the policy of USDF. The publishers reserve the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable for USDF, as well as the right to reject or edit any manuscripts received for publication. USDF assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. All materials must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Questions about your subscription or change in address? Contact USDF Membership Department, 859/971-2277, or usdressage@usdf.org. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: USDF, 4051 IRON WORKS PARKWAY, LEXINGTON, KY 40511. Canadian Agreement No. 1741527. Canada return address: Station A, P.O. Box 54, Windsor, Ontario N9A 6J5.

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system by which riders and horses would have to demonstrate a measure of competency at a level before being permitted to compete at the next highest level. Opponents of such a system may argue that checks and balances already exist; they just need to be enforced, or perhaps strengthened. The bar for receiving certain awards, for instance, could be raised. (Said bar has in fact been raised over the years, but not high enough, some say.) Some dressage enthusiasts believe that judging should become less tolerant and quicker to punish competitors for bad riding or worse. I don’t know the right answer, or whether one exists. I do know that, in this electronically connected age, events that once would have been forgotten are now recorded for posterity and shared worldwide in an eyeblink. I know that judges who are deemed overly harsh become unpopular. (USDF Connection editorial advisor Margaret Freeman, who’s an “S” judge and the current USDF secretary, says she was “made to feel like a Grinch” when a few years ago she excused a rider for “inappropriate use of the whip, combined with way too much hand.”) Finally, I know that some stakeholders in the dressage world worry that instituting even more rules, barriers to entry, or perceived exclusionary standards will lead to declines in participation and revenue, not to mention renewed complaints of elitism in our sport. If a qualifying-system proposal resurfaces for discussion at this year’s USDF convention, it’s bound to be a hot topic. Passionate people on all sides will air their views. If you feel strongly about the issue, don’t just gripe on social media. Come to convention. Contact your USDF regional director and Board of Governors delegates. Make your opinions carry weight.

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant USDF Connection

March 2018

7


member connection Incentives for Rider Tests Needed We disagree with Sue Mandas’s assessment in her “Inside USDF” column “Adult Amateur Equitation,” December 2017/January 2018) that the USEF rider tests have not caught on because they are too difficult. When the rider tests were introduced, Brittany (an adult amateur) and other members of the Benchmark team eagerly entered them. We

editorial@usdf.org

viewed the rider tests as a great way to get feedback on a rider’s progress, as well as a venue where some of our riders with “nontraditional” horses could be competitive. However, it is no fun being the only person in a class. In our experience, the decision not to enter the rider tests stems from lack of incentives for the program, not from the difficulty of the tests. With no championship, year-end, or performance awards available for the rider tests, it is difficult to justify

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“using up” one of the two to four rides one might do at any given show. For us, the decision is often between doing a rider test or going for another qualifying score for rider awards or Regional Championships, and usually the test with incentives wins. Perhaps the USDF should consider modifying the Dressage Seat Equitation Rider Awards to include the rider tests. This seems like a natural fit to us. We feel that these tests are a fun and different complement to the regular tests. They provide feedback through a different lens, and they are added challenge if a horse/rider pair is close to moving up a level but not quite ready yet. We want to see them succeed and we are eager to participate, but right now we feel they can’t compete with other incentives. Kimberly Bench, owner and head trainer, Benchmark Dressage Brittany Hunter, adult-amateur rider Hudsonville, MI

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8 March 2018 • USDF Connection

More Breeding Info, Please I was excited to read the write-up of the 2017 Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships in the December 2017/January 2018 issue (“Heads Up: National Champions Crowned at Lamplight”). But I was surprised that none of the bloodlines of the horses, or the names of their breeders, was mentioned. If the bloodlines and breeders’ names aren’t being published in our USDF national publication, that seems to set a precedent that this information isn’t important. I think that’s far from the truth. As riders, we owe a great debt to the breeders: Without their efforts, we wouldn’t have anything to ride! Breeders invest a large amount of money, time, years of research, sleepless nights, and blood, sweat, and tears to produce riding horses for us. We owe it to them to publish both the sire and dam lines and the breeders’ names in addition to the name of these winning horses. It’s also educational for me as a rider, trainer,


and buyer to learn what lines and combinations of lines are succeeding in sport, and where I can find these young horses. I look forward to reading those facts as much as I look forward to reading about the individual horses that won. Joy Congdon Shelburne, VT You’re right, of course, Joy. Sometimes breeding information isn’t supplied in news releases, sometimes owners don’t

furnish it, and sometimes we grapple with space constraints. We publish breeding info when possible and will endeavor to include more in the future. USDF Connection welcomes your feedback on magazine content and USDF matters. Send letters to editorial@usdf.org along with your full name, hometown, and state. Letters may be edited for length, clarity, grammar, and style.

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USDF Connection

March 2018

9


Heads Up

Your Dressage World This Month

uS Equestrian

Annual Meeting Promotes Strategic Plan, Affiliate Relationships

O

ne year after launching its strategic plan—including its rebranding as US Equestrian and its “Join in the Joy” PR campaign—the United States Equestrian Federation spotlighted positive changes at its 2018 Annual Meeting, held January 17-20 in Lexington, KY. US Equestrian president Murray Kessler delivered an upbeat progress report. According to Kessler, the organization is on track in meeting its new vision statement: “to

SPARKLING FUTURE: US Equestrian president Murray Kessler speaks at the General Session

bring the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible.” He cited major accomplishments including 28-percent membership growth to 105,000, including 27,000 in the new “fan” category; the formation of a Grassroots Advisory Panel to address the decline in B, C, and local shows; a new, searchable USEF Rulebook app; greater investment in para-equestrian and a growing para-dressage rider pool; and toughened penalty guidelines and Drugs & Medications program and rules amendments. Representing the USDF as US Equestrian’s national dressage affiliate organization, USDF vice president Lisa Gorretta participated in the annual Affiliate Roundtable, which brought together US Equestrian’s 29 breed and discipline affiliates to share ideas on issues ranging from membership and marketing to support for licensed officials and ways to improve communication among US Equestrian and its affiliates. “The interaction between affiliates was more freeflowing than last year,” Gorretta said afterward. “I expect this will only improve going forward, as affiliates discuss those issues that make us more alike, even as we are all somewhat unique. [US Equestrian CEO] Bill Moroney did

10 March 2018 • USDF Connection

a good job exploring the discussion topics, drawing upon his vast experience in volunteer leadership with USHJA [the United States Hunter Jumper Association].” “Everybody in leadership at USEF is focused on growing equestrian sports and bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible through every breed and discipline, and we know we can’t do that without great affiliate relations,” Kessler said. “This is a major priority for us. We view ourselves as the governance experts and [the affiliates] as the discipline and breed experts, and it doesn’t work unless we all do it together.” One brainstorm from the roundtable: Establish a collaborative library of affiliate-approved, rights-free photos and video that US Equestrian can use to promote those breeds and disciplines. US Equestrian is also working with 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games organizers in developing promotional opportunities for its affiliates at the WEG this September in Tryon, NC. —Glenye Cain Oakford

Digital Edition Bonus Content

Watch the General Session and key presentations from the 2018 US Equestrian Annual Meeting.

TAYLOR PENCE/COURTESY OF US EQUESTRIAN

REPRESENTATIVES: USDF vice president Lisa Gorretta (left) and executive director Stephan Hienzsch (center) at the US Equestrian convention


Dressage at large

Young riders

Move over, Ms. Streep

First Mule to Compete in US Dressage Finals Is Also a Screen Star

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aura’s story was an inspiration,” said Equus International Film Festival founder Janet Rose about Dyna Does Dressage, a documentary about dressage rider Laura Hermanson and her Heart B Dyna, the first mule to compete at the US Dressage Finals, in 2014. At last year’s Equus International Film Festival (equusinternationalfilmfestival.com) in Missoula, MT, Dyna trotted away with Best Equine Training and Best Independent Film awards. “The passion for mules, especially in the western United States,” Rose said, “made the film extremely well received.” Dyna chronicles how the chestnut molly with the high white stockings competed against warmbloods and other horse breeds, earning scores of up to 75 percent to qualify for the California Dressage Society and Great American/USDF Region 7 championships. The mule and her owner/rider did well enough to earn an invitation to Kentucky to compete in the 2014 Training Level Adult Amateur Championship at the US Dressage Finals. It was the apex of a nearly 10-year career working together at Hermanson’s Oak Star Ranch in Madera, CA. Hermanson grew up riding hunters and jumpers and trained in dressage before she began packing and riding mules in Argentina, the jungles of Colombia, and through Yosemite National Park and Rock Creek Pack Station in the Sierra Nevadas. Her equally versatile mule was the American Mule Association’s 2009 Year-End High Point All-Round Mule and the 2013 Reserve World Champion English Mule. The four-legged film star has since swapped strides to compete in reining, cutting, and cow work. —LA Sokolowski-Pomeroy

2018, 2019 NAJYRC Host Sites Announced

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ld Salem Farm, North Salem, NY, will host the 2018 Dressage Adequan® FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC), as well as the 2018 and 2019 Jumping Adequan® FEI North American Junior Children and Young Rider Championships (NAJChYRC) presented by Gotham North, pending FEI approval, US Equestrian announced in January. Rebecca Farm, Kalispell, MT, the site of last year’s NAJYRC eventing competition, will again host in 2018 and 2019, pending FEI approval. This year’s NAJYRC dressage competition will take place August 1-5. To aid riders in their quest to qualify, US Equestrian has added seven days to the 2018 qualifying period, which now ends June 18.

The Near Side

Digital Edition Bonus Content

Watch the trailer for Dyna Does Dressage and other 2017 Equus International Film Festival selections. USDF Connection

March 2018

11


Horse industry

behind the scenes

Take American Horse Publications’ Equine Industry Survey

A

merican Horse Publications (AHP) in January launched its fourth Equine Industry Survey, sponsored by Zoetis, at ahphorsesurvey.com. Horse owners who live in the United States, are 18 years of age and older, and currently own or manage at least one horse are invited to complete the survey by April 1.

For the love of the horse

www.ahphorsesurvey.com

The purpose of the triennial survey is to gauge participation trends and management practices in the US equine industry, to identify critical issues facing the equine industry as perceived by those who own or manage horses, and to better understand issues pertaining to horse health. Responses are anonymous, and only aggregated results will be presented. Dr. C. Jill Stowe, associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky, is providing consulting services for data collection and analysis. Members of the public may request a summary of the survey results by contacting the AHP office at ahorsepubs@aol.com after September 15. AHP invites horse owners and enthusiasts to promote survey participation by sharing the link ahphorsesurvey.com with horse-owner groups and individual horse owners.

Your Dressage World This Month

Richard Taylor, Equestrian Video Professional

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ob title: Owner, Richard’s Equine Video, Athens, GA (richardsequinevideo.com) What I do: At shows, I video riders with the intent of sending them a copy of their ride within an hour or two. At clinics, I connect a microphone BEHIND THE CAMERA: to the Taylor instructor and the rider gets videoed. How I got started: My wife rides dressage, and so I began videoing her. Then I had friends saying, “Hey, can you video my wife? She goes next.” It got to be quite a few. I decided I might need to charge. So I talked to the show manager and she said, “Please be our videographer for all our shows.” Pretty soon, I got other shows calling me, and it just expanded from there. I started in 2007 or 2008, somewhere in there. Best thing about my job: To have the rider come to my desk and tell me how grateful they are that I can provide that video for them. That’s really wonderful. Worst thing about my job: Weather. I’m stuck with the same weather the riders are. My horses: I foxhunted back in the ’80s. My father was a riding instructor in the last mounted cavalry. He taught my sister to ride, but my brother and I decided riding wasn’t our thing. Tip: You cannot imagine how great it is to see what you felt when you were riding. —Katherine Walcott

12 March 2018 • USDF Connection

meet the instructor

Katherine Simard, Littleton, CO

K

atherine Simard is a USDF bronze and silver medalist, a USDF-certified instructor/ trainer, Training through Fourth Levels, a USDF Instructor/Trainer Program faculty member, and a USDF “L” graduate with distinction. How I got started in dressage: I was lucky to move to Colorado to a facility that [FEI 5* dressage judge and trainer] Janet Foy was working out of. She recruited me from the ON A GOOD PATH: Simard hunters into dressage. I wanted to become certified because: As a professional, one should have outside confirmation that you are knowledgeable and that your methods are safe and classically correct. I can’t imagine doing any job professionally without a good resume! My horses: Neither of my current horses are dressage horses. One is retired. The other has been a project who I love, but she does not love dressage. Highlight of the Instructor/Trainer Program: I learned how much you practice what you preach and preach what you practice. Training tip: Whether you are riding or teaching, seat first, then leg, then the reins! Contact me: katsimard@msn.com or (720) 981-4448. —Jamie Humphries

COURTESY OF RICHARD TAYLOR; COURTESY OF KATHERINE SIMARD

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Heads Up

Your Dressage World This Month

usdf Bulletins

What you need to know this month Regional Championships Owner Membership Update Effective for the 2018 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships program year, a horse owner must have a USDF participating or business membership and a US Equestrian membership (junior active, senior active, life, or recorded farm (with active farm owner). If a horse has more than one owner, at least one owner must have both an active US Equestrian membership and an active USDF participating or business membership. For a business or farm to be the valid owner under this requirement, it must be listed as an owner of the horse with both US Equestrian and USDF.

