Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2024

Road To The Olympics: Kasey Perry-Glass Is Firmly On Team Believe

In this series, the Chronicle follows six riders as they seek to fulfill their Olympic dreams in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. We’ll check in with them every few weeks as they pursue a team spot, seeing how they’re getting their horses ready and preparing mentally.

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In this series, the Chronicle follows six riders as they seek to fulfill their Olympic dreams in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. We’ll check in with them every few weeks as they pursue a team spot, seeing how they’re getting their horses ready and preparing mentally.

When Kasey Perry-Glass started this season, Goerklingaards Dublet hadn’t even done a Grand Prix test at a CDI. But throughout the winter shows at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Fla., the pair produced higher and higher scores, culminating with an 81.32 percent and second place in the Grand Prix freestyle at the AGDF CDIO***. 

Perry-Glass, 28, and “Dublet” now sit fourth on the U.S. ranking list for the 2016 Olympic Games. They’re behind Laura Graves and Verdades and Steffen Peters on Rosamunde and Legolas 92, and they’re preparing to embark on a European tour to vie for one of those slots in Rio. 

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Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklingaards Dublet’s freshman season at Grand Prix placed them fourth on the U.S. ranking list for the Olympic Games. Photo by Kimberly Loushin.

I’ve had Dublet for four years now, and I bought him from Andreas Helgstrand in Denmark. 

When I bought him, he’d only done maybe one national Grand Prix with a previous owner. He had the movements and tricks, but we brought him back down to Prix St. Georges just so I could get to know him. Then when I started working with Debbie McDonald is when we really honed in on the Grand Prix stuff. 

About Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklingaards Dublet

Home base: Spokane, Wash.

Dublet’s stats: 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit—La Costa, Olympic Ferro)

Dublet’s owner: Diane Perry

Big performances in 2015 and 2016: 

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2nd – CDIO3* Grand Prix freestyle (Fla.) (81.32%)

2nd – CDI4* Grand Prix freestyle (Fla.) (75.75%)

2nd – CDIO3* Grand Prix Special (Fla.) (74.88%)

1st – U.S. team in Stillpoint Farm CDI)3* Nations Cup (Fla.) 

We started out in some national classes, and Debbie said, “OK, I think you’re ready.” To have a year like we had for our first Grand Prix season, that was amazing. 

We worked a lot on our relationship inside the show ring and really getting comfortable with the movements, because they come at you so fast in the Grand Prix. He’s so different than my mare, Trøstruplund’s Scarlet, and it was building that trust with him, and the confidence to know we can go in there and do it. He’s fully capable, and I’m capable, and it’s not pushing him. It’s going with the flow and seeing what we can get out of it, and then finding the patience in each movement. 

The highlight of our season was definitely the last freestyle, which was only our second Grand Prix freestyle. Freestyles have always been a little tricky with him, because he’s a very sound-sensitive horse. We tried those sound muffling ear bonnets, and the first freestyle I did he was great, and I was like, “Oh, it really worked.” 

The second one I went in and was like, “OK, we’re going to go for it.” I felt that energy from him the second I got on. I didn’t have to push for anything, and he was like, “OK mom, how high? How fast?” 

To come out and get an 81 percent, I was in tears. Especially being my first year and his second freestyle, it was a shock to me. 

Adrienne Lyle is a close friend, and she brought me this bouquet of balloons with flags and stars on them, and it had 81.3 percent written on it. It was so sweet. That was the highlight of my year for sure.  

Team Believe

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From the moment we bought Dublet, the Olympics was our goal and something we wanted to shoot for. We knew he was special, and we knew believing in the process was always our goal. To come from where I came from before I got him to now, it’s just a huge step. So even though I feel like it’s always been our goal, I would say after the first show this year, we were like, “OK, I think we have a shot.” 

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Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklingaards Dublet broke the 80 percent mark in Wellington, Fla. Photo by Kimberly Loushin.

I’ve always tried to involve some kind of weekly trail rides, weekly track days, things that kept Dublet and Scarlett happy. It’s important to let them be horses and be themselves. When I got Dublet, he was hard to even handwalk. He was really hot, and now he can get turned out and be happy and no big deal, but it takes a while to get that.

We pushed a little more but kept his mind healthy and happy, and it’s never gone to a point where he’s not happy. Until he tells me otherwise, we’re just going to keep him moving forward. But our weekly work is very light; it’s never pushing him and never hard for him, and I think that’s what I love the most about Debbie’s program.

I started working with Debbie during the European tour last year for the Pan American Games. She came over to help, and I just asked if she’d be willing to help me, and then I pretty much begged her to let me come to Idaho. I value her as a person and with her training, and I was like, “Please make room for me!” and she did. From July on I was in Idaho. She is so fun, and you can talk to her about anything. She really believes in you and gives you confidence.

Dublet has had a little time to have easy days since the last show, and now we’re kind of revamping him up to get more fit. He gains weight really easy, and so he got little fat. He’s been on a little bit of a diet, and I’m doing more cardio work with him on the track and long trail rides. Debbie and I, our lessons are like 20 minutes now. It’s become his normal routine, and the work is so normal to him. We don’t have to repeat and repeat and repeat, so I have to up his cardio more. 

We’re staying here in Wellington right now, and then I leave for Europe next week.

I’m going to do the CDI in Compiegne, France, which is May 19-22, and then I haven’t decided on Roosendaal (the Netherlands) yet, but then we’ll do Rotterdam in the Netherlands, June 22-26, for sure.

I’m just trying to continue our development and work on the consistency of our tests. I of course really would like to stay above 70, but I just want to go out there and show how brilliant Dublet is. I know we’re ready to go out there and really compete. 

In the beginning of the year, (U.S. Dressage Chef d’Equipe) Robert Dover kept saying, “You need to find your grit,” and I was like, “OK, I will.” Now that Dublet and I are so attached, I think we do have a higher level of confidence. I think I have found the fearlessness in the test work, but I still just find confidence such a hard word. I like grit better. 

We formulated this team behind the horses, and we call ourselves Team Believe, and it’s held true this whole time. My mom and sisters and I have these necklaces that say Believe on them, and we always wear them. I think you really have to believe in what you’re doing.

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