November 2017 USDF Connection

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Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation

USDF Store Fall Catalog See page 5

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USDF National Education Initiative ...making education more accessible

The USDF National Education Initiative was created to support new and affordable programs, and to engage members. The following programs are being offered as part of the USDF National Education Initiative.

Ride-a-Test with USEF ‘R’ Dressage Judge Nancy Lowey Hosted by the Commonwealth Dressage & Combined Training Association March 19, 2018 • Marshall, VA

Ride-a-Test with FEI 4* Dressage Judge Sandra Hotz and USEF ‘S’ Dressage Judge Sue Mandas Hosted by Central Florida Dressage June 30-July 1, 2018 • Weirsdale, FL

Clinic with Retired FEI 5* Judge, USEF ‘S’ Judge, and USDF Instructor/Trainer Examiner Lilo Fore Hosted by the Kentucky Dressage Association August 3-5, 2018 • Location TBA

Clinic with USDF L Graduate with Distinction Jennifer Malott Kotylo Hosted by the Michiana Dressage Club April 6-8, 2018 • South Bend, IN

Camp with Janice Dulak, creator of Pilates for Dressage® Hosted by the Green Country Chapter of the Oklahoma Dressage Society March 9-11, 2018 • Pryor, OK

For more information about these opportunities, or how GMOs can apply for the program and grant funding, visit Funding support provided by the USDF National Education Initiative Grant Program. Next grant deadline is January 1, 2018.






22 28 34


Artist and dressage enthusiast Pat Wozniak plumbs the depths of her equine subjects in glorious B&W By D.J. Carey Lyons


Some USDF perpetual trophies are works of art unto themselves

4 INSIDE USDF The Four-Day Miracle

6 RINGSIDE The Art of Precision

By Sherry Guess

By Jennifer O. Bryant

14 CLINIC It’s No-Stirrup November!

By Lesley Ward


20 ALL-BREEDS CONNECTION Spotlight: International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association

By Jennifer O. Bryant

44 THE TAIL END Lessons from the Right Lead

Our annual holiday “look book” of gift ideas for the dressage enthusiast

By Victoria Bellino


7 8 10 40 42 42 43


ON OUR COVER Half-Pass by Patricia Wozniak. Story, p. 22.

Volume 19, Number 6


November 2017


inside usdf


The Four-Day Miracle Battered by Hurricane Harvey, Region 9 lost two important competitions. Dressage supporters banded togther to organize a substitute show—in less than a week’s time.

421 Park Forest Way, Wellington, FL 33414 (937) 603-9134 • Fax: (740) 362-5539 VICE PRESIDENT


18120 Snyder Road, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023 (216) 406-5475 • SECRETARY


By Sherry Guess, Region 9 Director

200 Aurora Lane, Tryon, NC 28782 (828) 859-6723 •




79 Jewett Street, Georgetown, MA 01833 (978) 360-6441 •



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


330 North Mill Creek Road, Noblesville, IN 46062 (317) 773-4532 •

THE SHOW MUST GO ON: 2017 USDF Southern Series current-year foal champion Qrome SDSF, owned by Lynn Masin (left) and handled by Natalie Masin

to complete the necessary red tape before the show, which had to be held the final 2017 qualifying weekend of September 9-10. A judging panel was assembled, and Marilyn and Kristi secured a location: Fran Kehr’s Windy Knoll Farm, Magnolia, TX. With help from the USDF staff, the proposal was put to US Equestrian, and the Topaz Classic I and II and Southern Series USDF Breeders Championship Series Final show was approved by move-in day, September 8—a process that usually takes several months. Meanwhile, the entire region was responding to the needs of not only the residents of Houston, but also the equine community. Hurricane Harvey was a dreadful disaster for our area, but the response has been heartwarming. Our dressage community has come to the rescue in as many ways as it possibly could, and the result has been a stronger sense of solidarity. Texas is not alone in facing recent natural disasters, of course. As we face our erratic weather patterns, we truly have to become proactive to overcome the challenges before us. s

4 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION



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


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


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


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


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


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


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



9508 Bridlewood Trail, Dayton, OH 45458 (937) 272-9068 • ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL


PO Box 248, Dexter, MI 48130 (734) 426-2111 • TECHNICAL COUNCIL


112 Eden Ranch Dr., Canyon Lake, TX 78133 (210) 215-2423 •


he fact that the Texas area lost four days of recognized dressage shows just before the cutoff date to qualify for the 2017 Great American/USDF Regional Championships seems insignificant compared to the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in August. For many dressage enthusiasts, though, this was something on which they could focus and try to remedy. Houston was Harvey’s bull’s-eye, and the Houston Dressage Society was forced to cancel a set of two shows scheduled for August 26-27 in nearby Katy, TX. The Great Southwest Equestrian Center was scheduled to host a second set of shows September 9-10, but by that time the Katy facility had taken in nearly 250 evacuated horses and didn’t feel it could cope with a show. Another casualty of the cancellations was the Southern Series USDF Breeders Championship Series Final. That left just two qualifying shows in the 2017 competition season, the Alamo Dressage Association’s Fall Dressage I and II in San Antonio, also set for September 9-10. Organizers swung into action and added a third arena, finding judges and stretching volunteers thin in order to accommodate as many competitors as possible. Still, competitors yearned for one more opportunity to qualify for Regionals and to show their sport horses. In response, show manager Marilyn Kulifay and USDF Sport Horse Committee chair Kristi Wysocki hatched a plan to produce a “pop-up” dressage show. The challenge: With the Labor Day holiday upon them, organizers and USDF and US Equestrian staffers would have just four business days to locate a facility, to secure both dressage and sport-horse judges, and


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The Art of Precision

Details and accuracy help elevate our sport into something beautiful


iding dressage is the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted. Competing in dressage is harder still. Showing is challenging by its very nature—the nerves, the fatigue, the expense, the time involved—and learning to ride a test well requires overlaying a nearly fanatical attention to detail on the already complex task of riding. That’s part of the reason I think of showing much in the same way that I regard the process of writing. To paraphrase the quote attributed to various well-known writers, I dislike writing but I love having written. Writing can be torturous, but when I look at a finished article or book bearing my byline, I’m happy that I stuck with the effort. Similarly, I don’t find showing particularly “fun” in the leisure sense, but the sense of accomplishment when I ride well and my horse tries his best is profoundly rewarding. It had better be rewarding, because learning to ride a clean and accurate dressage test takes a lot of work—tedious attention to circle points, arena dimensions, and figure geometry, not to mention persuading Junior not to give the hairy eyeball to the arena decorations so I can get him into the corners and set him up correctly for the movements to come. I regard practicing accuracy as the “eat your vegetables” of dressage: good for me, but not necessarily the highlight of the meal. It’s way more fun to concentrate on training and just to ride for the “feels” without being overly concerned as to whether my circles are completely round. Unfortunately, though, that way lazy riding lies. Holding myself to a standard of accuracy helps me avoid falling into the “good enough” trap. Oddly, it also seems to give Junior a

measure of security: He can relax in the knowledge that he knows exactly where he’s going and what he’s supposed to be doing. The pattern and geometry work also seems to help him make the connection between “sandbox at home” and “sandbox away from home,” giving him the confidence that, even when the surroundings change, his job remains the same. Precision, accuracy, proportion— these are qualities not just of good dressage riding but also of much art, and they are exemplified in the unique piece on this month’s cover. Artist and longtime dressage enthusiast Patricia “Pat” Wozniak married her calligraphy skills, her creativity, and her dressage knowledge to create Half-Pass, in which the horse and rider literally embody the FEI’s definition of the movement. Pat’s keen eye for detail and “horse sense” come through in her portraits, many of which are rendered in luminous, evocative graphite pencil. Meet the artist and get to know her work on page 22. Details, details. They make works of art come to life, and they make dressage beautiful. I can’t draw my way out of a paper bag, so I’ll have to content myself with honing those corners and 10-meter circles. I know I’ll be glad I did, the next time I go down center line and I tell Junior, “I’ve got this.”

