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.

Dressage World Cup Finals 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 05:04
Written By: Classic Communications
Reigning champions Charlotte Dujardin...
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 06:56
  The FEI has today confirmed the entries for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2015 which will take place in Las Vegas, NV (USA) in three weeks’ time. The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2015 will begin on Thursday 16 April with the Grand Prix which is open to all 18 combinations. All participants who finish the Grand Prix with a score of at least 58% will continue to the Grand Prix Freestyle which will be held on Saturday 18 April.The following rider/horse combinations will be taking part in the event:Western European League (9 slots)Edward Gal/Glock’s Undercover (NED)Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl/Unee BB (GER)Fabienne Lutkemeier/D’Agostino (GER)Isabell Werth/Don Johnson/El Santo (GER)Hans Peter Minderhoud/Glock’s Flirt (NED)Agnete Kirk Thinggaard/Jojo (DEN)Morgan Barbanc...
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - 08:03
Laura Graves along with Steffen Peters have clinched their spot for the 2015 World Cup in Las Vegas. Lexington, KY. - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) will be represented by two combinations at the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas, NV. April 15-19. The following combinations qualified during World Cup Qualifying Events in the North American League held throughout the 2014-2015 season (listed alphabetically):Laura Graves - (Plymouth, Fla.) and her own VerdadesVerdades is a 2002 KWPN gelding.Steffen Peters - (San Diego, Calif.) and Four Winds Farm, LLC's Legolas 92Legolas 92 is a 2002 Westphalian gelding. Follow the U.S. Dressage Team here.
Monday, March 23, 2015 - 10:49
Written By: Yellow Horse Marketing for the California Dressage Society
Steffen Peters...
Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 15:38
Written By: Yellow Horse Marketing for California Dreaming Productions
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Photo: Jennifer M Keeler) San Juan Capistrano, CA. - The world was watching as thousands tuned in to CDP Live's wildly-popular online video streaming service to see two incredibly impressive fields of Grand Prix and Prix St. Georges competitors fight it out for top marks on the first day of competition at California Dreaming Productions' Capistrano Dressage International CDI-W/Y/J/U-25, being held March 19 - 22 in beautiful San Juan Capistrano, Cal.  But emerging as the big winner of the day was Olympian and long-time U.S. Dressage Team member Steffen Peters, who earned both first and second place in the CDI Grand Prix test aboard Legolas 92 and superstar-in-the-making Rosemunde with scores of 76.780% and 74.960%, respectively. "One score above 74% in a day...
Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 15:36
Prix St. Georges winners Mette Rosencrantz...
Sunday, March 15, 2015 - 11:20
Written By: Louise Parkes
The top three in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Western European League: L to R - Hans Peter Minderhoud/Glock’s Flirt, runners-up Isabell Werth/Don Johnson FRH and winners Edward Gal/Glock’s Undercover. (Photo: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst) The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover clinched victory at the last qualifying leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2014/2015 Western European League on home ground at ‘s-Hertogenbosch today. Always favourites to take maximum points after their convincing win in yesterday’s Grand Prix, the pair didn’t disappoint this afternoon when producing some spectacular work when third-last into the arena. But Gal’s masterful riding skills were fully tested by moments of tension from the 14-year-old gelding with which he finished third at the Re...
Sunday, March 1, 2015 - 06:21
Written By: Louise Parkes
Jessica won Bredow-Werndl, GER and Unee B won the Reem Acra EI World Cup Grand Prix kür. (Photo: Roland Thunholm) For the second year in a row, Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB reigned supreme at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Western European League qualifier in Gothenburg, Sweden today. In 2014 the pair scored 81.350 to pin the host nation’s Patrik Kittel and Toy Story into runner-up spot. But in today’s second-last leg of the 2014/2015 series, Kittel had to settle for fourth behind The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Glock’s Voice, while Germany ruled the roost with Isabell Werth filling second spot with El Santo behind her fellow-countrywoman in pole position. Her score of 81.650 was not von Bredow-Werndl’s personal best this season, but she was more than happy with it. Goth...
Friday, February 20, 2015 - 10:13
Written By: Jennifer Keeler - Yellow Horse Marketing
Steffen Peters and Four Winds Farms' Legolas 92 will look to earn valuable World Cup qualifying scores at this weekend's Mid Winter Dressage Fair CDI in California Photo: Terri Miller The Los Angeles Equestrian Center will be "the place to be" this weekend as some of the nation's best and brightest dressage stars compete at California Dreaming Productions' Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI-W/Y/J/U-25, which runs February 20 - 22 in Burbank, Cal. Following a stellar inaugural year in 2014, the organizing team of California Dreaming Productions (CDP) now looks to continue to change the way riders, trainers, owners and spectators experience the sport of dressage on the West Coast, and their second year is off to a spectacular start with an overflowing field of CDI and national competitors schedu...
Monday, February 2, 2015 - 14:00
Written By: Louise Parkes
Reigning champions, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, strutted to victory at the sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2014/2015 Western European League in Amsterdam. (Photo: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst) Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro swept to victory with the greatest of ease at the sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2014/2015 Western European League series in Amsterdam, The Netherlands today. The 29-year-old rider only returned from New Zealand a few days ago after presenting Masterclasses in Hamilton and Christchurch, and admitted to feeling “seriously jet-lagged”. But such is the exceptional relationship she has with the 13-year-old Valegro that she only fell 0.4 points short of the world-record Freestyle score the pair set at Olympi...

