Bettina Drummond: The Artist as Rider

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While much of the dressage world seems in conflict over the question of whether dressage is art or sport, classical trainer and rider Bettina Drummond faces no such conflict. For her, riding has always been art.

 

Photo: Internationally acclaimed photographer Gerald Incandela captured a joyous moment of Bettina on the Andalusian stallion Boccanegra, owned by her sister Fiona Drummond and bred by Hamid Hill Farm.

 

 

Drummond was a budding pianist at the age of seven when her mother, Phyllis Field, pulled her from her studies in Paris and sent her off to Portugal to study with the great riding master, Nuno Oliveira. For the next 20 years, Drummond was immersed in the classical system of riding, most particularly the French training method. Her childhood and early adult years were spent in the company of some of the world's leading academic equestrian of the last half of the 20th century, many now long gone, but very much alive in Drummond's memory. The knowledge she gleaned from these masters, both as a student and through eavesdropped conversations among them, have carried with her through her life and is reflected in her own riding and training.

While some might use that knowledge to gain a competitive edge, Drummond has long sought to use it to develop herself as an artist. Training has been the process by which she has carefully developed her equine artistic partners so that together, they create art. It pleases Drummond most when those watch her ride are as moved by it as they are when viewing a phenomenal piece of artwork or listening to the performance of a world-class musician. Indeed, while others might define her as a rider and trainer of horses, she defines herself as an artist. It's for that reason that Drummond has preferred to display her riding in exhibitions, often for charity causes, rather than in the show ring.

 

“Art is the overlap of words, sounds and feelings. The key of art is not getting lost in it,” she said. "For centuries, artists have recognized the horse as a work of art in itself. As a rider, my goal is to allow the horse to express its own artistic nature." The recognition that riding is in itself a form of art came early to Drummond and it was Oliveira who inspired that recognition. When she was 10 years old, she sat one day reading a book (A Collection of Lectures on Literature by Nabokov). As she was reading a passage where the words evoked the idea of lightness and form, she glanced up and caught sight of Oliveira on horseback silhouetted by the sun. It was at a moment when he and the horse were in perfect balance.

“What struck me was how immobile was his body and how in balance he was with the horse. The vision fit the force of the words,” Drummond said.


Born with a Love of Art and Horses

Born in London, Drummond, 45, is a member of the Marshall Field family on her mother's side and of ancient Scottish royal blood on the side of her father, Bend'or Drummond. She was raised mostly in Europe, particularly Paris, but spent much time in America as her mother wanted to ensure she had American citizenship. It was always her mother’s plan that she be educated in the classical system of riding – as often practiced in the Latin or French systems – so that she could one day return to America and instruct American riders in that system. Drummond’s own education as a rider began at the tender age of three on a family estate in South Carolina.

"My first memory of riding was being in a Western saddle that was way too big for me. My feet stuck out on each side of the pommel," she said. That pony ride was the first step in Drummond's life-long equestrian education. Riding, however, was not her first love as a child. “I’m a thwarted musician. I always wanted to be a pianist.” And indeed, Drummond still studies classical piano. She shares this musical interest with her mentor, for Oliveira was known for his passion for opera. It was only as time went on that she realized riding could become a way through which she could express her artistic nature.

Her other artistic love is poetry and her poetry has circulated through Europe and been well-received among a closed circle of distinguished European poets.Among poets, she credits Baudelaire and the Russian Anna Akhmatova as her greatest influences. Early in her riding education, she discovered that riding and poetry are symbiotic. Just as that vision of Oliveira so aptly fit the words she was reading that day when she was 10, Drummond has since sought to match vision to words, often matching photos of horses with her poetry.

Oliveira taught her that the opportunities to express art through riding are endless because each horse is an individual. This is why training must be tailored specifically for each horse. But Drummond has understood that this individuality in horses also means that every horse provides her with a new opportunity to hone her craft and present her art in a new way.