Jennifer O. Bryant, Editor @JenniferOBryant

6 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

USDF CONNECTION The Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Stephan Hienzsch 859/271-7887 •

——— Editorial——— EDITOR

Jennifer O. Bryant 610/344-0116 • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR


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


Janine Malone Lisa Gorretta • Elisabeth Williams


Emily Koenig 859/271-7883 •


Karl Lawrence 859/271-7881 •


Danielle Titland 720/300-2266 • USDF Connection is published ten times a year by the United States Dressage Federation, 4051 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. Phone: 859/971-2277. Fax: 859/971-7722. E-mail:, Web site: USDF members receive USDF Connection as a membership benefit, paid by membership dues. Copyright © 2017 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 POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: USDF, 4051 IRON WORKS PARKWAY, LEXINGTON, KY 40511. Canadian Agreement No. 1741527. Canada return address: Station A, P.O. Box 54, Windsor, Ontario N9A 6J5.



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Injured Riders Respond I read “Sidelined from the Center Line” (September) with great interest because I’ve been there multiple times! I may not excel at dressage, but I am an expert at successfully rehabbing from injuries. I am a physical therapist’s dream patient. I follow their regimen of exercises, no matter how often I have to do them. I totally agree that a good physical therapist is essential in making a full recovery. To that, I would also add a rider’s determination to get better. To make sure I stay sound, I work out at a gym three times a week—and, of course, I continue to ride. Frances Srulowitz Cambridge, MA I once got kicked in the hand and broke the third metacarpal of my right hand. The doctor cast it, and I asked, “When can I ride again?” The reply: six to eight weeks. “OK,” I said, knowing full well I would not last that long without riding. Back then I rode hunters, so three days later I was riding again, one-handed. I had an awesome Quarter Horse that was responsive to neck-reining, and I even jumped. I had a show five weeks after the accident. Before the show, I had the doc remove the cast and put me in a hand splint. I went to that show and won my class! You can’t keep a good rider down. Joni Patten Dawson, GA I enjoyed your article regarding injuries, recovery, and PT. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type III as well as an autoimmune disease, an autonomic nervous-system dysfunction called hyperadrenergic postural tachycardia syndrome, and a host of other medical problems. Currently, I am trying desperately to recover from a riding injury that happened when my horse spooked. I stayed on, but when I got down I noticed that I had some pain in my groin. The pain got to be too much, and I let my doctor know. We tried PT for a few weeks, but it made things worse.

I was shocked when an MRI showed that I had suffered a fracture as well as a partial tear of my adductor longus muscle off the pubic bone. That was in April. The last time I rode was May 1. I am still in PT twice a week, and I have retorn the adductor longus at least once that we know of. I feel as though I’m never going to ride again. This used to be my career; now I only hope to get on and enjoy a hack. I haven’t been able to teach or train since 2008, and I had to stop working altogether in 2015. It’s been tough, and I still have a long road ahead, but “Sidelined from the Center Line” gave me hope that maybe I don’t need to hang my spurs up just yet. I am only four scores away from my USDF bronze medal. I love to see my 16-year-old daughter work with my talented Oldenburg, but I’m not ready to give up yet. Thank you again for the article. It gives me hope that this ailing body will once again be back in the saddle. Kris Lydick Antioch, IL

Readers Judge the Judges The photos chosen for September’s “The Judge’s Box” (“Walk This Way”) are in conflict to the intent of the article. The photo captioned “A walk to remember” could just as easily have been used for the photo captioned “Don’t walk this way.” Just a round stretch over the back does not mean that the horse is not lateral in its walk. Stephanie Lowery Waterford, VA FEI 4* dressage judge Sarah Geikie responds: The two photos show very different walks. A correct walk is a regular four-beat gait, with each limb leaving and contacting the ground separately, as shown in the top photo. In a lateral walk, as shown in the lower photo, the limbs on the same side contact the ground at the same time, which produces an incorrect two-beat gait. Roundness over the topline will usually encourage a clear, correct rhythm. A stiff, flat back will encourage loss of rhythm.


Correct walk

Lateral walk

I was excited to read Axel Steiner’s “The Judge’s Box” article (“Dressage Judging: National vs. International,” July/August). I did not realize that he was the writer until the end, but all throughout it kept reminding me of the show at which he judged me. I am honored to have been judged by such an honest judge. Mr. Steiner is one of the few judges of whom I felt everything he said was fair. I did not get my highest scores in that test, but everything I did “wrong” was caught and scored accordingly, and everything correct was also mentioned. I felt as though he really watched my entire test and critiqued it appropriately. I would hug his neck for the confidence boost he gave me as a rider. Other judges make me feel as though I’m not feeling everything I should be. He was one of the few who showed me that I do know what I’m feeling for! I like that in his article, Mr. Steiner addressed the problem of bias. Having multiple judges may help all riders feel they are being judged as I was that day. Amber Hagin Waynesville, GA



eet the Candidates” (October) contained an incorrect statement about the USDF at-large director nomination process. Nominations are not accepted from the floor of the USDF Board of Governors assembly.

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Your Dressage World This Month


Peavy, McIntosh Claim National Championship Titles


io 2016 Paralympian Angela “Annie” Peavy, Wellington, FL, won the 2017 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte aboard a new mount, the nine-year-old Oldenburg mare Royal Dark Chocolate.

THE NEW CHAMPIONS: Grade IV rider Angela “Annie” Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate

BONDED: Competitor Laurietta Oakleaf shares a quiet moment with her Friesian stallion, Niekele Fan Busentiz, during the Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships

10 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

The Grade IV athlete rode “Coco,” owned by Rebecca Reno, to the title on scores of 69.375 percent in the team test, 70.122 in the individual test, and 76.458—the highest score of the competition—in the freestyle, to music from the French musical Chocolat. In the September 15-17 competition, held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC, the reserve national championship went to Grade I rider and fellow 2016 Paralympian Margaret McIntosh, Reading, PA, on an overall score of 70.747 percent. McIntosh has a new equine partner, as well: Heros, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood mare owned by the rider. Placing third was the Grade II athlete Laurietta Oakleaf, Coatesville, PA, on her 13-year-old Friesian stallion, Niekele Fan Busentiz (69.649). In the team competition, the Deloitte US para-equestrian dressage team, led by chef d’équipe and national advisor Kai Handt, came out on top with a team total score of 412.324. The team members were Peavy; Grade IV athlete Michele Bandinu, Santa Barbara, CA, on his own eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Soulman 13; Grade V rider Katie Jackson, Austin, TX, on Royal Dancer, a 12-year-old Westfalen gelding owned by Julia Handt and Rachel Zent; and Grade I rider Roxanne Trunnell, Rowlett, TX, on her own 15-year-old Westfalen mare, NTEC Daytona Beach. “We have a pretty new team competing right now, and we have quite a few riders that have new horses and were trying new horses out at this competition,” Handt said afterward. “Overall it went really well, and we won the team competition by 15 percent. There is still a lot of work to do figuring little things out, but otherwise, I think things came together very well. We have a very young team; they are turning out to be very fierce competitors.”


WINNING TEAM: Team USA’s Katie Jackson, Annie Peavy, chef and technical advisor Kai Handt, Roxanne Trunnell, and Michele Bandinu



Amy Struzzieri, Horse-Show Night-Watch Service


ob title: Owner, Nightwatch, Aiken, SC What I do: Basically, I’m an overnight babysitter at shows, checking on each horse every two hours, giving them water and hay as needed, feeding breakfast in the morning. Most importantly, we’re there to help if they get into trouble. With 52 weeks in the year, we do about 60 shows.

Paris, Los Angeles to Host 2024, 2028 Summer Olympics


t its Session in Lima, Peru, in September, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2024 summer Olympics to Paris and the 2028 summer Games to Los Angeles. The honor is a long time coming for Paris, which hasn’t hosted an Olympic Games since 1924 and hosted one time previously, in 1900. It will be Los Angeles’ third Games, as well: The City of Angels previously hosted the 1932 and 1984 MOMENT IN Olympics. THE SUN: The The USA has not hosted a summer Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games logo Olympics since Atlanta 1996. Our nation’s most recent Games were the 2002 Salt Lake City winter Olympics. Los Angeles and the US Olympic Committee originally bid for the 2024 Olympics. They shifted the bid to 2028 in July 2017 following negotiations with the IOC.



