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ON TOP OF THE WORLD

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Steffen Peters Wins World Cup Final

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Who’s Your daddy? How to Choose a stallion for Your Mare

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USDF CONNECTION

The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Stephan Hienzsch (859) 271-7887 • stephh1enz@usdf.org 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), Anne Gribbons (FL), Roberta Willliams (FL), Terry Wilson (CA)

An official property of the United States Dressage Federation

TECHNICAL ADVISORS Janine Malone, Lisa Gorretta, Elisabeth Williams SENIOR PUBLICATIONS COORDINATOR Emily Koenig (859) 271-7883 • ekoenig@usdf.org

YourDressage delivers exclusive dressage stories, editorial, and education, relevant to ALL dressage enthusiasts and is your daily source for dressage!

GRAPHIC & MULTIMEDIA COORDINATOR Katie Lewis (859) 271-7881 • klewis@usdf.org ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVE Danielle Titland (720) 300-2266 • dtitland@usdf.org

USDF OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE BOARD PRESIDENT LISA GORRETTA 19 Daisy Lane, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022 (216) 406-5475 • president@usdf.org

Look for these featured articles online at YourDressage.org

VICE PRESIDENT TERRY WILSON 2535 Fordyce Road, Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 890-7399 • vicepresident@usdf.org SECRETARY MARGARET FREEMAN 200 Aurora Lane, Tryon, NC 28782 (828) 859-6723 • secretary@usdf.org TREASURER LORRAINE MUSSELMAN 7538 NC 39 Hwy, Zebulon, NC 27497 (919) 218-6802 • treasurer@usdf.org

EDUCATION

REGIONAL DIRECTORS

“Are You Fit to Ride?”

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

Exercise Physiologist Julie Luther gives you a step-by-step guide for exercises designed for riders that can help you avoid post-ride aches & pains. The best part is that they will fit into your busy schedule, only taking 5 to 10 minutes a day!

REGION 2 IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, WV, WI DEBBY SAVAGE 7011 cobblestone Lane, Mentor, OH 44060 (908) 892-5335 • 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

COMPETITION

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

“Wrong!”

REGION 6 AK, ID, W. MT, OR, WA PETER ROTHSCHILD 1120 Arcadia Street NW, Olympia, WA 98502 (206) 200-3522 • region6dir@usdf.org

When an Adult Amateur from Florida first met a $700 Craigslist horse, she thought he was the wrong horse for her. What followed were many, many times of him proving her wrong!

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

ACHIEVEMENT

AT-LARGE DIRECTORS

“Lois Yukins Moving Forward”

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

2018 USDF Volunteer of the Year Lois Yukins is profi ed.

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

COMMUNITY “Wisconsin Dressage & Combined Training Association,Inc.(WDCTA)” Learn about this USDF Group Member Organization and what they offer.

It’s YourDressage, be a part of it! Visit https://yourdressage.org/ for all these stories & much more!

USDF Connection is published 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 © 2019 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.

2 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION


USDF Connection 38

MAY/JUNE 2019

Volume 21, Number 1

Columns

4 Inside USDF

Changing with the Times

By Lisa Gorretta

6 Ringside

Magazine Makeover, Dressage Edition

By Jennifer O. Bryant

Departments 16 Salute

The GMO Revitalizer

By Colleen Scott

18 Clinic

Features

30

USDF Connection Celebrates 20 Years

Sequential Schooling of the Dressage Horse

By Hilda Gurney

22 Free Rein

Judges Need Better Continuing Education

By Jayne Ayers

28 GMO

How to Start a GMO

Milestones, changes, and a few hits and misses

By Jennifer O. Bryant

46 Tack Shop

38

Steward of Tradition, Champion of Change

George Williams built his dressage career on a classical education, but he’s using it to modernize the sport

By Elizabeth Putfark

By Jill Chamblin

Sitting Pretty

52 My Dressage

A Dream Realized

By Megan Zureck

Basics 5 Sponsor Spotlight 8 Contact 10 Collection 48 Rider’s Market 50 USDF Connection Submission Guidelines

On Our Cover Photo illustration by Emily Koenig.

50 USDF Office Contact Directory 51 Advertising Index USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

3


Inside USDF Changing with the Times Both outwardly and “under the hood,” the USDF is evolving By Lisa Gorretta, USDF President

affiliate organization for dressage. As the USDF takes on the responsibility for the education and training of national-level dressage licensed officials, we will develop some infrastructure that supports the work our staff will be doing going forward. This is also reflected in the jointly produced national dressage tests that we will be using for the next four years. The next cycle of national dressage tests, which will go into effect in December 2022, will become the responsibility of the USDF. One change that I hope to see from the USDF membership is an increased level of interest in USDF governance. Spring is the traditional time of volunteering to serve as a participating-member (PM) delegate for that year’s Board of Governors assembly at the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention. Please make this effort for your passion and sport! As a

4 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

valued member of the American dressage community, it is critical that you play your role by voting (the typical response rate languishes between 13 and 19%) and sharing your views with the USDF regional directors, national officers, and delegates who are elected to serve you. Find your representatives’ names and contact information on page 2 and on the USDF website. This is an exciting time to be involved in USDF and dressage. If we can manage (and maybe to some extent even embrace) change, it can be an opportunity to provide better education and develop meaningful competition pathways for adult amateurs, even while we strengthen our existing programs for youth and support our dressage athletes on the international field of play.

IN THE NEXT ISSUE • Special horse-health focus • Equine neurologic symptoms demystified • The latest on complementary therapies • Training the passage

COURTESY OF LISA GORRETTA

A

s I write this, I’m preparing for the first USDF Executive Board spring meeting of my term as president. Even with almost 30 years of USDF national service under my belt, this, for me, is a big change. Those who know me well know that I am not a big fan of change for change’s sake. But I do recognize the inevitability, necessity, and value of making changes in order to improve what we do and how we do it. For starters, you’ll notice some design changes in this first issue of the new bimonthly USDF Connection magazine. This change in publishing schedule, coupled with USDF’s April launch of its Your Dressage online platform, reflect both the financial realities of producing print publications and the way USDF members have said they want to receive additional information and content. Going forward, you’ll also see differences in the way USDF serves and communicates with you through social media—another member-driven change and one that USDF’s partners and very important sponsors also welcome. Behind the scenes, the USDF has been undergoing significant change, as well. The year 2018 brought a major milestone in the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between US Equestrian, the US national governing and rulemaking body of equestrian sport, and the USDF as US Equestrian’s


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Ringside Magazine Makeover, Dressage Edition USDF Connection’s 20th anniversary issue ushers in some changes By Jennifer O. Bryant

of the most respected names in American dressage. In the inaugural column, FEI 4* judge and USDF L program faculty member Jayne Ayers explains why she believes dressage judges need improved continuing-education opportunities (p. 22). I hope that “Free Rein” sparks useful reflection and discussion regarding ways that our sport can continue to improve. Of one thing I have no doubt: We won’t lack for opinions! Another addition to the lineup is “Salute.” You’ve told us that you want to read more uplifting stories about USDF members, particularly adult amateurs and the behind-the-scenes folks who rarely make headlines, and we listened. In each issue we’ll celebrate a success story in dressage, beginning with our “Salute” to Eastern Iowa Dressage and Eventing Association president Jean Rude, whose savvy use of marketing and technology has been instrumental in turning around a once-struggling USDF group-member organization (GMO) (p. 16). If you know of an unsung hero in dressage or a

6 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

remarkable I-beat-the-odds story that deserves a “Salute,” let us know. You may also notice that this issue carries a bimonthly May/ June cover date. Last year, as USDF president Lisa Gorretta explains in her “Inside USDF” column on page 4, the USDF Executive Board voted to reduce USDF Connection’s publication frequency from 10 issues a year to six. The timing of the change coincides with another milestone, which is the magazine’s 20th anniversary. USDF Connection launched in May 1999, and your USDF official member magazine has covered two of the most eventful and significant decades in American dressage history. Turn to page 30 for our “through the years” anniversary special feature. One aspect of USDF Connection that has not changed is that this is your USDF member magazine. Your feedback and suggestions help me to keep the magazine tracking up and in the proper balance to help make your own dressage journey a rewarding one. When you get a moment, please take a quick half-halt and send your thoughts to jbryant@usdf.org.

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant

PICSOFYOU.COM

I

’m not one of those people who periodically rearranges the furniture because I get bored with the way the room looks. When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it, which is why many of my clothes are old enough to vote. (You could say that the traditionsteeped sport of dressage and I were made for each other.) Even I, however, occasionally recognize that an item is in need of freshening. Case in point: the magazine you’re reading, which has been redesigned to give it a clean, modern-yet-timeless look that we hope is reflective of the sport of dressage itself. As you page through this issue, you’ll see evidence of some furniture-rearranging and streamlining. A few sections have been rebranded for simplicity’s sake. Letters to the editor will henceforth be known as (what else would dressage riders call it?) “Contact.” Short items of interest are grouped together in, fittingly, “Collection.” One of your favorite columns, the USDF-member-written “The Tail End” personal essays, now appear as “My Dressage,” the name a nod to USDF’s new publications website, Your Dressage, which launched in April. Making its debut in this issue is “Free Rein,” which will bring you commentary and opinions on topics of importance to the dressage community from some


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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


Contact The Ups and Downs of Life with Horses Thank you for USDF CONNECTION sharing your per2018 YEARBOOK sonal story about your horse and the difficulties you have faced with him (“Ringside: All In,” February). My horse suffered a tendon injury in September 2018, and after a four-month rehab period reinjured the tendon and had to be suddenly retired. The news was devastating, and I know he wonders why he can no longer do the work he so enjoyed. Our horses have a way of getting into our hearts, and we do whatever W W W. U S D F. O R G

FEBRUARY 2019

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

2018 US Dressage Finals Training Level Open champions Ronin and Martin Kuhn

it takes to give them the best life we can. My horse’s rehab will be a long, slow process, but as you said, we are in this together. Jennifer, you are a very talented and amazing writer, and I so enjoy reading your column. It is the first one I rush to read when I receive USDF Connection. JoAnne Ciazinski Danville, California

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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Collection Bits and Pieces from USDF and the World of Dressage WORLD CUP DRESSAGE FINAL Werth, Graves Finish 1-2 (x 3)

The unstoppable German pair of Isabell Werth of Germany and Weihegold OLD claimed their third consecutive FEI World Cup Dressage Final title in Gothenburg, Sweden, April 6.