“As a rider, what I wish to pursue with each of my horses is to find that point of balance. And my development as a trainer and rider has allowed me to find that point much quicker with each succeeding horse. I am grateful that Oliveira taught me early on in life how to feel this moment,” she said.

The movement she saw Oliveira ride silhouetted against the light was a transition from walk to piaffe. When she reached that point in her own riding where she experienced that movement in perfect balance for herself, Drummond came to understand that as a rider, one can tap into how horses speak to us through their bodies. “The horses themselves are the art and we simply insert ourselves into that.” It was a process through which Drummond has passed often in her life as a rider – first seeing it and then experiencing it.


Bettina Drummond’s Art Inspires Other Artists

As an artist, Bettina Drummond measures her success by the feelings her riding evokes in others and other artists in particular have always been attracted to her, both for the inspiration her riding gives them as artists and as fellow riders.

"A work of art always insinuates the soul of the artist who created it. I recognized instantly in Bettina someone who could educate me in the art of riding. Owning horses and not being the sportive type, a door had opened! I was stunned one day as I watcher her ride when I learned the horse she was riding that day had only recently arrived at her barn. Watching the ride I wondered, would horses respond to an artistic touch?," asked Gerald Incandela, a renowned photographer whose work hangs in galleries around the world. "The knowledge of one art form is a useful tool to understand another art form. Perhaps because all art forms have in common a good composition, balance, rhythm or underlying 'drawing,' whether music, architecture, painting, dance or riding."

Two years ago, actor and author Tab Hunter had an opportunity to witness Drummond's riding when Incandela invited him to watch her ride one of his Lusitano stallions. Hunter, perhaps best known as a movie actor, has himself been involved with horses since the age of 12.

"The first thought that came to my mind when I saw her ride was, what a 'sympathetic rider' she is. I first heard the expression, 'sympathetic rider' many years ago in Spain while riding at the Club de Campo. “Paco” Goyoaga’s wife, Paula, used the phrase and I have never forgotten it. Riding is an art, no matter what the discipline, and with dedication the 'sympathetic rider' takes the art of riding to the next step. Bettina creates magic," Hunter said.

Any work of art, Drummond said, should not only move people but also serve as a catalyst that inspires more art. Her riding has certainly done that. The image of her on horseback has inspired other artists, who have used that image to create their own art. For example, Incandela has created a number of pieces of art from watching Drummond ride.

"The first time I saw Bettina, she was on a horse. I saw a beautiful 'drawing' in the sense that the lines of her body and the horse she was riding were fluidly and graciously linked. My eye could travel on these two bodies as if it was one. The result was a picture of balance, harmony and peace. Beauty is the word that comes to mind, and a beauty that is internal as well since it must have involved a psychic connection between horse and rider," Incandela said.

One image in particular, of Drummond in a moment of complete joy while riding Boccanegra, an Andalusian stallion owned by her sister, Fiona Drummond, has become a widely-regarded piece of photographic art. In describing the photo, Incandela said he sought to capture "a very happy moment when there was such a beautiful combination of power and joy."


Bettina Drummond Brings Art to Riding and Riding to Artists

Since she defines herself as an artist, Drummond is happy that other artists gravitate to her. It is, in a sense, affirmation for her that her way of expressing art – through riding – has gained acceptance among other artists. For other artists who also ride, Drummond has opened doors by showing them that there is a way for them to take their art into their riding.

"My love for horses, once driven by competitive riding, always had a flame that was fanned by images of old. Ancient memories arise when I watch sensitive yet powerful riding with the purest intentions of becoming one with the horse, and that was my first impression of Bettina's riding. Quite simply put, I now find that the silhouette of a classic Iberian horse and rider seems to transport me; time can stand still and admired old engravings come alive before my eyes," said Mari Austad-Bourque, a successful photographer and also rider. "Bettina has opened my eyes to a new level of possibilities in the horse and rider relationship, when the simplest of movements can become art and music is made in the silence of the arena."