New Equitation Adult Amateur Program The USDF Regional Adult Amateur Equitation Program is the newest opportunity for adult-amateur riders competing in dressage at all levels. AAs may qualify to compete in a USDF Adult Amateur Equitation Regional Final class, which will be held at each of the nine Great American/USDF Regional Dressage Championships competitions, by earning a score of 70 percent or higher in any dressage-seat-equitation class held at a US Equestrian-licensed/USDF-recognized dressage competition, or by qualifying to compete at a Regional Championships (excluding freestyles). Find qualifying opportunities and additional requirements on the USDF website.

USDF Sport Horse Seminar This seminar, to be held in conjunction with the USEF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Judges Clinic, will be held August 5-6 at DG Bar Ranch, Hanford, CA, with presenters Kristi Wysocki and Hilda Gurney, both US Equestrian “S” dressage and “R” dressage sport-horse-breeding (DSHB) judges. The Sport Horse Seminar is an outstanding opportunity for riders, breeders, owners, and trainers to learn about the roles that conformation and movement can play in a horse’s competitive success, as well as how to evaluate horses for their dressage sport-horse potential. It is also a prerequisite for becoming a US Equestrian-licensed DSHB judge.

Sport Horse Breeders Seminar Dates Announced The 2018 USDF Dressage Sport Horse Youth/Young Adult Breeders Seminar will be held June 22-24 at Oak Hill Ranch, Folsom, LA. This course is an introduction for youth and young adults ages 14-27 to the various roles and functions within the management of a sport-horse-breeding farm. The course will consist of a Friday-evening orientation followed by two full days of lessons on mare and stallion management and the handling and training of young horses. Participants will have the opportunity to observe an inspection held by the Oldenburg Horse Breeders’ Society North American Division of the GOV. The seminar application and waiver will be available April 1.

14 March 2018 • USDF Connection

Scores Do Not Expire for USDF Rider Awards That’s right! So keep up the good work, and after you’ve earned all of the required scores, log into the USDF website and submit the online rider performance awards application. Find it under Awards.

Sport Horse Forum Dates Announced The 2018 USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum will be held October 20-21 at Sonnenberg Farm in Sherwood, OR, with presenters Scott Hassler and Michael Bragdell. The program is open to anyone with the goal of developing a consistent training foundation for sport-horse prospects as they progress from in hand to under saddle. Rider applications and auditor preregistration will be available May 1.

Attention, L Graduates Because L Graduates are used to judge unrecognized (schooling) dressage shows, it is important that they stay up to date with current judging criteria so that they give proper comments to riders competing at the “grass roots” level. As of 2017, L graduates and L graduates with distinction are required to complete eight hours of judge-specific continuing education. Only graduates who meet the continuing-education requirements by April 2018 will be listed on the USDF website. For complete information, visit the USDF website or send e-mail to lprogram@usdf.org.


held in conjunction with the USEF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Judges Clinic

DG Bar Ranch • Hanford, CA August 5-6, 2018 with Kristi Wysocki and Hilda Gurney Comprised of both classroom lectures and hands-on evaluations, the seminar will provide valuable insight into four major areas: • Ideal Movement and Conformation • Breeding Stock Selection Considerations • Show Ring Strategies • Competition Rules and Judging Guidelines For more information about the USEF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Judges Clinic (August 6-7), contact US Equestrian via Bailey Bianco at bbianco@usef.org

For more information about the seminar, visit

www.usdf.org

USDF Sport Horse Education something for everyone


freestyle connection Innovative forum aims to foster consistency in judging freestyles By Cindi Rose Wylie

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atching some of our bestknown US FEI four- and five-star judges bebopping in their seats was one of the many highlights of the first-ever International Dressage Officials Club (IDOC)/US Equestrian/USDF Judges Forum. The educational event focused on freestyle, and the venue—the 2017 US Dressage Finals in Lexington, KY—gave the participants plenty of opportunities to watch and learn using some of the country’s best dressage freestyles at all levels.

staffers led by USDF senior education coordinator Sharon Vander Ziel.

Objective: Scoring Consistency Gary opened the forum by discussing issues that he believes plague modern dressage judging, the most pressing of which, he said, is the lack of consistency in scoring. He stressed the importance of applying the same standards at every show, so that judges aren’t more lenient at small lo-

HARMONIOUS: Forum participants gather for a group photo in front of the Half-Pass statue at the entrance to the USDF National Education Center at the Kentucky Horse Park

cal shows or more strict at the bigger championships. A score of 7 should be a 7, no matter where we’re judging. Panel judging (two or more judges judging a class), which is common in other countries, may be helpful in the quest for score consistency in the US, especially at the lower levels, Gary said. Lower-level judges would in effect be mentored in the process of serving on panels with higher-level judges, with the experience providing valuable “real world” continuing education. In Ger-

16 March 2018 • USDF Connection

Notes on Judging Freestyles Gary served as commentator for the Intermediate I and Grand Prix Freestyle championships, with a brief interlude by FEI 5* and former US Equestrian dressage national technical advisor Anne Gribbons, who stepped in for a few rides to offer her insights. Here are some of Gary’s main points: • Make lots of comments on zigzags when things go wrong because there are many elements in that movement. • What separates the Prix St. Georges horse from the Intermediate I horse is the canter pirouettes. A PSG horse is expected to have sufficient strength and collection to manage a half-pirouette (showing the highest possible collection for three to four strides on a half-circle), while the I-I horse should show even more strength, carrying itself in the highest possible collection at the canter for six to eight strides on a full circle, with these circles being no larger than one meter in diameter. • Problems in the canter pirouettes aren’t always submission issues; sometimes they result from issues Podcast Alert

PODCAST

Along with the toe-tapping, the 50 participants received some intensive instruction: two and a half days led by US FEI 5* judge Gary Rockwell and international freestyle designer Terry Ciotti Gallo. The forum consisted of morning theory sessions with lectures and videos, followed by afternoons and evenings spent watching the Finals freestyle championship classes while Gary and Terry commented via headset. US FEI 5* judge Janet Foy organized the well-run forum, with support by USDF

many no one judges alone at the lower levels, according to Gary. Gary also touched on the future possibility of more frequent testing of judges, to help ensure that all judges stay current with their knowledge and numbers. During the first morning’s lecture, we also watched videos of piaffe, passage, and walk, with many of the participants offering commentary and discussing scores. There were some interesting insights shared by the five-stars in attendance, and I think we all benefited from their collective experience.

Check out podcast 166 where two USEF judges talk about freestyle problems and judge responsibilities at usdf.podbean.com.

JANET FOY

On the Same Sheet of Music

editorial@usdf.org


with impulsion. Watch that the horse’s haunches don’t swing out in the turn into the shoulder-in on the center line. • Riders should maintain the contact in the extended walk. There was an interesting discussion amongst the judges regarding how to score a horse with a big overstep in the collected walk. To earn a score of 10, the horse must show a collected walk that conforms to the definition in the US Equestrian or FEI rules. But the consensus among the judges at the forum was that a good walk can have a small amount of overstep if all other requirements for a collected walk are met.

dynamics of the music by, say, showing medium or extended paces during a crescendo, these could gain additional points for interpretation. The rest of the day, we listened as Gary and Terry evaluated freestyles together. Gary pointed out the competitors’ technical strengths and weaknesses and gave scores for rhythm and energy and for harmony, while Terry gave scores and comments for music and for interpretation and choreography. Both shared

A phrase, as Terry explained, is a unit of music that has a beginning and an end all its own. To improve the score for musical interpretation, a rider should coordinate the start and finish of movements to the musical phrasing at least six times during the freestyle. If the rider goes beyond the six phrasing points, the judge should raise the interpretation score accordingly. Finally, if the timing of the footfalls matches the beat of the music during the phrasing, or if the rider manages to match the

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Freestyle Design and Freestyle Judging The theme of scoring consistency was carried into the second day of the forum, as Terry demonstrated some methodology that judges can use to be more consistent in their own scoring. She also shared thoughts about music selection and editing. As Gary put it, “Pretty simple freestyles win.” He finds that many competitors get a bit too creative with their choreography, which makes the pattern difficult for judges to follow and difficult for the horse to execute. Attempting a higher degree of difficulty in hopes of scoring extra degree-of-difficulty points often winds up working against the competitor, he explained, because poor execution of a difficult movement not only won’t gain difficulty points but may actually cost points in the scores for technical execution, harmony, and even rhythm and energy if the movement impairs the horse’s performance. The importance of appreciating and rewarding harmonious freestyles was also stressed. Terry’s presentation included more great videos, ranging from Debbie McDonald’s “Respect” freestyle with Brentina (which continues not to leave dry eyes) to some lower-level ones. Terry asked the participants to think about suitability of music and to look for the six phrasing points she believes are necessary for a rider to achieve a score of 7 or better for interpretation.

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USDF Connection • March 2018

17


freestyle connection

TIME TO NOMINATE CANDIDATES April 15, 2018 is the deadline for nominations for Participating Member (PM) Delegates in All Regions To accept the nomination, and if elected, a PM delegate nominee must: • Be a current Participating Member of USDF. • Have a permanent residence and reside in the region for which they are running to represent. • Agree to serve a one year term, from the time of election in 2018 until the election in 2019.

the job of giving the scores for degree of difficulty. Terry pointed out examples of good phrasing—which, interestingly enough, seemed to occur more in the Third Level freestyles than at higher levels. She shared her opinions on competitors’ choreography, music edits, and music choices and their suitability to the horses. There was not a single piece or clip of music that she didn’t recognize and know the words to! It was really interesting to listen to these two experts judging together as a team. There were times where the technical and artistic scores were quite different, which Gary said is OK and does happen on occasion. All of the judges who attended the forum gained a better methodology for judging freestyles, which will enable them to be more consistent in their scoring. Thank you again to Janet, Gary, and Terry, and to USDF staffers Sharon Vander Ziel and Isabella Baker, for their hard work and long

• Attend the 2018 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

June 1, 2018 is the deadline for nominations for USDF President, USDF Treasurer, and Regional Director in Regions 2, 4, 6, and 8 Nominations for USDF President, USDF Treasurer, and Regional Director in Regions 2, 4, 6, and 8 will also be accepted from the floor of the Board of Governors meeting at the 2018 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

e-mail all nominations to

nominations@usdf.org 18 March 2018 • USDF Connection

editorial@usdf.org

hours during the weekend. We have all benefited from your efforts. s Cindi Rose Wylie is a US Equestrian “R” dressage judge and the head trainer at Rosebrook Farm in Georgetown, MA. She is a USDF-certified instructor/trainer through Fourth Level; a USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist; and the chair of the USDF Group Member Organizations Committee.

coming next month

• USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference report • Eco-friendly pest control for your horse and your facility • Exclusive interview: USDF Hall of Fame inductee Lilo Fore


The 2018 USDF Online Stallion Guide is now LIVE! This annual online stallion guide is released by the United States Dressage Federation for the dressage community. The guide is available both through the USDF website and the USDF app.

2018 USDF Online Stallion Guide A Foal of Your Own Dreaming of breeding your mare? Read our primer on the process first.

A Showcase for the Dressage Sport Horse The 2017 USDF Breeders Championship Series Finals Statistics

• Featured Breeding Articles • Breeding Statistics from USDF competitions • Index of Progeny of Advertised Stallions

Achieving the End Goal The 2017 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships Breed Statistics and Information

High Performance The 2017 US Dressage Finals Presented by Adequan® Breed Statistics and Information

Go to www.usdf.org under the publications tab ACHIEVING THE END GOAL

Stallion Index

Donnerwetter Donnerhall

BY BRYNNE BOIAN

*Recorded data is compiled from horse pedigree and breed registry papers contained within the USDF’s membership database. •Horses without pedigree and breed registry papers on file could not be included. •For the purposes of this table and article, Anglo Arabians and Half Arabians are recorded and reflected as two individual breeds.

2018 USDF ONLINE STALLION GUIDE

Papagena Duerkesa

Thatch xx Petroleuse xx Duerkheim Dalietta

Breeder: Adelheid Bruening, Germany Breed Approvals: AHS, ISR/Old NA, GOV, VhW, Rhineland Stud/Booking Fee: $1,500 2-year ($300 booking fee included) or $700/dose frozen, no LFG Semen Availability: Frozen semen available year-round Discounts: Multiple discounts available Contact: Brittany Callahan Hilltop Farm, Inc. 1089 Nesbitt Road, Colora, MD 21917 Phone: 410-658-9898 Fax: 410-658-9228 E-mail: breeding@hilltopfarminc.com Website: www.hilltopfarminc.com

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on Principe has competed at the FEI levels with seven different riders over 10 years and is still going strong. That soundness, adaptability, and heart are truly unique. Don Principe has won multiple USDF Regional Championships, many USDF All-Breeds Awards, and has competed at both the USDF and USEF National Championships. In 2017, he added another accolade when he won the USEF “Brentina Cup” U-25 Grand Prix Championships. His sire Donnerhall was an International Grand Prix star and was on the medal winning German Teams at the World Equestrian Games and European Championships. Donnerhall’s influence on dressage breeding is undeniable. At the 2016 Olympic Games, over 31% of the dressage horses carried Donnerhall blood. Don Principe has sired Elite/Premium Mares, Licensed Stallions, USDF Horse of the Year winners, and US National Champions. He was the USEF Dressage Breeding Sire of the Year in 2013 and 2017, and has sired a Grand Champion of Dressage at Devon. Rideability, work ethic, and an outstanding walk are trademarks that Don Principe is passing along to his offspring. His offspring are smart, show a talent for the collected work, and are easily developed by amateurs or professionals.

