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Posts Tagged ‘Grand Prix’

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The year winding to its close in a flurry of parties and family and (at least here in Vermont) snow often inspires nostalgic glances back while perhaps ambitious resolutions are cast forward. It is a time when those of us who ride or work with horses on a regular basis may evaluate goals met (or not), consider the steps gained with a particular project and where they’ll lead in the months ahead, or perhaps ponder the role that horses play in our lives now, and the one we’d wish for them in the future.

In her book COLLECTIVE REMARKS, FEI and USEF dressage judge Anne Gribbons shares how competing on horseback eventually came to hold less importance, as the satisfaction of figuring out each individual horse while adding to her own “pool of knowledge” gained significance. At TSB, we aim to support those who spend their lives striving to learn more about horses, to appreciate different approaches from different disciplines and schools of philosophy, and to consider new ideas while respecting the tried-and-true of classical equestrianism. As we add to our own “pool of knowledge,” we hope we have a chance to add to yours, too.

All orders from the TSB online bookstore placed before noon on Thursday, December 18, ship FREE in the US in time for Christmas.

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“Full Circle” from COLLECTIVE REMARKS by Anne Gribbons

When I was a kid and started riding, competition was the farthest thing from my mind. All I wanted was to be around horses, to breathe in their wonderful sweet smell—to me more exhilarating than any other fragrance on earth—and to touch their velvety coat, to look into their sad and all-knowing eyes. Riding them was a privilege and a joy beyond anything else I could desire. In short, I was just like any other horse-crazy kid in the world. Years later, my whole life became involved with horses, and with serious training arrived the need for competition; the fire it lit in my blood was a whole new aspect of riding. Jumping and eventing keeps you on your toes, but even dressage can be exciting when there is a good class and you have a long-term goal in mind.

Today, after many years of competing and after obtaining some of those goals, I must admit that I look at showing differently. The few minutes in the ring still makes my blood run faster (although the reasons may vary from joy to alarm), but the rest of the scene can appear as just “more of the same.” The planning, packing, traveling, loading, fussing, waiting, re-packing, and traveling again is a lot of work, and when I think of all the weekends in my life that were absorbed by horse shows, I sometimes wonder about my sanity….

After all this time, I have almost returned to base. Although, thankfully, more experienced, I am back in the mode where I am totally satisfied staying at home with my horses. The training, which has always been the true motivation for diligently showing up at the barn every day, is the constant that never becomes monotonous, uninteresting, or exactly the same two days in a row. It would be impossible to stay inspired while training horses but for the fact that every single horse has something new to offer, which gives you reason to add to your pool of knowledge and meet the challenge of dealing with that specific individual.

My triumphs today are not measured in ribbons and scores, but in the satisfaction of having a day when a horse who had a problem suddenly catches on and performs a movement with ease, or a particular sequence of exercises feel just like you know they should: no tension, no resistance, and no effort, just horse and rider gliding together. The ultimate satisfac­tion is to look at a horse you have known from the time he was broken and watch him grow more beautiful every year because of the building of his muscles and strength. The finished, happy, and sound Grand Prix horse is a work of art, and all the time it took to bring him there is well worth it. Things of quality take time, and your trained horse does not have to go to the Olympics to give you an enormous amount of pride and joy in your accomplishments together.

 

COLLECTIVE REMARKS is available now from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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TSB had a great time at the Dressage Festival of Champions this weekend! Here Tina Konyot congratulates Calecto V on a job well done.

TSB had a great time at the Dressage Festival of Champions this weekend! Here Tina Konyot congratulates Calecto V on a job well done.

 

Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com) is just back from a weekend on the hallowed ground of the United States Equestrian Team’s (USET) headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey. There some of our nation’s best dressage riders, horses, judges, and luminaries gathered to award our national championships, and to select the short list of rider-horse combinations who will represent the US at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, August 23 through September 7, 2014.

It was a great weekend of dressage, from the ponies to the Grand Prix. And between ogling the Welsh cobs and their immense cuteness and admiring the unbelievable mirror-like gleam of Lisa Wilcox’s riding boots, we also learned a thing or two.

 

1  Even on the hottest days, metal bleachers are cold on your rear. And they are the hardest thing you’ve ever sat on—especially after five hours of freestyles. Note to self: Bring stadium seating next time.

2  All-wheel drive is as important in New Jersey as it is in Vermont. After thunderstorms and heavy rainfall on Friday, Saturday morning dawned wet and muddy. The romance of parking in the same fields de Nemethy and Chapot once rode through evaporates fairly quickly when your tires sink a good 4 inches and the convertible next to you looks like it spent the weekend on a class-4 road in New England in April.

3  Even dressage riders rock out to Eminem. Case in point: Chris Hickey’s I1 freestyle on Ronaldo.

4  It is entirely possible to kick butt at Grand Prix in your twenties! Go Laura Graves! Yeah Caroline Roffman!

5  You should come to these events willing to ingest multiple orders of french fries at various times throughout the day. Note to self: Bring Tums next time.

6  Dressage judges work incredibly long days. The Festival’s jury, which included TSB authors Janet Foy and Anne Gribbons, left their assigned posts only during scheduled 15-minute breaks, breaks between classes, and when the last score had been tallied each evening. I have a newfound respect for dressage judges (and scribes, and runners, and other show staff) for their focus, attention, and the great care they give their own performance in “grading” the riders and horses appearing before them. Not to mention their appearance…all the judges looked great, all weekend long. Bravo! And in case we all don’t say it often enough: THANK YOU.

Seriously, how DOES Lisa Wilcox get her boots to shine like that?