As with Incandela, Austad-Bourque was so inspired as an artist by what she has seen in Drummond's riding that she also sought to capture moments of it on film, and did so – beautifully. She created a series of three photos of Drummond with her Lusitano stallion Ilyad that has now been made into a beautiful black and white poster.

"I was fortunate enough to capture a moment between Ilyad and Bettina when they were surrounded in sunlight in an otherwise dark space, both seemingly in deep meditation, both mutually passionate and mutually respectful," Austad-Bourque said.

For Drummond, the question of whether dressage is art or sport results from the inability of dressage to find the balance between the physical development of the body of both horse and rider – which makes it a sport – and the tempering of the mind of both partners through the medium itself, which is required in any art form. When she speaks of her own form of riding, Drummond refers to it as a craft and she sees her life as devoted to the “craft” of riding. As with all craftsmanship, she believes that being truly devoted requires knowledge of that craft from its beginning to the present time. This is why Drummond incorporates into her training and riding, movements and techniques passed down through generations that others might consider archaic and useless for modern riders.

“The craft is the link between art and sport. If the craft dies, that balance dies as well,” she said. “Good sport riders don’t forget the feel and good artistic riders don’t forget the technique.”

Balance is central to all aspects of Drummond’s life. And to understand that, is to understand her. It also explains her deep respect for the spirituality of Buddhism and the Dalai Lama in particular, who, she says, is the best modern example of seeking balance in life and the middle way. Drummond, rather seriously, says that were the Dalai Lama ever to need a standard bearer, she would immediately apply for the job. “It’s why I continue to practice riding all the movements with only one hand, so the other would be free to carry his standard should the day come when that post would be open, I will be the first to apply for the job!”


Artistic Riding Merges the Physical with Feel and Thought

Riding is perhaps one of the most complex forms of art because it requires the merger of three things – physical use of the body to mold the content, feel to shape it and thoughtfulness to create the form to hold that content. While most riders can understand that physical fitness, balance and body control will make them better riders, the role of feel and thought are less understood. Yet, Drummond believes these two are inseparable.

“If one thinks, one must feel. To think is to translate to specific feel and to feel is bound to lead to more exciting and precise thought,” she said. Her ambition as an artist is to allow a seamless transition. “All our thinking and training has to do with preparation. Horses allow it to happen. What fascinates me with horses is the moment and apex of balance. The moment there is balance, all things are possible. The moment you lose it, nothing can be done, even with force and skill. It’s much the same with words. You create a balance and through it, you allow people to feel how to live on and through that expression.”

Drummond herself is not only a "thoughtful" rider, but a thinker, period. Renaissance woman is a term that aptly applies to her. She has a degree in philosophy and attended the University of Chicago in order to study with Alan Bloom, a noted philosopher. She speaks five languages – French, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian and Latin. And when it comes to music, she's a walking musical encyclopedia. While she can rattle off details of particular classical pieces and their composers, she lists Tom Petty and Donovan as two musicians who have inspired her for the way they have approached their art. She can hold her own in conversation with anyone on topics ranging from wine to great authors to world politics. 

“As a rider, I believe you must be a thinker. You get off, go home and think. That’s the study of philosophy – cause and effect,” Drummond said. She recalls with humor having once been told that Oliveira was heard to say to a friend, “You know, Bettina, she’s even intelligent.” Drummond's mother shared this interest in intellectual pursuits, particularly philosophy. Hugo Vidal was one of her teachers.


Bettina Drummond’s Latest Role – Teacher

Teacher is a role that Drummond herself is taking on more and more in her life because she believes that “it’s important that the craft of classical riding grow and not die. And it would seem a shame to me if I did not pass on what I’ve learned.” She admits, however, that learning to be a teacher was a very long process for her. Because she is an instinctive rider, she lacked the patience required of a good teacher. It was only through years of working with good teachers that she learned how to teach and gained the patience needed to explain things to students. Drummond takes the role of teacher very seriously and is quick to distinguish between a "riding instructor" and a "teacher."

