Saturday, May. 25, 2024

New USDF President George Williams Featured In New Book On Small Equines

Wellington, FL – The riding life of international dressage rider George Williams, the new President of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), is featured in a new book called The Big Book of Small Equines: A Celebration of Miniature Horses and Shetland Ponies. (Skyhorse Publishing, $29.95 Hardcover). While Williams has been a leader in the U.S. dressage world for many years and has recently served as Vice President of the USDF, Williams began his illustrious career on the back of a Shetland Pony.

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Wellington, FL – The riding life of international dressage rider George Williams, the new President of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), is featured in a new book called The Big Book of Small Equines: A Celebration of Miniature Horses and Shetland Ponies. (Skyhorse Publishing, $29.95 Hardcover). While Williams has been a leader in the U.S. dressage world for many years and has recently served as Vice President of the USDF, Williams began his illustrious career on the back of a Shetland Pony.

The beginning of Williams’s riding career is told in delightful form in The Big Book of Small Equines in the chapter titled, “They Started Small.” Williams’s first pony was a Shetland Pony named Mitzi and George recalls, “I would use a ladder to climb up on her rump to get on her.”

Mitzi was quite a character with a bad habit of unseating Williams while he was riding in the woods. “There was a point on the trail where she had her own ‘special’ path that she liked to take which had an especially low branch on it. She could easily fit under the branch, but if left no room for the rider,” Williams recalls in the book. “No matter how determined you were, you could not dissuade her from taking this path. Mitzi always waited on the other side of the branch for the rider to catch her and get back on. Despite this routine, I remember spending many enjoyable hours riding Mitzi.”

Mitzi passed away when Williams was only five years old, and the family bought a second Shetland Pony named Goldie. It was while riding Goldie that Williams began to dream about representing the United States as a dressage rider. “I was in Pony Club in 1964, and the district commissioner of our Pony Club held a mock Olympics in the spirit of the Mexico City Olympics. I chose to represent Mexico, and I proudly rode down the center line for my entrance. I halted at X, saluted, and Goldie seized that moment to put her head down and eat grass. I was unsuccessful in bringing her head up and unceremoniously burst into tears,” Williams recalls.

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Williams went on to say that he was excused from the ring and to this day has no memory of how he eventually left the arena. “Needless to say, Mexico did not do well in those Olympics. But that experience with Goldie was the start of my dream to compete internationally for the United States. Part of my dream was realized nearly forty years later when I represented the United States in the 2003 World Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden, on the wonderful mare Rocher.”

Williams isn’t the only famous dressage rider featured in the book. New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag, a dressage rider who makes her living writing suspense novels, also began her career on the back of a Shetland Pony. Hoag’s story is featured in the book, and the prolific writer also took time out from her busy schedule to write the foreward for the book.

The Big Book of Small Equines, A Celebration of Miniature Horses and Shetland Ponies, by Johnny Robb and Jan Westmark, captures the charm and delight that small equines have brought to so many riders. The book is available online at Skyhorse Publishing, amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. It is also available in bookstores throughout the country.

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