Tag Archives: dressage

Para-Dressage Newcomers Awarded Grants to Fund Ambitious New Dreams

Erika Wager and Clifton Zander (Photo courtesy of Erika Wager)

Exploring new breeds and disciplines is one of the most fun parts about being an equestrian. As we challenge ourselves to learn a new style of riding or master different training techniques, we inevitably become better athletes and horse people. Newcomers to U.S. para-dressage Meghan Benge (Windsor, S.C.) and Erika Wager (Delmar, N.Y.) are doing just that, and making a splash as they do.

Benge and Wager are both veteran competitors in a multitude of other disciplines, including endurance, hunters, combined driving, and even Thoroughbred racing and retraining, and were recently awarded grants from The Dressage Foundation’s Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund to support their growth in the para-dressage discipline. Both athletes are working to qualify for and compete at the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championships in the next couple of years.

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Learn more about para-dressage and other para-equestrian programs by visiting the United States Para-Equestrian Association, a recognized affiliate of US Equestrian. Follow the USPEA on Facebook and Twitter.

by Ashley Swift
© 2020 United States Equestrian Federation

Dressage4Kids Tips

Here is one of my favorite teaching tools off the horse. Your ability to follow the motion of your horse’s head and neck and to separate your arms from whatever your body is doing is extremely important. You can do this with a bridle as I did here or just with lead ropes or even twine. The “horse” (me in the photo) holds the reins on one end and the rider hold the reins in the normal fashion – as if she were riding with elbows bent and very slightly in front of her waist. The “horse” moves the reins forward and back both together and then each independently. If the rider has that teeny, tiny pull that enables her to keep the rein from ever becoming loose, but never tight, just taut, she can keep the same feel throughout. Then the rider walks in place, trots, and canters while the “horse” keeps moving the reins back and forth a bit. We do this on the trampoline for even more difficulty, but it can certainly be done on solid ground. Keep a soft fist. You will find it nearly impossible to do with a tight, hard fist.

A quick thought for those riding

Those of you lucky enough to be riding – first try the exercise above on the ground. Now get on your horse and just walk with long, not loose reins – can you stay with the horse’s mouth with exactly the same pressure throughout the stride? Does your rein get looser and tighter? Can you maintain exactly the same amount of pressure on both reins, so the bit is exactly centered in the horse’s mouth? It doesn’t matter at this moment where your horse’s head is. Just see if you can become part of him without ANY communication with him. Your arm and hand are an extension of his mouth and neck (and back). Some of you may find it very difficult to “do nothing” not fussing with the bit in some way.

Dressage4Kids | graydressage@gmail.com | dressage4kidsorg.presencehost.net

2021 AGDF to Host 2020 Lövsta Future Challenge and Summit Farm Future Challenge Series Finals

Sarah Lockman and Balia were the high score of the qualifiers in the Summit Farm Prix St. Georges Future Challenge Series. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 26, 2020 – Adequan® Global Dressage Festival announces that the $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series and the $10,000 Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series, both slated to hold finals during the final week of the 2020 AGDF, have been postponed until the first week of the 2021 AGDF due to the cancellation of the final two weeks of the circuit because of coronavirus. After a highly successful inaugural season of 10 qualifying weeks, the horse and rider combinations have been determined for the Finals.

“While we are disappointed to have to cancel the last two weeks of AGDF and postpone these series finals, we look forward to hosting them as a kick-off to the 2021 AGDF,” said AGDF Director of Sport Thomas Baur. “We were thrilled to see how popular both of the series were and that so many riders, trainers, and owners appreciated the opportunity afforded for their up-and-coming horses.”

The $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series idea, originally set up by Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Louise Nathorst in its home country of Sweden as a talent development program, is for horses age eight to ten years old at the Grand Prix level. They competed in the FEI Intermediate II test.

During the 2020 AGDF, Lövsta also announced the launch of a new charitable initiative to benefit the local charity, Friends of Palm Beach. Lövsta supported the charity and its mission by donating $250 for every ride in the series throughout the circuit, ending up with a total of $8,500 given to the charity.