2018 USDF ONLINE STALLION GUIDE

This index includes stallions that have a formatted page in this publication. The listing includes progeny of the stallion that have ranked 1-100 in Adequan/USDF Year-End Awards for horses. It also includes horses that have placed in US Dressage Finals, Great American/USDF Regional Championships and Great American/USDF Breeders Championships from 2009-2017. Please be advised that the names of the stallions and progeny listed herein are subject to the information contained within the USDF membership database. Registry names for these horses may vary across different organization and breed registries. Only horses which had breed registry paperwork and pedigree information on file with USDF could be included in this index, and any inconsistencies in registry names or pedigree information may have resulted in omissions. USDF is not responsible for any stallion or progeny omissions due to inconsistencies in horses’ registry names, or a lack of breed registry papers or pedigree information on file. For any inquiries regarding this index please send an e-mail to Cristen Brown, cbrown@usdf.org.

DEVON HEIR

Owner: Marydell Farm

Breed* Number of RC Participants Average Score (%) Range of Scores (%) Westfalen................................................47 .......................................................... 66.213% ............................... 57.868-74.779% Zweibrucker............................................29 .......................................................... 66.168% ................................55.793-73.684% Dutch Warmblood .................................248 .........................................................65.955%............................... 50.750-77.500% Hanoverian ............................................268 ......................................................... 65.731% ................................51.890-76.750% Swedish Warmblood...............................25 ..........................................................65.256%............................... 53.026-76.850% Oldenburg .............................................. 217 .......................................................... 65.146% ................................49.408-78.817% Danish Warmblood.................................44 .......................................................... 65.126% ...............................50.500-75.000% Trakehner ...............................................29 .......................................................... 64.851% ................................ 54.632-75.717% Holsteiner ............................................... 17 ...........................................................64.834%.................................56.563-71.591% Friesian Sporthorse ................................ 19 ........................................................... 64.416% ............................... 48.846-72.850% Andalusian .............................................. 31 ........................................................... 64.401% ................................55.769-73.295% Pura Raza Espanola ................................ 37...........................................................63.847%................................. 57.115-73.817% Friesian ................................................... 51 ........................................................... 63.839%............................... 52.727-72.000% Thoroughbred.........................................20 .......................................................... 63.795% .................................57.073-71.591% Half Arabian ............................................26 ...........................................................63.112% ............................... 49.936-70.783% Morgan ................................................... 19 ...........................................................62.895% ............................... 55.882-71.350% Quarter Horse......................................... 14 ...........................................................62.807% .............................. 56.364-68.676% American Warmblood ............................24 .......................................................... 62.783% ................................ 51.550-70.167% Lusitano ..................................................24 .......................................................... 62.612% ............................... 56.544-66.932% Arabian ................................................... 18 ........................................................... 61.503% ................................49.451-68.300%

Melli Negola

Prince Thatch xx

MARINA LEMAY

TABLE 1 Top 20 Breeds Amongst the 2017 Great American/USDF Regional Championship Participants

Disput Markus

Ninette

Championships. For the purpose of this article, USDF has reviewed the information available in the USDF membership database to analyze and evaluate the participants of the 2017 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships. The following tables illustrate the data in regards to the top breeds, breeders, sires, and damsires, which participated in the 2017 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships. The data reflected includes only horses with certificates of pedigree and/or breed registry papers on file with USDF. HILLTOP FARM, INC.

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he Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships serve as both an end goal and a stepping stone for many USDF competitors. The Great American Insurance Group/ USDF Regional Championship program was designed to promote and recognize the pursuit of excellence by providing a showcase venue for riders within each of the nine USDF regions. In 2017, approximately 2500 horses participated in the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional

INDEX OF PROGENY FOR ADVERTISED STALLIONS

DON PRINCIPE

1999, Hanoverian, 16.2 H, Dark Brown

The 2017 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships Breed Statistics and Information

Horse Name Progeny Year Championship, Award Category, or Breed Orgnization Division Score Rank D’Lorean BR .............................................. 2016 ....Adult Amateur ..................................................................Training Level ..............................................66.478 .......85 2016 ....Performance Horse Registry ..............................................Training Level Adult Amateur ........................66.478 .........2 2016 ....Performance Horse Registry ..............................................Training Level Open .....................................66.478 .........3 2016 ....Performance Horse Registry ..............................................Training Level Vintage Cup Adult Amateur ......66.478 .........1 2016 ....Vintage Cup: Adult Amateur ..............................................Training Level ..............................................66.478 .......20 Dallas Do Right .......................................... 2015 ....Adult Amateur ..................................................................First Level ....................................................72.031 .........3 2015 ....American Hanoverian Society ............................................First Level Adult Amateur .............................72.031 .........3 2015 ....American Hanoverian Society ............................................First Level Open ...........................................72.031 .........7 2015 ....Dressage Horse of the Year ...............................................First Level ....................................................72.031 .......24 Danteheir ................................................... 2013 ....Dressage Horse of the Year ...............................................Training Level ..............................................70.700 .......81 2013 ....KWPN of North America Inc. .............................................Training Level Open .....................................70.700 .......12 2013 ....KWPN of North America Inc. .............................................Training Level Vintage Cup ...........................70.700 .........2 2013 ....Vintage Cup ......................................................................Training Level ..............................................70.700 .........7 2014 ....KWPN of North America Inc. .............................................Second Level Open ......................................64.605 .......14 2014 ....KWPN of North America Inc. .............................................Second Level Vintage Cup ............................64.605 .........1 2014 ....Vintage Cup ......................................................................Second Level ...............................................64.605 .......18 2016 ....KWPN of North America Inc. .............................................Third Level Open ..........................................66.538 .......15 2016 ....KWPN of North America Inc. ..............................................Third Level Vintage Cup Professional ..............66.538 .........2 2016 ....Vintage Cup: Professional ..................................................Third Level ..................................................66.538 .........8 2017 ....Dressage Horse Of The Year ..............................................Fourth Level ................................................67.111 .......32 2017 ....KWPN of North America Inc. .............................................Fourth Level Open ........................................67.111 .........6 2017 ....KWPN of North America Inc. .............................................Fourth Level Vintage Cup: Professional ..........67.111 .........1 2017 ....Vintage Cup ......................................................................Fourth Level: Professional .............................67.111 .........3 2017 ....GAIG/USDF Region 7 Championships ..................................Fourth Level ................................................67.333 .........5 Das Apollo ................................................. 2011 ....Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Horse of the Year ...............Two-Year-Old Colts/Geldings .........................74.250 .......13 2011 ....International Sporthorse Registry / Oldenburg NA ...............Two-Year-Old Colts/Geldings..........................75.300 .........2 Dasha ........................................................ 2015 ....Adult Amateur ..................................................................Training Level ..............................................67.159 .......91 2015 ....Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society NA Division of GOV ........First Level Adult Amateur .............................65.405 .........5 2015 ....Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society NA Division of GOV ........First Level Open ...........................................65.405 .......21 2015 ....Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society NA Division of GOV ........First Level Vintage Cup .................................65.405 .........1 2015 ....Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society NA Division of GOV ........Training Level Adult Amateur ........................67.159 .........6 2015 ....Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society NA Division of GOV ........Training Level Open .....................................67.159 .......17 2015 ....Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society NA Division of GOV ........Training Level Vintage Cup ...........................67.159 .........4 2015 ....Vintage Cup ......................................................................First Level ....................................................65.405 .......41 2015 ....Vintage Cup ......................................................................Training Level ..............................................67.159 .......34 2016 ....Adult Amateur ..................................................................Second Level ...............................................67.148 .......25 2016 ....Dressage Horse Of The Year ..............................................Second Level ...............................................67.148 .......73

2018 USDF ONLINE STALLION GUIDE


all-breeds connection

The well-known warmblood breed gets a new organization

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here’s a new presence in the lineup of North American breed registries, and it’s sporting a very familiar brand. The Westfälisches Pferdestammbuch e.V. (Westfalen studbook) has expanded its presence in North America through a partnership with the Westfalen NA, welcoming more breeders and competitors to become a part of the famous Westfalen horse breed.

suing German WBFSH passports along with brands and microchips. Beginning this year, the Westfalen NA takes over the reins from the Westfalen Horse Association, which disbanded at the end of 2017, for USDF All-Breeds awards for all Westfalen-registered horses and ponies. What’s in a name? In Germany, the breed name is spelled Westfalen; the Anglicized version is Westphalian. Although both spellings may be used, Westfalen is the standard breed name used worldwide. Westfalens you might know: The stallions Florestan I, Pilot, Escolar, and Damon Hill are famous worldwide. The legendary Dr. Reiner Klimke’s Olympic partner Ahlerich was a Westfalen. In the US, the most famous Westfalen horse to date is Legolas (pictured), owned by Four Winds Farm (CA), who won FAMOUS REP: The Westfalen Legolas won team bronze at the 2016 Rio team bronze with Olympics under Steffen Peters (CA) Steffen Peters at the 2016 Olympic The Westfalen studbook has been Games and team and individual gold promoting breeding excellence since at the 2015 Pan American Games. The its founding in 1904, and for more Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Dresthan 200 years the Westfalen horse has sage Horse of the Year from 2012 to been the symbol on the region’s flag. 2016, Legolas now competes at the The Westfalen NA is the official North Grand Prix level under Dawn WhiteAmerican representative of the German O’Connor. Other notable Westfalens in verband, offering more than 60 inspecthe US have included the famous mare tion sites in the USA and Canada and is- Rocher, who won numerous Grand

20 March 2018 • USDF Connection

Prix-level honors with rider George Williams; and Floriano and Weltino’s Magic, both of whom won championship titles with rider Steffen Peters. The Westfalen breed encompasses the well-known Westfalen German Riding Ponies, as well. Two standouts are the Bundeschampionate winners Golden State NRW and Golden West, both owned by Melissa Mulchahey of California. All-Breeds awards offered: Open, Adult Amateur, and Junior/ Young Rider categories through fifth place; Vintage Cup, Adult Amateur Musical Freestyle, and Musical Freestyle through third place; USEF Four-Year-Old, FEI Five- and Six-YearOld, Materiale, Dressage Sport Horse Breeding, and Para-Dressage Rider through second place. How to participate: The rider or owner must be an active member of the Westfalen NA. The horse or pony must be a registered Westfalen declared with USDF for the All-Breeds Awards Program with the Westfalen NA. Learn more: westfalen-na.com or (605) 669-2200. s

A Celebration of Breeds

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he “All-Breeds Connection” column spotlights a USDF All-Breeds awards program participating organization and the breed it represents. Information and photos are furnished by the registries. The USDF does not endorse or promote any breed or registry over another. The USDF All-Breeds awards program is designed to reward the accomplishments of specific breeds in dressage, with recognition offered at the USDF Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet, and in the annual yearbook issue of USDF Connection. For eligibility requirements and a list of current participating organizations, visit usdf.org / Awards / All-Breeds.

JOHN BORYS PHOTOGRAPHY

Spotlight: Westfalen NA

editorial@usdf.org


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Force of Nature Whether she’s shooting a TV commercial or training and showing dressage, Elma Garcia-Cannavino gives it her all

CLICKING: Garcia-Cannavino and Wenesa at the 2017 US Dressage Finals

22 March 2018 • USDF Connection

SUSANJSTICKLE.COM

By Kelly Sanchez


COURTESY OF ELMA GARCIA-CANNAVINO

G

lowing lanterns set aloft into the night sky, a swimmer gliding across a placid lake, a small plane soaring over the Alaska wilderness—in a format where you have 30 seconds to tell a story, Elma Garcia-Cannavino’s commercial spots pull the viewer in with their compelling visuals. Creating ads for clients including Jack Daniel’s, Levi’s, and the top pharmaceutical companies has taken her to such far-flung locations as Poland, Argentina, Italy, and South Africa—but the director-cinematographer says there’s still nothing like coming home to her horses. Since 2017, home has been Mill Spring, NC, a stone’s throw from the Tryon International Equestrian Center, host of this year’s FEI World Equestrian Games. “It’s so naturally beautiful here,” Garcia-Cannavino says. “It’s a little slice of heaven.” Garcia-Cannavino, 59, has embraced her new surroundings as she does most things—with energy, curiosity, and determination. Whether sitting atop a crane framing the perfect shot for her latest commercial or competing her mare Wenesa in FEI-level dressage, whatever she does, she’s all in. Just ask Debbie McDonald. In 2004, Garcia-Cannavino arrived at a benefit for the US dressage team in California, her home state at the time, with a single goal: to win a month-long training package with McDonald at River Grove Farm in Idaho. In the buffet line before the live auction, Garcia-Cannavino approached the Olympian and introduced herself: “Hi, I’m Elma Garcia, and I’m going to bid on you tonight.” McDonald smiled and said, “OK.” Remembering the encounter, McDonald says, “You never know if people are serious or not.” But Garcia-Cannavino had just finished a big directing job and was feeling flush. Bidding for the training package began and quickly grew heated. Soon it was down to Garcia-Cannavino and two other bidders. “My limit was eighty thousand dollars,” she says. When the bidding reached that amount, the late Parry Thomas, River Grove’s owner, stepped in to offer separate training packages to each bidder. Afterward, the late Dick Brown, a longtime supporter of US dressage, asked her, “Are you good for this?” GarciaCannavino laughs. “Nobody knew me. They were all saying, ‘Who is she?’ I went back to the hotel, ordered a bottle of Champagne, and jumped on the bed.”