“We need ways to reward the craft of teaching, not just reward who wins in shows. When I made mistakes in my training, I had intellectuals in the art of training with whom I could converse and seek advice to correct my mistakes. People who are steeped in theory seem to be in shorter supply today.”

When asked to identify those who have been there to guide her own formation as a rider, Drummond credits not only her mentor, Oliveira, but others of his generation. “Oliveira taught me how to feel and know when it’s right. Gen. Durand made me consider the responsibility of caring for young horses and taught me to have no ego.”

These European masters may have formed Drummond as a child and young adult, but she credits Dr. Max Gahwyler, a member of the U.S. Dressage Federation Hall of Fame and author of the Competitive Edge series of books with giving her the courage in her adult years to find the artistic rider within herself. It was Gahwyler, Drummond said, who “helped me find a necessary skill to learn again as an adult rider.”

Oliveira was a genius on horseback, but he was also a taskmaster who demanded perfection in his students, which caused Drummond “to develop a fear of being less than perfect and to have a foolish notion that one should, with ability, aptitude and training, be instantly able to perform.” As an adult rider, it was Gahwyler who taught her that when experimenting with one’s riding, “ballpark” was good enough as a starting point. Drummond admits that she and Gahwyler may seem an unlikely pair to have formed such a long and close friendship.

“Max was so genuinely curious to help me understand his world and also aprreciative of what I already knew that he made learning fun for me again. It was amusing really, since in my twenties he and I had held opposing views, especially in regards to the use of Baucherism. It was the fact that he and I could exchange our profound interest in the evolution of training and its history, as well as our common delight in the antics of young horses, that told me that what we both had watched and learned – he from schools in Vienna and Geneva and I from schools in Paris and Lisbon – was not obsolete and anachronistic.”

In more recent years she has sought coaching support from FEI “O” judge Bernard Maurel of France. She had met him as a teenager when she was training with Oliveira. Maurel has, she said, “been gracious enough to be an eye on the ground for me and I trust his eye because I know that he understands Lusitanos.” Maurel has helped Drummond understand how to take the classical, artist approach that formed her and apply it to the competition arena – something she must frequently do when rehabilitating show horses, such as when she returned to the FEI ring the Lusitano stallion Quarteto do Top.

As a teacher herself, Drummond’s style reflects her approach as a rider and trainer – waiting for the moment. “As a teacher, I’m happy to wait for students to make their own decision of what is right for them. I don’t feel the need to push. All horses and riders have a story to tell, and I love listening to the stories. At times I might say, ‘You need more punctuation,’” Drummond said.

The students Drummond most likes are those who come to her because they “want to hear their horses better” and it doesn’t matter whether those students are Grand Prix riders or those with no intention of ever stepping into a show ring. She has a particular interest in helping young riders and often freely gives her time for educational programs aimed at young riders, especially if she can teach in-hand or long-line techniques, which she worries are being lost.

“All people are capable of hearing for that balance, but if I can teach them to follow the drum beat of the cadence, I can get them closer to following the rhythm. Tension, anger, etc. can block people from hearing and feeling,” she said.


Bettina Drummond – Working to Preserve the Art of Riding

When she reflects upon the state of riding education in America today, Drummond is not shy about admitting that she has great concern for the future of riding as art rather than sport. While vast amounts of money seem available for educational programs aimed at competitive riders, Drummond said there is little that is aimed at supporting riders as artists. And yet, she believes that is the very essence of classicism. 

“I believe some process must be developed that gives young riders a moment to breathe, meaning that they are provided with the opportunity to think without worrying about financial survival,” she said. “As a youngster, I was lucky to be formed by some of the best riders. It was a tremendous experience. Today, too many young riders are sent to Europe to show and win, but not really train. What I would like to see, 30 years from now, is a true center of learning in the U.S. that allows people to study the ‘craft’ of riding and training. I am forever surprised at how much money is poured into dressage in this country and yet, none focuses on creating a true center for the study of riding theory. One cannot train from A to Z in gaps.”