“For us at Lövsta, sustainability has been a strong driving force,” said owner Antonia Ax:son Johnson. “Our slogan is ‘Save the earth. It’s the only planet with horses.’ To underline our commitment, we decided to support the charitable organization Friends of Palm Beach with $250 for every entry in the Lövsta Future Challenge this season. This fine group of people clean the Palm Beach beaches from trash to support the beautiful creatures of the sea and keep our beaches clean and environmentally safe. The beauty of our ocean and the beauty of our horses align.”

Friends of Palm Beach is a 501(c)3 organization that cleans the beaches of Palm Beach regularly to remove incoming plastics, trash, and unnatural debris and to educate the community on the effects of this on our environment and marine life. They partner with other non-profit job placement programs to help end the cycle of homelessness while also helping to end the cycle of trash in our ocean.

The popularity of the $10,000 Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series for horses seven to nine years old was evident at the 2020 AGDF, and many of the best young small tour horses competed for a chance to qualify for the Finals.

One of the qualifiers was Pan American Games team and individual gold medalist Sarah Lockman (USA), who is also the professional rider for Summit Farm. She and Balia were multiple winners during the series and scored the highest of all the qualifiers with a 73.603% at AGDF 6.

Lockman said that the series fits perfectly with the business model and goals for Summit Farm.

“We start horses young and develop them into top international horses,” she said. “It’s meant a lot for us to support this series that is specific to seven- to nine-year-old horses. We hope to see more of this and want to provide an incentive for trainers and riders to put these top young horses out there.

“It was a great thing to offer prize money to a class outside of the CDI,” she continued. “Trainers and riders can enter a horse in this series and get notoriety. In Europe, young horses get a lot of praise and press, with financial gain by showing young horses and developing them. To support that idea in the U.S. and give that incentive and reward meant a lot to us at Summit Farm. We are very proud to be a part of this series at AGDF.”

The 2021 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival will be held on January 6 – March 28. For more information on AGDF, please visit www.GlobalDressageFestival.com.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Sometimes our biggest challenges become our greatest successes. As a Friesian, I’m not built for a good canter. My breed was bred for a fancy trot to elegantly and smartly pull buggies and carts. But with determination and proper training, I was able to develop an amazing canter! My ability to do superb one tempis is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Here in Wellington, the Para-Equestrian’s Olympic Trials are being held. Wow! What an amazing bunch of people! These are folks who have physical challenges much harder to deal with than I’ve ever had. They are a brave, talented, and determined bunch, who don’t let their disabilities slow them down. They’ve proven they can do anything they put their minds to!

Is there something in your life you’d like to do, but you don’t have the confidence to try? I suggest you Google para equestrian dressage and take a look at the many videos of what these incredible athletes are accomplishing, with challenges that are probably much bigger than your own. Perhaps it will inspire you to give your dream a shot!

I’ve decided I want to give jumping a try. I’ve always thought it would be too hard for me, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ll start small and without a rider, and see how high I can go. I know if I work at it, I’ll be a success. If I never try, I’ll never know how good I might be!

What can you work on today to move you toward your goals? Do some of THAT!

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Dressage4Kids News

Thank you, D4K family, for being patient concerning our upcoming activities. We will keep you posted as decisions are made. In the meantime, stay well and let’s all help each other get through this challenging time.

We have already cancelled the first three TEAM clinics of 2020. I know we must be careful keeping each other safe and healthy, but that many of you are still able to ride your horse in your back yard or are at a stable where you can keep six feet away from all humans at the stable. Best of all we can still hug our horses. One of the parts I’m sad about is that many of you were looking forward to getting some instruction. So I thought I would regularly send out some very simple ideas of things that riders of all levels could check on in their own riding. Nothing deep in theory — just little check-ups that any rider can do that will improve your riding.