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: 2019 FEI World Cup Dressage Final medalists Helen Langehanenberg on Damsey FRH, Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD, and Laura Graves on Verdades

Despite a mistake in the one-tempi changes in her Grand Prix Freestyle, Werth earned a score of 88.871% to best her closest challenger, silver medalist Laura Graves of the USA (87.179%). It was the third year in a row that Graves and the now 17-year-old Verdades finished second to Werth and the now 14-year-old Oldenburg mare (Blue Hors Don Schufro x Sandro Hit). The 2019 victory was Werth’s fifth World Cup Dressage Final gold medal. The host-country fans were in a frenzy of excitement when Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven on the 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding Don Auriello (Don Davidoff x White Star) rode for a score of 80.718%; then fellow Swede Patrik Kittel on the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding Delaunay OLD (Dr. Doolittle 45 x Feinbrand) bested them with a score of 82.464% that landed them in sixth place at the end of the 18-horse competition. In their first World Cup Dressage Final, 2018 World Equestrian Games US team silver medalists Adrienne Lyle and the 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion Salvino (Sandro Hit x Donnerhall) finished seventh on 81.832%. The third American combination in Gothenburg, fellow 2018 WEG team silver medalists Kasey Perry-Glass and the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Goerklintgaards Dublet (Diamond Hit x Ferro), placed fifth with a GP Freestyle score of 84.975%. When Graves posted the new leading score with

10 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

only four horse-rider combinations left to go, Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen on the 15-year-old KWPN stallion Blue Hors Zack (Rousseau x Jazz) gave her a run for her money but came up short, finishing fourth on a score of 85.468. After Perry-Glass PRECISION AND POWER: Silver medalists rode her fifthplaced freestyle, the Laura Graves and Verdades crowd was eager to see whether Werth could beat Graves’ effort. With Werth back on top, the battle for the bronze became between Andersen and the last to go, Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg on the 17-year-old Hanoverian stallion Damsey FRH (Dressage Royal x Ritual). With a score of 86.571%, Langehanenberg edged out Andersen with a performance that ended with the audience literally gasping as the rider nearly failed to halt the stallion after his final extended trot down center line. “I thought he was going to end on my lap!” laughed the judge at C, Sweden’s Magnus Ringmark. “The clapping motivated him at the end of the test,” said Langehanenberg, “and I think he would have been quite happy to start all over again!” Werth pointed with pride to the longevity of today’s top dressage horses, calling their ages—there were five 17-year-olds in the 2019 field, two of whom medaled, and Perry-Glass’s mount Dublet is 16—a testament to careful training and excellent care. “Like Isabell said, it is our duty to take care of our horses and try to keep them healthy,” Graves said of the KWPN gelding (Florett As x Goya) she co-owns with Curt Maes. “My horse likes his job and never puts a foot wrong when I ride him, although at the barn he knows he’s the boss. He was so rideable Online Extra today, the crowd Watch the FEI’s highlight reel was amazing, and from the 2019 FEI World Cup I hope everyone Dressage Final. enjoyed it as much as me!”

FEI/CHRISTOPHE TANIERE; FEI/LIZ GREGG

Fifth World Cup title for the German superstar


SPORT PONIES

THE NEAR SIDE

National Dressage Pony Cup Returns to Lamplight Breed-division championships to be held at Dressage at Devon

JENNIFER M. KEELER/YELLOW HORSE MARKETING

The 2019 edition of the National Dressage Pony Cup and Small Horse Championship Show will return for the second year in a row to Lamplight Equestrian Center, Wayne, Illinois, July 19-21. It will be the twelfth anniversary of the show, which last year saw the popular addition of the Small Horse division.

PETITE POWERHOUSES: Small is beautiful at the National Dressage Pony and Small Horse Championships

New this year, the NDPC’s Sport Horse Breeding Championship division will move to Dressage at Devon (Pennsylvania), September 24-29, NDPC founder Jenny Carol announced. “Devon is so rich with tradition, and as the world’s largest open breed show it makes sense to make this move,” Carol said. Learn more at DressagePonyCup.com.

www.usdf.org/convention USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

11


Collection MEET THE INSTRUCTOR

FINANCIAL AID

Quinnten Alston, Equine Sales Manager

Megan McIsaac, Oregon, Wisconsin

Apply for the George Williams Young Professional Grant Fund

Job title: Sales manager, Iron Spring Farm, Coatesville, Pennsylvania (ironspringfarm.com) What I do: I’m the contact throughout the whole sales process. I talk to the clients, give them the basic information. THE RIGHT START: Alston aboard a future sale horse If they’re interested in moving forward with the horse, I connect them with the horse’s rider. I’m the host once they come out. I greet them. I give them a tour of the barn. Then we move on to the ring. I help negotiate a price if that’s part of the deal. I help set up a prepurchase [exam]. I help set up shipping for the horse. I do ride, as well, but [in this job] I’m more behind the scenes. How I got started: I’ve been at Iron Spring two years in July. At [my former job at] Hilltop [Farm in Maryland], I was still doing a lot of [sport-horse] handling. I was looking for a way to broaden my horizons. Best thing about my job: Meeting people, and seeing how horses move people. Worst thing about my job: I feel a little bit disconnected from my family at times, just because of the schedule that horse people lead. My horses: Back at home, we have three broodmares. I think one will become my riding horse this year. Tip: Support the breed shows. They’re such a good way to get the performance and riding horses ready for their careers—and they’re so much fun.

Megan McIsaac is a USDF-certified instructor through Second Level and a USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist. She is the owner of the dressage training facility Lindinhof Equine Sports Zentrum (lindinhof. com).

Last December, friends and colleagues of outgoing USDF president George Williams surprised him by seeding a new fund in his name at The Dressage Foundation, to honor his contributions to USDF and the sport of dressage (“Changing of the Guard,” February). Williams was to determine the focus and eligibility criteria for the fund.

—Katherine Walcott

RAISING THE BAR: McIsaac

How I got started in dressage: I fell in love with horses when I was two years old. My parents put me on a horse at a family reunion, and I couldn’t talk about anything else. At age eight, I began receiving formal training from a local instructor. I wanted to become certified because: I wanted to raise my standard of dressage training and instruction for myself, my horses, and my students. What surprised me the most about the process: The support of the faculty. I felt challenged by the exam as well as supported and encouraged to go further. Training tip: Go for it! Push yourself pass your comfort zone. Go through all the workshops, the mock testing, and the final exam. Study and trust your training.  Contact me: lindinhofllc@gmail. com or (608) 445-8531. —Jamie Humphries

12 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

HELPING HAND: George Williams at the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions in 2006

In April, TDF announced the launch of the George Williams Young Professional Fund, for dressage professionals ages 25 to 35. Applications are now being accepted for grants ranging from $3,000 to $5,000. Applicants should have established businesses as instructors and trainers, and should have a strong desire to participate in continuing-education opportunities in order to provide higher-quality instruction to students. Applications are due June 1. TDF welcomes donations to further support young professionals through the George Williams Fund. To apply, donate, or learn more, visit DressageFoundation.org or call (402) 434-8585.

COURTESY OF QUINNTEN ALSTON; TERRI MILLER; COURTESY OF SUSANJSTICKLE.COM

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Collection USDF BULLETINS First Look: 2019 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®

Date: November 7-10 Location: Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Kentucky Prize money: $100,000 Travel grants: Riders from Washington state, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado are eligible to apply Judges: Jayne Ayers, Anne Cizaldo, Heidi Gaian, Sarah Geikie, Louise Koch, Natalie Lamping, Jeanne McDonald, Amy McElroy, Michael Osinski, Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez, Lisa Schmidt, and Marilyn Payne Prize list available: June 1 How to qualify: Based on placing or by obtaining a wild-card score in any open or adult-amateur Great American/USDF Regional Championship class Opening date for declarations: July 1 Opening date for nominations: September 11 More information: USDressageFinals.com.

Is Your Horse Declared for the All-Breeds Awards Program?

Declaring a horse for the 2019 USDF All-Breeds Awards program is easy. Simply submit a copy of your horse’s breedor performance-registry papers along with a completed All-Breeds Awards Declaration Form with fee to USDF no later than August 1. Declaration form is available under Awards.

Oh No! I Lost My Bronze Medal!

Not to worry: USDF offers duplicate and replacement All-Breeds medals, rider medals, and rider and horse performance certificates for a nominal fee. Contact the USDF office for assistance.

Applying for USDF Rider Awards Is Simple

After all award requirements are met, complete the easy online USDF Rider Performance Awards Application under Awards. Applications must be received by September 30 for the award to be recognized in the 2019 competition year.

Want to Compete in a Different Regional Championships?

Riders wishing to compete at a Great American/USDF Regional Dressage Championships in a region other than the region of residence associated with their membership information on file as of July 1 must submit a Change of Region Form and fee. Submit the form online via the Great American/USDF Regional Championship Competitors page of the USDF website.

Prizes Offered for Adult Amateur Equitation

USDF is proud to announce that Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supply has signed on as the presenting sponsor of the USDF Regional Adult Amateur Equitation Finals. Champions will each receive a $100 Big Dee’s gift certificate, with reserve champions receiving $75 gift certificates and third-place finishers, $50 gift certificates. A USDF Adult Amateur Equitation Regional Final class will be held in conjunction with each of the nine Great American/USDF Regional Championships competitions. See the USDF website for dates, locations, and qualifying requirements.

14 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION


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Salute The GMO Revitalizer In this new column, we celebrate a dressage success story. Meet the GMO president who’s engineered her club’s remarkable turnaround.

had renewed their EIDEA memberships. “I was pretty deflated to find out that at the time I took office, our group had fallen to 21 members, a third of whom were on the board!” Rude says. “And I thought to myself: ‘I just went through all that work for 21 people?’”

A GMO in Free Fall The EIDEA was suffering the same fate as some other USDF groupmember organizations (GMOs), especially those located in parts of the country with smaller populations of dressage enthusiasts or that serve such large geographic areas that members are forced to travel long distances to attend meetings and club events: declining member numbers, decreasing attendance, and waning interest overall.

Reinventing the EIDEA

DRESSAGE DYNAMO: EIDEA president Jean Rude and her Oldenburg gelding, Hot-Royal Hit

Rude’s first orders of business were to convene a board and then to revamp the organization’s newsletter, moving it from print to online. She started with a quote from a dressage master, found beautiful imagery, and spent hours creating compelling content for On the Bit. Then, at Rude’s first board meeting as president, the renewal report came up. A grand total of 21 people

The new EIDEA president had inherited a club that seemed to be nearing the brink of extinction. Luckily for the GMO, Rude, of Iowa City, Iowa, is a marketing and advertising professional with more than 25 years of experience. In her current position as a marketing specialist with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Rude helps students pursuing business concepts to develop marketing and branding strategies to bring their ideas to life. Rude decided to treat the struggling GMO the same way she would treat a client: by devising a plan for growth. “We started by rebranding the entire organization,” Rude says.

16 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

“Updated logo, new color palette, a very friendly message style, and a new tagline of ‘Your Hub for Community and Education,’ because we wanted to underscore those benefits of membership.” One day, Rude was interviewing for a job via live video conference using the free app Google Hangouts. As she describes it, a light bulb went off: Why not host the EIDEA meetings that same way, especially with some members living hundreds of miles from one another? The switch from all face-to-face board meetings to some conducted via videoconference was an immediate success, Rude says, and helped to rebuild enthusiasm for the GMO and to reignite members who are challenged by distance or time constraints. With EIDEA members able to connect for free from any location using a tablet, smartphone, or computer, participation soared. The use of technology also enabled the club to host sought-after dressage professionals from around the country as speakers. EIDEA members have enjoyed learning Jodie Kelly’s “Strategies for the Warmup” and Megan McIsaac’s horse-shopping pointers, among others. Recently GMO members gathered both online and at a library for a Feldenkrais session with biomechanics expert Dave Thind.

