Our columnist compiles a list of the changes—both big and small—she’d like to see in the sport.
The dressage issue of the Chronicle is a good place for some contemplation of where we are today and where we hope to be going. A look back in time confirms that we surely have made considerable progress since dressage first became a known concept in the United States.
Sadly, our columnist’s fictional dressage queen character is sometimes closer to reality.
In October of 2005, I wrote a column titled, “Dear Management,” in which I voiced some of the complaints and wishes competitors tend to have. After publication, I received a letter from one of our most prominent dressage show managers, politely pointing out that competitors may have reasons to whine at times, but there’s a different point of view when you’re occupying the manager’s chair.
Our columnist reflects on the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, a long-standing institution in the dressage world, and the two riders who qualified there for the FEI World Cup Dressage Final.
There are a number of outstanding dressage shows offered in this country, but few have the history and tradition of Florida’s Palm Beach Dressage Derby (March 21, p. 32), which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
Time really flies when you have as much fun as we all have had at this show over the years!
Our columnist reveals training tips and philosophies she observed during Jan Brink’s inspirational seminar.
The strong winds and brisk temperature seemed somewhat appropriate for an inspiring seminar given by Jan Brink during the Succeed/USDF FEI-Level Trainers’ Conference. The weather didn’t chase any of the audience away from the lovely venue made available in January by Marianne and Walter McPhail in Loxahatchee, Fla. We just bundled up and reminded ourselves that the rest of the country was iced in, so we were still ahead.
At one of this winter's Florida dressage shows, I was discussing the dressage scene with a woman who follows the circuit as part of our "service team" of vendors, video companies, photographers, farriers and so on. In the course of our conversation, she told me that she believed that, as a group, we need to take a moment to examine ourselves and our dressage community from her angle.
Her point of view is of interest because she's in constant communication with dressage riders, judges and officials without actually engaging in any of their activities.
When Mariette Withages, chairman of the FEI Dressage Committee, arrived in Jerez, Spain, for last month's World Equestrian Games, the International Olympic Committee members who were there had but one question for her about dressage: "Is the same old gang going to medal?"
No great friends of equine sports in general, they obviously view our activities as superfluous, concluding that the outcome is given. Mrs. Withages informed the IOC officials that there are new, strong forces on the move in dressage and suggested they "stand by" until after the awards.
For horse owners nationwide, the beginning of 2007 was draped in a black cloud called equine herpes virus. This virus isn’t a new disease, but the strain, EHV-1, which was supposedly introduced with a load of horses arriving from Europe, hit the U.S. horses hard. A number of equines developed the neurological signs of the disease, and we started losing horses in various parts of the country.
It’s not often I write about the specifics of riding in this column. Part of the reason is because we’re already
showered by numerous descriptions in every horse publication of how to deal with each conceivable aspect of riding. Another reason is that this column is more about philosophy, observations and news in the dressage realm than about teaching riding.
A recent article in a European horse publication, however, made some interesting points about “contact” that I thought are worth sharing.
Be grateful and considerate, or you may end up in the jar marked “ashes of ex-students.”
Being a riding instructor is certainly a labor of love. Consider the working conditions in every kind of
weather from icy winds to burning sun, in dust and rain, mud and snow. Even if you have an indoor arena to work in, it can be damp and cold and dark.
From diminishing open space to older riders to the entertainment factor, our columnist explores the reasons more people are enjoying the sport.
Not long ago, I was interviewed by a journalist who wanted to know why dressage is increasing in popularity. I gave her some quick answers off the top of my head, but later I thought about it in more depth.
One sad, but true, fact that has “helped dressage along” is the disappearance of virgin land.