  1. In one way the easiest, but we know bad habits are hard to break and this is a VERY bad habit for many. Keep your head up at all times. Have anyone watch you (they don’t need to know anything about riding). Can you have your head up and your eyes up no matter what you are doing (picking up your reins, transitions, looking at the spot you want to reach in a leg-yield or a half pass)? We know this has a big effect on your upper body and your ability to develop a strong back.
  2. Keep a soft fist – if your fist is tight your arm will be tight and it will be extremely difficult to keep an elastic arm and to follow the motion of the horse’s neck. Your rein is stabilized by your thumb and top finger and your other fingers should be able to open and close slightly to speak to your horse – to give an aid. Remember the idea of holding a child’s hand? Don’t let the child run out in traffic (with an open hand) but he’ll be screaming if you squish his hand too tightly.

I would love to hear from you with other suggestions I can share with everyone. Those of you who have used my goal sheets know my favorite questions: “What have you worked on all year that you should have fixed by now? Why haven’t you fixed it?” Share with me what that is and go out and fix it.

Stay well and happy riding.

Dressage4Kids | graydressage@gmail.com | dressage4kidsorg.presencehost.net

Betsy Steiner Claims Final Sash of AGDF Season on Mare Who Is ‘The Full Package’

Betsy Steiner (USA) and Swiss W ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 15, 2020 – The experienced Betsy Steiner (USA) rounded out the very final class of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) season, held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday, March 15. She and Whitney Bailey’s Swiss W won the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation with a commanding 75.592%.

All but one of the 11 starters broke the 70% barrier and U.S. riders filled the top five slots in this class. Jami Kment and Gatino Van Hof Olympia claimed second with 73.558%, and Cesar Parra finished third with 73.175% on GK Don Cesar.

Steiner, who rode for the USA at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, has been coming to AGDF “since the beginning of time,” but this was her first CDI win of the 2020 season.

“I’m amazed, but not shocked because she’s truly a wonderful horse,” said Steiner, who is based in New Jersey and runs a training business with her daughter Jessie. “Swiss puts out so much and she loves showing. You can sit back and enjoy the ride and you see her legs coming out in front of you. She’s an amazing horse; she’s my soulmate, and dream horse.”

Steiner rode the 13-year-old by Sir Oldenburg to music by Terry Gallo. “She’s always done all my music and she’s a genius,” she said. “I told Terry that I loved the sky theme music from Outlander, so we incorporated that and added the Celtic music for the trot and a mash-up of ‘Amazing Grace’ for the pirouettes and ‘Fight Song’ for the canter. I come down the center line and start the changes as ‘Fight Song’ comes on and Swiss lights up; the music is fun for her.”

Steiner found the mare accidentally while horse shopping for a client in Munich, Germany in 2015, and told owner Whitney Bailey that she was too good to pass up.

“She’s been mine ever since,” enthused Steiner, who is 69. “She’s so intelligent and logical that she’s made me a better person and a better, more thoughtful trainer. She’s super close to grand prix now and she’s great for me at this point in my career. If I would have had her earlier on, she’s so talented I would probably have pushed and pushed her, but now I do it according to what she wants.

“I think she’s going to be my best grand prix horse. She has everything. She’s drop dead gorgeous, she has the power, she’s got beautiful rhythm, she’s got a great mind, and she wants to do the work. I’ve had some wonderful horses, but I think she might be my best so far: the full package.”

This concludes action in week 10 of the AGDF — the final week of the 2020 circuit, as weeks 11 and 12 have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. The 12-week circuit returns in January 2021. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Gold Coast Dressage Finale I & II Cancelled

In response to the recent developments regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and in following the guidance of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Florida Department of Health, Gold Coast Dressage Association, Inc. (GCDA) has decided to cancel our upcoming Gold Coast Dressage Finale I & II April 10-12, 2020 show. Although the threat of the virus remains relatively low at this time, we continue to monitor the appropriate advice and we encourage all our members and our local community to take all reasonable precautions as well. We hope to see you at one of our upcoming shows later this season. Please stay tuned for further updates on our GCDA website: www.gcdafl.org.

USET Foundation and US Equestrian Mourn Loss of Patrick “Packy” McGaughan

Patrick McGaughan and Tanzer at the 1987 Pan American Games. Photo by Margaret Kaiser/USEA Archives Photo.