Engaging the Membership Of course, sometimes you have to actually be where the horses are. The EIDEA successfully launched an event called Taste a Wine, Ride a Test, after Rude read about a similar concept done by a California group. As the name implies, members get test-riding feedback from a judge while enjoying some libations.

COURTESY OF JEAN RUDE

W

hen Jean Rude was elected president of the Eastern Iowa Dressage and Eventing Association (EIDEA) in November 2017, she wasn’t even at the meeting. “I had told the former president I was willing to help. The next morning, I get an e-mail telling me I’ve just been elected president. I think I was the only candidate,” Rude (pronounced Ru - dee) says with a laugh.

By Colleen Scott


• Distribute a barn poster/calendar in January (even with TBD dates). • Recognize members’ contributions at every opportunity. • Officers: Set aside a specific time each week to devote to club business. (Sunday nights, you’ll find Rude working on GMO planning and projects.)

Achievements in and out of the Saddle

COURTESY OF JEAN RUDE

REMOVING OBSTACLES: Distance is no longer a barrier to attending (or speaking at) EIDEA meetings and events, like this videoconferenced 2019 Feldenkrais session with Dave Thind. Some GMO members gathered at a local library (pictured) while others watched online from rural Iowa or as far away as Florida.

Other well-received programs were a workshop on self-confidence and a demonstration of massage techniques. “You can’t be all things to all people,” Rude says of her club. “The focus has to be on the activities that will be the most engaging to your membership.” To promote events, EIDEA produces and distributes a poster highlighting the entire year’s offerings. “Members all receive a poster at the beginning of the year and help distribute them to area barns,” says Rude. “Everyone in the barns sees our brand and all the interesting things they could attend during the year. The posters really helped generate excitement and more word of mouth.” The proof of the EIDEA’s turnaround is in the numbers: In just 18 months since Rude took office, the GMO’s roster has nearly tripled, boasting 62 members at the time of our interview.

• Plan your club’s events for an entire year up front, and bravely publish them. You can always adjust. • Use technology to make it easier for members to engage.

Rude, who says she first sat on a horse at age three, is a USDF bronze medalist who currently campaigns her Oldenburg gelding, Hot-Royal Hit, at Third Level and is working toward Fourth. We salute your success, both in and out of the show ring!

Colleen Scott lives, works, and rides in Kansas City, Missouri. She competes with her half-Arabian mare, Kiss a Girl LOA, on the Arabian circuit in the hunter pleasure division.

Takeaways for Your GMO We asked Rude to share her advice for other struggling organizations. Her tips:

USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

17


Clinic TRAINING CLASSIC

Sequential Schooling of the Dressage Horse Eighth in a series. This month: The development of piaffe with half-steps.

T

here are two effective methods of preliminary schooling for piaffe. Piaffe may be developed by work in hand or under saddle with half-steps. A good piaffe may be developed by using either of these methods individually or in conjunction with each other. A commonly observed method—hit-

The beginning piaffe. The piaffe has rhythm, but it still needs to develop engagement and elevation. The horse has not yet developed the strength to allow the rider to sit deeply.

This piaffe has increased elevation, but a greater fault—lack of engagement—has crept in. Although it appears more spectacular, this piaffe is not as correct as that shown above. Adapted from a series published in Dressage & CT, September 1978-October 1979. Reprinted by permission of the estate of Ivan I. Bezugloff Jr.

By Hilda Gurney ting a tense horse while restraining him from moving forward—is ineffective because the tension produced inhibits engagement and kinesthetic function of the horse’s body. Piaffe should be developed in the same sequential manner as all dressage schooling. The horse’s body must be allowed to develop gradually through the use of halfsteps, ground work, or both. Correct schooling will usually result in a relaxed, impulsive piaffe. Work in hand or with half-steps is generally begun when the horse is capable of fairly good Third Level work. Collected trot should be established with the horse properly connected between the rider’s leg and hand, using his back, and moving with relaxation and impulsion. Long, springy, engaged strides are a result of the horse’s moving into the bit energetically and free of tension. Cramping the horse’s neck and back through overuse of the rein aids results in a loss of springiness, stride length, and engagement. If this fault occurs, half-step work should be postponed until the horse is reestablished in moving into the bit without tension or being cramped. Half-steps are exactly what the name indicates—“half steps.” The collected trot is shortened to the greatest degree the horse can handle while remaining straight, on the bit, regular, energetic, and springy. A flat jog is desirable in some equestrian disciplines but must never be substituted for half-steps. The maximum shortness of steps is best maintained for five to 15 meters, then followed by a halt. Half-steps may again be asked for from the halt, and this “halt/half-step” pat-

18 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

tern may be repeated three or four times in each direction. If the horse becomes crooked, irregular, off the bit, or sluggish, push him forward into collected trot, put him back on the aids, and again shorten his steps. Ask for less than before so as to avoid resistance. Half-steps may also be practiced from the walk rather than the halt. Working from the walk makes it much easier to get the half-steps but can—and frequently does—create havoc with the walk. If this happens, go back to the “halt/ half-step” pattern. Half-steps are best practiced at the end of the work session, when the horse is most submissive to new demands and can be rewarded by being returned to the stable. Gradually the half-steps may be asked for more in place until the horse performs a forward piaffe. Rhythm and regularity are the important factors to look for in the beginning piaffe. Horses generally fall into three categories in piaffe work: 1. The powerful horse that learns piaffe under saddle with engaged haunches, rhythm, and activity without any need for help from the ground. (One powerful Thoroughbred I worked with did a splendid piaffe the very first time he was asked and consistently performed it from then on.) 2. The horse that tends to lose activity or engagement and needs some assistance from the ground. 3. The horse that has difficulty learning piaffe with weight on his back and must be taught piaffe in hand. However, every horse can profit from being worked in hand. The aids for half-steps and piaffe


are similar. Both legs are carried back, and the rider’s seat is lightened slightly to enable the horse to round his back and engage his haunches. The deeper seat and slightly more forward leg position used in passage provides differentiation of aids between the two movements. In piaffe the rider’s legs may pulsate together, alternately, or one more than the other in cases when the horse tends to go crooked or to be lazier with one hind leg. The rein contact is generally light since the horse will elevate and shorten his frame in the very engaged piaffe; however, the horse must remain in front of the rider’s leg aids. Dropping behind the leg aids is a common fault, resulting in loss of activity, going above the bit, hollowing the back, lack of engagement, unlevel steps, or backing up. Going in front of the leg results in even more exciting movement: courbette, capriole, levade, or just plain leap! Keeping a horse on the aids in the intensely demanding piaffe is not easy, and great care must be taken to achieving a quality piaffe on the aids. The function of a ground person is to assist the horse in maintaining activity, regularity, and engagement in the half-steps and piaffe. He or she stands about even with the rider’s leg, in which position the ground person is usually out of range of a kick. The rider must help prevent the horse from turning his haunches toward the ground person or hurrying ahead and leaving the ground person behind the haunches. At first, the ground person should just walk alongside the horse in order to accustom him to his or her presence. Walk may be alternated with halts, when the horse may be stroked with the hand or whip. Whenever the horse feels at ease, half-steps can be practiced alternating with halts. The whip may be used in many ways to assist with engagement, activity, and/or regularity. Horses respond differently to a touch of the whip on various places on their bod-

USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

19


Clinic ies. Many horses respond beautifully with the whip just being held behind them, without using it at all. When tapped on the top of the croup, some horses will lower it and piaffe beautifully; others lower it too much and “sit down”; still others will bump their croups up against the whip. Use the whip on the croup only if the first result happens. Taps slightly above the hock assist in engagement of the entire hind leg. Taps below the hock assist in bending the stifle and hock (which are reciprocal joints) and may also assist in elevation of the hind legs. Some horses that tend to step back too far with their hind legs respond to the whip being held just behind the hind tendons so that the horse taps himself whenever he steps back. Both hind legs should be tapped as necessary, and it is advisable to school the horse in both directions to prevent irregularities from developing. Relaxation must be maintained. Avoid creating tension through harsh or excessive use of the whip. Tension results in irregularities, although a degree of excitement is necessary for the horse to rise to the demands of piaffe and passage. The in-hand whip should be fairly stiff to enable the handler to have good control of it. I prefer a length of between four and five feet. The elevation of the hind legs must never be greater than that of the forelegs. If this occurs, use the whip above the hock or on the croup. Alternating a forward piaffe with trot will increase the elevation of the forelegs. Piaffe should always be practiced forward in order to confirm forward movement and foreleg elevation. Crookedness generally causes irregular steps; this is frequently a result of practicing tooshort half-steps too soon. In such cases, return to more forward halfsteps. Working with the rail on the side to which the horse throws his haunches will also assist in correcting crookedness. Uneven rein contact, one of the rider’s legs carried

A fully developed, well-elevated, and engaged piaffe

too far back or used more strongly than the other, or a crooked-sitting rider will also cause irregularities. Horses can be irregular in the piaffe in various ways. A serious irregularity is stepping with alternating long and short steps. Alternating between trot and half-steps may correct this problem. Another correction is to push the horse’s haunches slightly toward the shortstepping side, which relieves the inside short-stepping hind from carrying weight and encourages the horse to step evenly. Whenever the horse consistently steps evenly, he should gradually be straightened again. Thrusting more with one pair of diagonals than the other is another form of irregularity. This fault generally results from unsoundness, lack of impulsion, or tension. If the cause is unsoundness, discontinue the half-step work and consult a veterinarian. However, I have known many horses with chronic hind-leg problems that showed up at working and extended gaits but that were absolutely regular in the highly collected exercises because of the smaller range of leg movement required in collected work. If lack of impulsion is the cause of the irregularity, try alternating the piaffe work with trot, asking a ground person to help create sufficient impulsion, or working the horse in hand so that he is relieved of the rider’s weight. In cases in which tension causes the irregu-

20 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

larity, the level of tension must be eased. Practice half-steps and piaffe only when the horse feels in a relaxed mood. Lessen the demands for activity or elevation until the regularity problem is solved. Work without a ground person, or if it’s necessary to have one, ask very little and give the horse frequent periods of reward consisting of rest and an edible treat. Let the horse know when you’re pleased, and lessen your demands on him. It may also help to sit slightly lighter. Increase your demands again only when relaxation and regularity are established, and proceed more slowly and with more praise and tact than before. Lifting one hind leg or foreleg more than another while pushing and stepping regularly is a fairly minor problem. Often this is caused by uneven rein contact. Pushing the horse better into the aids while lightening and suppling him on his hard side will usually solve this problem. Stepping back is a problem that will never occur if the piaffe is always schooled moving forward into the aids. Lack of engagement is best corrected by work in hand, which will be discussed in the next article in this series, along with the development of passage. In the next issue: Passage and work in hand. When Hilda Gurney wrote this series for Dressage & CT magazine, it had been only two years since she had won a team bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics with her legendary Thoroughbred, Keen. Forty years later, Gurney is still going strong at her Keenridge in Moorpark, CA, where she continues to ride, train, and teach. For her contributions as a dressage professional, competitor, judge, sport-horse breeder, and more, she was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in 2007. Keen was inducted in 1997.