VIGILANT: Struzzieri (right) and partner Daniel Elmlinger

How I got started: It was a fluke. About seven years ago, a show manager was desperately trying to find a new night-watch person. I said, “I’ll do it. I have nothing going on this weekend.” After that first show, I got a call within a week to do another show. By the end of that first season, we knew that’s what we’d be doing next year. Best thing about my job: The nighttime. Getting to know the horses when it’s all quiet. Worst thing about my job: The fact that we’re not watching every horse. It bothers me because they’re all there; they’re all our kids. My horses: I have six. Unfortunately, I spend too much time taking care of everybody else’s, and mine are lawn ornaments. Tips: Turn double-ended snaps away from the horse. You would not believe the number of eyelids and nostrils that require stitches because the clips were turned toward the horse. And double-check stall latches; we find an average of eight to 10 unlocked doors at every show. —Katherine Walcott USDF CONNECTION

November 2017



Your Dressage World This Month



Tickets on Sale for 2018 WEG

ublic ticket sales commenced October 16 for the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018. The eight-discipline quadrennial equestrian world championships will kick off September 11, 2018, with opening ceremonies at the host venue, the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC. Competition will run September 12-23. According to organizers, spectators will have various ticketing options: all-Games passes for one or both weeks of competition, all-session day passes, all-session discipline passes, individual event tickets, and tickets to opening and closing ceremonies. Another admission option will grant access to the event

grounds and expo only. See the 2018 WEG website,, or for prices, details, and availability. WEG organizers also announced in September that Connections Housing is handling accommodations for the event. Learn more at

Digital Edition Bonus Content

Watch the Destination Tryon World Equestrian Games promotional video.


Study Explores Barriers to Dressage Participation


or her 2016 master’s thesis, West Virginia University graduate student Dawn Mackenzie surveyed a cross-section of USDF members about their perceptions of dressagerelated educational opportunities. Mackenzie’s stated objective: to learn members’ opinions of existing USDF educational programs; to identify non-USDF-related dressage-education opportunities; and to determine members’ perceived obstacles toward achieving their dressage-related goals. USDF programs: Most respondents indicated awareness of the USDF convention, the L program, clinics for juniors and young riders, continuing education for dressage judging, and the Instructor/Trainer program, with fewer than 10 percent saying they were unaware of these programs. Respondents indicated somewhat less familiarity with adult clinics, FEI-Level Trainers Conferences, and Sport Horse Seminars. The USDF University program garnered the least recognition, with nearly 26 percent stating they were unaware of it.

Outside resources: More than three-quarters (79 percent) of the respondents indicated that they “frequently” or “often” use dressage educational resources not provided by the USDF. Of those, about 26 percent said they get anywhere from 51 to 100 percent of those resources from their USDF group-member organizations, or GMOs. The majority, however, cited a trainer as the main source of outside educational support (63 percent), followed by local barns (42 percent) and veterinary clinics (23 percent). Other sources included books, online resources, and non-USDF-produced publications. Perceived obstacles: The most often-cited barrier to dressage success was financial challenges (25 percent), followed by difficulties in obtaining quality education (23 percent), competition-related challenges (20 percent), and logistical and weather-related barriers to obtaining regular training and education (17 percent).

12 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

Equestrians Have a Friend in High Places


ntil this year, only three Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) presidents have served as members of the influential International Olympic Committee (IOC). In September, that number increased to four when the IOC elected current FEI president Ingmar De Vos to membership during its 2017 Session in Lima, Peru. De Vos, a native of Belgium with degrees in political science INFLUENTIAL: FEI and international president and IOC and European member Ingmar law, has served De Vos as FEI president since December 2014. A former managing director of the Belgian National Federation, he co-founded the European Equestrian Federation in 2010 and served as its secretary general until 2011, when he joined the FEI. He was the FEI secretary general until his election as FEI president. IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement: “Ingmar De Vos is a great driver of sport and a true supporter of the Olympic movement. Under his presidency the International Equestrian Federation has gone from strength to strength with a series of comprehensive governance and transparency reforms, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020. He will be a valuable addition to the membership of the IOC.” The IOC currently numbers 102 members. A total of 15 member positions are reserved for presidents or persons holding executive or senior leadership positions in international federations or other organizations recognized by the IOC across both summer and winter sports, according to the FEI.





What you need to know this month

2018 Membership Renewal IT’S TIME TO RENEW for 2018! Renew your USDF participating or business membership by December 31 to receive the 2017 yearbook issue of USDF Connection.

2017 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention JOIN US NOVEMBER 29-DECEMBER 2 in Lexington, KY. Network with your peers, learn from some of the country’s most respected equestrian experts, and keep abreast of the latest developments through various forums and roundtable discussions. Then celebrate at the Salute Gala & Annual Awards Banquet, all while enjoying everything our old Kentucky home has to offer! Register online at by November 24 to take advantage of the member advance-registration discount.

Register Today for the USDF Apprentice Technical Delegate Clinic THE USDF APPRENTICE TECHNICAL DELEGATE CLINIC will be held Wednesday, November 29, during the 2017 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention in Lexington, KY. This clinic is required for apprentice TDs but is open to all, and is an excellent resource if you are interested in learning about what a TD does. Topics will include how to become a TD; dressage attire, tack, and equipment; and US Equestrian and USDF forms and publications. Register online by November 24.

Your 2017 membership expires November 30! Renew by 12/31 to receive the 2017 Yearbook. SPECIAL OFFER: Renew your USDF Participating Membership online by December 31, 2017 to receive a $25 electronic gift card from SmartPak! Only members who renew by 6/1/18 are guaranteed a printed copy of the 2018 USDF Member Guide.

Important Reminder You must have a Participating Membership to be eligible and qualify for most year-end award and championship programs. (See the website for detailed program information and eligibility requirements.)

Renew online at

Attention L Graduates BECAUSE L GRADUATES are used to judge unrecognized (schooling) dressage shows, it is important that they stay up to date with current judging criteria in order to give proper comments to competitors. Starting in 2017, L graduates and L graduates with distinction are required to complete eight hours of judge-specific continuing education. Only graduates who meet the continuing-education requirements by April 2018 will be listed on the USDF website. For complete information, visit the USDF website or send e-mail to



November 2017



It’s No-Stirrup November! Are you ready to take the challenge to improve your riding? Here’s how to get started By Lesley Ward


rop your stirrups”—three little words that strike fear into many riders. Like going to the gym or drinking eight glasses of water a day, we know that riding without stirrups is good for us, but many of us don’t really want to do it. And now, thanks to our friends in the hunter/jumper world, there’s an

Why Should We Do This, Again? Dropping your stirrups on a regular basis is beneficial to all riders, regardless of level or discipline. Whether you’re a new to dressage or an FEI superstar, kicking off the irons helps to improve your seat and balance in the

GAINING INDEPENDENCE: Riding without stirrups helps the rider build the balance and core strength needed to follow and influence the horse properly without relying on the reins or irons. Kentucky-based amateur eventer and dressage rider Brooke Schafer practices aboard her 2010 off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding, Kulik Lodge (Curlin – Kulik Cat, Giant’s Causeway). Brooke has removed her spurs so she won’t accidentally bump her horse’s sides if her legs are less than quiet during her no-stirrup work.

entire month dedicated to the art of riding without stirrups. Well, “nostirrup November” is upon us. What do you say, dressage enthusiasts? Are you up for the challenge of riding without stirrups for 30 days?

saddle while building core strength. It also strengthens your legs and helps to improve your leg position. “I feel like stirrups can be used as a crutch,” says Melissa Allen, of Holden, MO, a USDF FEI B certified

14 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

instructor. “Some people’s stirrups are too long, and that prevents them from being really able to develop their own seat. They’re constantly reaching for their stirrups. Other people ride too short, so riding without stirrups lengthens their legs.” Dropping the stirrups forces the rider to confront any strength, balance, and alignment asymmetries, Allen says. “So many riders have one side that is weaker than the other, and I feel that they really have to maintain their balance when riding without stirrups. I’m very big on balance of the rider. And not just their lower body but their upper body, too.” Many dressage enthusiasts admire the horses and riders of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, where new riders work without stirrups for an extended period of time in order to develop the sought-after “independent seat”—meaning that the rider is able to remain in balance and to influence the horse without pulling on the reins or gripping with the legs for security. That no-stirrup approach is endorsed by many European instructors. “When I went to Germany to ride with Conrad Schumacher, I didn’t ride with stirrups for six months!” recalls USDF-certified instructor and USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist Reese Koffler-Stanfield, Georgetown, KY. “Riding without stirrups helps you learn how to lengthen your legs. It teaches you to not pinch with your legs and thighs. It allows you to drop your leg and have access to your hips and core.” “If you’re crooked in your pelvis, riding without stirrups will help you,” Koffler-Stanfield says. “You can’t be crooked without stirrups because you’ll fall off.” Riders love the security that stirrups offer, but in some cases stirrups can actually be a hindrance, KofflerStanfield says. “People use their stirrups to stay balanced, but they can change your hip angle. If your stirrups are too short, you don’t swing your hips properly. If they’re too long, you’ll be on your toe.”