An Eye for People and Horses Garcia-Cannavino may have been unknown to many in the dressage community in 2004, but her Athlete Portrait Campaign three years later changed that. Putting her pho-

SELF-PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST: Garcia-Cannavino

tographic skills to use, she shot images of top American riders and their horses—McDonald and Brentina, Steffen Peters and Floriano, and Guenter Seidel and Aragon, among others—which were then made into limited-edition posters sold to benefit the US Equestrian Team Foundation. It was her way of giving back to the sport. She’s loved taking pictures since she was a horse-crazy girl growing up in tiny Cowiche, WA, near Yakima, the youngest of five children. Her father oversaw an apple orchard and raised cattle, and her mother packed apples in the nearby plant. In a trade for one of her dad’s cows, Garcia-Cannavino got her first horse at nine, and she rode and competed until she went off to college, usually on her Quarter Horse mare, Naches. “We did barrel racing, the keyhole race, and gymkhana. She was a spitfire. “Riding as a kid gave me a lot of confidence,” GarciaCannavino adds, “not just about riding, but everything. When we did the play days, we competed against kids of all ages, boys and girls. Today in my business, I feel I can do anything a guy can do.” She shelved her love of horses while studying photography at the Brooks Institute in California and during stints working in New York City and San Francisco. In 1991, a client asked if she would direct a commercial, and she found a new way to explore her creativity. She launched Elma Garcia Films and created commercials that have aired during the Super Bowl and the World Series and earned her Emmy, Addy, and Mobius awards. The idea of riding again tugged at her, and she found an old farmhouse in Marin County, California. Soon, she was the happy owner of the house and a little ThoroughUSDF Connection

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ADVERTISING AGE: Garcia-Cannavino’s commercial work takes her wherever she thinks will tell the story best, from Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border (left) to chilly Vancouver (right) and far, far beyond

bred mare. “I didn’t know what I was going to do, maybe endurance riding or eventing,” she explains. When the mare needed rehabbing, she discovered dressage. In Los Angeles for a symposium with the German Olympic gold medalist

Klaus Balkenhol, she saw dressage performed at the highest levels. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh.’ At one point I happened to be standing next to Debbie [McDonald], and I thought, She’s petite, like me. If she can do it, maybe I can too.”

The

2018 USDF Arts Contest 2 Divisions Art and Photography 3 Age Groups 15 and under, 16 to 21, and Adult

The grand prize winning entry will be used as the cover art for the USDF Member Guide.

www.usdf.org (awards/other awards) for complete contest rules and entry form

24 March 2018 • USDF Connection

COURTESY OF ELMA GARCIA-CANNAVINO

ENTRY DEADLINE JULY 1


Lessons with a Legend When Garcia-Cannavino arrived at River Grove Farm in the fall of 2005 for her month of training, she was still a novice dressage rider. “Elma’s naturally athletic, and even though she might not have done this earlier in her life, she had a very good feel,” says McDonald. “But she’d never been off a twenty-meter circle. I said, ‘That’s all right, we can figure this out.’” Garcia-Cannavino’s dedication impressed the Olympian. “Elma was fully committed, and she was there all the time. And she wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.” Garcia-Cannavino laughs. “I was so green, I didn’t even know how to do a diagonal. But how many people can say that Debbie McDonald taught them how to do a diagonal?” Occasionally, her barrel-racing prowess revealed itself. “When my horse would buck or get frisky, that was pretty fun. Debbie would just shake her head and say, ‘Oh, Elma.’ The first time I got to do an extended canter in a dressage test, I had a huge smile on my face.” Training at River Grove and seeing McDonald compete at international shows were invaluable learning experiences, Garcia-Cannavino says. “There’s so much that Debbie instilled in me. She was so precise. She rides every step, and her timing is phenomenal.” [

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DECORATED: With PSG and I-I championship sashes at the 2017 US Dressage Finals in Kentucky

COURTESY OF ELMA GARCIA-CANNAVINO

Greatness…

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Garcia-Cannavino didn’t just embrace dressage; she fell in love with Idaho and purchased a horse property in Hailey in 2006. A few years later, she married Jim Cannavino, the former senior vice president for strategy and development at IBM, who’s also a fox hunter and an avid golfer. Splitting their time between their farms in southern California and Idaho gave Garcia-Cannavino plenty of time to ride and learn on her own. “I love learning visually,” she says. “I videotape my rides and study them, and I watch online dressage videos. “I have a good work ethic in life anyway,” she adds. “If you’re going to achieve something, you have to work really hard at it. I learned about running a barn and maintaining my horses as if they were Olympic athletes from Debbie.” With help from McDonald’s husband, Bob McDonald, Garcia-Cannavino purchased a Danish Warmblood mare named Intermezzo, and took the horse from Third Level to Intermediate I. “She was my schoolmaster,” recalls the adult-amateur rider, who has since retired the mare to her farm in North Carolina. “She’s twenty-three now and looks like a teenager.” Today, Garcia-Cannavino’s main competition mount is the 15-year-old Hanoverian mare Wenesa (Westernhagen – DancingUSDF-Connection-Apr2018-Rolex-20180215OL.pdf Girl, Davignon). Wenesa had been purchased by 1 2/21/18

Parry Thomas at the Verden auction in Germany for McDonald, but the pair never clicked. McDonald’s assistant, Olympian Adrienne Lyle, suggested that Garcia-Cannavino give the mare a try. She took two steps and knew she’d found her horse. “Wenesa can be a bit strong in the hand,” says McDonald. “And being a mare, you couldn’t repeat things and expect her to keep a good attitude. But Elma was in love with that mare. It was her horse; she knew it from the beginning.” The pair started at Third Level and currently compete at Intermediate, winning amateur championships in California before Garcia-Cannavino’s relocation to North Carolina. In 2016, they did their first CDI-Am (FEI-recognized dressage competition for adult amateurs) and were the Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur reserve champions at the US Dressage Finals in Kentucky. At last year’s Finals, GarciaCannavino and Wenesa won both the I-I and the PSG adultamateur championship titles, and took reserve honors in the I-I AA Freestyle.

Hard-Working Student When McDonald began spending more of her time in Florida,AM Garcia-Cannavino worked with California-based 11:44:20

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Fit is Everything.

26 March 2018 • USDF Connection

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trainer and 2003 Pan American Games team gold medalist Kristina Harrison as well as Leonie “Button” Baker, who managed Epona Farms in Thousand Oaks, CA, for 17 years. Inspired by the Cannavinos, Baker relocated to North Carolina last year. “Button is a continuation of Debbie,” says Garcia-Cannavino. “She is so knowledgeable. For years, she was Debbie’s eyes on the ground when they wintered at Epona. She’s teaching me to understand what’s necessary at any given moment. How do you communicate with the horse? How do you give the horse what it needs?” Baker says she appreciates Garcia-Cannavino’s ability to work independently. “Elma’s a really good student. She reads, she does her homework, and even if it isn’t perfect, she has a good idea what it should be. When you’re teaching an amateur, you have to let them make mistakes and then get the feel on their own. Riders have to learn to deal with problems themselves.” “Wenesa’s not that easy,” Baker adds. “She’s a super mover, but incredibly sensitive. She demands that you ride her. Otherwise, she’d just like to stand there and graze.” Commercial shoots can last three to four weeks, so Garcia-Cannavino relishes her time in North Carolina,

where she and her husband are building a horse facility. “Jim’s a systems genius. This’ll be his fifth barn. He’s the visionary for how the place should work, and my contribution is visual.” She and Wenesa are now working on the Grand Prix movements. “I have so much to learn and figure out. We’re seeing what Wenesa can do and what she has in her tank. To have come up from Third Level, it’s exciting to keep going and see where we can go.” s

Kelly Sanchez is a California-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to USDF Connection. When she’s not thinking about horses, she writes about design and architecture for Dwell.

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Still in the

Saddle Senior dressage riders share their strategies for success

GREAT ADVENTURE: Having discovered horses and dressage later in life, adult-amateur rider John Boyle (pictured aboard Suzetta K, a former jumper) has fully embraced the sport and the active lifestyle

28 March 2018 • USDF Connection

SHARON PACKER

By Penny Hawes and Anne Gribbons


W

hen the pioneering feminist Gloria Steinem famously said, “This is what forty looks like,” she had no way of knowing that the age bar would continue to rise steadily over the next several decades. Today, nearly 45 years after the Ms. magazine founder’s pronouncement, 70 is the new 60 or even the new 50—and dressage riders are among those most eager to keep going for as long as they can. When the USDF introduced its Vintage Cup awards in 1986 for riders aged 50 and older, there weren’t a lot of 70s, either on the test sheets or in the saddle. Nowadays, there are so many members earning gold medals and other awards at advanced ages that the USDF has stopped touting “oldest-ever member” success stories because the records just keep getting broken. While many dressage enthusiasts stay in the saddle long into their retirement years, injuries and infirmities force others to hang up their spurs. USDF Connection wondered whether there are any common threads to the success stories. We talked to seven active senior riders—four amateurs and three famous pros—to find out.

Success Strategy #1: Staying Active Dressage riders obviously enjoy physical activity, but nearly all the seniors we interviewed exercise out of the saddle, as well. Former USDF Region 8 director Fern Feldman, of Cheshire, CT, doesn’t need to attend USDF conventions any more, but when she did she was a fixture in the hotel gym, getting in early-morning workouts before the long days of meetings. Feldman, 75, an adult amateur who earned her USDF gold medal in 2012 at the age of 69, still rides nearly every day. She is also a skier and a runner who has competed in 5Ks and a few half-marathons. Amateur riders Michelle King and John Boyle both embrace Pilates. King, 65, of Purcellville, VA, a US Equestrian “r” dressage technical delegate and the Region 1 USDF Technical Delegates Committee representative, was walking and doing water aerobics to supplement her saddle time—but her instructor, Virginia-based dressage pro and former USDF Region 1 director Alison Head, said that King was “just getting stronger in my crookedness.” King added Pilates to her fitness regimen and now does two or three sessions a week. “Pilates is the dressage of exercises. It’s very precise and requires specific use of muscles and movement. It totally benefits your riding and really parallels dressage.” “It’s really incredible—good for stretching, and great for your core,” says Boyle, 71, of Landrum, SC. He, too, works with a Pilates instructor two or three times a week. [ USDF Connection

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A former eventer and hunter/jumper rider, Boyle credits his fitness to an active lifestyle. “We live out in the country, so the dogs get walked, the horses get ridden. Pretty much working on the farm, riding, or getting out walking the dogs—those are things I like.” Amateur rider Deryn Stewart, of Ponca City, OK, became one of those “oldest-ever USDF members” when in 2016 she earned her USDF gold medal at the age of 73. A self-described strong rider, Stewart says of her fitness routine: “I like walking, but riding is my thing. I don’t really do anything else.” If you’re of Vintage Cup awards age, make sure you’re healthy and fit enough to continue to ride. See “Take Good Care: Health Advice for Senior Riders” on the facing page for a gerontologist’s advice.

Success Strategy #2: Embracing Dressage Their passion for horses and riding—whether lifelong, acquired in midlife, or rediscovered after years out of the saddle—spurs older dressage enthusiasts to keep going. Some find their later years more conducive to riding and horse ownership, with more time to spare and more disposable in-

come, and they’re loath to give up their long-awaited dream. Feldman was one who had to bide her time. She took weekly walk-trot lessons at age 11 but didn’t sit on a horse again until she was 45. At that point she’d lost interest in the idea of jumping and gravitated to dressage, she says. Another who never let go of the dream was King, who “grew up loving animals in a family that did not” and rode Western at summer camp and a local stable as a child. She didn’t put a foot in the stirrup again until the summer before college, when she was able to take lessons in order to satisfy the school’s phys-ed requirement. Regular riding still eluded her, however, until after finishing law school she met some equestrians who rode in Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. King took some lessons, went on a trail ride, and “a few years later I bought my first horse and never looked back.” Now retired, she rides four or five times a week. Boyle didn’t ride as a child, but watching the steeplechasers at the Tryon (NC) Block House Races captured his

Elite Senior Rider Profile: Hilda Gurney As told to Anne Gribbons

H

ow do some top international dressage competitors keep going well into their later years? As someone who calls herself “in the same boat”—Gribbons is 71—she wanted to ask a few of our best-known high-performance riders whether they have any secrets to their longevity.