Some years ago, one of Drummond’s mentors – Gen. Pierre Durand, a former head of the French National Equestrian School in Saumur – was asked his view on the question of whether dressage is art or sport. His answer was simply that "a true artist cannot imagine competition. It should be art first, then competition."

Drummond is a complex person, but then, she is an artist and art itself is complex. Riding may be one of the most complex arts of all. This complexity may explain why so many search for that simple method that, if followed correctly, will make them great riders. But as Gen. Durand once said, one cannot ride by numbers and be a great, artistic rider any more than one can paint by numbers and become a great painter.

Drummond clearly doesn’t ride by the numbers. She rides to create her own version of art and hopes that in the end, it inspires others to follow their own artistic paths. 


Poetry by Bettina Drummond

Early morning frost

Shadows weave across the light, a strange mosaic gift that stains my floor:

it takes my feet straying on to empty places. I walk within this narrow corridor

to find the years have fled my steps to whisper hints of truth within my heart.

They lie in dormant places creeping into form at times, in a breath or set apart.

The cold has found its voice, claims that all life now exists bleached to white...

All fails but naught cries out, the thwarted ice strikes sparks into a winter's night.

The stallion in the garden

When halfmoon sets and satiated night retires,

when amongst the shadows sing unearthly choirs,

then the owl's beat is measured out,

then the gleaming eyes are put to rout.

A fleeting glimpse of fire on silvered snow,

A fluid line of power in a constant flow:

from haughty neck steams measured pride,

from silent hoof streams in souls' tide.

To catch the ember and fan its glow,

to spend the love and rue its part...

a stallion's breath in winter's throe:

a silent plea through a woman's heart.

Nevoa's loss

Like a humbled beggar seeking alms, torn away from an open hand,

nothing left within to seize and yet the world to crave in vain.

Alone, thus we wept and when the wrenching loss chased and ran

across your mane, we gave each other the right to feel its pain.

Time passes and love returns to give...

not to question, nor to lie,

But in its wake, time to live

and time to hear it in your troubled sigh.

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Ottawa, Ont., May 13, 2015 - Colleen Loach and Waylon Roberts put in impressive performances to earn top 10 results aboard multiple mounts at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event, held May 6-10 in Allentown, NJ. Both riders contested the CCI 2* division, which acted as a Canadian Eventing Team qualification trial for the TORONTO 2015...
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 09:41
Lexington, KY - May 11, 2015 - Equestrian Events, Inc., producer of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover, has announced that next year's event will take place April 28 - May 1, 2016, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.  Tickets for the 2016 event will be available for sale starting November 2, 2015. One of...

Reining and Western Riding

Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 08:55
The Western Dressage Association® of America is excited to announce that the Western Dressage Association® of Illinois will sponsor a Train the Trainers™ clinic and seminar in O’Fallon, Illinois on August 1 and 2, 2015. The purpose of the Train the Trainers™ program is to educate professionals who want to learn how to train, hold clinics and...
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 11:38
Holly Jacobson
The spotlight focused on true teamwork as Midway College of Midway, KY stepped up to offer their horses, guidance and a capable student support crew for a trio of para-reiners competing at the 2015 Kentucky Reining Cup. Pulling off a catch rides calls for adaptability and experimentation, something para athletes are well acquainted with but the...
Saturday, May 2, 2015 - 21:57
The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is excited to announce the continuing partnership of Adequan® i.m. (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan), the Official Joint Therapy of NRHA, title sponsor of the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship (NAAC) and the named sponsor of the Adequan® Championship Arena during the NRHA-owned events. ...
Saturday, May 2, 2015 - 21:53
Attendees of the Certified Horsemanship Association’s International Conference in 2014 were thrilled to have the chance to participate in mounted educational sessions with instruction from experienced horsemen and horsewomen, and one of the most popular riding options was the National Reining Horse Association’s Ride a Reiner program. Now, the...
Monday, April 27, 2015 - 10:27
Alden Corrigan
The 5th annual Kentucky Reining Cup held in conjunction with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event was one for the record books.  Attendance at the event increased by a whopping 50% over the previous (a World Equestrian Games qualifying year), while the online broadcasts via USEFNetwork.com and iEquine.com were seen by over 50,000 viewers from all...
Sunday, April 26, 2015 - 11:04
Simona Diale
Kreuth,Germany - Draw eight in the second section of the 2015 NRHA European Futurity Open finals on Saturday night in Kreuth were the go-round Level 4 Open winners: Cody Sapergia and Made In Walla, a gelding by Walla Walla Whiz and out of Miss Chilly Chex owned by Sabine Lisec and Chuck Klipfel, European nominated by Ambrosini Quarter Horses. The...
Sunday, April 26, 2015 - 10:53
Simona Diale
Kreuth, Germany – Winning the NRHA Youth 13...