The No-Stirrup Progression Given her own dressage educational history, it should come as no surprise that Koffler-Stanfield uses no-stirrup work with her students at her family’s Maplecrest Farm, near Lexington, KY. But gradual introduction, she says, is the key to success. “Everyone jokes about no-stirrup November, but I think if you actually take your stirrups off for a whole month, you’re going to be really sore,” she says. “Start once a week, maybe for half a ride. Then go to twice a week. Take away your stirrups gradually.” Likewise, Allen, who has students ranging from Training Level to Grand Prix, doesn’t ask riders to drop their stirrups completely for an entire month. THE EUROPEAN APPROACH: No-stirrup work is de rigeur for many instructors. German Instead, she asks many of her students master Johann Hinnemann had US high-performance rider Endel Ots drop his irons at the 2016 to ride without stirrups for a few minAdequan®/USDF FEI-Level Trainers Conference. utes at the beginning of every lesson. “I have a year-round no-stirrup amateurs who have full-time jobs. They stirrups lets their legs hang down and program,” Allen says. “It gets them come out before work, on their lunch allows their hip flexors and legs to relax. stretched out and loosened up.” She break, or after work, and they can be We do leg-yields, shoulder-in, haunchVA.0717.USEFPAK.pdf 9/18/17 9:54 AM explains that “I teach a lot of1adult stressed out and tight. Riding without es-in, and half-pass with no stirrups at

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USDF CONNECTION • November 2017



Safety First JUST IN CASE: Grab strap attached to a saddle’s D-rings

the beginning. They can really get their legs down and long, and this sets them up for a better ride when we pick up the stirrups and get to work. If a student is new to riding without stirrups, Allen introduces it in increments. “I’ll have them drop their stirrups and then pick them up,” she says, “and drop them again, and pick them up again. When one of my students is learning how to ride the sitting trot, we’ll kick off the stirrups and work at the sitting trot. If she starts losing her balance, I’ll let her pick up her stirrups and post for a minute. Then she’ll drop her stirrups and go back to sitting trot.” Building a rider’s strength takes time, as does building the confidence to ride bigger or faster gaits without stirrups.

There’s a bit of risk involved in riding without stirrups, of course, especially for the rider whose balance in the saddle is not well established. That’s why both Koffler-Stanfield and Allen have students attach grab straps to the D-rings on their saddle fronts for nostirrup work. “It helps them sit the trot,” Allen explains. “Holding on to the strap eases them into it. They don’t feel like they are completely lost, and the strap helps to stop them from bouncing around in the saddle. They can just grab the strap to maintain their balance again, and after a couple of moments have gone by, I say ‘OK, drop the strap.’ But as soon as they need it, it’s there again.” Koffler-Stanfield is pragmatic about choosing the right horse, envi-

No-Stirrup Tip


efore you cross your stirrup leathers over the pommel of the saddle, pull the buckle down a bit, advises USDF-certified instructor Reese KofflerStanfield. “If you leave the buckle under the skirt, you’ll end up with a nice bruise on your thigh. We’ve all done that.”

CROSSING OVER: Brooke Schafer crosses her stirrup leathers and irons over the front of the saddle

16 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

ronment, and conditions for no-stirrup work. “I’m not going to drop my stirrups on my young horse on a cold, windy day,” she says. “And, in my opinion, you should be in an enclosed arena. You could even try it on a lunge line for a bit. Take some lessons with your instructor or with someone who can lunge you safely. That’s a good way to start.” With less-experienced students, “at first we just do walk, trot, and canter,” Koffler-Stanfield says, “and lots of transitions to get them comfortable without stirrups. Trot-canter transitions are where people have issues with their hips and balance. Riding without stirrups is the ultimate test of your balance.”

No-Stirrup Exercises Riding without stirrups is the timetested way of learning how to sit the trot. “I used to have a horse and I just couldn’t sit her trot,” Koffler-Stanfield admits. “So I dropped my stirrups, and I didn’t take them back until I figured out where I was pinching and where in my leg the problem was. Riding without stirrups is a very good tool to use to diagnose your body condition.” Another tried-and-true method of improving the rider’s seat is the lunge lesson—and the lunge line is an ideal place for working without stirrups, our experts agree. “I have students who have lunge lessons once a week and others who do them once a month,” Allen says. “It just depends on the situation. If I feel like a rider isn’t letting her legs hang down during a lesson, I’ll say, ‘You know what, there’s a change of plans today,’ and I throw her on the lunge line. We work on opening up her hips and letting her legs hang down. We work on sitting up tall. I have a client who draws up her legs, starts clamping, and gets tight when she asks her horse to go forward. I find that lunge lessons without stirrups really help her legs let go a bit.”


“I don’t expect someone who hasn’t been riding without stirrups for long to be trotting around on a horse that has a super-powerful trot from the get-go,” says Allen. “We need to develop the rider’s seat first. Once she starts learning how to use her aids and seat, then we can increase the trot. I have my students do a lot of transitions, so the trot may not be as forward as we want it to be for a while. I had a student who has a horse that is a big mover, so we did a smaller trot when she rode without stirrups.”

The Seat-Lesson Bible


he USDF Lungeing Manual (available from the USDF store) is a comprehensive illustrated guide to safely and effectively training and teaching horses and riders on the lunge line. Chapters describe how to use lungeing equipment, how to safely introduce a horse to lungeing, safety considerations in teaching seat lessons, and more. Illustrations (such as the torso-rotation series shown here) accompany descriptions of numerous exercises instructors can use to help students improve their riding.

Exercise 7A. Exercise 7B. in the USDF Lungeing Manual THE BETTER-SEAT RESOURCE: One of many exercise sequences contained Looking to the right.

Looking straight ahead.




Exercise 7C. Looking to the left.

2:56:17 PM

Exercise 7. Keep arms shoulder high to the side, look slowly from right to left. Supples neck, improves balance. Stay deep on seat bones, thighs long, knees down, stomach and chest open. More difficult: with eyes closed.

Exercise 8A. Rotate left.

Exercise 8B. Straight ahead.

Exercise 8C. Rotate right.


Exercise 8. Keep arms shoulder high to the side, rotate upper body from the waist, one hand toward the horse’s head, the other toward the horse’s tail. Both seat bones must stay down and central in the saddle. Supples torso, improves balance.

Fit is Everything.

Exercise 9A. Hold inside hand in rein holding position, outside hand holding safety strap. USDF CONNECTION • November 2017

Exercise 9B.