Hilda Gurney, 74, won team bronze at the 1976 Olympics with her legendary partner, the Thoroughbred gelding Keen. Both horse and rider are members of the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame. Gurney remains an active trainer and an award-winning sport-horse

30 March 2018 • USDF Connection

NOT SLOWING DOWN: Hilda Gurney on her homebred Luminence (by Leonidas) in 2007

breeder at her Keenridge in Moorpark, CA. She is a founding member of the California Dressage Society and the winner of numerous championships and USDF Horse of the Year awards.

USDF archive

Hilda says: I started riding at age 14 and have ridden in competition for 60 years. Competition keep me sharp and on my game. I will stop when my riding isn’t up to snuff. My favorite challenge is figuring out how to train each horse most effectively. Such fun! I ride 14 to 23 horses a day. That is about seven hours daily. I’m in shape with no special diet, although I avoid red meat and alcohol. I like my lifestyle and feel so lucky to live such a wonderful life.


imagination. He took some riding lessons, and “the bug bit.” After eventing for a spell he found he loved riding jumpers, but the fun came at a price. Boyle suffered a few “life-altering accidents,” including a broken femur and what he describes as a blown-out carotid artery. Seven years ago, “My wife looked at me and said I had two life choices, and both begin with D: divorce or dressage.” So “the jumper and I had to learn to become a dressage horse and rider.” He quips: “Someone once told me that the object of riding is to keep one leg on each side of the horse. That’s much easier to do in dressage than jumpers.” The only one of our adult amateurs to have ridden all her life is Stewart, who as a child growing up in Canada rode Western and barrel-raced. “When we moved down here [to Oklahoma], I was 21 and still running barrels and riding reining horses. Then I rode hunter/jumpers, and then dressage started in this part of the country. I’m a charter member of the Oklahoma Dressage Society. There wasn’t even dressage here when I moved here, so I’ve seen how it has evolved.”

Success Strategy #3: Keeping the Brain Engaged Forget the stereotype of the bored retiree who watches TV all day. Our dressage-riding seniors use their minds as well as their bodies. All say they’re avid readers, for starters.

STRAIGHT FORWARD: Technical delegate Michelle King no longer competes in dressage, but she continues to ride regularly

Take Good Care: Health Advice for Senior Riders

COURTESY OF MICHELLE KING

A

s we age, many of us fear that forgetting names or losing our keys are early warning signs of dementia. Not to worry, says University of Southern Florida gerontologist Tracy Wharton, PhD, MSc, MEd, MSW, LCSW. “Slower processing speeds, losing keys, forgetting people’s names—that’s normal. Episodes of getting lost or disoriented aren’t normal and are hallmarks for dementia issues; however, only about ten percent of the population are going to get any kind of dementia.” Although there’s no specific research showing that riding dressage helps with mental acuity, according to Dr. Wharton, “both the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] and the NIH [National Institutes of Health] recommend learning new things frequently as exercise for your brain. And we know physical exercise is good, along with good nutrition. Something new we’re always learning is good.” Of course, our bodies do change as we age, and Dr. Wharton issues a few notes of caution. “There are some biological realities that start to happen after age sixty: Our metabolism starts to change, our

bone density changes, balance and gait and processes like that do change. We all know that when we fall off a horse in our forties, we don’t quite jump up quite as quickly as we did when we were in our twenties.” One very real concern for equestrians: medications. According to Dr. Wharton, most adults aged 65 and up take eight to 10 medications. Side effects of medications commonly prescribed for seniors may include balance problems, dizziness or vertigo, muscle weakness, or forgetfulness—“and sometimes medicines don’t play well together. So it’s important to talk to your doctor about all of your medications.” If you’re in generally good health, though, your age really may be just a number in terms of being fit and able to ride, Dr. Wharton says. “There’s not some magic portal we go through when we turn sixty and suddenly we’re ‘older.’ In the sixties is really kind of young, still. In terms of being able to ride, if you have the muscle and leg strength, riding is actually good for balance and gait. So there’s no reason that someone in their sixties and seventies, even eighties can’t continue to ride and enjoy the sport.”

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After she retired, King earned her US Equestrian technical delegate’s license. In her work as a TD, she says, she’s found herself putting her legal and mediation training to good use. “There’s a huge mental aspect to being a TD,” King says. “The rule book is not the epitome of simplicity.” Many equestrians enjoy giving back to the horses and the sport they love through volunteering, and midlife and beyond can be optimal times for doing so. As a former USDF regional director, Feldman is no stranger to volun-

teering. Even though she’s no longer on the USDF Executive Board, she remains an active volunteer, lately focusing much of her energy on Olympian Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids programs.

Elite Senior Rider Profile: Christilot Hanson Boylen As told to Anne Gribbons

I

32 March 2018 • USDF Connection

CONTINUING THE TRADITION: Boylen on the Hanoverian gelding Soccer City (by Sir Donnerhall) in 2014

Equestrianism is a way of life. The pursuit of excellence has allowed me to see and meet some of the finest people I would ever hope to meet, in many countries around the world. And the horses! What a gift to be able to say you work with these magnificent animals! Would I do it over again? In a heartbeat! Canadian Christilot Hanson Boylen, 70, studied under dressage masters including Willi Schultheis, Georg Theodorescu, Albert Stecken, and Udo Lange. On such mounts as Gaspano, Biraldo, Walldorf, and Bonheur, she won major international titles in Europe and North America in addition to her Olympic and Pan Am Games achievements. Now based in Wellington, FL, she is a well-known trainer who coached Canadians Belinda Trussell and Megan Lane at the 2015 Pan Am Games and the 2016 Olympics.

susanjsticle.com

started riding when I was about 10. I rode in my first Olympics at age 17 (with special permission) in Tokyo in 1964, and went on with very few breaks until now, so that’s 53 competitive years. I’ve ridden in six Olympic Games and the 1980 alternate Olympics, and in four Pan American Games, including three individual gold medals. I rode about 12 “made” Grand Prix horses and have produced about 15 more, as well as a number of small-tour horses. I have been extremely blessed my whole life with a good, strong athletic body, which I take pains to maintain. Except for a recent bout with breast cancer, I have had no major issues. I am aware that it could have been otherwise! I was blessed with a mother who was a dancer, and I spent many years helping her in classes. This background was a huge asset in learning dressage, and over the years I have tried to do 15 to 20 minutes of stretching and strengthening of the core every morning before I ride. As I get older, I really feel the need to do this daily. I try to eat well, take a vitamin supplement, and swear by a magnesium supplement daily. Now that I am older, I must pace myself; I can’t ride eight horses a day any more, nor do I want to. And I stay away from the larger, bulkier horses that are physically too much for me. Height in a horse is not a problem, but wideness and heaviness are not for me. In some ways, my life is easier now. I have cut down on the number of horses, but I still find tremendous satisfaction in teaching my pupils, and I really enjoy my riding and training of the few horses entrusted to me. One of the pleasures in my life is also having some seriously talented riders who can absorb and carry on the training methods I was taught.


The sport of dressage itself, Boyle has found, provides considerable mental training. “Memorizing the tests is easier when you understand the logic—what you’re doing and why, and the progression of each test. The challenges of remembering are mostly nerves before you step in the ring.” And, of course, there are the mental-health benefits most horse lovers know and love. “When you ride it clears your mind, just like going to an analyst,” says Stewart. “You’re thinking only of the horse, and that’s very healthy.” Boyle concurs. “As you get older, life presents its own pressures and responsibilities, but riding is a great stress reliever. It’s nice going into the barn in the evening and hearing the horses munching on their hay. It’s nice to spend a little time grooming them or whatever you want, whether that’s picking manure out of the pasture, grooming, or going for a little walk. It’s enjoyable to be with them. They’re incredible animals.”

Success Strategy #4: Choosing the Right Horse You don’t bounce the way you used to, and your joints and muscles may not take so kindly any more to riding a huge mover. Be realistic about any physical limitations, and find a mount that makes you look forward to your saddle time,

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not intimidated or fearful, older riders advise. “My biggest piece of advice,” says Stewart, “is to get the right horse. That is so important. It doesn’t have to be an expensive horse; it doesn’t have to be a big horse; but the temperament can’t clash. If it does, don’t be afraid to move on.” (Not that Stewart herself is looking to “trade down,” mind you: “I think my riding’s done nothing but improve and that I’m a better rider now than I ever was. I’m still a strong rider, and I still like a horse with a lot of challenges. Now I’m working with a horse who’s the biggest challenge of any horse I’ve ever had, but I just love it.”) Boyle’s first dressage horse, Suzetta K, is a “great mare” who was his daughter’s jumper before she married. He’s also excited about his new horse, Superman, purchased last August: “We’re formulating a new partnership, and my goal is to earn the USDF bronze medal by the end of the year.” Feldman says that having “appropriate and wonderful horses” has played a big part in her riding journey. A sportpony enthusiast who owns two Connemaras, the petite Feldman joins in encouraging other riders to find mounts that fit them, both physically and in temperament.

Success Strategy #5: Setting Goals and Continuing to Learn The senior riders we talked to put a new spin on the old saw about riding off into the sunset. They intend to stay in the saddle for as long as they can, and they want to continue learning and improving their dressage skills. King believes that it’s important to do exercises outside of riding that “directly translate into keeping your body strong and supple to ride. Try to keep riding regularly, and set goals that are realistic to your situation. Make them incremental goals, and make them achievable. If I can achieve a square halt, I’m happy.” These “vintage” equestrians agree that the physical and mental challenges of dressage have helped them remain fit,

Elite Senior Rider Profile: Michael Poulin As told to Anne Gribbons

I

34 March 2018 • USDF Connection

HAPPY PLACE: Poulin in the saddle aboard Thor M, a KWPN gelding by Mirakel, at the 2016 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (FL)

Michael Poulin, 72, was a member of the bronzemedal-winning 1992 US Olympic dressage team, riding Graf George, a horse he trained. He has developed numerous other horses to the Grand Prix level, including Watch Me, Lighten Up Jack, and Duke of Earl. Among his best-known students are fellow 1992 Olympian Carol Lavell and his own daughters, Gwen and Kate. In 2012 Poulin was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/ USDF Hall of Fame; Graf George was inducted in 2000. With his wife, Sharon, Poulin owns and operates The Dressage Center in DeLeon Springs, FL.

susanjsticle.com

started riding when I was 10 with a teacher who was a student of James Fillis. I worked many years with Franz Rochowansky from the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. I’ve been competing in dressage for around 62 years. I love the horses and the pressure of competing. I was a ballet dancer and a karate instructor for many years, but my body won’t let me do those things any more. Today my body doesn’t want to keep up with my mind; that’s the only thing that makes me slower. I don’t do anything special to stay fit. I watch what I eat and do lots of stretching. I don’t take any special nutritional supplements other than the medications I need for my health. There are advantages to being an older rider and trainer: lots of wisdom and understanding, greater respect for the horse, and having to take more time to do it more correctly than I did when I was young. I try to train at the speed of the horse’s acceptance and not at the speed of competition. My horses have been my greatest teachers. I’m the most happy when I’m with a horse. What would make me stop riding is death.


active, and engaged. There’s truth to the famous quote “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man,” Boyle says. “It’s been a great adventure and a great life.” s Penny Hawes is a writer, rider, and chronic volunteer from Virginia. You can catch her blogging at thehorseylife.com/DF. USDF Connection editorial advisor Anne Gribbons is an FEI 5* dressage judge; a former US national dressage technical advisor; and an international competitor, trainer, and coach. She is a popular Chronicle of the Horse columnist, and selected columns were compiled into her 2014 book, Collective Remarks. Gribbons, of Chuluota, FL, will serve as the head of the ground jury at this year’s FEI World Equestrian Games dressage competition in Tryon, NC.

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Listen to an interview with senior rider Janne Rumbough on episode 73 at usdf. podbean.com.

JUST MY SIZE: It’s especially important for older riders to feel safe and comfortable on their horses, says former USDF Region 8 director Fern Feldman (pictured with her 11-year-old Connemara gelding, Duncan)

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COURTESY OF fern feldman

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To Be

in

Carolina

Nothing could be finer for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, organizers say By Jennifer O. Bryant

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lthough it garners less mainstream-media attention than the Olympic Games, the quadrennial FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) are actually the sport-horse world’s biggest cham-

pionships. Olympics include only three equestrian disciplines— dressage, eventing, and jumping—and para-equestrian dressage is part of the Paralympic Games program. By contrast, the WEG, which is held at the halfway point between Olympiads, features the entire Fédération Equestre Internationale spectrum: the four abovementioned disciplines plus reining, vaulting, endurance, and driving. The numbers tell the tale of how massive a production a WEG is. The most recent edition—in 2014, in Norman-

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dy—drew 575,000 spectators, nearly 1,000 athletes, and more than 1,200 horses representing 74 nations during the Games’ two-week period, according to organizers. Similar numbers are expected for the 2018 WEG, which will be held September 11-23 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, NC. Hosting a WEG is such a formidable task that not every venue or nation is equipped to handle the logistics and the required financial outlay. Aspects of the 2014 Games were so unwieldy that there were calls to abolish the WEG, or to change the event to make it shorter and more manageable. The organizing committee representing the city of Bromont, Canada, which had successfully bid to host the 2018 WEG, ran into financial difficulties and backed out in 2016,

COURTESY OF THE TRYON INTERNATIONAL EQUESTRIAN CENTER

ALL IN ONE PLACE: Unlike 2014 Normandy, the 2018 World Equestrian Games will be held entirely at one venue, the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC


leaving the FEI with no host city just two short years before the Games’ kickoff. Enter horse-industry mogul Mark Bellissimo, whose Wellington Equestrian Partners and its subsidiary, Equestrian Sport Productions, already control the Palm Beach (FL) International Equestrian Center, site of the wintertime Adequan® Global Dressage Festival and hunter/jumper Winter Equestrian Festival show series. Another Bellissimo group, Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), had developed a state-of-the-art equestrian venue in western North Carolina, near the South Carolina border and boasting a temperate year-round climate thanks to its location on the first rise of the Blue Ridge Mountains. TEP developed the TIEC, which opened in 2014, with an eye on securing the 2022 WEG. But when the FEI found itself without a site for its 2018 Games, Bellissimo & Co. damned the torpedoes and convinced the powers-that-be in Lausanne, Switzerland, that the TIEC could be ready to welcome the world in just two years’ time.