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Free Rein Judges Need Better Continuing Education Dressage enthusiasts never lack for opinions. In this inaugural column, a respected judge airs her views on issues of the moment.

A

s dressage enthusiasts, we all want to see our sport get better. Improvement has many facets. Over my 40 years of participation, I have seen the quality of horses change dramatically, both for the average competitor and at the elite level. Horses that won medals a few decades ago would not make the mid-scoring teams today. Horse care and show management have evolved greatly, taking full advantage of new research findings and technologies. Innovations in footing and facilities have raised our expectations of what constitutes a good show. For me, however, the key factor in our sport that needs attention today is judging. We must first expect that our corps of judges will continue to learn and grow in their skills, and then provide the pathways and support for them to do so. When they enter at A, competitors count on getting a fair assessment of their performances, as well as good advice on how to improve. Judging can support what instructors are trying to get across to their students. It can also serve as a check on the quality of instruction, if persistent conflicts in advice are noted. Some riders who lack access to regular instruction depend on the judges’ marks and comments as their primary source of feedback to point the way forward. Correct, consistent judging also helps to ensure that the best competitors win the awards, and that the top ones receive the scholarships and grants that help to pave the pathway to the elite level. Is there a problem with judging today? It’s a bit like asking whether

PRICELESS EDUCATION: Conferring with other judges on a panel, as these 2012 London Olympics judges are doing here, is a valuable learning experience

we need lessons to improve our riding. Judging is a skill, just like riding. To maintain a skill, or better yet improve it, one must not only practice, but also receive frequent guidance on how to improve. A dressage-judging career starts with a lot of that. Our judges work very hard to get their licenses: training programs, organized co-judging with more experienced colleagues, sitting-in to listen at shows, taking written and practical tests, attending forums. Then, unless they are working for an upgrade, the continuing-education requirements are minimal, and other types of opportunities to hone skills are hard to find. All licensed judges must attend a US Equestrian Continuing Education program once every three years. Showing up is all that is required.

22 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

There is no testing of skills and little individual feedback. Those sitting in the back of a large group have been known to be playing games on their laptops in the guise of “taking notes.” The expense—the clinic fee, the travel costs, the lost work time—is all borne by the judge. To their credit, most of our dressage judges attend more frequently than is mandated, averaging every two years, which is more than judges in any other US Equestrian division. I was involved with the planning of these continuing-education clinics for over 25 years, but I was never really satisfied that they provided a sufficient opportunity for judges to develop their skills. Most judges care about doing a good job and improving their eye, but there are still variations in scoring that show up when judges work together in panels. It is expected that there will be differences in scores because each judge has a different view of the arena and therefore focuses on different aspects of the performance. The differences should be only a few percentage points, however, and we sometimes see much larger differences. The placings within a judging panel should be similar, but they sometimes are not. At shows with solo judges, we sometimes see competitors with very similar rides in two different arenas get very different scores. More standardization seems to be needed. We also sometimes see comments that don’t match what happened in the ring. This could result from a momentary lack of attention, like when the coffee spilled, but it

JENNIFER BRYANT

By Jayne Ayers


happens too often for that to be the primary reason. All judges can use work to develop a more discerning eye and to be clearer about the criteria for the movements. What about those mystery remarks? Sometimes the scribe merely mis-hears the comment, as in the humorous “weaving from ecstasy” instead of “weaving from X to C.” Other times, the problem is a poorly worded comment or a misuse of terminology. Formulating comments is another skill that needs years of practice to hone and would benefit from guidance along the way. What additional steps can be taken to allow our corps of judges to keep improving their skills? I judged for 12 years before I became an FEI judge. When I started judging on panels of three and five with others much more experienced than I, I really started to learn. The arenadrag breaks were required every six horses for years, and so during those breaks we would gather to

discuss what we had seen. “What did you give for the two-tempis?” “What did you do with that horse with the weird canter?” “Wasn’t that first pirouette super?” At first I just listened, but later I gained the confidence to chime in when I discovered that it was all right to disagree (the best discussions came from that!) and that I wouldn’t be criticized for making a mistake, because everyone made them at times. Those whose first language was not English loved finding ways to describe things in American dressage vocabulary. The USDF Glossary of Judging Terms was a popular resource. Those ringside chats were better than any formal forum or course. Many judges recognize that panel-judging is one of the best ways to standardize the scoring, spread good ideas, and keep everyone on their toes. Show management rightly complains about the cost of hiring the additional judges. Here is one idea: Perhaps judges at all

levels, including US Equestrian “S” judges, could fulfill the continuingeducation requirement by offering their services at a certain number of shows for no fee—to judge with a colleague at the same or a higher license level, and to commit to discussing a certain number of rides, especially any with differences in scoring. Paperwork on this might be required. If judges were able to fulfill the requirement at shows in their area, their continuing-education costs might be reduced. The opportunity to occasionally judge alongside foreign judges could offer additional perspectives. Another continuing-education option would be to implement the use of webinars, with videos and large numbers of people participating from the comfort of their homes. These are popular with judges in the strongest dressage countries in Europe, so there would be a model to follow. As technology evolves, we would be welladvised to make use of it. [

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Free Rein The most controversial aspect of judges’ continuing education would be a system of accountability, in which judges’ skills are assessed using show results (as is currently being instituted by the FEI) or tested separately. Judges take a written test on the rule book, but the ability to assess performance is never tested after the initial examination to move into a new license. I will leave that sticky wicket for another day, since it deals with highly complex issues, but it should be discussed. During my own competition days, I got some wonderful scores from judges who apparently did not see that my horse swapped leads in the canter extension or stuck in the walk pirouette, or who didn’t know how much bend should be shown for a 7 in the halfpass. I would have been better served by one who saw my shortcomings and made me practice harder. Competitors worry that they will receive lower scores when they ride in front of a panel. Panels will pro-

duce different scores because of the different views, but the overall totals are not necessarily lower. Getting feedback from the side and corner views of the arena helps to uncover important performance issues and adds clues to how the training and riding could be improved. How much better it is to find problems well before a championship show and deal with them in advance, rather than to be surprised by the comments from the judge at B at the end of the season! Good judging helps every aspect of the sport. It helps to build a strong base of riders, keeps the trainers on their toes, and makes sure that the best horses win. As the responsibility for organizing judges’ continuing education transitions from US Equestrian to the USDF, there is opportunity to evaluate the longstanding formats and to use creative thinking to devise better solutions.

Meet the Columnist

J

ayne Ayers is an FEI 4* dressage judge, a US Equestrian and FEI Young Horse judge, and a US Equestrian dressage sport-horse breeding and dressage-seat equitation judge. She is a faculty member of the USDF L program and a past chair of the US Equestrian Dressage Committee. Based in Wisconsin, she teaches dressage riders at all levels and coaches for competition.

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American Connemara Pony Society American Dutch Harness Horse Association American Hackney Horse Society American Haflinger Registry American Hanoverian Society American Morgan Horse Association American Mule Association American Mustang & Burro Association American Paint Horse Association American Quarter Horse Association American Rhineland Studbook American Saddlebred Registry American Shire Horse Association American Trakehner Association American Warmblood Registry American Warmblood Society and Sporthorse Registry Appaloosa Horse Club Arabian Horse Association Belgian Warmblood Breeding Association Canadian Hanoverian Society Canadian Horse Breeders Association Canadian Sport Horse Association Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America *Clydesdale Breeders of the U.S.A Curly Sporthorse International Draft Cross Breeders & Owners Association Fell Pony Society of North America The Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse Friesian Heritage Horse & Sporthorse International Friesian Horse Association of North America Friesian Horse Society Friesian Sport Horse Registry Friesian Sporthorse Association

German Sport Horse Association Gypsy Horse Registry of America Gypsy Vanner Horse Society *Holsteiner Verband - North American Breeding District Hungarian Horse Association of America International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association International Drum Horse Association International Friesian Show Horse Association International Georgian Grande Horse Registry International Rescue Horse Registry International Sporthorse Registry/Oldenburg NA Irish Draught Horse Society of North America Knabstrupperforeningen for Danmark KWPN of North America New Forest Pony Society of North America North American Danish Warmblood Association North American Shagya Arabian Society NorthAmerican Sportpony Registry Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry Oldenburg Horse Breeders Society NA Division of GOV Percheron Horse Association of America Performance Horse Registry Performance Shagya-Arabian Registry Pinto Horse Association of America Rheinland Pfalz-Saar International Spanish-Norman Horse Registry Swedish Warmblood Association of North America *Trakehner Association of North America United States Lipizzan Federation United States P.R.E. Association Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America Weser-Em Ponies & Small Horses Registry of the GOV Westfalen NA *Denotes a new Participating Organization for 2019.

A complete listing of the AdequanÂŽ/USDF All-Breeds Awards Participating Organizations, program rules, and award standings are available on the USDF website at www.usdf.org. For questions e-mail allbreeds@usdf.org.

2019 All-Breeds Participating Organizations

These organizations, in partnership with USDF, promote and recognize a high standard of accomplishment within their breed, through their participation in the AdequanÂŽ/USDF All-Breeds Awards Program.


Offering over $240,000 in prize money, the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships provide a showcase for achievement and feature qualified riders competing in open, adult amateur, and junior/young rider divisions for regional honors. These championships also serve as the qualifiers for the 2019 US Dressage Finals presented by AdequanÂŽ.

www.usdf.org


Great American Insurance Group/USDF

Regional Dressage Championships © SusanJStickle

©CarolynnBunch

2019 Dates and Locations Region 1

Region 4

Region 7

October 3-6, 2019 Williamston, NC

September 26-29, 2019 Cumming, IA

September 19-22, 2019 Rancho Murieta, CA

Region 2

Region 5

Region 8

September 11-15, 2019 Grass Lake, MI

September 19-22, 2019 Parker, CO

September 19-22, 2019 Saugerties, NY

Region 3

Region 6

Region 9

October 11-13, 2019 Conyers, GA

September 19-22, 2019 Sherwood, OR

October 3-6, 2019 Katy, TX

Regional Championships are qualifying competitions for the US Dressage Finals See the calendar at www.usdf.org for the most current dates, locations, and competition contact information.

Title Sponsor of the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships Great American is one of the world’s leading providers of equine mortality insurance and related coverages in addition to offering a full line of property and casualty products for the equestrian community through its equine farm center. To learn more about Great American Insurance, visit www.greatamericaninsurancegroup.com. Presenting Sponsor of the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships The patented SmartPak supplement feeding system gives horse owners peace of mind with its premeasured dosages for each horse. To learn more about SmartPak or to shop their products, visit www.smartpak.com. Supporting Sponsor of the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships Since 1996 the team at Platinum Performance has been focused on researching the role of nutrition in equine health and developing formulas to help improve the health and performance of the horse. To learn more about Platinum Performance visit www.platinumperformance.com.