Driving

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 14:11
London, England- It was a royal redux at England's Royal Windsor CAI3* as HRH Queen Elizabeth again congratulated Chester Weber, of Ocala, Florida, on his second consecutive victory in the four-in-hand division. The 11-time USEF National Champion and three-time World Equestrian Games Silver medalist returned to the 2015 Royal Windsor Horse Show...
Monday, May 18, 2015 - 14:26
Revolution Sports
The fifth and final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show 2015 saw an unprecedented number of people walk through the Windsor gates for their last chance to watch the equestrian extravaganza in the private grounds of Windsor Castle. The crowds were treated to a thrilling finale in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix with last year's...
Friday, May 15, 2015 - 13:46
London, England - Chester Weber’s 2015 European competition tour is underway, and he already achieved a win in day one. Fresh off his victory on US soil at the Live Oak International CDE, Weber headed to Europe and drove his team to the top of the leader board on Thursday at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in London, England— with a win in the...
Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 22:42
To celebrate the grand opening of the new CAA Headquarters building, we invite you to bring your restored carriages and sleighs, and in-use vehicles to the CAA Carriage Festival (in the Kentucky Horse Park's Alltech Arena) for the 2015 Carriage Showcase. There will be classes for professionally and amateur-restored vehicles, in-use carriages and...
Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 10:58
Revolution Sports
May 6, 2015 - World class riders from 24 nations around the globe will descend on the prestigious Royal Windsor Horse Show next week for top class competition across four disciplines over five days, from 13-17th May, in front of an expected crowd of over 50,000 people. There will be a bevy of British competitors riding alongside international...
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 10:39
After a season of presenting the Horse Gym USA® Top Equine Athlete Award at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Horse Gym USA® brought the award to the celebrated combined driving event Live Oak International in Ocala, Florida. The Horse Gym USA® Top Equine Athlete Award went to Allison Stroud’s four-in-hand team for their admirable fitness....
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - 23:18
Bromont International Driving will be a 2015 qualification for both Equine Canada and the USEF for the FEI World Driving Championships for Pairs (September 2015, HUN) and for the FEI World Driving Championships for Ponies (September 2015, NED). The Bromont International Driving presents its 14th edition from June 19th to 21st and will host the...