Before You Drop Your Stirrups, Think About Your Horse


e considerate of your horse when riding without stirrups, instructors advise. “Make sure your saddle fits your horse properly before dropping your stirrups,” says USDF-certified instructor Reese Koffler-Stanfield. “And if you’re bouncing around a lot, stop. Riding without stirrups isn’t going to work if the horse’s back is sore. Make sure you’re riding appropriately and not hurting his back.” Koffler-Stanfield also recommends removing spurs when you drop your stirrups—at least to begin with. “This is also a good test to see if your horse is in front

On or off the lunge line, Allen incorporates exercises into her nostirrup program. “I have tons of them!” she says. “I ask my students to stretch their legs away from the horse laterally. I’ll have them bring their knees up and then drop their legs down. I do a lot with the upper body, too, like shoulder rolls. I want them to elongate their bodies.” For more on lunge-lesson exercises, see “The Seat-Lesson Bible” on

of your leg and seat.” “If I feel like a rider is overusing one leg while riding without stirrups and is rubbing the horse with the spur,” says USDF-certified instructor Melissa Allen, “I take off the spur and make her use her leg in a different way. If the rider is using the spur too much, she probably has her toe out and is using her hamstrings when she should be using her abductors, on the inside of the thigh. Using your hamstrings tightens your hip and glute muscles, which blocks the horse from going forward.”

the previous page. More-advanced riders can use no-stirrup work to check their position and aids, according to KofflerStanfield. “Riding without stirrups is a great way to see if your lateral work is working the way it is supposed to with your hips and body,” she explains. “Often, riders will drop their hips and collapse their shoulders. You can’t do that without stirrups because you’ll find

18 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

that your horse won’t move sideways.” Koffler-Stanfield also encourages her students to drop their stirrups when they’re learning or teaching flying changes. “When I pull mine now, it’s almost always for flying changes,” she says. “It really makes sure that I’m using my hips properly and that I don’t have any blockages. I like the feeling of riding flying changes without stirrups. It’s a little more honest.”

How About No-Stirrup 2018? Try to make riding without stirrups a part of your regular training regimen, our experts advise. “In my opinion, you should be able to ride whatever test you’re riding at the time without stirrups,” says Koffler-Stanfield. “Even if you’re riding Grand Prix, you should be able to do it without stirrups.” “Whatever level you’re riding or schooling, riding without stirrups should be second nature,” Allen agrees. “You shouldn’t feel nervous or tense. It shouldn’t be torture. People think, ‘Oh no, you’re taking my stirrups away!’ when you should be thinking, ‘Wow! Gravity is really going to work for me.’ That’s why I like nostirrup November so much. It makes dropping your stirrups fun.” Allen, like Koffler-Stanfield, practices what she preaches. “I usually ride without stirrups at the beginning of a ride, just to stretch out,” she says. “I used to give myself lunge-line lessons when I was growing up. I would pay one of the workers at the barn five bucks to stand in the middle of the arena holding the lunge line for me. I spent hours without stirrups when I was a teen, so I know the benefits of it!” s Writer and photographer Lesley Ward lives with her three horses on a farm near Lexington, KY. Her website is

COMING NEXT MONTH • Introduction to sporthorse breeding • Annual stallion and breeding guide • What do dressage judges really think?

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all-breeds connection

The enchanting beauty of the Iberian horse excels in the dressage arena


ndalusian and Lusitano horses from Spain and Portugal on the Iberian peninsula represent the original bloodlines of perhaps the most famous horses in the world: the Lipizzaners of Vienna. Prior to the establishment of the Spanish Riding School and since that time, this horse of kings was simultaneously being used for the military, ranching, and

RANKED: Kyrie Eleison, a 2005 Andalusian mare (Teodoro – Fanega) owned by SF Andalusians (IL) and ridden by Jennifer Strasser (IL), placed in the 2016 open Fourth Level USDF All-Breeds standings for the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association

bullfighting. All of these uses required a compliant, tractable character with the ability to move with finesse and alacrity. Hundreds of years of selective breeding have produced a temperament and athleticism that distinguish these horses from many other breeds. Andalusian and Lusitano horses, also referred to as Iberians, are characteristically light in the hand, easy to sit, and as a rule do not refuse their riders. Along with trainability and tractability, today’s Iberian horses display the extensions and scope desired in dressage competition. The ready relationships these horses form with their riders make them ideal for anyone. Dressage has always been a forte of the Andalusian and Lusitano breeds, and contemporary variety available in the United States makes it easy to find a horse to fit the rider at all levels of dressage. Andalusians and Lusitanos you might know: Evento and Invasor II both competed in dressage in Olympic Games, and the stallion Fuego XII (aka Fuego de Cardenas) competed for Spain at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The Lusitano stallion Barroco (by Torre), owned by Candace Platz (ME), was the 2015 International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association All-Breeds champion at Fourth Level and reserve champion at Prix St. Georges. Last year, he was the IALHA All-Breeds Intermediate I Open champion and the I-I Musical Freestyle reserve champion. The International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association: The

20 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

IALHA is an association of breeders, owners, and aficionados of the ancient and magnificent Andalusian horse. We hold true to the long and glorious history of this breed and acknowledge the original Andalusian bloodlines, which include horses from both Spain and Portugal. We maintain a registry for purebred Andalusians, Lusitanos, and half-Andalusians; publish a magazine about them; provide shows for them; and promote their unique qualities to the world. We are also the official representative of the Lusitano horse in the USA and Canada, and represent the Portuguese stud book through the APSL Commission. All-Breeds awards offered: (In 2017) top five placings in all award categories, in two divisions: Purebred and Half-Andalusian. How to participate: The horse must be registered with the IALHA, and the owner listed on the horse’s registration papers must be a current IALHA member. Learn more: or (205) 995-8900. s

A Celebration of Breeds


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


Spotlight: International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association

Shades of Gray

Artist and dressage enthusiast Pat Wozniak plumbs the depths of her equine subjects in glorious B&W BY D. J. CAREY LYONS

HOMAGE: A longtime fan of the Disney movie Miracle of the White Stallions, artist Pat Wozniak always wanted to create a Lipizzan portrait. A photo of a baroque horse she found in a book inspired this 2002 graphite work, titled Equus Nobilis.

22 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


orses and art are two sides of the same coin for me,” says Arizona-based artist Patricia “Pat” Wozniak. “I think I absorb the information I use to draw horses just by being around them. Turning them out and handling them, I pay attention, because they really appreciate my knowing what they like and don’t like.” And being around horses “makes my eyes work.” So going to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics was, for her, “like a pilgrimage. I stood by the exercise area and watched everybody: the good, the not-so-good, and the fabulous— and more practice rides and warm-up rides than performances. It was three days of heaven: just watching horse after horse, muscles gleaming in the sunlight.” Wozniak works principally in graphite and colored pencil; she also does custom painting on leather. And “although I’ll do a portrait in colored pencil if a client wants it, I prefer black and white.” [

FAVORITE MEDIUM: Many of Wozniak’s works are B&W graphite images. Clockwise from left: W. C. Pony (the initials stand for “wicked cute”); Mirror of History, a close-up of the eye and distinctive profile of an Arabian horse; and two zebras dubbed Scott & Zelda.


November 2017


Art and Horses The Boston-born Wozniak began asking Santa for a horse “when I was three. When I didn’t get one, I started drawing horses. In first grade, when the nuns asked why I was drawing only horses, I said, ‘OK, I’ll draw people,’ and started adding them to my pictures.” For her thirteenth birthday, Wozniak got to see the Lipizzans of the Spanish Riding School perform at Boston Garden. Earlier, watching Walt Disney’s Miracle of the White Stallions, she’d learned how SRS director Alois Podhajsky evacuated them from Vienna during World War II. Months later, during a visit to Bermuda with her aunt (an eighth-grade graduation gift), one morning Wozniak got onto the hotel elevator “and there was Walt Disney!”, who was in town scouting movie locations. “I said, ‘Good morning, Mr. Disney; I want to thank you for something. My favorite movie is Miracle of the White Stallions. I saw it, then saw the Lipizzans perform—and I want to be a dressage rider.’” Back home, now in high school, Wozniak continued drawing. “But when my homeroom teacher (a Massachusetts College of Art graduate) asked how my portfolio for college applications was coming, “I said, ‘Sister, I don’t have the time for it because I have to take trigonometry—which I don’t need.’” Homeroom and trig teacher conferred, and Wozniak got approval to take a weekly study period in the art room instead. Accepted by Boston University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Massachusetts College of Art, Wozniak chose “Mass Art” on her teachers’ recommendation. “And as a state school, it cost just $200 a year.”