GMO How to Start a GMO Could your area use a USDF-affiliated dressage club? Here’s how to get started. By Jill Chamblin the benefits of belonging to multiple GMOs, with their varied benefits and educational and competitive offerings. Ask friends, barn mates, and local trainers to gauge whether there’s enough interest to form a new club. All you need to qualify for GMO status is 25 members!

What Kind of Club Do You Want? GMOs range in size from small, localized clubs to large organizations with paid staffers and a sophisticated system of chapters serving an

GMOS MAKE IT HAPPEN: At a USDF L program session with Axel Steiner (center) hosted by the California Dressage Society

dressage and horses while receiving support from the only US national organization devoted exclusively to dressage. Although there are more than 100 GMOs affiliated with USDF, not all dressage enthusiasts have easy access to a local organization. Visit the USDF website (usdf.org) to view a current list of GMOs in each of USDF’s nine regions. Even if an existing GMO serves all or part of your area, know that USDF does not regulate GMOs’ geographic proximity. In some parts of the country, dressage enthusiasts enjoy

entire state or broader area. As you formulate your prospective GMO’s model, evaluate the needs in your area in order to create a package that is appealing to your future membership base. Some GMOs host large competitions and year-end award and championship programs, while others focus primarily on education. And not all GMOs are dressage-only: Many cater to equestrians with interests ranging from dressage and eventing to driving. You’ll need to choose the membership structure that best serves the needs of your GMO’s prospective

28 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

members. Some clubs offer only one type of membership; others have diverse membership categories and prices, such as for individuals, families, and youth. However the membership categories are structured, all dues-paying members automatically become group members of USDF. Failure to submit rosters and dues for all dues-paying members to the USDF office can jeopardize the group’s USDF affiliation status.

Why Become a GMO? USDF affiliation offers numerous benefits, both to GMO members and to the club’s officers and directors and any staffers. GMO officials have access to platforms in which they can discuss and share ideas, and learn from individuals and other groups across the nation in a fun, safe, and creative environment. Officials can interact and get the latest news and information through the GMOPrez List (a Yahoo forum for GMO officials), the USDF GMO Officials Facebook group, and quarterly USDF GMO Officials eNews. USDF offers services, promotional materials, and educational programs to benefit any club, including: • Voting representation at the Board of Governors General Assembly at the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention • Opportunity for national exposure through USDF media • Eligibility to host educational programs through the USDF National Education Initiative • Access to prepackaged educational materials for use at GMO events • Eligibility to receive recognition for excellence in GMO web-

USDF FILE PHOTO

A

re you an individual looking to start a club for likeminded people who share a passion for dressage? Is there a need in your area for organized dressage education or competitions? If so, you might be surprised to learn how easy it is for a club to be affiliated with USDF as a group-member organization, or GMO. USDF affiliation benefits both the club and its members, providing the opportunity to be part of a larger community that shares a loyalty to


Intro to GMO Affiliation The USDF membership year is December 1-November 30, but a club can become affiliated with USDF at any time. The requirements to attain GMO status are quite simple. Provided a group does not have policies or bylaws that conflict with USDF’s own bylaws, your club and its members will enjoy all of the benefits associated with USDF affiliation by submitting the following. • Start-up fee of $25 (one-time fee) • Affiliate Verification Form (submitted annually) • List of your GMO’s officials (submitted annually) • Roster of current members (submitted quarterly) • Dues for current members (submitted quarterly). To maintain USDF affiliation, GMOs are required to submit membership rosters and updates along with membership dues. Rosters must be submitted quarterly, but we encourage GMOs to submit roster updates and dues as frequently as possible so members don’t miss out on their USDF group-membership benefits. GMOs are required to have 25 members by September 1 of the current membership year and must meet this requirement in order to

have voting rights at the annual Board of Governors General Assembly. The Affiliate Verification Form must be submitted to USDF annually.

Resources As you explore the possibility of forming a club or of affiliating an existing club with USDF, visit the GMO Guide page of the USDF website. This comprehensive resource contains a marketing guide, ads and logos for GMOs’ use, all forms relevant to affiliation

with USDF, and nomination forms for GMO awards. Also housed on this site is the GMO Handbook, which contains information on establishing and running a GMO. For more information on USDF affiliation or starting a GMO in your area, contact the USDF office at gmo@usdf.org. Jill Chamblin is the USDF’s GMO coordinator.

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sites, in newsletter articles and photography, and in innovative programming through the annual USDF GMO awards. USDF group members—the members of your GMO—enjoy many membership perks, as well, including a hard-copy mailing of USDF’s award-winning magazine, USDF Connection; the ability to compete at USEF-licensed/USDFrecognized competitions without paying the USDF nonmember fee; eligibility for USDF rider awards; eligibility to participate in USDF’s new Regional Schooling Show Awards Program; discounts through the USDF store and at USDF events; and discounts with USDF’s Member Perks partners.

Shop online at ChoiceofChamps.com USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

29


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Who’s Your daddy? How to Choose a stallion for Your Mare

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wenty years ago, the USDF did a Carpe diem and took control of its own message. In a somewhat unusual choice for a sizeable nonprofit member organization, for the first quarter-century of its existence the USDF did not publish its own magazine for members. For years the closest approximation was the quarterly black-andwhite newsletter USDF Bulletin, a modest affair printed on plain paper and containing USDF news, some awards and results with photos, and occasional articles but fairly light on the content overall. With USDF Bulletin the sole publication, and these being the days before the Internet and social media enabled a constant stream of information, the result was that there wasn’t a lot of regular communication between the USDF and its members. The 1990s brought two backto-back attempts by the USDF to have its proverbial cake and eat it too. By lending its imprimatur to a commercially published dressage magazine, the USDF got—in theory—the benefits of providing members with a monthly full-color glossy while avoiding some of the costs IN THE BEGINNING: USDF members received the quarterly USDF Bulletin of actually produc(pictured: Winter 1978 issue) ing the magazine. (Disclosure: I became the editor of the second “USDF official publication,” itself a reboot of the pioneering Dressage & CT, part way through that magazine’s short second lifespan.) But neither of those ventures with major consumer “enthusiast magazine” publishers lasted, and in 1998 the USDF found itself magazine-less again. Seeking a stopgap measure while trying to figure out its next step, the USDF briefly resurrected the blackand-white newsletter format, self-publishing a handful of monthly issues of Transition in early 1999. As then USDF president Ellin Dixon Miller explained in the inaugural January 1999 issue, the direction of USDF’s official publication was a key topic at the 1998 USDF

Annual Convention in Savannah, Georgia. As Miller recounted, the USDF explored its options, soliciting member input as well as gathering proposals from three publishers of existing equestrian magazines that bid to become the new official USDF INTERIM MEASURE: USDF published the monthly newsletter Transition (pictured: publication. In the the February 1999 issue) while it debated end, “the Execuin which direction to take its membertive Board voted to magazine strategy move forward with our own in-house publication,” Miller wrote, and promised that members would find the still-nameless new magazine in their mailboxes that spring.

The New Connection to Members Miller made good on her promise. USDF members received the inaugural issue of their new member magazine, USDF Connection, in May 1999. The 30-page publication was assembled by USDF staffers—who at the time were still based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The printer was the Lincoln-based Boomer’s DOWN CENTER LINE: The inaugural issue of USDF Connection entered the arena in Printing Company, May 1999. Gracing the cover were 1998 the business owned American Bankers Insurance Group/USDF by USDF founder Region 1 Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur champions Judy Downer and Dux. Lowell Boomer, whose offices for years also housed the USDF. In her “Executive Message,” Miller welcomed readers to the new publication, exhorting that “now for the first time in years, we have complete control over the content of the entire magazine you will receive.” Explaining the magazine’s name, she urged members to “[l]et USDF

USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

31


ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

2012 stallion and Breeding issue

Steffen Peters Wins World Cup Final

2009 Yearbook

stallion Guide p. 56 2009 Adequan/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year Ravel and Steffen Peters

Who’s Your daddy? How to Choose a stallion for Your Mare

the Lateral Canter (or is it?)

Are You a Pain in Your Horse’s Back? Expert Insights and Solutions

by dr. Hilary Clayton (p. 26)

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June 2010

usdf ConneCtion be your ‘connection’ for knowledge, contributed the occasional story. A The organization has been in ReCiPe FOR A HeALtHy HORSe F a an edieducation, competition, and fun in year later Lee, who wasL not Lexington for so long—it moved to the sport of dressage.” torial professional by training, told leased office space near downtown Some of the key components of the USDF that she’d become overin spring 2002 and in the spring of that first issue carry on today. The whelmed by the demands and relent- 2006 settled into its current home May 1999 issue contained a research less deadlines associated with USDF at the Kentucky Horse Park—that usdf ConneCtion update on “Bits and Bitting” from Connection’s production schedule— many members probably can’t cone show issu then McPhail Dressage Chairholder 2010 what Dressage & CT founding ediceive of the USDF’s being anywhere Yearbook and world-renowned equine-biometor the late Ivan Bezugloff Jr. once else. But in 2001 the decision to chanics expert Dr. Hilary Clayton— eloquently termed “the tyranny of a leave Lincoln was a contentious whose contributions were first pubmonthly magazine.” Lee left, and the one, with some USDF members lished in Dressage & CT—and who organization was in the lurch. saddened at the thought of leavusd fthey C o today is USDF Connection’s longestWho ya gonna call? DYes, ing the organization’s birthplace ressa n ge riD neC er s tion and others arguing that a national running contributing editor. The called me, and for better or for USDF Judges Committee, one of the worse (I hope you think it’s mostly organization should remain headmost proactive in generating usefor better), I’ve held the editor’s quartered squarely in the center of ful and important content through reins ever since. the country. the years, launched its well-received Needing to up its production Highlights and Lowlights tion “The Judge’s Box” column with its game, the neC n o It’s human nature to be quick then chair, the late Elizabeth Searle, USDF had con-usdf C to complain yet slow to praise. sharing her “Thoughts About the tracted with an FocuesnAonFootinugction Ar onstr Magazine readWalk.” Officials from the USDF outside graphic And c ers don’t tend Technical Delegates and Junior/ designer to take to call or write Young Rider Councils penned inforover the magaConneCtion when they love mational articles. Wanting to share usdf zine’s layout sport-Horse issue something, but the history of American dressage duties. Laura ConneCtion usdf ConneCtion when an article with a new generation of enthusiCarter of the IN REMEMBRANCE: Al show issue or a photo ticks asts, then USDF Region 3 director Missouri-based As the first issue usdf ConneCtion produced following Sue Bender (who today is back2012 in Yearbookthem off, you’ll Carter Pubthe 9/11 tragedy, the hear about it, that same position) wrote a profile lishing Studio newly redesigned CHANGES: The stat! The advent of Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall redesigned the USDF Connection year 2001 was a of social media featured a cover of Famer and 1932 Olympic dresmagazine inside pivotal one in USDF’s montage of the and its ConneCtion ease of evolution usdf sage bronze medalist Col. Hiram and out to give American flag and Take aion t C Tuttle, who remains the only Ameri- ncommenting the growing neDressage o a dressage rider, VacaTion C f brought more of both. Through the can ever to win an Olympic indi-usd publication— future US Olympian reporT years, USDF Connection has noted vidual medal in dressage. The issue’s the December Tina Konyot many watershed moments in USDF’s 2001 issue was feature article was the first of a usdfUSDF ConneCtionhistory and published some material USDFlook. series of reports on the 1998 54 pages—a fresh, clean CONN The ArT of dressAge EC9/11 TION of which I’m particularly proud—as National Dressage Symposium with In the midst of the redesign, SPECIAL HORSE-HEALTH ISSUE usdf ConneCtion well as some stories and images that Kyra Kyrklund, by USDF-certified happened. I have no recollection USDF CONNECTION proved provocative. Here are some 2014 instructor and instructor-certificaof what we’d originally plannedusdf for ConneCti Yearbook E c EPM: standouts. tion pioneer Bill Woods. the “big reveal” cover, but whatever ViVa Las Vegas! In his “Inside USDF” column in By the March 2000 issue, USDF it was went out the window. The USDF CONNECTION the July 2001 issue, then USDF presiConnection remained the same THE ELUSIVE tragedy was so shattering that not to 80-PERCENT SCORE dent Samuel Barish reported on the number of pages but there was an acknowledge it, even in a magazine spring USDF Executive Board meetaddition on the masthead: an editorabout a subject that had absolutely usdf ConneCtion ing. The monumental decision: the at-large, aka yours truly, who helped nothing to do with it, was unthinkvote to relocate USDF’s headquarters the editor, USDF staffer Virginia able. And so Carter came up with USDF CONNECTION usdf ConneCtion from Lincoln to Lexington, Kentucky. Does That Foal Have FEI Potential? Special Anne “Annie”USDF Lee,CONNECTION edit articles and the(p. 24)idea of the flag image superimUSDF CONNECTION N Sport-Horse issue how to earn your CTIO E ADULT-AMATEUR ISSUE ENCE usdf bronze medal R E N F strategies and 2018 STALLION AND BREEDING GUIDE ON TRAINERS CON C success stories F SD 32 May/June 2019 |UUSDF CONNECTION USDF CONNECTION USD YOUTH ISSUE F CO DISTANCE LEARNING NNE 20 CT Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559