Show Jumping

Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 11:38
Global Champions Tour
Britain’s Olympic heroes will take on the rest of the world’s best riders as Longines Global Champions Tour heads to the beautiful surroundings of Syon Park by the River Thames and world famous Kew Gardens in west London.  A world class field will be in action for the Longines Global Champions Tour of London from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th July...
Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 11:32
Revolution Sports
Aachen, Germany - Ask any of the world’s top equestrian athletes which of their sport’s major prizes they covet most and the answer is always the same. They dream of winning at Aachen. In the high-performance world of international show jumping, the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen carries the same status as a championship; indeed, it is often more...
Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 11:04
Victoria Spicer, Hickstead Press Officer
Equestrian fans will have the chance to see the British showjumping team compete on home ground this summer at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (28 July – 2 August), which is held at Hickstead in West Sussex.  The show, which was voted the world’s best showjumping venue in the 2014 L'Année Hippique awards, hosts the British leg of the...
Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 11:01
Emily Riden, Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Hunter Holloway's mount Any Given Sunday has proven his talent in both the hunter and grand prix jumper rings, and for Holloway, when it comes time to pull out the big guns in the equitation ring, he is the one that she turns to. One of those times is this week at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, where Holloway is among the nation's top...
Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 10:51
Jump Media LLC
East Dorset, VT – Several of show jumping’s most celebrated international course designers will showcase their skills at the 2015 Vermont Summer Festival, running from June 30 through August 9 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT. The six-week circuit will welcome talent from all corners of the world including Alan Wade (IRE), Michel...
Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 10:37
Louise Parkes, FEI Communications
Team Great Britain produced a superb back-to-back double in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2015 Europe Division 1 League when following up their success at La Baule, France a week ago with another extraordinary victory at Piazza di Siena in Rome, Italy today. It was another nail-biting competition that came down to a fierce battle with...
Friday, May 22, 2015 - 14:41
Mill Spring, NC - Candice King of Wellington, FL, and Wyndmont Inc.'s Valinski S took home top honors in the $25,000 Suncast® 1.45m Welcome Stake today at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). This was the largest purse offered in the Suncast® Welcome Stake series so far this season and the class of 29 entries was one of the biggest...