Moving out and Saddling Up Wozniak received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration, with honors, in 1973, but jobs for women artists were scarce. After a graduation-gift trip to Hawaii, she continued living at home, working at a department store and picking up occasional graphics assignments while job-hunting. In 1976, thinking a graduate degree might improve her prospects, she moved to Oahu and set up some interviews with art faculty at the University of Hawaii. Wozniak’s first interview didn’t go well. “I was accused of ‘prostituting’ my work because I was an illustrator and did what publishers told me to do!” Fortunately, her second interview was with the much more down-to-earth Graphic Design department head—“and the first thing he said was ‘Why do you need another degree? Why not get a job as an illustrator? How about fashion illustration? We need artists

24 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

here. Honolulu has three big stores; their graphics departments could use your talent. Go talk to them.’ “So I did—and was hired by the first store he’d suggested. Along with selling designer clothing, it also had a beautiful children’s department, where I was invited to promote and display my children’s portraits. For each portrait I did there, I paid the store a percentage of my fee.” Having a steady paycheck at last, Wozniak started taking riding lessons. After two years at that first store, Wozniak signed with Ethel Hong, “a savvy businesswoman who looked like an Asian Coco Chanel,” to do ads for her six “Ethel’s” stores. “I’d take the clothes home, draw the ads, then bring the clothes and ads back. In the main store, I’d also talk with customers and help backstage with two big yearly fashion shows. “By the time I left Ethel’s to do work with several other stores, I’d also picked up a lot of calligraphy business, much of it from the big Honolulu hotels: menus, programs, place cards, and other ‘added touches’ for conventions, big weddings, and the like.”

From Learner to Owner By late 1980, Wozniak felt confident enough in her work and her riding to look for a horse of her own. She soon learned of an Appendix Quarter Horse for sale on Oahu’s North Shore: “a 16.2-hand, twelve-year-old chestnut named Soda, bred in California and trained by Jeff Moore” (USEF “S” dressage judge J. Ashton Moore). On first acquaintance, though, the gelding didn’t impress, Wozniak remembers. “Soda was trace-clipped and had been living in the pasture. His bottom half was muddy; his top half was sun-bleached so orange that the kids were calling him ‘Surfer Dude.’ But then I rode him, and when he looked back at me after a misstep, as if making sure I was still in the saddle, I said, ‘This is my horse!’” Wozniak paid the owner, then called her parents: “I bought a horse. He’s got a long tail and a cute face and a handsome body. And he’s mocha-colored, so I’m registering him as Mocha Soda. He’s kind of grubby now, but I think he’ll clean up nicely. “I mailed them a ‘just bought’ photo. And my mother responded with $200 for grooming supplies and a note: ‘We can’t have a grubby animal in the family!’ (“The orange hair shed out; a combination of good feed, Farnam’s Super 14 supplement, and regular grooming made Soda’s coat shine like a Chinese lacquered table. And he never again turned orange,” Wozniak says.) Her new mount, Wozniak soon learned, was a very kind horse; but “his response to anything boring was ‘I know how

PORTRAIT OF TWO LEGENDS: Dr. Klimke with Ahlerich

HEART HORSE: Wozniak and Mocha Soda competed successfully through Intermediate I

to do this. Let’s do something else.’ And he’d been so well trained that if I asked for a movement incorrectly, he just wouldn’t respond. In effect, he was teaching me.” The pair rose through the levels, eventually competing through Intermediate I. “Soda loved doing dressage and loved having everybody looking at him,” Wozniak says, “and the I-I test was made for us. Its constant changes kept his busy mind focused. He got his highest-ever I-I score in a test three days before his twenty-first birthday.” Soda also appears in much of Wozniak’s art. One of her graphite portraits, called Before the Flood, “shows Soda pretending to scratch his nose when what he wanted to do was turn a faucet on. Seconds later—after I’d told him ‘No!’ and gone into the tack room—I heard, ‘Pat! Your horse is flooding the barn!’”


Expanding Horizons Living in Hawaii, Wozniak got to ride with dressage judges “who’d stop off on the way to somewhere else and be invited to do a clinic or judge a show.” She was always happy to scribe—“and, of course, I brought my portfolio along so I could whip it out in case of a pause between rides.” In 1987, Dr. Josef Knipp of Germany and his family visited. He’d brought his family along; “while he judged a show and taught a clinic at our barn, they enjoyed the beach.” Wozniak, who lived near the Knipps’ accommodations, “volunteered to drive Dr. Knipp to and from the barn. When


he asked what I did, I said I was an artist and showed him my portfolio. He looked through it, then asked if I could do a drawing of Reiner Klimke, many of whose performances he’d seen. I said yes; I had some great photos I could work from, including close-ups I’d taken at the ’84 Olympic Games, and I had a copy of Klimke’s book Ahlerich. So Dr. Knipp commissioned me to do a portrait of Dr. Klimke and Ahlerich. As a present for his daughter, he also had me do a portrait of her big Bernese Mountain Dog.” [ USDF CONNECTION

November 2017


“That lasted two or three years. Then maybe the hotels realized the cutbacks weren’t working as well as they’d hoped, because I started getting work again. “No longer owning a horse, I didn’t have much in the way of horse expenses. And my condo was paid for. But work was still sparse. I’d pretty much done a portrait of every horse on Oahu whose owner would spend for such a thing, so I decided to move back to the mainland.” As Wozniak researched possible cities, Scottsdale, AZ, kept coming up as a likely destination: “Its location was pretty central for the Southwestern art world and horse world. And its cost of living was a lot lower than Hawaii’s.” She made the move in 1999 and has lived in Scottsdale ever since. IN COLOR: When Wozniak does color portraits, she favors watercolor pencils. Liberty Moon “Bert” is a commissioned portrait of a Trakehner/Arabian-cross dressage horse.

In 1990, after Wozniak attended the inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games in Sweden, the Knipps invited her to their home in Cologne, Germany. Then Dr. Knipp took her to see the German Olympic training center and to tour the Westfalen breeding facility, “where I felt like a kid in a candy store. I reminded myself that I already had a horse— but, I admit, I also reflected that he couldn’t live forever.” As fate would have it, Soda died six weeks after Wozniak returned. “The problem came on suddenly, so he didn’t suffer. But all of us, his ‘family’ and friends, were very affected.” About two years later, Wozniak began riding a horse called Fridge. Named for supersized Chicago Bears football player William “The Refrigerator” Perry, “Fridge was a 1,500-pound Hanoverian. Yet, riding him, I noticed how shy he was, and how timid. And although he looked collected and on the bit, he wasn’t engaged behind, wasn’t balanced. So, fearing he was going to fall, he’d speed up and feel like a freight train under you.” Help balancing Fridge came from FEI-level competitor Dennis Callin, who was visiting a client nearby. “Dennis showed me how to use an opening rein on a big circle to work Fridge and relax his neck. With no tugging, no pulling, I could help him slowly come back over his hind legs and elevate his front end—where, when he wasn’t balanced, he had a lot of weight.”

Desert Skies Hawaii didn’t escape the late-1980s economic downturn. “By 1990 or so,” Wozniak recalls, “a number of the major hotels had reduced staff and cut back on services. They also started cutting back on the little niceties they’d offered,” which cut into her income.

26 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

Settling into the Southwest One of the first sites Wozniak visited, the famed annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, “was where I met furniture maker Ernie Apodaca. He needed someone to do custom painting on leather furniture; I met him through a woman for whom I’d done custom painting on leather clothing.” “In an area as devoted to visual art as Scottsdale is,” Wozniak says, “trends come and go; there’s always another ‘hot artist’ or ‘hot image.’ Galleries have preferences, which can change. Works in pencil are more welcome some places than others. But the subject of the art pretty much has to be Western to one degree or another.” Art and architecture meld in various ways in the Southwest, Wozniak discovered. Besides the custom furniture painting, she’s been hired to adorn the interior walls of two homes with calligraphy. In the first, she inscribed Bible verses chosen by the owners. For the second, she persuaded the owners to have the quotations painted on canvas panels that can be moved—“so, if they ever sell the house, they can take the quotations with them.”

