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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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Janet Foy has a new book and a new blog!

We had the chance to catch up with Janet Foy, author of the new book DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, between her efforts to help her neighbors in Colorado who are facing the devastating wildfires. We understand that today a change in weather has helped with the firefighting efforts—our thoughts are with everyone in the area and hope that those who have been evacuated can return home soon.

Janet is keeping people apprised of what’s happening with the fires on her new blog: CLICK HERE FOR JANET’S LATEST UPDATES.

Of course, it was only a couple weeks ago that Janet was one of a select group of judges responsible for helping to choose the US Dressage Team—those who will represent the United States in London in August. Read on to get her thoughts the team selection, as well as her new book DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, which is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

TSB: You have a brand new book and a brand new blog—how does it feel to be publishing what you know and what you’re thinking in print and online?

JF: It opens up a whole new world to me. Of all the ways I am involved in dressage, I love teaching the best. To be able to reach a larger audience is wonderful and very exciting!

Janet, judge Lois Yukins, and US Dressage Team member Tina Konyot at the USET party.

TSB: It’s an Olympic year and you of course had a hand in the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions at Gladstone. How did it feel to be judging this year’s field? Were there real standouts or are our top competitors riding neck and neck? What do you think of this year’s team and their chances in London?

JF: When selecting a team, it is always an honor to be asked, but the judging is of course more stressful. This year we had so many good candidates that were not separated by much when they came to Gladstone. I was especially impressed with Tina Konyot’s first Grand Prix Special. I love giving “10’s”!

As far as our chances at the Olympics, this year will be no doubt the strongest competition the world has ever seen. The Germans have come up with an amazing group of horses and riders. The Danish are also strong and Spain has two top riders. Great Britain has three horses who can all score in the 80%. I hope all our riders have a clean test and after than we will just have to wait and see! If all three of our riders ride to the top of their standard, we could medal.

TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?

JF: As far as the book I can tell you it would be a mystery book with lots of plots and twists and murder and mayhem. I don’t go much for the flowery romance books, although I wouldn’t mind being stranded with one of the cover models!

As far as the horse, the breed wouldn’t matter. I would want something about 16.1, no taller—remember, I am short and on a desert island I might not find a suitable mounting block. Since I might not have a saddle either, I think the horse’s gaits would have to be maybe a bit boring, given my age! However, the ideal horse would be black, with four white socks and a little white star. Something with a little bit of Arabian and beautiful. Also the horse would need a brain! Smart enough to know what I want and dumb enough to do it.

TSB: What’s in your refrigerator at all times?

JF: Greek Yogurt

TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

 JF: Having my husband, my good friends, my dog Britta, all my wild birds I feed, and my flower and vegetable garden around me at all times. Also, no more airplanes!

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.

JF: I was five and my grandfather took me to a dude stable for a riding lesson. It was a big horse and a Western saddle. They sat me on top and led me around for 30 minutes. I was hooked!

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.

JF: I was riding my horse home and was still in the pasture, which was about 200 acres. I was bareback with just a halter and lead rope. Someone shot a gun off in the woods and my horse took off. We got to the road with the barbed-wire fence, and my horse turned left and I went through the fence, breaking all three strands of wire and doing some major damage to my face and arm. Required a trip to the hospital and quite a few stitches.

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?

JF: Not being judgmental and being a good listener. Don’t give me advice unless I ask for it!

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?

JF: The desire to please you.

Janet’s next day job? Cavalia photo by Karl Gehring/The Denver Post.

TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?

JF: Ride in a Cavalia performance!

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

JF: Well, I love to cook and have taken classes at the Cordon Bleu in London. Organic fresh foods are what I like to cook. I prefer fish, a wonderful salad, and no dessert. I don’t have a sweet tooth.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

JF: Flying to one place and staying for 10 days. I love cruises. I love beaches. My husband and I love to dive. One of our favorite trips was a visit to the Great Barrier Reef after I judged a show in Sydney. We got on a live-aboard dive boat for a week. Awesome!

TSB: If you could have a conversation with one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?

JF: This is maybe a little shallow, but since I lived in England for two years, I learned to just love the Royal Family. So I would say lunch and shopping with Princess Diana!

TSB: What is your motto?

 JF: Look at every mistake the horse makes as a training opportunity.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE TODAY

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