8  It helps the riders get through their pirouettes if all the spectators in the stands cluck together under their breath.

9  Spectators at events own big dogs. Spectators at dressage shows own small dogs. I don’t know why, it’s just a thing.

10  It still feels pretty darn special to wander through the Rotunda at Gladstone and imagine training with our country’s past greats in the USET headquarters’ heyday back in the 1960s. If you ever harbored a fantasy, however momentary, of riding for the US in the Olympics one day, make the pilgrimage to the old Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, New Jersey. Although time has surely changed it, you can still tick it off your horsey bucket list.

11  Buy yourself a USEF hat or jacket emblazoned with USA and support our equestrian athletes. It looks like it will be an exciting year!

 

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The USEF named the following short list for WEG 2014 following the weekend’s dressage competition:

 

Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) and Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades

Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.) and Beth Meyer, Ann Romney, and Amy Ebeling’s Rafalca

Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) and Peggy Thomas’ Wizard

Tina Konyot (Palm City, Fla.) and her own Calecto V

Caroline Roffman (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Her Highness O

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempel’s Doktor

Lisa Wilcox (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Betty Wells’ Denzello

 

FEI/USEF dressage judge Janet Foy is the author of the bestselling DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE. For more about her book, CLICK HERE.

FEI/USEF dressage judge Anne Gribbons is the author of COLLECTIVE REMARKS, which is due to be released in August and is available for PREORDER HERE.

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Jane Savoie with TSB Senior Editor Rebecca Didier and Managing Director Martha Cook.

Jane Savoie with TSB Senior Editor Rebecca Didier and Managing Director Martha Cook.

If only we can all find the energy to pursue our passions, our hobbies, our careers like Jane Savoie!

Jane, author of many TSB books, including her most recent bestseller DRESSAGE 101, is forever an inspiration when it comes to identifying a goal and then making it happen. It was great to catch up with her and her husband Rhett today, and have a chance to talk about her Happy Horse Home Study Course, her Friesian Moshi, and her newest pursuit: ballroom dancing! Jane looks great and says she can’t believe the parallels she’s discovering between dressage and dance—plus, she says fitter than she’s ever been (and she gets to buy fabulous dresses).

Today we also explored Wellington’s famous Tackeria, an expansive and impressive collection of equestrian clothing and horse gear (and TSB books and DVDs!) right outside the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Show Grounds. I was thrilled to see they had copies of DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, the new book I cowrote with renowned horse trainer and animal behaviorist Linda Tellington-Jones already in stock.

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We then grabbed the shuttle to the PBIEC in time to watch the $150,000 CSIO 4* Grand Prix presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. It was infinitely educational to watch the riders warm up prior to their go, and of the 53 starters, 11 made it to the jump-off. We had a great view of a nail-biter of a finish as Kent Farrington and Blue Angel edged ahead of Beezie Madden on Cortes ‘C’ by the slimmest of margins.

We ended our day with a with George Morris, whose retirement ceremony was last night, and who spent his 75th birthday last week in the saddle, over fences. It was wonderful to hear his “post chef d’equipe” plans, as well as hope that we, too, will be riding, and smiling about it, at 75.

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TSB spent much of its day at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby.

TSB spent much of its day at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby.

We faced the morning—our first in Florida after our whirlwind exploration of Ft. Worth, Texas, and its environs—with great optimism in terms of the weather: The sun was struggling out from behind the clouds and the grass in West Palm Beach is most certainly green. One step out-of-doors, however, sent us running back up the eight floors we’d just descended in search for the jackets and sweatshirts we’d at first so blithely left behind. It was COLD today!!!

Despite our issues with the GPS in Texas, we for some foolish reason thought technology deserving of a second (third?) chance, but of course it brought us only to the very-much-locked gate (no doubt the “rear” entrance) of the gated horse community in which the Palm Beach Dressage Derby was taking place…so we waited for some kind, semi-local soul with a key code to come along and let us follow him in. I’ve never been in an area where the law states (and signage, too!) that drivers must proceed slowly due to the presence of horses…it made me feel rather empowered, despite the fact that I was behind the wheel and not in the saddle. I guess it helps to know that somewhere, sometimes, horses and riders get the right of way and a little respect from passing motorists.

We spent a jolly morning with Kathy Connelly, international dressage rider, trainer, and coach; met up with TSB author Jane Savoie’s husband Rhett; and had an absolutely terrific time with Yvonne Barteau and the ever-engaging GP Raymeister, the handsome Holsteiner stallion she’s trained and ridden for seven years. Ray is full of character, and we always love getting the chance to see him go!

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We finally left the Derby grounds to visit with Betsy Steiner, author of A GYMNASTIC RIDING SYSTEM USING MIND, BODY & SPIRIT, and had the pleasure of watching her long-line two very different (in terms of conformation, personality, and way of going) horses as she explained her views on the benefits of long-line work. It was really fun to go through her barn with her and see the variety of horses she has in training, including Warmbloods, a Lusitano, and two Fjords!

We wrapped up our day with dinner in Wellington with TSB author and USEF “R” Hunter/Hunter Equitation judge Geoff Teall (yes, more eating!), which helped us segue from our day in “dressage land” to tomorrow’s show jumping Grand Prix. We’ll post photos and news from the event here on our blog, FB, Twitter, and Instagram.

I’m sure hoping the Florida weather gods will turn a kind (aka warm) eye toward us poor Northeasterners with only a short-term pass to the land of sun, but we hear it will again be COLD tomorrow…and it may even RAIN.

And believe it or not, even in the cold, Martha and I both somehow managed to end the day with a sunburn! I know that when in Wellington one shouldn’t really complain, but it just doesn’t seem fair…

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