In addition to McGaughan’s competitive achievements, he was an esteemed coach and trainer in Area II, advancing horses and riders to the highest level of the sport. McGaughan ran Banbury Cross Farm in Clarksburg, Maryland, which grew into a leading training, breeding, and boarding facility for eventing, dressage, hunter, and equitation riders. One could often spot him at numerous events across the East Coast, instructing athletes across all levels of the sport.

The USET Foundation and US Equestrian extend their condolences to McGaughan’s family, friends, and students, who were touched by his love, humor, and teaching. His presence will be greatly missed.

www.uset.org

Contact: Emily Randolph
emily@jumpmediallc.com
www.jumpmediallc.com

Ashley Holzer Cements Relationship with Mango Eastwood for Double Win in Week 10 of AGDF

Ashely Holzer (USA) and Mango Eastwood ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 14, 2020 – Mango Eastwood bounced his way to victory under Ashley Holzer (USA) in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Peacock Ridge, in week 10 of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

The 11-year-old gelding began his CDI grand prix career just a month earlier, and has won five of his six starts under the four-time Olympian for Canada, who now rides for the USA. The pair scored 72.596%, which would have been even higher if not for a big stumble coming from extended trot to passage, which took them a few strides to recover from as Mango found his feet again.

Second went to Jennifer Schrader-Williams (USA) with 71.511% on Millione — a new personal best score for the pair. This was also their best finish of the 2020 season, which has been a successful one for the 17-year-old Millione, who began competing at the level in 2018. Australia’s Kelly Layne finished in third with 69.936% on the 11-year-old Samhitas, by Sir Donnerhall.

Holzer and owner Diane Fellows bought the son of Wynton as a nine-year-old from Spain’s Jordi Domingo and have taken their time training him out of the international spotlight until he was ready. He now projects confidence in the ring.

“I really haven’t had a ton of experience showing him and he’s a little tired with this being the third show in a row, but he really gave it,” said Holzer. “There were moments where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re unbelievable!’ He’s an incredible horse and the mistakes were totally mine; I misjudged the speed in the one-times, but even when I make a mistake he doesn’t throw in the towel or hold it against me, he just comes right back. Once I get all the kinks out, I really think this horse is going to be spectacular.”

Watch Ashely Holzer’s winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

British judge Stephen Clarke was impressed with the emerging pairing’s talents. “Ashley’s riding is amazing. There were moments of tension but her brilliant riding saved the game,” he said. “The horse has a lot of talent, which she was able to show in spite of those tense moments. The horse has a huge ability and when he’s even more established and relaxed, then we’ll see more elasticity and expression which brings even higher marks.”

Holzer, who is 56 and based in Wellington, Florida, revealed that she models her warm-ups around the World number one, Germany’s Isabell Werth: “I do my Isabell training before I go in. I watch my video from the last time and then I watch Isabell’s best grand prix special and she just sits there looking like she’s doing nothing so I try to do that,” she explained.

She believes that Mango is right up there with the most talented grand prix horses she has ever ridden. She recalled, “I’ve had a lot of luck with a lot of lovely horses; Pop Art was an amazing partner in the ring, but the breeding has moved on and these breeders are making unreal athletes now. Mango is the next level of breeding as far as athleticism goes.”

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Update

In compliance with the City of Jacksonville, Parks and Recreation Department, and Mayors Office, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will be closed until further notice, as are all other City venues.

The events currently affected include, but are not limited to:
Dressage on the First Coast, March 14-15
FRHA Reining Show, March 20-22
Shamrock Showdown Barrel Show, March 27-28
Jacksonville Spring Classics, April 2-11

This list will be updated as we have additional information. We will stay in close contact with all show managers on upcoming events.

Please use the “Contact Us” form on our website if you have any further questions. We can also be reached via phone on our main number at 904-255-4254.

Health and safety are our number one concern. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

http://www.jaxequestriancenter.com/send-us-a-message/