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names para-equestrian and paradressage (“para” being shorthand for parallel) hadn’t yet entered the lexicon. There were World Championships for Disabled Riders, as usd f C Dres onn they were called, but para-dressage sage riDer eCti s wouldn’t join the FEI World Equeson trian Games roster until 2010. USDF Connection shone a fairly early spotlight on the discipline still in its infancy with a September 2003 cover story. A related feature tion neC n o C in the issue profiled adfthen-teenaged us n gone o Rebecca Hart, who has on s FocunA Footingction Are constru d to become the most decorated US An para-dressage competitor in history and last year became the first usdf ConneCtion US para-dressage athlete to win a sport-Horse World Equestrian Games medal. issue f ConneCtion usdf ConneCtion The November 2005 issue was nnuAl show issue intended to celebrate those thereusdf ConneCtion from-the-start 2012 Yearbook dressage clubs MEETING THE MEMBERSHIP: September 2002 article introduced newly hired USDF executive designated as director Stephan Hienzsch USDF charter posed over a dressage photo. It was that year. former professional skier group-member usdfAConneCtion Take aion simple and quiet and conveyed what and ski-industry business owner and organizations t C eDressage Conn VacaTion director, Hienzsch found (GMOs). Our we wanted to convey at a time of usdforganization great national shock and mourning. many similarities between dressage story “Charter reporT Inside that issue, then USDF treacompetition and ski racing—and the Clubs” conWHAT’S MISSING usdf ConneCtion surer Barbara Funk wrote about the equine focus of the job was a plus for USDF tained fun CONN FROM THIS PICTURE? The ArT of dressAge ECTIO far-reaching ways that the events his horse-owning family (Hienzsch archival photos A USDF charter GMO, N SPECIAL HORSE-HEALTH ISSUE of 9/11 changed Americans’ lives doesn’t ride butusdf wifeConneCtion Carol does, and and facts about that’s what in ways both large and small. On a the couple owns2014 several horses). The 21 of theUSDF sur-CONNECTION usdf ConneC Yearbook micro level, she wrote, the dressage Hienzsches relocated from Colorado viving charter GMOs—except that E c EPM: ViVa Las Vegas! world was affected when the ripple to Kentucky for one charter GMO was left out. The USDF CONNECTION effect of travel disruptions made the USDF job, Oregon Dressage Society, which THE ELUSIVE 80-PERCENT SCORE transporting officials to shows chaland Hienzsch doesn’t appear on the roster of the lenging or impossible, and competihas served as the USDF’s founding meeting in 1973, tion and event organizers had to deorganization’s usdf ConneCtionwas awarded charter-GMO status, a cide whether or not to cancel, with executive direcfact that unfortunately didn’t make ion USDF CONNECTION usdf ConneCtion both avenues drawing criticism. tor ever since. itHaveinto records used as theCONNECTION basis Special Does That Foal FEI Potential? (p.the 24) USDF N Sport-Horse issue USDF CONNECTION how to earn your CTIO E ADULT-AMATEUR ISSUE ENCE world in which the chief exThe ParausdfIn bronzea medal R for our story. E N F strategies and 2018 STALLION AND BREEDING GUIDE ON TRAINERS CON C success stories F ecutive’s position in many organizalympic Games USD In an effort to streamline the USDF CONNECTION USD FIRST PARAtions is a revolving door, the USDF and their production process and reduce YOUTHequesISSUE F CO DISTANCE LEARNING NNE COVER: has enjoyed remarkable stability. The trian component DRESSAGE costs, the USDF decided to bring 2 17 “ridersCTION Y E A0 Dressage R B Ofor O September 2002 issue introduced were established K the magazine’s layout and graphic with disabilities” was USDF’s executive director, Stephan by the early design in house. One of senior pubbeginning to chart on Hienzsch, who had been hired earlier 2000s, but the the sport’s radar lications coordinator Emily Koenig’s

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R Y ( . 23) C p ( . 30) had stepped off the conventional the October is proof that USDF’s communicaUSDF CONNECTION competitive “path to the podiums”THEto 2017 issue. tions strategies are evolving with the ELUSIVE Special Issue 80-PERCENT SCORE YOUR HORSE’S become the head trainer at a famous With artitimes. HEAD AND NECK Arabian-horse facility near Orlando. cles on the bioThis May/June issue marks Sue captured this stunning image of mechanics of usdf ConneCtion another transition for Connection, Kassie with one of Al-Marah Arathe horse’s head from 10 issues a year to bimonthly. USDF CONNECTION usdf ConneCtion bians’ broodmares and foals, and it To (p.date few newspaper and magaDoes That Foal Have FEI Potential? 24) Special USDF CONNECTION Nand neck, as Sport-Horse issue USDF CONNECTION how to earn your CTIO E ADULT-AMATEUR ISSUE ENCE usdf bronze medal Rwell remains one of my favorite covers. as a feature zine publishers have figured out E N F N N strategies and S CO 2018 STALLION AND BREEDING GUIDE O R E success stories F C TRAIN CONTROVERSIAL USD Over the years, USDF Connection on the prolifhow to monetize their digital platUSDF CONNECTIONCOVER: Many U has won its share of awards from the eration of “comforms and how to stanch the bleedSDF YOUTH ISSUE Cmedia, on social DISTANCE LEARNING ONN E equine-media professional organizafort” bridles 2 C and some 1 USDF TION ing as advertisers shift portions of Y E A0 RBO 7 OK 2016 A /USDF C P ( . 34) tion American for dressage, I their marketing efforts to social members, objected to this image of a Horse Publicawanted for the media and other platforms. Print is USDF CONNECTION Greetings from tions, which cover an arrest- sweating dressage enjoying something of a resurgence horse annually recoging image of a in certain areas, but meanwhile nizes excellence horse wearing something’s gotta give. Last year the Florida in articles, phosuch a bridle. This photo, a close-up USDF Executive Board voted to cut How a swampy strawberry patch became a global dressage destination tos, design, and head shot of Adrienne Lyle’s mount Connection’s frequency, and to help Test-riding tips (p. 28) other categories. (and future 2018 WEG team silveroffset that content loss by building USDF’s member POSTCARD FROM medal partner) Salvino caught my a USDF publications website called magazine has eye immediately. Photographer Sue Your Dressage (YourDressage.org), THE EDGE: “Welly World” cover snagged top Stickle’s beautiful framing and stunwhich launched in April 2019. It is and feature story honors in severning bokeh make the stallion practhe USDF’s hope that Your Dressage helped propel al categories, but USDF Connection tically pop off the page. Salvino is will not only serve as an enjoyable until 2016 it had to the equine media giving 100 percent and completely adjunct to USDF Connection but industry’s most never won the focused on his rider, and the bridle that, as access requires neither a prestigious award coveted Gendetails are so sharp that you can see login nor a fee, it will also attract eral Excellence every stitch in the leather. new enthusiasts to the sport of dresaward for association publications in Then the comments began pilsage and eventually to USDF and its circulation category. ing up on USDF’s Facebook page. GMO membership. Beating out such heavy hitters Some viewers interpreted the One thing, however, hasn’t as the Paint Horse Journal and The horse’s sweat and “lipstick foam” as changed: the fact that this is your American Quarter Horse Journal, evidence that he was being misused. magazine, and every issue strives to USDF Connection took home the Others thought the stallion looked uphold USDF’s mission of education, General Excellence plaque from stressed or scared. A few posters, the recognition of achievement, and that year’s AHP Equine Media Conapparently never having seen a doupromotion of the sport of dressage. ference awards banquet. It was a ble bridle, expressed horror at the Your contributions and feedback proud moment for USDF and the presence of two bits. Although some help to shape USDF Connection, so entire magazine team and Connecof the nastier comments seemed please keep them coming. tion’s stable of outstanding freeto be from people unfamiliar with Just as I never tire of dressage, lance contributors. dressage, even some USDF memI never tire of sharing the passion In this editor’s experience, it’s bers took umbrage. The episode was for horses and our sport with you not always possible to predict what an object lesson in the power of soin these pages. Thank you for being stories or images will set readers off. cial media, for better or for worse. along for the ride! Some potentially contentious conThe Next 20 Years tent (or so I think) elicits nary a peep while another item sparks a surprise Change is the only constant in life, uproar. That’s what happened with and the 20th anniversary issue of Jennifer Bryant is the editor of the photo that graced the cover of USDF Connection you’re reading USDF Connection. 2014 US Dressage Finals Grand Prix Freestyle Open Champions North Forks Cardi and Jessica Wisdom

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Steward of Tradition, Champion of Change George Williams built his dressage career on a classical education, but he’s using it to modernize the sport BY ELIZABETH PUTFARK

FOCUS ON THE FUTURE: Williams in his role as US Equestrian national dressage youth coach