COURTESY OF THE TRYON INTERNATIONAL EQUESTRIAN CENTER

The Venue The TIEC bills itself as “one of the world’s premier equestrian lifestyle destinations and competition venues.” That’s a lofty claim, but a look at the amenities bears out the boast. The 1,600-acre facility features 12 arenas, 1,200-plus permanent stalls, three restaurants, a general store, a Dover Saddlery outlet and numerous other vendors, a nondenominational chapel, rental cabins, and RV hookups. According to the Tryon Daily Bulletin, a 200-room four-star hotel and 100 condominiums on the TIEC property will be completed in time for the WEG, although a planned five-star resort will not. Other promised-in-time-for-WEG improvements are a new 20,000-seat arena and the expansion of an existing covered arena, the Bulletin reported in December 2017. TEP’s bet on the Tryon area as the next big center of equestrian activity appears to be paying off. Numerous dressage and other equine professionals now call the area home, thanks in part to a lower cost of living and a horsefriendly climate. The tourism website ExploreTryon.com brags that the village of Tryon (pop. 1,600) is situated in a mountainside “thermal belt” that tends to produce cooler summers and warmer winters than surrounding areas. (The dates of the 2018 WEG, however, were moved from the originally scheduled August to September in an effort to avoid the worst of the summer heat.) The TIEC—located in Mill Spring, about 14 miles northeast of Tryon proper—already hosts large equestrian competitions (the 2017 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships were held there,

BUCOLIC LOCATION: The TIEC is set in a “thermal belt” in the Blue Ridge Mountains that contributes to a year-round temperate climate

for instance), and some horse enthusiasts are finding the region more spacious, temperate, and affordable than pricey Wellington, FL, and environs. [

WHY LEAVE? TIEC visitors dine al fresco at one of the equestrian center’s three restaurants

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IT BEGINS: WEG opening ceremonies feature equestrians from a multitude of breeds and backgrounds, like this group in Normandy 2014

Back in North America Horse-sport fans in the US and Canada are especially excited about the upcoming WEG because the event will mark only the second time that the Games have been held outside Europe (the first was in 2010, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington). The US location is an advantage to North American competitors because transport of many horses will be a shorter and easier proposition. Although there was some grumbling by foreign delegations about the many horses that had to travel overseas for the 2010 WEG, the fact that those Games were generally well-received and have since been followed by successful FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas and Omaha has

dampened complaints and established the US as worthy of hosting international equestrian championships.

Schedule of Events A WEG is run similar to an Olympic Games, with opening and closing ceremonies featuring a parade of nations, entertainment, and celebrity appearances. The 2018 Tryon WEG will be bookended by the September 11 opening ceremony and the September 23 closing ceremony. The ceremonies are usually moving and spectacular, with all manner of equine exhibitions, musical numbers, and dazzling effects. If you consider shopping at, say, Dressage at Devon or the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event to be a horse

Dressage Allowed team members per national federation (NF): 4 horse-rider combinations Allowed individual members per NF: 2 horse-rider combinations Reserves allowed? No Judges: Anne Gribbons (USA) (president), Mariette Sanders-Van Gansewinkel (NED), Andrew Gardner (GBR), Katrina Wuest (GER), Annette Fransen Iacobaeus (SWE), Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN) Susan Hoevenaars (AUS), Thomas Lang (AUT) (reserve member) Judges Supervisory Panel: David Hunt (GBR), Mary Seefried (AUS), Linda Zang (USA) Technical delegate: Cara Whitham (CAN) Chief steward: Elisabeth Williams (USA)

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Para-Equestrian Dressage Allowed team members per national federation (NF): 4 horse-rider combinations Allowed individual members per NF: 2 horse-rider combinations Reserves allowed? No Judges: Hanneke Gerritsen (NED) (president), Kristi Wysocki (USA), Alison King (HKG), Sarah Leitch (GBR), Marco Orsini (GER), Anne Prain (FRA), Marc Urban (BEL), Suzanne Cunningham (AUS) (reserve member) Classifiers: Fredy Verluys (NED), Kerri Sowers (USA) Technical delegate: Jan-Holger Holtschmit (GER) Chief steward: Juliet Whatley (GBR). Source: fei.org

JENNIFER BRYANT

Names and Numbers: 2018 WEG Dressage and Para-Dressage Competition


TRYON 2018 WEG GRAPHIC

ORDER OF GO: 2018 WEG schedule of events, which was current as of December 2017

lover’s paradise, then prepare for a whole new level of retailpalooza at the WEG. The Vendor Village at the TIEC will be 100,000 square feet—almost as big as a Manhattan city block—and yes, you’ll have to pass through it as you enter and exit the venue. There will also be an expo—think educational and entertaining demonstrations and performances designed to appeal to a broad swath of horse enthusiasts. The dressage and para-equestrian dressage competitions in Tryon will be held on separate weeks, unlike in Normandy 2014, when they were held concurrently and in different venues. Along with endurance, reining, and eventing, dressage will be held in week 1 (see the timetable graphic above). Para-dressage, driving, jumping, and vaulting will be held in week 2. Dressage. Unlike Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games competition awards three medals in dressage: team, Grand Prix Special, and GP Freestyle, the last two of which are individual medals. According to Thomas Baur, a well-known competition organizer from Germany who is the dressage and para-dressage discipline manager for the 2018 WEG, all competitors will ride the Grand Prix, which will be held over two days, September 12 and 13. Results from the Grand Prix will decide not only the team medals but who advances to the Grand Prix Special. On September 14, the top 30 individual finishers from the Grand Prix will contest the GP Special for that individual medal, and in hopes of qualifying for the Freestyle final. Only the top 15 competitors from the Special will advance to the GP Freestyle, which will be held September 16 after a rest day. Even if all four of a nation’s team members earn top-15 placings in the Special, only the top three may advance to the Freestyle.

Para-dressage. Unlike able-bodied dressage, para-dressage can’t be a head-to-head competition because athletes are classified into grades, or categories based on severity of physical disability. In Tryon, para-dressage competition kicks off with two days of competition for individual medals: Grades II, IV, and V on September 18; and Grades I and III on September 19, according to Baur. Two days of team tests follow, on September 20 and 21, to decide the team medals. The big finale will be September 22, when the top eight horserider combinations from each grade’s individual test will vie for those grades’ freestyle medals.

Ones to Watch In dressage, all eyes are expected to be on the rivalry between 2017 FEI World Cup Dressage Final champion Isabell Werth of Germany on Weihegold OLD, and second-place finisher Laura Graves and Verdades of the USA. Graves badly wants an individual medal to call her own, but the much-decorated veteran Werth isn’t going to step aside easily. During his five-year career as US national dressage chef d’équipe and technical advisor, six-time Olympian Robert Dover has made it clear that he won’t rest until Team USA stands atop the medal podium. Dover achieved steppingstone goals with a team-bronze finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Graves’ World Cup Final second place, but with the 2018 WEG looming as his swan song—he will retire from the position after the Games—it’s safe to say that he dreams of capping his legacy as one of the USA’s greatest dressage riders, competitors, and coaches by looking on as the Americans win gold in Tryon. Graves, who a scant four years ago was the unknown at the 2014 WEG, finds herself in the probable position of team USDF Connection

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anchor for Tryon. Who’ll fill the other three US team slots is up for grabs. Legolas, Steffen Peters’ 2014 WEG and 2016 Olympic mount, is now competing successfully at Grand Prix under Dawn White-O’Connor. Peters himself is likely to made the squad with either his newest Grand Prix mount, the Dutch gelding Suppenkasper (Spielberg x Krack C), who was previously competed by German Olympian Helen Langehanenberg; or the Rhinelander mare Rosamunde (Rock Forever x Fidermark), his mount at the 2017 World Cup Dressage Final. Another possibility is Graves’ and Peters’ 2016 Olympic teammate Kasey Perry-Glass on the Danish gelding Goerklintgaards Dublet (Diamond Hit x Ferro). The other two horse-rider combinations on the US Equestrian dressage Elite Program list are Charlotte Jorst on the Dutch stallion Kastel’s Nintendo (Negro x Monaco) and Olivia LaGoyWeltz on the Danish gelding Lonoir (De Noir x Loran). Others who are knocking on the door, with CDI wins this winter, include 2012 Olympic and 2014 WEG veteran Adrienne Lyle on Salvino, 2010 WEG veteran Katherine BatesonChandler on Alcazar, and Shelly Francis on Doktor.

WEG Fast Facts

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look at these numbers shows why the FEI World Equestrian Games—and the hosting commitment—are such a big deal. Statistics are from the 2014 Normandy edition. (Source: fei.org) Participating nations: 74 Athletes: 884 Horses: 1,243 Spectators: 575,000 Volunteers: 3,000 Economic impact: $400 million According to Tryon 2018 WEG organizers, the Games have the potential to be the largest sporting event in North Carolina’s history.

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Let’s Go! Have we enticed you into wanting to attend this equestrian extravaganza? Opportunities to watch the world’s best dressage horses and riders in our home country don’t come around that often. Not only is it just plain thrilling, but seeing the top level of the sport also has a way of recalibrating your own training and riding standards. Go to the 2018 WEG website, tryon2018.com, to purchase tickets. Options range from passes to the entire twoweek Games, to one-week passes, to one-day passes, to all-session passes for specific disciplines, and so on. Several ticket classes and dates were already sold out at the time this issue went to press. My advice: If you can swing attending the entire dres-

JENNIFER Bryant

UNKNOWN NO LONGER: In Normandy 2014, people kept asking who Laura Graves and Verdades were. In Tryon, the US pair is favored to medal—perhaps even gold.

One US combination we won’t see is Allison Brock and Rosevelt, who were members of the 2016 bronze-medalwinning team in Rio. In February Brock announced that the Hanoverian stallion (Rotspon x Lauries Crusador), although not retiring altogether, will no longer compete at the top echelon of the sport. There have been changes in the para-dressage world, too. Last spring Michel Assouline was named US Equestrian’s head of para-dressage coach development and high-performance programs. Assouline, a native of France, is a former international dressage competitor and a graduate of the French National Riding School in Saumur. From 2005 through 2016 he coached Great Britain’s para-dressage teams to numerous team and individual medals, and so US para-dressage supporters hope that he’ll have a similarly golden touch in the States. Three-time US Paralympian and two-time WEG paradressage competitor Rebecca Hart since retired her 2014 WEG and 2016 Paralympic Games mount, Schroeters Romani. The Grade III athlete is aiming for the 2018 WEG with a new horse, the KWPN gelding El Corona Texel (Wynton x Goodtimes). There are several other new faces and new mounts, as well. Roxanne Trunnell, one of Hart’s teammates in Normandy 2014, was named the 2017 Adequan®/USDF Grade I Para-Dressage Rider of the Year aboard a new horse, NTEC Daytona Beach. Grade IV athlete Angela “Annie” Peavy rode Royal Dark Chocolate to the championship title at the 2017 US Equestrian Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships, with the reserve championship going to Margaret McIntosh, a Grade I athlete, riding new mount Heros. Also winning recent team ribbons in CPEDI (FEIrecognized para-dressage) competition have been Grade IV rider Michele Bandinu on Soulman 13 and Grade V competitor Katie Jackson on Royal Dancer.


sage (or para-dressage) competition, do it. You’re making the investment to attend anyway, and as a student of dressage you can watch the entire competition with a critical eye, looking to discern how even at the international level some pairs shine brighter than others. Once you’ve purchased tickets, you’ll have to get to the Tryon area and find somewhere to stay, if you’re not fortunate enough to live nearby. One lucky local is USDF’s own secretary and USDF Connection editorial advisor Margaret Freeman, who shares insider’s tips on WEG transportation and lodging in this month’s “Inside USDF” column on page 4.

The Volunteer Option A massive undertaking like a WEG requires a lot of volunteers—about 9,000 total positions over three weeks, to be filled by upward of 4,000 volunteers, 2018 WEG organizers estimate. Some horse-sport enthusiasts find volunteering to be a rewarding way to give back, as well as a way of making attendance more affordable. Submit an online volunteer application by selecting the Volunteer Inquiry “quick link” on the home page of the Tryon 2018 website. Lodging may be available through a Volunteer Management Program, which matches volunteers with area host families. Learn more at tryon2018.com/page/volunteer.