Customer Relations Wozniak is careful to stay in touch with customers “who don’t live in Arizona most of the time, but who—like the hotels in Hawaii—are always in need of something such as calligraphy, or a drawing for a logo, or another graphic element. I do most of my commercial work and commissioned work either for resale or for out-of-state customers. And I use Facebook, rather than a website, to give myself a searchable presence. Whenever possible, though, I prefer making one-on-one contact with potential customers. I think an artist needs to meet people and let them see what they’ve expressed an interest in. Most folks, even if they have the resources, aren’t likely to buy a $3,500 original from a website. Besides, you

never see art better than you do when you’re standing in front of it.” Wozniak creates most of her commissioned portraits from photographs, sending sketches to customers to keep them informed while a work is in progress. And even after the finished product is delivered, clients tend to stay in touch with the artist, she says. “My biggest thrill,” she says, “comes from knowing that when they get home, the art makes them smile. I’ve had people tell me that they came home in tears after a bad day, but then they looked at their portrait and it brought a smile to their face. That’s my satisfaction.” Wozniak captures what we love about horses—their magnificence, their mischievousness, their timeless appeal. It’s all there, in black and white. s BEST FRIENDS: Two horses nuzzle in a portrait appropriately named XOXOXO

D. J. Carey Lyons is a freelance writer based in Pennsylvania.



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Photo: Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo, 2017 Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize Recipient. Photo by Terri Miller.



November 2017


Trophy Horses Some USDF perpetual trophies are works of art unto themselves PHOTOGRAPHS BY JENNIFER MUNSON AND KARL LAWRENCE

A HOME FOR DRESSAGE ART: View of the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in the USDF National Education Center shows perpetual trophies on display

28 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


very year at the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention and at the US Dressage Finals, year-end award winners, champions, and high-score recipients are presented with perpetual trophies commemorating their achievements. Even beyond the significance of the awards, many of these trophies incorporate stunning original pieces of equine art. Have you ever wondered who created these works, and where they came from? Let’s give these artists and their beautiful pieces their due.

Year-End Awards Perpetual Trophies


ne of the most prestigious USDF perpetual trophies is also the simplest. The Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year owner receives the large silver cup known as the Colonel Thackeray Trophy, which is on permanent display at the USDF National Education Center in Lexington, KY. The champion’s name is engraved on a plate that is mounted on the cup’s wooden base. The cup was either donated by, or previously owned by (records are unclear), the late Col. Donald Thackeray, who in 1998 was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to American dressage. The Thackeray Trophy was first presented in 1996.


he artist Barbara Noble created this dynamic bronze of a horse in extended trot and called it, fittingly, Traveling Trot. Mounted on a handsome wooden base and first awarded in 2000, the Traveling Trot trophy is awarded each year to the Adequan®/USDF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Horse of the Year with the highest median score.


November 2017



different sort of equine art adorns the large wooden plaque that goes to the annual Adequan®/USDF Highest-Scoring Materiale Champion. Artist Cynthia Wolfe created a bronze relief of a trotting dressage horse that sets off the Sunshine Sport Horse Association Trophy, which was donated to the USDF in 2007 by the Sunshine Sport Horse Association, a regional organization for sport-horse breeders in Florida.


he well-known sport-horse facility Hilltop Farm, Colora, MD, donated this charming bronze statue of two foals, by an unknown artist, in 2006. The Hilltop Farm Trophy is awarded annually to the Adequan®/USDF Dressage Breeder of the Year.

30 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


he playful horse depicted in Ohiobased artist Lynda Sappington’s statue is aptly named Frolic. The bronze, donated in 2006 by and Beverly Rapp, is the StallionExpo Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the Adequan®/USDF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Breeder of the Year.


he arresting bronze Pirouette, by sculptor Christine CollierTrevino of Kansas, tops the Adult Amateur Grand Prix trophy, which each year recognizes the champion adult-amateur rider at the Grand Prix level. Pirouette was donated to the USDF in 2007.


November 2017


US Dressage Finals Perpetual Trophies Several impressive works of art have become coveted trophies awarded at the annual US Dressage Finals national championships. The newest US Dressage Finals trophy—so new that a photo wasn’t yet available when this issue went to press—is the Jazzman Perpetual Trophy, which will be presented for the first time this month at the 2017 Finals. Dr. Donna Richardson, San Marcos, CA, donated the custom-made bronze trophy to the USDF this year in honor of Jazzman, Richardson’s 1991 Dutch Warmblood gelding. The Jazzman Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the US Dressage Finals Grand Prix Musical Freestyle Open Champion.


his elegant bronze of a trotting horse, created by artist Gwen Reardon of Kentucky (who also sculpted the Half-Pass statue that marks the entrance to the USDF National Education Center), is named in honor of longtime USDF volunteer and former USDF secretary and USDF Region 1 director Janine Malone. The Janine Westmoreland Malone Perpetual Trophy, donated in 2009 and first presented in 2013, is awarded to the US Dressage Finals Adult Amateur Prix St. Georges champion.


nother noted equine artist, the Texas-based Olva Stewart Pharo, donated the Calaveras County Perpetual Trophy in 2014. Pharo’s elegant bronze of a horse and rider in a canter pirouette is awarded to the US Dressage Finals Grand Prix Musical Freestyle Adult Amateur champion.

32 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION


ressage judge Janet Foy donated this sculpture of two horses in 2014, in honor of a friend to all in the dressage community, Lloyd Landkamer. Landkamer, a beloved dressage-show organizer, FEI steward, and USDF Region 4 director, was battling cancer at the time, and he died the following year. The statue is a reproduction of an 1886 original by Bayre. The Lloyd Landkamer Perpetual Trophy goes to the FEI highest-scoring mare at the US Dressage Finals.


n 2015, Landkamer himself memorialized a dressage supporter by donating a US Dressage Finals perpetual trophy. Presented in memoriam by USDF Region 4, the Miki Christophersen Perpetual Trophy is a stunning horse head by Daum Crystal. It is awarded to the Prix St. Georges Open champion.


SDF Region 5 and Region 5 director Heather Petersen donated a unique vase depicting horses in relief as a memorial to their friend and colleague, the late FEI steward and fellow Coloradan Veronica Holt. First awarded in 2015, the Veronica Holt Perpetual Trophy, presented in memoriam by USDF Region 5 and friends, is awarded to the US Dressage Finals Grand Prix Open champion.

A Fine-Art Tradition With its beauty, dressage has long lent itself to artistic expression. The USDF is proud to present these perpetual trophies that marry the art of dressage with achievement in sport. For information about donating or lending a work of equine art to the USDF National Education Center or as a perpetual trophy, please call (859) 971-7826 or send e-mail to s USDF CONNECTION


November 2017


Time to Treat Someone Special Our annual holiday “look book” of gift ideas for the dressage enthusiast BY JENNIFER O. BRYANT

One of the great pleasures of the holiday season is picking out a gift for someone special—especially when the item is something the person probably wouldn’t buy for him- or herself. In that spirit, we offer these ideas for the dressage enthusiast on your gift list. Happy holidays!

A Special Sparkler Customers admired the fleur-de-lis-with-horseheads logo of equestrian-jewelry company The Classic Horse, so owner/designer Zorka Pondell decided to offer the logo as her Fleur de Lis collection of pendants. Pictured is the Fleur de Lis in 14K white and rose gold with diamond accents. The Classic Horse can also create the Fleur de Lis as a pin or earrings, and you can order it in any combination of white, yellow, or rose gold, with or without diamonds. A tarnish-resistant sterling-silver alloy version is also available. Learn more:

34 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

Whips Are Works of Art Jewelry designer Irene Greenberg of Eye Gee Design has partnered with the Westfield Whip Manufacturing Co. to offer four limited-edition dressage whips, each featuring a different “old style” piece of equine art on the cap. Choose from the Handsome Chestnut, Sidesaddle, Bright Bay, and Black Horse (not pictured) designs. Each caps the handle of a Westfield Whip Heritage Collection dressage whip, which measures the regulation length of 120 cm and is finely balanced. (America’s oldest whip manufacturer, the Westfield Whip company was featured in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of USDF Connection.) Learn more: USDF CONNECTION