Eventing

Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:05
John Strassburger
Temecula, CA, March 28, 2015 - Tivoli and James Alliston added no penalties on the cross-country course to win the CIC3* at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials, finishing on their dressage score of 49.5.  Alliston and Tivoli took over the lead with a faultless show jumping round on Friday, and their fast cross-country round kept them...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 11:31
John Strassburger
Temecula, CA, March 27, 2015 - James Alliston and his veteran partner Tivoli put in a fault-free show jumping round late Friday afternoon to take over the lead in the CIC3* at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials. "He was really good," said Alliston, who represents his native Great Britain but lives in San Ramon, Calif. "I haven't showed...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 11:13
USEF and the USEA
Lexington, KY - As the 2015 Eventing year progresses, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) would like to wish all our members a safe and enjoyable season. Both the USEA and the USEF are committed to the safety of horses and riders and have ongoing policies to further both. We are...
Friday, March 27, 2015 - 10:24
John Strassburger
Temecula, CA, March 26, 2015-Competitors arriving for the Galway Downs annual Galway Downs International Horse Trials are finding a busier and even more beautiful Galway Downs Equestrian Center than ever before. More than 150 racehorses are now in training on the grounds, landscaping work is continuing to beautify the site, and the parking lot on...
Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 11:17
John Strassburger
Temecula, CA - Competitors at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials always expect new challenges, but the top-level riders and horses from the United States, Canada and other countries will face some questions they haven't seen before on March 26-29 at the Galway Downs Equestrian Center.
Riders will be competing in three international...
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - 13:03
Jenni Autry, Eventing Nation
Phillip Dutton said he didn’t think John and Kristie Norton’s I’m Sew Ready has ever galloped as quickly as he did today across Hugh Lochore’s CIC3* cross country course at the Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International in Raeford, North Carolina. After the horse missed his first run of the year at Pine Top due to a cough, Phillip decided...
Monday, March 23, 2015 - 09:16
FEI Communications
France’s Eventing riders produced an emphatic win in the first FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing competition of the 2015 season at the weekend in Fontainebleau (FRA). The French team repeated their 2014 victory when they also won on home soil, and they enjoyed a comfortable winning margin of nearly 30 penalties over Australia, who finished second....