Follow the Action from Home Let’s face it, uprooting yourself for one to two weeks this fall may not be doable. If you can’t be there to cheer on Team USA in person, you’ll have plenty of ways to stay abreast of the competition (some free, some paid, some available with subscriptions) via TV, computer, or mobile device. The NBC Sports Group will present an amalgam of coverage over its network and cable TV channels, websites, and mobile apps. The NBC and NBCSN channels together will air 15 hours of live coverage, according to Tryon WEG organizers, with the Olympic Channel planning to present 50-plus hours of coverage. Coverage will be streamed on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel. com, and the Olympic Channel app. The FEI’s own network, FEI TV, live-streams all major FEI championships via FEITV.org and the FEI TV on the Go app. Access is via subscription only; monthly and sometimes daily plans are offered. USDF Connection will be on the scene in Tryon, blogging and sharing photos, behind-the-scenes stories, and results. Watch future issues of USDF Connection for details. See you at the WEG! s Jennifer Bryant is the editor of USDF Connection.

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E x c l u s i v e B o o k E x ce r p t

Valegro: The Making of a Champion Before he became the most famous horse in dressage history, “Blueberry” was a horse with too much “go” and his rider had trouble sitting the trot. Here’s how the legendary partnership started. By Charlotte Dujardin

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lueberry’s story had begun on 5 July 2002 when he was born on Burgh Haamstede, an island in the Netherlands. His breeders, Maartje and Joop Hanse, decided to call him Vainqueurfleur, which was a combination of his mother’s name, Maifleur, and vainquer, which is French for victor. Valegro’s sire was the black dressage stallion Negro, and it was from Negro that Valegro got his stockiness and short, strong legs. Vainqueurfleur became Valegro when he was sold as a colt to Negro’s owner, Gertjan van Olst. Gertjan’s wife, Anne, was an international rider who sometimes trained with my mentor, British Olympian Carl Hester. While Carl was visiting Holland in 2005, Anne took him to see the KWPN stallion show and grading. One young horse particularly caught Carl’s eye, and that turned out to be Valegro—even then, as Carl says, he had “the head of a duchess and the bottom of a cook.” But although he obviously had massive power in his hindquarters, it seemed at the time that Valegro was never going to be big and special enough to keep as a stallion for breeding. He was gelded, and because he wasn’t expensive, Carl decided to buy him. Valegro’s career had got off to a winning start with the four-year-old championship, and he’d also won the 2006 Badminton Young Dressage Horse of the Future title, but nobody knew what would happen next. He was small and squat, just over 16 hands, so for Carl—who is well over six feet—he was far from ideal. His canter was also so massive it hurt Carl’s back, which was already bad, while his other paces were pretty normal: to begin with, it was only in canter that Blueberry looked like such an amazing horse.

F COURTESY OF CHARLOTTE DUJARDIN

rom the first moment I loved him, absolutely loved him. Valegro was fiery, he was sensitive, he was expressive, he was powerful—everything I’d always wanted in a horse, he was. It felt like he was the missing piece I hadn’t realized I’d been waiting for. You know when you get on a horse whether you like it or you don’t, but Blueberry gave me a feeling like I’d never expe-

The Long-Awaited Memoir Is Here!

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xcerpt adapted from The Girl on the Dancing Horse, available March 16 from Trafalgar Square Books (horseandriderbooks.com).

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rienced: There was such a strong connection straight away. Even his shape was part of it: When you sit on Blueberry you really feel like you’re part of him because he’s so solid and built like a barrel; your legs wrap right the way ’round. You’ve got a good length of neck in front of you, but behind you you’ve got hind legs pounding like pistons, almost too much for the front end to cope with. The power was like nothing I’d ever felt in my life: When I asked for canter it was like we were going to take off. Some horses canter and just cover the ground, but with Blueberry you felt like you were actually leaving the floor, the moment of suspension was so big. The only thing I can compare it to is a roller coaster: It gave me that same thrill in the pit of my stomach, the buzz of going so fast it was almost like I was going to lose control.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: Dujardin says she clicked with “Blueberry” right from the start

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Even then, I could feel how much I could achieve with Valegro: This was my dance partner. But when I first started riding him, the real problem wasn’t so much his lack of size or his unruliness as his headshaking, and it was so serious that Carl was beginning to think he might not even have a career. Nobody really knows what causes headshaking, or how to cure it. Carl had had tried all sorts of medicines, had all sorts of specialists out, and had even thought about having Blueberry operated on, but what it seemed to come down to was that he was so sensitive to everything. Nothing could touch Blueberry’s skin: Even metal buckles would sometimes give him a rash, so we’d have to make sure there was a cloth over them to protect him. In the summer he’d get hay fever and his eyes would start running; even extra-strong mints would make his nose run. He’d eat the mint, which he loved, but then he’d get stressed because his nose would run and tickle his face, and that would set his headshaking off. Flies had the same effect: If one even slightly touched his face or nose, he’d strike out with his leg or shake his head violently. I was always trying to pick up on every little thing that might trigger it, because you’d be with him and he’d be trying to bang his head or rub his face with his legs or drag his nose up the walls. It was so bad that Carl had even tried radionics, which is a form of complementary therapy. Horse people sometimes call radionics “the black box” because you give a sample of your horse’s hair to a radionics practitioner, who takes it away and puts in a black, box-like machine. The idea is that they then use “radionic

COURTESY OF CHARLOTTE DUJARDIN

Unusual Horse, Unusual Solutions


therapy” to perform a kind of energy healing—you never actually see them do it, and your horse doesn’t have to be present; you just pay your £20 a month and the problem is meant to get better. Carl is not at all the sort of person who believes in that kind of thing, and many people think it’s a myth, but there did seem to be some change in Blueberry after we started him on it, so Carl decided to keep it going. With time, we found out that putting Blueberry in a double bridle helped too. Normally, you put a double bridle on a horse when they’re six, coming seven, because until then their teeth are changing; it’s also important that you can still get them listening and responding in just a snaffle. Blueberry was five and a half, but the curb chain definitely seemed to make a difference: It lies on an acupuncture pressure point, and although straightforward acupuncture hadn’t worked for Blueberry, with the curb chain on he did seem to be more relaxed. What’s more, it gave me more control over him, which in turn made him less nervous—Blueberry was the kind of horse who, if he didn’t feel as if his rider was in charge, would start to worry.

DPA PICTURE ALLIANCE/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Early Training It sounds funny, but the problem with Blueberry was that he tried so hard. Rather than waiting and listening to my aids, he was always trying to jump ahead, and then when he didn’t understand what you wanted him to do, he’d get tense: It was all go, go, go and no whoa, whoa, whoa. Tension would always make Blueberry’s headshaking worse, and the more I tried to figure him out, the more I realized that it was almost like a form of Tourette’s: His work ethic was incredible, but his

ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Two thumbs up after another memorable test

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brain was on overdrive. Sometimes all you wanted was to tell him to take a breath and just slow down. There were two arenas at the yard where Carl was then based, an indoor and an outdoor. The indoor was smaller, so that’s where I rode Blueberry: With less space and four walls around him, it was easier to keep him under control. As well as working to make him more relaxed, I was also trying to get him more supple. Tension would make him tight in his body, and while some horses get stiff in their mouths and necks, with Blueberry, it was his whole body that would go rigid. I concentrated on lots of easy, basic transitions and simple exercises—things that he could cope with and wouldn’t get him stressed—and the more relaxed he was, the better he got. Because people have always seen Blueberry winning medals and breaking records, they find it hard to believe he wasn’t scoring tens across the board from the start. In young-horse classes he never scored that highly for his trot, though: He loved trot and canter extensions because he could just power off, but if you’d have seen his normal trot

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back then, there wasn’t a lot to it. His bouncy, spilling-overwith energy walk cost him marks, too. He was always so eager to be doing the next thing that the slightest touch of your leg would set him off, but then when you asked him to walk he didn’t know what to do with himself. Walk would always be Blueberry’s most expensive pace in terms of marks, because rather than being relaxed he’d be like a cat on hot bricks, bouncing up and down. He loved his job so much you could feel him thinking, “What should I do? I’m meant to be doing something! What is it?” Then you’d pick up your reins ready for the transition, and he’d be so keen to go he’d almost start to piaffe. What I’ve learned from my experience competing in young-horse classes is that you don’t need big paces in a young Grand Prix horse, just three correct paces you can train. It’s not often that horses that are really big movers and scoring tens when they’re young go on to have long careers, simply because of all the wear and tear on their bodies. Good Grand Prix horses can also be quite tense when they’re young because they’re hot and want to be going for-

COURTESY OF CHARLOTTE DUJARDIN

POWERHOUSE: The key to Valegro’s training was teaching him to control his own energy, and Dujardin had to learn to sit the big trot without relying on the reins


ward, and that again can cause them to score less well in terms of submission. Carl’s nickname for Blueberry was “The Professor” because he always said it was as though he’d read the dressage encyclopedia in his stable. He had trainability, but he was also naturally talented in that he had the ability to sit— which is essential for exercises like piaffe and pirouettes— and he could push when you asked for extensions. Most horses are better at one or the other, but Blueberry could do both without stressing himself out, although that doesn’t mean he found everything easy. You’d never have imagined that Valegro once found it hard to piaffe, but to start with he was so hot he couldn’t find the rhythm. Sometimes, when you’re training a young horse to piaffe, you lightly touch a whip on top of its bum to encourage it to find the bounce, but if you did that with Blueberry he’d be so sensitive and willing to go he’d just try to canter. He didn’t quite know what to do with all the power he had, which also caused me problems trying to teach him flying changes and passage. Flying changes were easy for Blueberry; you just put your leg on and he was off like a rocket: It was like an explosion across the diagonal. The problem was he’d then get so excited and strong he’d start trying to do them everywhere. I had to keep doing a single change, patting him, then bringing him back to walk, over and over, so he learned that sometimes one was all I wanted. When he’d understood that, I could start putting them together, and his one-tempis ended up being like nothing I’d ever sat on in my entire life: You felt like he was climbing a hill and just getting higher and higher and higher with every stride. With passage, his huge engine was again partly to blame. Blueberry’s hind legs were so good that all their power pushed him forward, and then he couldn’t quite cope with lifting his front end up as well. Because he was still a young horse he hadn’t yet developed the ability to balance himself, so every time I tried to create a bit of lift he just pulled more and more on my arms. Some horses are born with really nice mouths and are very light in your hands, and some have harder mouths and take a strong hold. Then there are horses like Blueberry, who have mouths like bricks, and by the time we’d finished my arms would be absolutely burning.

Rider Improvement During this time, one of the things I was still struggling with was my sitting trot, which made me rely too much on my hands for balance. Carl would often tell me that showing had given me bad hands, which was true, and because he’s

the kind of person who gives everyone a nickname I ended up as Edwina Scissorhands, or Eddie. The key was getting stronger in my core, but even though I was swimming I still wasn’t fit enough; plus I was about two stones heavier than I should have been. Staying in shape is something I’d always had to work at quite hard, but at a previous barn the other working student and I would get through a loaf of bread with butter and jam for lunch every day. We’d wash it down with tea and biscuits, and owners would always bring cakes and treats when they came to the yard. I look back now and think it’s no wonder I was the size of the house, but I only realized it was a problem when I heard on the grapevine that Carl thought I could do with losing some weight. Hearing that broke my heart, but he was right. I didn’t want to be anorexic, but if I wasn’t fit I couldn’t do my job, so I decided then that I was going to start going to the gym and get myself a personal trainer. Unlike the first couple of PTs I tried, Jo Theyer understood that I still needed to be able to walk and sit down when she’d finished with me. She also came to study me ride and helped me identify that my right leg was weaker than my left. If you’re weak on one side it’s obvious that your horse will have problems on that side too, and it seems ridiculous that we spend heaps of money paying for our horses to have physio and massages but don’t think about the problems we might be causing as riders.

Charlotte Gets the Ride Totilas, the world champion ridden by Edward Gal of the Netherlands, would be the horse Valegro was always compared to, and as it became obvious just how good Blueberry was, people started to wonder why I was riding him and not Carl. I knew people were already intrigued by me and wanted to know why Carl had taken me on, so I did feel like I had something to prove. There was never a moment when I realized Carl wasn’t actually ever going to take Blueberry back. Nothing was ever said, and if we hadn’t been doing so well, I don’t think Carl would have hesitated to take the ride. But he himself was notching up the wins with Uthopia, and having been given so many opportunities by his mentor, Dr. Wilfried Bechtolsheimer, I knew Carl felt he wanted to give someone else a turn. What I didn’t know then was the other reason he finally decided to let me and Blueberry carry on: the idea he’d had that he and I on Uti and Blueberry might make the basis of a British team. Of course in all our wildest dreams neither of us could have foreseen how that was going to work out. s USDF Connection

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Your one-stop shop for products and services for the sport of dressage. apparel & accessories The USDF Store www.usdf.org

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USDF CALENDAR To make sure we provide our members with the most up-todate deadlines and events, the USDF Calendar has moved online.