November 2017


Get Cozy Everybody likes snuggling under a throw on a chilly day. If said throw has a pretty equestrian design, can be personalized, can be machine-washed and –dried, and is US-made from recycled and organic cotton and other yarns, you had us at eco-friendly. That’s the business model of “eco luxury” purveyor in2green, whose equestrian line includes this Eco Equestrian Border Personalized Throw. It measures 50" x 60" and is made from a super-soft blend of 50 percent recycled cotton and 50 percent mostly-recycled polyester. A monogram of up to 10 characters is knit into the fabric. Choose from two color schemes: saddle/pumpkin/pearl (pictured) or midnight/linen/pearl. Learn more:

36 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

Cuffs for Fun Equestrians love designer Debbie Brooks’ horse-themed accessories, including the dressage-horse iPhone case featured in this space a few holiday seasons ago. To her specialty lines of cuff bracelets, Brooks has added dressagespecific designs to her equestrian collection. The bracelets are 5/8" wide, lightweight, and feature unique hand-silk-screened designs embellished with diamond dust and glitter and encapsulated in jewelry-grade acrylic. They come in four sizes to fit a variety of wrists. The dressage designs are available exclusively from Malvern Saddlery in Pennsylvania. Learn more:

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November 2017


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Thank Your Horse’s Breeder The artwork on this keepsake wooden box is called The Flirt—so what better gift for the person who brought your special horse into the world? Actually, any horse lover would love to receive this box, for it contains 14 pieces of Harbor Sweets’ famous assorted Dark Horse Chocolates, from Dressage Classics to Peppermint Ponies. Learn more:

38 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

One-of-a-Kind Stock Pin Another unusual offering from Eye Gee Design is the Beaded Austrian Shilling Brooch, featuring a coin depicting a Lipizzan stallion and rider from the Spanish Riding School of Vienna in a levade. Designer Irene Greenberg hand-beads each brooch with a different color combination, so each piece is unique. The brooch is held in place with a silver-plated setting. Greenberg donates a portion of her company’s annual profits to Brooke USA (, the American arm of the UK-based international charitable organization dedicated to improving the welfare of working equines in the world’s poorest countries. Learn more:

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The 2017 USDF Online Stallion Guide is LIVE!

2017 USDF Online Stallion Guide

This annual online stallion guide is released by the United States Dressage Federation for the dressage community. The guide is available both through the USDF website and the USDF app. This guide contains interactive links to give you all the information you need to make a favorable breeding decision. Whether interested in breeding, or looking for a breeder with offspring already on the ground, this is a great way to learn more about dressage breeders throughout North America.

The Hottest Bloodlines in Rio

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

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42 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

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

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Official Publication of the United States Dressage Federation


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


For specific staff contacts visit the USDF Web site.



Accounting......................................................................(859) 271-7891....................................... Address and E-mail Updates............................................(859) Adult Education Programs ..............................................(859) 271-7882......................................... Adult Team Competitions.................................................(859) 971-7360...................... All-Breeds Awards ...........................................................(859) Applications Submitted at Competitions...........................(859) Breeders & Materiale Championships Series......................(859) 271-7894........................................ Demographics and Statistics............................................(859) 271-7083................................................. Donations........................................................................(859) Dover Medal Program......................................................(859) 971-7361...................................... eTRAK..............................................................................(859) Group Membership..........................................................(859) 971-7048................................................. Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards...............(859) 271-7882........................................ Horse Performance Certificates.........................................(859) Horse Registration............................................................(859) Horse/Rider Score Reports. .............................................(859) Human Resources/Career Opportunities............................(859) 271-7885..................................................... Instructor Certification.....................................................(859) Insurance Certificates for Competitions............................(859) 271-7886........................................... Junior/Young Rider Clinics................................................(859) L Education and Continuing Education.............................(859) 971-7039.......................................... Mailing Lists.....................................................................(859) NAJYRC Criteria and Procedures.......................................(859) 971-7360............................................... National Education Initiative............................................(859) 271-7882......................................... Nominations – Delegates, Regional Directors....................(859) 271-7897..................................... Participating and Business Memberships...........................(859) 271-7871..................................... Podcasts..........................................................................(859) 971-7039............................................ Prize List Questions..........................................................(859) Regional Championships Program....................................(859) Rider Awards...................................................................(859) 971-7361...................................... Score Corrections.............................................................(859) Secretary/Manager Services .............................................(859) Show Results...................................................................(859) Sponsorship Opportunities...............................................(859) 271-7887...................................... Sport Horse Education.....................................................(859) 271-7894........................................ Store Merchandise...........................................................(859) 971-7828..................................... University Accreditation and Credit Check.........................(859) 271-7876.......................................... Year-end Awards..............................................................(859) 971-7361............................................. Young Rider Graduate Program........................................(859) Youth Outreach Clinics.....................................................(859) Youth Programs...............................................................(859) Youth Team Competitions................................................(859)

Make the connection

Lebanon Junction, KY Permit # 559

USDF OFFICE CONTACT DIRECTORY Phone: (859) 971-2277, Fax: (859) 971-7722, E-mail:

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

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

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

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

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November 2017


the tail end

Training an OTTB to canter in "the other direction" leads to riding discoveries By Victoria Bellino


eceiving the Central Tennessee Dressage Association’s Adult Amateur Scholarship last year couldn’t have come at a better time. After a “let’s just keep this peaceful” winter with my young off-the-track Thoroughbred, Bug, we were finally ready to get back to canter work. Right-lead canter doesn’t always come easy to an animal trained to run exclusively to the left. Getting the right lead would take a summer

Bug doesn’t inherently know what I’m asking of him. The more clear and effective I am as a rider, the better he performs. Ask the right question, and he’ll learn the right answer (eventually). Lesson 2: Sit in the saddle. Teaching at the 2017 USEF George H. Morris Horsemastership Clinic, jumping legend Anne Kursinski frequently used that phrase. Regardless of discipline, sitting in the saddle helps you to

THE LONG VIEW: The writer and her off-the-track Thoroughbred, Bug

of lessons with trainer Laura RussellGaloppi and a lot of growth in leadership on my part. Bug is sensitive, opinionated, and a bit lazy. But I am patient and dedicated, and so we embarked on a journey that taught me a lot more than how to canter on the right lead. Here’s what I learned. Lesson 1: Don’t blame the horse.

influence the horse with your seat. It not only aids in “stickability” (bonus!), but the rhythm of your seat also helps you communicate to the horse what you are asking him to do. Lesson 3: Be the boss mare. If there’s a fire-breathing dog lurking outside the arena, don’t gawk at it and reinforce the spook. Look where you want to go—forward—and, yes, sit in

44 November 2017 • USDF CONNECTION

Victoria Bellino is an amateur dressage rider and a CTDA member. She has since competed Bug twice in the dressage and jumper rings.


Lessons from the Right Lead

the saddle. Control your reaction in order to manage your horse’s behavior by example. Use your seat and deep breaths to encourage him to maintain the desired tempo. If I become a passenger for even a moment, Bug recognizes that and takes control. Ultimately, the horse begins to develop trust in a strong leader and looks to the rider for guidance when he feels insecure. Lesson 4: Be flexible. I have had to resist the urge to force on my young horse my idea of what we’re supposed to be accomplishing. Instead, I’ve learned to slow down to build Bug’s confidence and skills. Adjusting your agenda to meet the horse in the middle helps to develop a stronger partnership. And practicing right-lead canter—or whatever movement you’re working on—every day is a great way to create a ring-sour horse. Integrate variety, such as cavaletti work and hacking. Lesson 5: Call your horse’s bluff. This lesson—perhaps the least pleasant at times—is one of the most important. It’s about not backing down. It’s about keeping your leg on a spooking or naughty horse instead of taking the leg off and bailing ship. Young horses challenge their riders from time to time. Asserting that I’m sticking with it and riding through the distraction tells Bug, “We’re here to work, and it’s time to get back to business.” The more times you reinforce it, the quicker the horse learns, and the quicker you get back to being pleasant—even if it’s for two minutes—and then calling it a good day. These lessons may seem simple, but putting them into daily practice on a wiggly, romping Bug is sometimes a challenge, at least for an adult amateur like me. We’re a work in progress. And for now, we’re cantering on the right lead, challenging each other to grow. s



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