38 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION


TAYLOR PENCE/US EQUESTRIAN

A

s the US Equestrian national dressage youth coach, George Williams hears a lot about goals. The tweens, teens, and twentysomethings he instructs at clinics around the country are brimming with ambition: They want to qualify for the US Dressage Finals, make the team for the FEI North American Youth Championships, and position themselves to be competitive in the growing FEI Under 25 Grand Prix division. Williams himself helped to foster many of those programs through his leadership roles at both the USDF and US Equestrian. As someone who came of age at a time when dressage in this country was rudderless, he understands the power of educational programs and competitive goals to attract youth and enrich the sport. Growing up on his family’s farm in Peterborough, New Hampshire, “I can remember watching the 1964 Olympics, and from then on I had this dream of going,” Williams recalls. “Dressage was so young in this country, and there just weren’t many people doing it. There really wasn’t much else to aspire to.” Considering the era, it’s remarkable that a young boy in the 1960s knew about our sport at all. Although Williams was born into an equestrian family—mother Mary Williams rode and was a former foxhunter, and George and his eight older siblings all rode—dressage was still little known in the US. But the family’s farrier had a “passion for dressage, which was especially unusual,” says Williams. “Over the years, two men from Germany came to teach at his farm, and growing up I’d always hear him telling stories about them and talking about dressage as this great way to train horses.” But when the New England fields turned white in the winter, the Williams family swapped their riding boots for skis. “My mother was an avid horsewoman, but my father was just as avid a skier,” Williams says. “I always had a little more talent for the horses, but I loved to ski. When I started dreaming of the Olympics, I didn’t know for a while if I wanted to go for riding or for skiing.” When Sydney Williams died in 1968, the choice became clear. “After my father died,” Williams says, “my mother really devoted her life much more to horses. I think it’s how she directed her grief. I was only 13, so I would follow her to clinics and shows. She started going to seminars and clinics at the American Dressage Institute in New York, and all through high school I became more

USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

39


VERY YOUNG RIDER: Smartly turned out aboard Goldie in an undated photo

and more focused on the dressage portion of my Pony Club events.”

An Equestrian Education By graduation, Williams knew that he wanted to make horses a career. He decided to forgo college to study at the late Egon von Neindorff ’s Reitinstitut in Karlsruhe, Germany, where in 1973 he earned his German bronze rider medal. As he prepared to return to the United States, Williams had one goal in mind: “I wanted to work in an apprentice-type situation for somebody, to work alongside them, and I wanted to do it long enough to really get an education in training.” He adds: “Apprenticeships have kind of gone by the wayside, but when I was coming up that was how most of the top riders got their education.” Von Neindorff advised Williams to seek out an old colleague of his who had immigrated to the US: for-

mer Spanish Riding School of Vienna chief rider (and future Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Famer) Karl Mikolka. There were no working-student positions available at Mikolka’s newly founded Massachusetts Dressage Academy in Pembroke, Massachusetts, but he agreed to give Williams periodic lessons. In the meantime, Williams took a position with Major Hector Carmona, founder of Los Alamos Dressage Center, then in Baptistown, New Jersey. Lessons and clinics with Mikolka became more frequent around 1976, and Williams embarked on what would be a lengthy apprenticeship with one of the most gifted dressage trainers of modern times. The famously eccentric Mikolka could be “very demanding” and “temperamental,” but the master had “what I considered to be a tremendous knowledge base about the sport and training, and he brought

40 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

a historical perspective from the Spanish Riding School that I always enjoyed,” says Williams, who also appreciated Mikolka’s “very meticulous approach with the horses.” Mikolka could be “tremendously supportive” of his protégé, and as a result Williams followed his mentor from Massachusetts, first to the late Helen and William Steinkraus’s stable in Darien, Connecticut; and then in 1980 to Wadsworth, Illinois, where Mikolka had been hired as the head trainer at the Lipizzan facility Tempel Farms. Founded in 1958 with horses from the same Austrian stud farm that populates the Spanish Riding School, Tempel Farms was an American version of the SRS, complete with a classical-dressage curriculum. Williams’ appointment as a Tempel Farms rider was a point of pride for Mary Williams, says the Massachusetts-based international rider/trainer and US Equestrian “S” judge Kathy Connelly, who has known George Williams since his youth.

COURTESY OF ROBERTA WILLIAMS; USDF ARCHIVE

GUIDING LIGHT: Williams’ mentor, Karl Mikolka, at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna


A Long Detour

COURTESY OF ROBERTA WILLIAMS; COURTESY OF TEMPEL FARMS

TEACHER AND STUDENT: Mikolka (left) and Williams (second from left) during a Tempel Farms quadrille performance

Although Williams admired the classical training at Tempel and himself became an expert at longlining and at training and riding the haute école movements, he never abandoned his interest in mainstream dressage competition. In the two years prior to his move to Tempel with Mikolka, he had ridden a Trakehner mare named Rahel to an American Horse Shows Association (now US Equestrian) First Level national championship and a USDF Second Level Horse of the Year title. “When I went to Tempel, I really thought, ‘Oh, I’ll go for five years; then I’ll come back East and get more involved on the competitive side of things,’” Williams says. But “it didn’t work out that way; I ended up staying 20 years.” In 1988, having been named Tempel’s director of Lipizzans, Williams campaigned for the addition of boarding and training for outside horses, which immediately drew a small herd of warmbloods and with it a new level of exposure for the institution’s classical training techniques. Roberta Creek, herself an accomplished dressage rider and trainer whom Williams married in 1985, brought another level of innovation to Tempel’s marketing and performances thanks to her background in publishing and public relations, drawing bigger audiences to exhibitions and events.

Carpe Diem

AIRBORNE: Williams in mid-capriole during a Tempel Farms performance

By the turn of the millennium, Williams was 45, with a wife; a preteen daughter, Noel; and a steady job at one of the country’s most wellknown riding institutions. But security isn’t everything. “One day I woke up and said,

USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

41


‘You know what, six Olympics have gone by. You’ve either got to get up and do it, or forget about it,’” Williams says. “It seemed like a wild dream, but sometimes I think you have to take that risk. So when that day came, I decided to take a chance.” Williams didn’t have an exit strategy for leaving Tempel or a reentry plan for the greater dressage community, which had expanded exponentially during his time in Illinois. He continued teaching clinics, and during one providential sleet storm he found himself at Charles and Joann Smith’s Gypsy Woods Farm in Richwood, Ohio. “We were meant to do a clinic in Cleveland, but the weather was so bad we had to move it to Chuck and Joann’s place near Columbus,” Williams recalls. After a few conversations, the Smiths invited Williams to train out of their facility. Even more exciting, “They said they were also interested in sponsoring me with a horse.” (“There was a lot of luck involved, for sure,” Williams says of

that fateful meeting, “but I always tell young people when they ask about getting sponsored that the most crucial thing isn’t luck. The most crucial thing is having the background—having the fundamentals and the skills to be able to make the most of the opportunity.”) For his part, Williams knew, making the most of the opportunity depended on finding the right horse. It took several trips to Europe before he settled on a 1991 17.1-hand black Westfalen mare named Rocher. “I was a little in between [horses] at first,” Williams says. German Olympic dressage gold medalist Klaus Balkenhol, who had just been appointed the US national dressage team trainer, “had shown us these two horses, and I was leaning toward the other one. What ultimately made me decide was the combination of suppleness and power that Rocher could have. The first day she was a little more power than supple, but the second day Klaus helped me with her, and after that we hit it off super quick.” Rocher (Rolls Royce – Franzi,

42 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

Fruhlingsstern) proved to be the once-in-a-lifetime horse Williams had dreamed of. The charismatic lop-eared mare placed fifth at the 2003 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Sweden and was the 2003 USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year, won a team bronze medal at Germany’s CHIO Aachen in 2005, and made dressage history by winning the Grand Prix Freestyle at Dressage at Devon (Pennsylvania) an unprecedented three times, among others. Rocher and Williams were shortlisted for the 2004 Athens Olympics, but a tendon injury kept them off the plane to Greece. The mare made a successful comeback in 2005, but another Olympic Games was not in the cards, and she was retired in 2013. She died in 2018 at the age of 27 (“Heads Up,” February 2019). “I think there are certain horses that allow us to really develop as riders—that change the way we ride and really help us by bringing out our talents and taking us to another level,” Williams says. “When I look at top riders’ stories, there is frequently that one horse that takes them to

BOB LANGRISH

MATCHMAKER: Williams (right) in an undated photo with German Olympian Klaus Balkenhol, who introduced him to Rocher


TERRI MILLER; STACYLYNNEPHOTO.COM

FROM GLORY DAYS TO SUNSET: Williams’ partnership with Rocher is legendary, from a Dressage at Devon Grand Prix win in 2003 to the mare’s retirement ceremony at Devon in 2013

the top. I know that for me, my riding became so much more sophisticated, not because Rocher was a perfect horse but because there was some combination of personality and talent that enabled us to get there.” The international spotlight, Williams discovered, can be fleeting. “I always remember that [FEI 5* dressage judge and 1994 FEI World Equestrian Games team bronze medalist] Gary Rockwell found me once when we were at the height of competing, and he said, ‘I hope you enjoy it. This moment, it goes by very quickly.’ Oh, was he right!” But Williams’ success with the great mare—who was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in 2016—cemented his status as an American dressage star. After enjoying high-profile success with Marnix and other Gypsy Woods-owned horses, his partnership with the Smiths ended in 2009. That same year, he moved to the well-known dressage supporter Elizabeth “Betsy” Juliano’s Havensafe Farm in Ohio and Florida, where until 2014 Williams trained Juliano and campaigned several of her horses, including Horizon, Don

Bailey, Sir Velo, and Riccidoff. Today Williams Dressage LLC—which now includes Noel Williams, who followed in her parents’ footsteps by becoming a dressage professional— is based in Wellington, Florida, in the winter, and has been based in northern Ohio in the summer.