Reining and Western Riding

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 22:09
Marty Bauman
Top international riders to compete for record-high $300,000 in prize money.  The 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover, returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., April 23 - 26. This Olympic-level, high-stakes competition draws the world's best riders and horses to Kentucky from all corners of the globe...
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 09:16
Top International Riders to Compete for Record-High $300,000 in Prize Money Lexington, KY - March 10, 2015 - The 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover, returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, April 23 - 26. This Olympic-level, high-stakes competition draws the world's best riders and horses to Kentucky from...
Sunday, March 8, 2015 - 11:58
Susanne J. Rowe
On an overcast winter day a group of horses and riders gather in Sandy Valley. The scene is reminiscent of the Old West—the horses wear hefty leather saddles and their riders wear blue jeans and cowboy boots. But this is no rodeo. The Sandy Valley group is participating in a Western Dressage 1-2-3 clinic endorsed by the North American Western...
Saturday, March 7, 2015 - 09:35
Lynn Palm and Cyril Pittion-Rossillon offer Western Dressage training for horse and rider at their Fox Grove Farm in Ocala, FL throughout the year. March 11-17 is a week devoted to this fastest growing new discipline. Palm’s and Pittion-Rossillon’s ultimate goal is to develop willing horses and happy riders! “That is exactly what the beautiful...
Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 15:47
American Quarter Horse Association
The American Quarter Horse Association, February 17, 2015 - The American Quarter Horse Association has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2015. Mark your calendars today with the tentative dates!
AQHA Convention
• March 6-9 – 2015 AQHA Convention at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas
• March 7 – Markel AQHA Cowtown...
Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 15:31
ARHA – Austrian Reining Horse Association
$80,000-added AustrianRHA Futurity...
Monday, February 16, 2015 - 13:01
World Para Reining
Tampa, Florida – February 15, 2015:  The Florida Reining Classic at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa, Florida will be the second show to host World Para Reining (WPR) approved classes, on February 21 and 22. To add to the excitement, the WPR will offer $500 in prize money for this event and the champion from each WPR class will receive $...

Driving

Saturday, March 28, 2015 - 14:57
Ocala, FL (March 28, 2015) – “I strive for personal best each and every time I enter the arena,” says driving competitor Suzy Stafford.  At the Live Oak International CDE competition on March 19-22 2015, Stafford showed that her personal best is winning first place. She and her mare PVF Peace Of Mind (who Stafford calls “Hunny”) defended their...
Monday, March 23, 2015 - 07:49
Leah Oliveto
Ocala, Fla. - The first United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Driving National Championship titles of the year were decided today at Live Oak International CDE in the Single Pony, Pair Pony, Pony Team and Pair Horse divisions. Drivers navigated the 20-obstacle course on the final day of the championships as the leaders coming into the cones...
Monday, March 23, 2015 - 07:40
Combined Driving’s Crowning Glories Ocala, Florida (March 22, 2015)— For four American horse and pony drivers, years of training and dedication to their sport were justly rewarded as Live Oak International proudly congratulated their efforts with 2015 USEF National Championships, sponsored by Hillcroft Farm. “This is the first big win I’...
Sunday, March 22, 2015 - 13:37
Ocala, FL — The most anticipated day of driving at the 2015 Live Oak International arrived in full Live Oak International Marathon style. March 21, the third day of the celebrated driving competition, brought more sunshine, bigger crowds, and several top drivers vying to take the leading spot in the four-day competition. Chester Weber, one of the...
Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 08:16
Ocala, FL — A historic and international flair was apparent on the second day of driving performances at Live Oak International. The competition runs through Sunday, March 22, in Ocala, Florida. Impressively low scores, narrow margins, long time competitors, and a returning champion gamely defending his title were among the highlights in today’s...
Friday, March 20, 2015 - 19:44
Ocala, FL - Beautiful horses and beautifully appointed drivers opened the first day of competition at the Live Oak International with the Yellowframe Farm FEI Driven Dressage classes for Single, Pair, and Four-in-Hand horses and ponies. Appearing for the first time as a new father at his family’s annual driving and show jumping extravaganza,...
Friday, March 20, 2015 - 05:38
Everyone tune in as our own Bossmare Mary Phelps will be competing and we hope to see her on course with her ponies - "The Gangsters"!! The 2015 Live Oak International in Ocala, FL. is an equestrian event highlighted by world-class show jumpers and drivers as they compete for top titles. Between competitions spectators gather in the...

Show Jumping

Monday, March 30, 2015 - 13:53
TEAM
Wellington, FL - Mclain Ward riding HH Carlos Z won the Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* in dramatic style at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida, after a three-way jump off to conclude the 12 week Rolex-partnered Festival.
 