Para Dressage

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 11:40
  Lexington, Ky. - With a little under two months before the Opening Ceremonies at the 2015 Adequan/FEI North American Junior...
Monday, May 18, 2015 - 04:43
Written By: Lindsay McCall for the USPEA
U.S. Chef d’ Equipe Kai Handt at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with rider Roxie Trunnell and horse Touche. The United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. (USEF) is pleased to present a 2 ½ day Para Equestrian Dressage Symposium at the Golden State Dressage CPEDI3*, Rancho Murieta, California on June 14-16, 2015, 8AM-5PM. Designed as a "Develop the Coach" format, select U.S. High Performance and developing Para Equestrian Dressage riders and coaches will benefit from lectures and ride feedback by 5* FEI Para Equestrian Dressage Judge Carlos Lopes, supported by USEF Para Equestrian Dressage Chef d'Equipe Kai Handt. Topics include Para-Dressage theory, scales of training, quality of horse, freestyles, and preparation for international competition. Demonstrations on para-dressag...
Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 05:48
Written By: Lindsay McCall for the USPEA
Sydney Collier Victoria Dugan's Willi Wesley at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. (Photo: SusanJStickle.com) Allentown, NJ - The 13th Annual 2015 Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event, presented by B.W. Furlong...
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 10:24
Written By: Lindsay Y. McCall
U.S. Chef d' Equipe Kai Handt works with Paralympic Dressage Trainer Wes Dunham. (Photo: Lindsay Y. McCall) Lyman, ME - Carlisle Academy in Lyman, Maine, a Premier Accredited PATH Center and national leader in grassroots development for para-equestrian sports, is coordinating a Para-Equestrian Pipeline Training Camp May 26-30, 2015. Expert international para-equestrian clinicians, seasoned medalists, therapists, and coaches with their riders will congregate for training and education in this growing sport. The primary focus will be on para-dressage but demonstrations and information will be available for emerging para-equestrian disciplines such as para-driving and para-reining. The United States Equestrian Federation and United States Para-Equestrian Association are in support of these...
Friday, January 16, 2015 - 06:20
Written By: Lindsay Y. McCall
Kjell Myhre talks to riders at the 2015 USEF High Performance Southeast Para Equestrian Dressage Symposium in Wellington, FL, January 12-13. (Photo: (C) Lindsay Y. McCall) Wellington, FL - Following the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* select U.S. Para-Dressage athletes and coaches had an opportunity to attend the USEF High Performance Southeast Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposium. This symposium took place January 12-13, 2014, at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds in Wellington, Florida. Over two days U.S. High Performance and developing Para-Dressage coaches and riders were immersed in the international equestrian discipline of Para-Dressage. Topics included Para-Dressage theory, scales of training, para-dressage test riding, quality of horse, freestyles, preparation...
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 05:46
Written By: Lindsay Y. McCall
USA Team (Left to right): Sydney Collier, Annie Peavy, Rebecca Hart, U.S. Chef D' Equipe Kai Handt, and Roxanne Trunnell (Photo: (C) Lindsay Y. McCall) Wellington, FL - Thirteen Para-Dressage horse and rider combinations made their way to Wellington, Florida, this January for the first CPEDI3* of the 2015 show season. Para-Equestrians from Canada and the United States in Grades Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV, competed at the spectacular Global Dressage venue in the Van Kampen Arena. FEI Ground Jury members Mr. Freddy Leyman (BEL), Mr. Kjell Myhre (NOR), and Ms. Kristi Wysocki (USA) were on hand to offer their expertise for each Para-Dressage duo. This CPEDI3* is one of the qualifiers for the 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships, 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National C...
Monday, January 12, 2015 - 10:29
Robyn Andrews and Fancianna (Photo: SusanJStickle.com) Ottawa, ON. - On the final day of competition at CPEDI3* Global Dressage Festival I presented by Adequan, Robyn Andrews won her test for the second day in a row for Canada. The competition was held at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla., Jan. 9-11, 2015. Andrews of St. Johns, N.L. secured the victory in the Grade Ia Freestyle test riding her 2014 World Equestrian Games mare 14-year-old Fancianna, a Friesian-Andalusian cross, to a score of 67.917%. "I was pleased with Fancy today," said Andrews. "I was a bit tired, but we pulled it off. Many thanks must go to the Global Dressage Festival for putting on a great show. Special thanks to my coach, Amanda Kalvoda; chef d'équipe, Elizabeth Quigg; Pa...
Friday, January 9, 2015 - 06:31
Written By: Lindsay Y. McCall
U.S. Chef D' Equipe Kai Handt jogs Rubicon 75, ridden by Mary Jordan, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center (Photo (c) Lindsay Y. McCall) Wellington, FL - Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes from around the North American continent have landed in Wellington, Florida, for the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*. This is the first CPEDI3* event for the 2015 calendar year. Thirteen horse and rider combinations presented their mounts in front of FEI Ground Jury members Mr. Freddy Leyman (BEL), Mr. Kjell Myhre (NOR), and Ms. Kristi Wysocki (USA). Para-Equestrians from Canada and the United States will compete January 9-11, in The Van Kampen covered arena at the Global Dressage Festival. Friday, January 9, is the FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Test, followed by Saturday's FE...
Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 08:52
Kai Handt and Wes Dunham showcase collaborative coaching at the Northeast Symposium in 2013. Rider Sydney Collier aboard her own Wentworth works on gaits. (Photo (C) Lindsay Y. McCall) Wellington, FL - The United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. (USEF), is excited to announce a two-day Para Equestrian Dressage Symposium to be held at Global Dressage, Wellington, Florida, January 12 & 13, 2015, 8 AM-4 PM. Select U.S. High Performance and developing Para- Equestrian Dressage riders and coaches will be attending the symposium. Auditors are welcome to attend for $75. Pre-registering as an auditor is not required. Please contact Laureen Johnson at USEF at lkjohnson@usef.org if you are interested in audit...
Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 06:00
Written By: Lindsay Y. McCall
Nora Grassmyer, Mibis, Barbara Grassmyer, and Bob Grassmyer. (Photo: (c) Lindsay Y. McCall) El Dorado Hills, CA - On December 19, 2014, the Dressage Community lost friend, volunteer, and parent Nora Grassmyer after a three year battle with bladder cancer. Nora was heavily involved with the Dressage and Para-Dressage disciplines both internationally and at the national level. She was also a longtime volunteer at the California Dressage shows managed by Connie Davenport. Nora was a driving force behind her daughter and Paralympian Barbara Grassmyer. She was there at every moment for Barbara including when Barbara served as an alternate for the U.S. Paralympic Team in 2000, competing in Sydney, Australia; in 2001 and 2002 when Barbara was the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion;...
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