For the Good of the Sport Williams is a rarity among dressage enthusiasts—an elite-level rider/ trainer who has also served at the highest governance levels. After volunteering for a couple of committees within the USDF and US Equestrian, Williams was elected USDF vice president in 2000. He went on to serve as the organization’s president from 2010 through 2018, thereby becoming the longestserving officer in USDF history. “I think what really got me hooked was when, as vice president, I was involved in a project where we designed and sent out a survey to a lot of dressage experts in the field, asking them what they thought needed to be done and where they thought the sport should go in the future,” Williams says. That endeavor, a venture with The Dressage Foundation called The Vision Proj-

ect, “really made me start thinking about all the things we could do for the future of the sport.” Two of his signature accomplishments as USDF president: spearheading (with then USDF secretary Janine Malone) the long-awaited and immediately successful launch of the US Dressage Finals, in 2013, and working closely with US Equestrian to improve relations between the two organizations. And his volunteer contributions don’t end with the USDF: Williams also chaired the US Equestrian High Performance Committee and sat on the US Equestrian Dressage Committee (he’s now a nonvoting advisor to the Dressage Sport Committee), and he’s a member of the FEI Dressage Committee, as well. “George always had a very clear vision of where the USDF should go, and that vision was always inclusive of all aspects and portions of the membership,” says Lisa Gorretta, who was USDF VP under Williams and who took the reins as president this year. “I remember, when the World Cup was in Las Vegas, we would come out of Executive Board meetings and we couldn’t walk more than two and a half feet around the venue with-

USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

43


MR. PRESIDENT: During the USDF Board of Governors assembly at the 2010 convention

out being stopped by a member of USDF—a junior, a parent, a competitor, a high-performance rider—who wanted to talk to George about something. And he always, always had an ear for what they were saying. I think that’s how he made the federation better, and the sport stronger.” “George is one of very few highperformance riders who spent a lot of time working to improve the sport in an administrative capacity,” says past USDF president Dr. Sam Barish, under whom Williams served as USDF vice president. “USDF has been very lucky to have him because of his high-performance connections, and he’s highly respected by people at the upper level of the sport. That has helped the USDF enormously because of the force his opinion has within the high-performance community. When he speaks, people listen. He has enhanced the USDF reputation because of the respect he commands as a high-performance rider, instructor, and trainer.” In his final years in office, Williams’s main goal was to expand the USDF Instructor/Trainer Program

Today, as the US Equestrian national dressage youth coach—a position that he assumed in 2014— Williams’s goal is to marry the fundamentals of a classical dressage education with the innovations of the modern arena, from technology to programs such as Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids. His internationalgovernance role isn’t all that different, he says. In his position on the FEI Dressage Committee, “I get to look at the sport from a really international point of view,” Williams says. “A lot of things are happening that are really exciting—playing with formats, playing with some of ‘how do we make it interesting and attractive to spectators.’ But it’s always got to be that balance. We have to always pay attention to the fact that we’re a sport based on principles of training, not just how fast you can get to Grand Prix.” That focus on the horse has become one of Williams’ hallmarks, colleagues say. “In high-pressure competitions, George was always kind with his horses and never blamed them for any mishap,” says Kathy Connelly, who

to include FEI-level certification, which launched in 2014. Although the new certification level remains a work in progress, he’s excited for where it’s going. “I learned that it’s very hard to do things quickly, but in the end it’s just as well that it is,” Williams says. “That way you don’t rush into something you’re going to regret doing, and instead you wind up with things that are really going to work. The US Dressage Finals are a great example of that. Even though its conception took at least a decade, when we did unveil it, we were very sure of it, and very proud of it.”

Nice Guys Finish First “George has a genuine passion for what he does that is very disarming— and therefore makes it kind of impossible to say no to him when he asks you to do something,” Gorretta says. “He had an understanding of just how important the [president’s] role is for the USDF, and he proved that even if you’re a busy person, if you can spread the load diplomatically, you can conquer the task at hand.”

44 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

JENNIFER BRYANT

FAMILY TRADITION: Proud parents Roberta and George Williams congratulate their daughter, Noel, on receiving her USDF gold medal in 2014


FINALS, FINALLY: Williams (left) celebrating the launch of the US Dressage Finals in 2013 with fellow organizing-committee members Debra Reinhardt, Monica Fitzgerald, the late Lloyd Landkamer, Janine Malone, and Kevin Bradbury

SUSANJSTICKLE.COM

has coached and instructed Williams. “When he came out of a test, though occasionally disappointed, he was always a gentleman and a tremendous tribute to our sport. He always saw it as an opportunity to improve what he could do in order to ride them better to get a better result.”

Could those results possibly include realizing Williams’ longstanding Olympic dream? Now 64, Williams laughs: “Don’t rule me out!”

Elizabeth Putfark has been a multidiscipline equestrian journalist for eight years. A military spouse, she’s currently stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, where two daughters, two dogs, and a Friesian Sporthorse mare make certain that she only has time to write late at night.

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45


Tack Shop Sitting Pretty New products for the dressage enthusiast

Time to Dance in New Saddle

With her horse Let’s Dance, international competitor and FEI 5* dressage judge Anne Gribbons won the 2017 Adequan®/USDF Intermediate II Horse of the Year title. So it’s fitting that “Let’s Dance” is the name of the saddle Gribbons has created in collaboration with Schleese. The Let’s Dance by Anne Gribbons has Schleese’s deepest close-contact seat yet and the innovative NW-Twist (narrow for the rider, wide for the horse) for ultimate contact with the horse while providing the horse with maximum weight distribution and freedom of movement. As part of the Bi-Nate Line, the Let’s Dance features Schleese’s PSI panel system to maximize the saddle’s weight-bearing surface area throughout the length of the panel, with the lowest pressure per square inch of any English saddle. Learn more: SaddlesForWomen. com.

Sports Bra Adapts to Your Movement

Despite many options on the market, some women still don’t feel their sports bras offer proper support—a real problem when it comes to sitting the trot. Featuring new proprietary Motion Sense Technology, the Reebok PureMove Bra is the first sports bra that responds and adapts to movement to provide customized control and support, exactly where and when the wearer needs it. Reebok treats a performancebased fabric with Sheer Thickening Fluid, a gel-like solution that takes a liquid form when in a still or slowmoving state but that stiffens when moving at higher velocities. The fabric technology adapts and responds to the wearer’s body shape, velocity of breast tissue, and type and force of movement. The result is a bra that stretches less with high-impact movement while providing comfort and light support during rest and lower-intensity activities. The bra comes in nine sizes, from XS to XL—a range best suited to A through D cups, with larger cup sizes in the works—and in four colors. Learn more: Reebok.com.

46 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

The “Red Wine” Advantage for Horses

With antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, resveratrol, a component of red wine and other substances, has gotten a lot of press for its health benefits in humans. Resvantage Equine is a nutraceutical supplement containing resveratrol that’s intended for use in horses. According to the manufacturer, Advantage Biosciences Inc., Resvantage Equine oral capsules are formulated from natural sources to promote overall equine wellness, including healthy joint function, cardiovascular health, bone and cartilage health, energy and endurance, hoof and coat health, normal metabolic function, digestive health, and more. Learn more: ResvantageEquine. com.

Flexible, Lightweight Horse Boots ThinLine brings its trademark open-cell technology to two new horse leg boots in its Flexible Filly line. The Flexible Filly Closed-Front Splint Boots have a protective


Pro-Mesh exterior that’s lightweight, breathable, and durable. The honeycomb, hexagon-pattern design offers an ideal mix of protection, strength, flexibility, and air flow while keeping out grit and sand. The Air Shock Horse Boots feature offset strike guards that flex slightly on impact to reduce and disperse the force of the blow. A flexible air-bag insert beneath the strike guards runs the length of the tendon. Both boots were designed to protect horses’ legs and tendons with a flexible, customized fit while being lightweight, well ventilated, dirt-resistant, and simple to clean. Flexible Filly horse boots are lined with ThinLine’s trademark wafer-thin foam, which delivers impact protection without compression. Learn more: ThinLineGlobal. com.

Burnish Your Boots

Get the look of a high-end custom riding boot without the bespoke price tag.

Boot Crowns attach to any tall English riding boot. The accessory wraps around the top of the boot and stays secure via a removable clip, suede lining, and hook-andloop closure. Change up your look, dress up an older pair of boots, or even add height to your boots with the many styles and colors. Boot Crowns are US-made of quality leather and such embellishments as Swarovski crystals, lace, and embroidery. According to the manufacturer, US Equestrian has deemed Boot Crowns legal for use in licensed dressage competition. Learn more: BootCrowns.net.

Elevate Your Lessons Combining the visual learning aids of photo and video review with the advantages of journaling, the new app Levade helps students and instructors alike to get the maximum benefit from riding lessons. Available from both Apple’s App Store and Google Play, Levade enables trainers to take photos and video from within the app, and to record comments, exercises, and corrections using voice-to-text technology. Both instructor and student can access the information at any time after the lesson, to review, discuss, track progress, and refresh key points and learnings. Learn more: Levade.io.

Head off the Sweat Stream Whether you’re riding, working in the barn, or volunteering at a dressage show, sweat running down your

neck and forehead, stinging your eyes, and fogging your sunglasses is an unpleasant side effect of warmweather exertion. Help halt the mess with NoSweat disposable performance liners for hats, helmets, hard hats, and visors. The American-made thin liners peel and stick to the inside of headwear. NoSweat’s SweatLock technology absorbs moisture instantly to help prevent dripping sweat, fogging, fabric stains, acne, and odor while protecting the hat’s interior. Each liner absorbs around two ounces of sweat. A liner’s longevity depends on the wearer’s activity and perspiration levels. Learn more: NoSweatCo.com.

“Tack Shop” contains notices of new products judged to be of potential interest to USDF members. Information and images are supplied by manufacturers. Inclusion of an item does not constitute an endorsement or a product review.

USDF CONNECTION | May/June 2019

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51


My Dressage A Dream Realized A USDF member shares her dressage journey By Megan Zureck by the accomplishment. Together, “Sam” and I have earned our USDF bronze, silver, and gold medals as well as our bronze, silver, and gold freestyle bars. Sam has taught me so much, and I’m certain he will keep on teaching me. Through successes and failures alike, Sam has been a partner, a best friend, a teacher, and a joy to work with every day. As an adult amateur working seven days a week at multiple jobs, earning these awards was not an easy or quickly achievable task. There are the inevitable setbacks that every horse and rider experience, but we overcame our shortcomings and learned from our mistakes. That is the beauty of dressage: You can always improve. My appreciation of this fact has only been heightened by taking this journey with Sam. I’m especially proud that we accomplished this feat with my never having ridden above First Level or learned from a schoolmaster before Sam and I began our journey up the levels. My horse and I learned PARTNERS: The writer and her Oldenburg gelding, Seydlitz H

52 May/June 2019 | USDF CONNECTION

together, starting at Training Level. There were times when I questioned whether we would be able to achieve this goal, and I feared that we might have gone as far as we could. But I refused to let those thoughts take hold and soldiered on. I put in the work riding and training while maintaining my career and taking care of my farm and horses. I never had any unrealistic expectations or pushed Sam too hard. I understood that it would take time and lots of hard work. If I became discouraged by a setback, I was fortunate to have the support of a great group of people who believed in my dream and who were always there to offer encouragement. I cannot fully express my gratitude toward my wonderful partner. Sam has been with me every step of the way, and so willing to help me reach my lofty goals. Like all incredible horses, he was able to do this while still keeping me humble. I am grateful for the times that we failed in our attempts, as it gave me an appreciation for the struggle and the journey, not just the destination. I learned that determination and hard work really do pay off; just don’t give up. Thank you, Sam, from the bottom of my heart. You truly are a horse of a lifetime. And now lots of treats and carrots for my dancing partner!

Megan Zureck lives in Manorville, on New York’s Long Island, with her Oldenburg gelding, Seydlitz H; her mother’s horse; and two adorable minis. She works as a school media specialist and as a waitress.

STACYLYNNEPHOTO.COM

L

ast December, I walked on stage at the 2018 Adequan®/ USDF Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet to receive my USDF gold freestyle bar. This accomplishment had been a dream of mine since the day I acquired my amazing Oldenburg gelding, Seydlitz H, and to say that I am living my dream would be an understatement. All the hard work had paid off, and all the sacrifices had not been in vain. The dream became a realized goal, and I am humbled


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