Visit www.usdf.org/calendar for • • • • • •

USEF licensed/USDF recognized competitions Breeders’ Championships Regional Championships USDF sponsored events USDF University accredited programs All the important deadlines and dates you might need

50 March 2018 • USDF Connection

W W W. U S D F. O R G

MARCH 2010

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

ARENA FOOTING AND CONSTRUCTION

NEW TRAINING SERIES: What Other Disciplines Can Teach Dressage Riders Basics of Freestyle Creation

PAID

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Accounting......................................................................(859) 271-7891....................................... accounting@usdf.org Address and E-mail Updates............................................(859) 971-2277............................................changes@usdf.org Adult Education Programs ..............................................(859) 271-7882......................................... education@usdf.org Adult Team Competitions.................................................(859) 971-7360...................... adultteamcompetition@usdf.org All-Breeds Awards ...........................................................(859) 271-7895...........................................allbreeds@usdf.org Applications Submitted at Competitions...........................(859) 271-7880...........................................affidavits@usdf.org Breeders & Materiale Championships Series......................(859) 271-7894........................................ sporthorse@usdf.org Demographics and Statistics............................................(859) 271-7083................................................. stats@usdf.org Donations........................................................................(859) 971-7826..............................................donate@usdf.org Dover Medal Program......................................................(859) 971-7361...................................... dovermedal@usdf.org eTRAK..............................................................................(859) 271-7882.................................................etrak@usdf.org Group Membership..........................................................(859) 971-7048................................................. gmo@usdf.org Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards...............(859) 271-7882........................................ halloffame@usdf.org Horse Performance Certificates.........................................(859) 971-7361.............................horseperformance@usdf.org Horse Registration............................................................(859) 271-7880...............................horseregistration@usdf.org Horse/Rider Score Reports. .............................................(859) 271-7894..............................................reports@usdf.org Human Resources/Career Opportunities............................(859) 271-7885..................................................... hr@usdf.org Instructor Certification.....................................................(859) 271-7877........................instructorcertification@usdf.org Insurance Certificates for Competitions............................(859) 271-7886........................................... compins@usdf.org Junior/Young Rider Clinics................................................(859) 971-7360...........................................jryrclinics@usdf.org L Education and Continuing Education.............................(859) 971-7039.......................................... lprogram@usdf.org Mailing Lists.....................................................................(859) 971-7038.........................................mailinglist@usdf.org NAJYRC Criteria and Procedures.......................................(859) 971-7360............................................... najyrc@usdf.org National Education Initiative............................................(859) 271-7882......................................... education@usdf.org Nominations – Delegates, Regional Directors....................(859) 271-7897..................................... nominations@usdf.org Participating and Business Memberships...........................(859) 271-7871..................................... membership@usdf.org Podcasts..........................................................................(859) 971-7039............................................ podcast@usdf.org 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Programs...............................................................(859) 271-7876................................................youth@usdf.org Youth Team Competitions................................................(859) 971-7360................................................youth@usdf.org

Make the connection

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USDF OFFICE CONTACT DIRECTORY Phone: (859) 971-2277, Fax: (859) 971-7722, E-mail: usdressage@usdf.org

Connection wants YOU to be a contributor. Here’s how.

air Your Views USDF Connection welcomes letters to the editor. Please send your digital submission by e-mail to jbryant@usdf. org. Please include your hometown, state, and daytime telephone number. We’ll publish letters as space allows; all submissions are subject to editing. Unsigned letters will not be considered, although writers may request that their names be withheld. All letters become the property of USDF.

ask a Question Do you have a dressage- or USDFrelated question? Send it to “FAQ” and you may get an expert response in a future issue of USDF Connection. Send your question, along with your full name, hometown, state, and daytime telephone number to editorial@usdf.org. Include “FAQ” in the subject line of your message.

Share Your Story... …or your views on a topic pertaining to dressage or USDF in “The Tail End,” USDF Connection’s member-written “back page.” Share your dressage discoveries, “aha” moments, challenges, and oberservations. Short “guest editorial” essays are also considered. All “Tail End” columns are the opinions of the writers and not necessarily those of the editors or USDF. Submissions accepted by e-mail only. Send submissions, along with your full name, hometown, state and daytime telephone number to jbryant@usdf.org, subject line should read “The Tail End.” Please be prepared to supply a clear color digital photograph of yourself if your piece is accepted. Simultaneous submissions will not be accepted.


Advertising Index Auburn Laboratories, Inc. .................auburnlabs.com......................................................7 Back on Track.....................................backontrackproducts.com...................................13 Clear Span Fabric Structures.............clearspan.com.............................inside front cover Coves Darden Farm............................covesdardenllc.com..............................................18 Dechra Veterinary, Osphos................dechra-us.com..............................inside back cover The Dehner Company........................ dehner.com ............................................................9 Del Mar National Horse Show...........delmarnational.com...............................................9 EQ Saddle Science..............................eqsaddlescience.com............................................41 EquiTrek Portland..............................equi-trek-portland.com........................................35 Great American Insurance Group......greatamericaninsurancegroup.com......................1 HorseTech............................................horsetech.com........................................................8 PDZ Company, LLC.............................sweetpdz.com.......................................................33 Platinum Performance.......................platinumperformance.com....................back cover Purina Mills.........................................purinamills.com/horse-feed...........................25, 27 Ramm Fence.......................................rammfence.com....................................................24 Rein Aid...............................................rein-aid.com............................................................9 Schleese..............................................schleese.com.........................................................26 SmartPak Equine................................smartpakequine.com..............................................5 Sox For Horses....................................soxforhorses.com.................................................35 Takt Saddlery......................................taktsaddlery.com..................................................17 USDF Arts Contest..................................................................................................................24 Circle of Friends.............................................................................................................2 Convention...................................................................................................................26 Online Stallion Guide...................................................................................................19 Sport Horse Seminar....................................................................................................15 Time to Nominate Candidates....................................................................................18

YOUR CONNECTION TO DRESSAGE EDUCATION • COMPETITION • ACHIEVEMENT

USDF Connection

March 2018

51


the tail end

editorial@usdf.org

The obstacles in our sport may be many, but the rewards are worth it By Meredith Rogers

W

e hear all the time that “dressage is a journey,” but sometimes that journey seems a bit too winding and way too long. Why do breeders continue to pair this horse with that? Their risk is great. Mares don’t take right away. Babies die too young. It is hard to recoup the costs of stud fees, collection and shipping expenses, premium nutrition, advertising, and veterinary care.

Why do trainers and instructors put in the grueling hours? Horses don’t always want to cooperate. Dealing with owners who want success too quickly is never easy. Having to explain repeatedly the concept of inside leg to outside rein is tedious at best. Even those students with a grasp of the basics may require more time and attention than there are hours in a day.

THE OBJECT OF OUR AFFECTION: The writer and friend

52 March 2018 • USDF Connection

Meredith Rogers lives in Kingston, NJ, with her husband, a crazy dog, and a bossy cat. A typical adult amateur, she balances horses, life, and a full-time job, hoping she’s not one of “those” clients as she tries to be the rider her horse deserves.

COURTESY OF MEREDITH ROGERS

Why We Do What We Do

Why do barn managers pay such close attention to the horses in their care? Attending to each horse’s idiosyncrasies can be taxing to implement, let alone remember. There are the owners who demand that something different be done for their babies. And there always seems to be that one problem child—the horse that opens gates or that kicks the boards out of its stall— whose antics keep even the most seasoned professional up at night. Why are grooms willing to toil behind the scenes, getting little recognition for their hard work? Day in, day out, they obsess over every change in the horses in their care, physical or behavioral. These are the people who often know the horses best, yet they don’t get to ride in any victory laps or even get their names on the day sheets. Why do adult amateurs struggle to balance barn time with family, work, and other responsibilities? Dedication is not lacking, but funds often are. Schedules are often too packed for extra lessons, clinics, or show adventures. The answer to each of these questions is the same: the horse, of course! What other animal possesses the bulk great enough to easily knock us off our feet but a soul kind enough to submit to our whims? They try their hardest to understand our commands, even when we’re asking wrong. They’re never disappointed in us if we don’t come home with a ribbon. They don’t recognize when we’re having a bad-hair day. They’ll listen to us for hours as we vent our troubles. What other animal partners with us so that we can achieve our goals, overcome our fears, and feel as if we’re flying? No matter our place in the horse world, the frustrations may seem many, but there’s no question that the rewards are fantastic. s


OSPHOS® (clodronate injection) Bisphosphonate For use in horses only. Brief Summary (For Full Prescribing Information, see package insert) CAUTION: Federal (USA) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. DESCRIPTION: Clodronate disodium is a non-amino, chlorocontaining bisphosphonate. Chemically, clodronate disodium is (dichloromethylene) diphosphonic acid disodium salt and is manufactured from the tetrahydrate form. INDICATION: For the control of clinical signs associated with navicular syndrome in horses. CONTRAINDICATIONS: Horses with hypersensitivity to clodronate disodium should not receive OSPHOS.

controls the clinical signs associated with

NAVICULAR SYNDROME Easily Administered via intramuscular injection

Well Tolerated* in clinical trials

Proven Efficacy* at 6 months post treatment

No Reconstitution Required

Learn more online

WARNINGS: Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. HUMAN WARNINGS: Not for human use. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. Consult a physician in case of accidental human exposure. PRECAUTIONS: As a class, bisphosphonates may be associated with gastrointestinal and renal toxicity. Sensitivity to drug associated adverse reactions varies with the individual patient. Renal and gastrointestinal adverse reactions may be associated with plasma concentrations of the drug. Bisphosphonates are excreted by the kidney; therefore, conditions causing renal impairment may increase plasma bisphosphonate concentrations resulting in an increased risk for adverse reactions. Concurrent administration of other potentially nephrotoxic drugs should be approached with caution and renal function should be monitored. Use of bisphosphonates in patients with conditions or diseases affecting renal function is not recommended. Administration of bisphosphonates has been associated with abdominal pain (colic), discomfort, and agitation in horses. Clinical signs usually occur shortly after drug administration and may be associated with alterations in intestinal motility. In horses treated with OSPHOS these clinical signs usually began within 2 hours of treatment. Horses should be monitored for at least 2 hours following administration of OSPHOS. Bisphosphonates affect plasma concentrations of some minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, immediately post-treatment, with effects lasting up to several hours. Caution should be used when administering bisphosphonates to horses with conditions affecting mineral or electrolyte homeostasis (e.g. hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, hypocalcemia, etc.). The safe use of OSPHOS has not been evaluated in horses less than 4 years of age. The effect of bisphosphonates on the skeleton of growing horses has not been studied; however, bisphosphonates inhibit osteoclast activity which impacts bone turnover and may affect bone growth. Bisphosphonates should not be used in pregnant or lactating mares, or mares intended for breeding. The safe use of OSPHOS has not been evaluated in breeding horses or pregnant or lactating mares. Bisphosphonates are incorporated into the bone matrix, from where they are gradually released over periods of months to years. The extent of bisphosphonate incorporation into adult bone, and hence, the amount available for release back into the systemic circulation, is directly related to the total dose and duration of bisphosphonate use. Bisphosphonates have been shown to cause fetal developmental abnormalities in laboratory animals. The uptake of bisphosphonates into fetal bone may be greater than into maternal bone creating a possible risk for skeletal or other abnormalities in the fetus. Many drugs, including bisphosphonates, may be excreted in milk and may be absorbed by nursing animals. Increased bone fragility has been observed in animals treated with bisphosphonates at high doses or for long periods of time. Bisphosphonates inhibit bone resorption and decrease bone turnover which may lead to an inability to repair micro damage within the bone. In humans, atypical femur fractures have been reported in patients on long term bisphosphonate therapy; however, a causal relationship has not been established. ADVERSE REACTIONS: The most common adverse reactions reported in the field study were clinical signs of discomfort or nervousness, colic and/or pawing. Other signs reported were lip licking, yawning, head shaking, injection site swelling, and hives/pruritus.

www.dechra-us.com www.osphos.com

As with all drugs, side effects may occur. In field studies, the most common side effects reported were signs of discomfort or nervousness, colic, and/or pawing. OSPHOS should not be used in pregnant or lactating mares, or mares intended for breeding. Use of OSPHOS in patients with conditions affecting renal function or mineral or electrolyte homeostasis is not recommended. Refer to the prescribing information for complete details or visit www.dechra-us.com or call 866.933.2472.

CAUTION: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of licensed veterinarian. * Freedom of Information Summary, Original New Animal Drug Application, NADA 141-427, for OSPHOS. April 28, 2014. Dechra Veterinary Products US and the Dechra D logo are registered trademarks of Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC. © 2016 Dechra Ltd.

Distributed by: Dechra Veterinary Products 7015 College Boulevard, Suite 525 Overland Park, KS 66211 866-933-2472 © 2016 Dechra Ltd. OSPHOS is a registered trademark of Dechra Ltd. All rights reserved. NADA 141-427, Approved by FDA


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Profile for USDF Publications

March 2018 USDF Connection  

United States Dressage Federation Official Publication

March 2018 USDF Connection  

United States Dressage Federation Official Publication

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