Under the heat of the Florida sunshine and after a bold and testing first round course, the only...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 13:17
Emily Riden, Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Mumford, NY - The Derby at the Genesee Country Village...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 13:02
Starting Gate Communications
Wellington, Florida – As the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, drew to a close, Artisan Farms, owned by Carlene and Andy Ziegler, was recognized for its tremendous achievements throughout the 12-week show jumping circuit. Artisan Farms was the recipient of the Harrison Cup Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the owners whose horses won...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:58
Split Rock Jumping Tour
Lexington, KY - The Split Rock Jumping Tour, the new international show jumping show series held at Split Rock Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, "the Horse Capital of the World," has launched the online entry system for its inaugural FEI 3* event, The Lexington International CSI 3*, held May 22-24. Competitors and their teams may now complete online...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:54
Jennifer Ward, Starting Gate Communications
Wellington, Florida – For the second week in a row, Daisy Farish of Lexington, KY, stood in the winner’s circle following the $10,000 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper Classic and claimed her second consecutive $1,000 bonus in the SSG Gloves “Go Clean for the Green” promotion.  Over the course of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:50
Blenheim EquiSports
March 29, 2015 - San Juan Capistrano, CA - The second week of Spring season competition at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano culminated in today's $40,000 Spring Classic I Grand Prix. Eighteen entries competed for the top prize in the showcase class, presented by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, over a sweeping track...
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:17
Global Champions Tour
Many 5* equine athletes have arrived in Miami Beach by air for the first round of the Longines Global Champions Tour 2015 (2-4 April), carried in fine style by Emirates Airline and looked after by the Tour's long-standing shipping agent, Peden Bloodstock. Around 220 horses will be competing at the spectacular 10th Anniversary Season launch event...

Para Dressage

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;...
Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 07:30
Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani rode to the high score of 78.382% during the Polar Express Show at White Fences. Wellington, FL - Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani shined Saturday afternoon during the Polar Express show held at the White Fences Equestrian Center in Loxahatchee, Florida. The talented duo rode to the score of 78.382 percent for the FEI Para Team Grade II test during the national show, kick starting their season as they prepare for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in CPEDI3* in January 2015.Hart traveled to Florida in early December to work with Wellington-based international dressage trainer Todd Flettrich out of Cherry Knoll Farm, which is also a partial owner of Romani. Hart and Flettrich have worked consistently on warm-up and preparation with Romani after takin...
Sunday, December 14, 2014 - 18:41
Sydney Collier riding Willi Wesley (Photo: SusanjStickle.com) Lexington, Ky. - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce Sydney Collier as the 2014 Junior Equestrian of the Year. Seventeen-year-old Collier is a talented Para-Equestrian who competed at the international level in 2014, including the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., she was diagnosed at the age of seven with a rare congenital birth defect called Wyburn-Mason Syndrome. In spite of this challenge, Collier pursued her love of riding and has become a top equestrian athlete. A prime example of courage, sportsmanship, and dedication, Collier will be awarded the Ruth O'Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy as the 2014 Junior Equestrian of the Year. Having her biggest year to da...
Sunday, November 30, 2014 - 07:53
Trainer Wes Dunham and WEG athletes Sydney Collier's mount Willi Wesley at the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* horse inspection . (Photo: Lindsay McCall) Wellington, Florida - November 26, 2014 - Entries are now being accepted at www.equestrianentries.com through December 22, 2014, for the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*. Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes kick-off the show season with their their first international show of the year January 7-11, 2015, in Wellington, FL, in the Van Kampen covered arena. This show will include FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes in Grades Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV. Thursday, January 8, is the Horse inspection at approximately 5:30 PM. Friday, January 9, is the FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Test, followed by Saturday's FEI P...
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 07:18
  We salute our veterans this Veterans Day. Thank you for protecting our freedoms. On this day we ask you to take a moment to think about those that have served our country. We would like to salute our disabled veterans who are part of not only the equestrian sport but all Paralympic sports. Thank you, - USPEA. We too, at DressageDaily, would like to take a moment to thank all veterans who have served our country to protect our liberties and rights. We truly appreciate all past and current members of our military for all that you do! History of Veterans Day - From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: World War I - known at the time as "The Great War" - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versaille...
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