How to Handle the Media and Lay Down the Foundation of The Right Impression

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Written by Mary Phelps

Lecture for the Emerging Dressage Athlete’s 2011 Robert Dover Horsemanship Clinic, Wellington Florida

Isabelle Leibler delivers the perfect example of what we are looking for in a good interview after her Gold Medal win with Watson 8 at the 2011 North American Young Riders' Championships. Watch the video
Isabelle Leibler delivers the perfect example of what we are looking for in a good interview after her Gold Medal win with Watson 8 at the 2011 North American Young Riders' Championships. Watch the video

When I was asked by Lendon Gray to be a speaker at the EDAP “Mega Clinic” held following the Christmas holiday, I gladly cut my holiday short to head to Wellington in time to make it for the tail end of what was an amazing week for not only the 17 invited young dressage riders, but also for all those involved: parents, sponsors, organizers and support staff who devoted their time, passion and efforts to make it happen. As a longtime media person with a penchant for dressage, I was able to share some insight, advise, stories, and thoughts based on the years of experiences and travels as both a photographer and journalist. Lendon asked me to use the topic “How to Handle the Paparazzi” and as I developed my presentation seized on the opportunity to share some observations I have made along the way.

Mary Phelps-Hathaway in the sea of photographers at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games (Photo: JJ Hathaway)
Mary Phelps-Hathaway in the sea of photographers at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games (Photo: JJ Hathaway)

I am a long time member of the IAEJ: International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists, and began my international career in 1982 at the Dressage World Equestrian Games in Lausanne, Switzerland, where Dr. Reiner Klimke won the Gold Medal. I realized as we celebrate 15 years on the World Wide Web, many of the EDAP participants were not even born yet. As promised, I said I would report on our website DressageDaily the points I presented to the group. So here you go!

Journalists Are Not The Enemy
Most of us involved in equestrian sport share your passion for horses and the world we cover. While you attend a show to ride one, maybe two horses the photographers and writers covering an event are there for most of the show. Then their work continues beyond the final award ceremonies writing, organizing images, fact checking, hunting down sources, and more. Many are also horsemen like you, who compete and ride, often sacrificing valuable time away from their animals, home and goals to do their jobs. The pay is not great, the time and expense is often self-funded, and they like you share a passion for horses. Sometime mistakes are made; you may be misquoted, or the message you had hoped to deliver in an interview may not have been translated into what you had imagined would be in print. Appreciate the effort that was made on your behalf, and take the time to send a small note of thanks. That journalist will remember you favorably and look forward to working with you again. If you feel you were misquoted, then be gracious, thank the writer for their effort and offer them the opportunity to respond, explain and hopefully correct the discrepancy, if it has been confirmed to be one.

Some riders have had bad experiences, and the internet has opened the door to some who may not be as responsible as others in their reporting style and delivery. You have every right to ask the reporter if you can record your interview on your I-phone or a small flip video or tape recorder. This way you can listen to your delivery and learn how to improve, and have a record of exactly what you said. Be careful when you notice the interviewer not recording, as it is easy to miss something while taking notes or to not accurately word your response.

Know the Information
You should know and be able to deliver information often asked for, and know all the correct spelling; the breeding of your horse, the breeder, owner, your trainer, sponsors. You should have and maintain a brief bio of yourself keeping your latest accomplishments update to facilitate information for the show announcer, and organizer who may need it for the program or website.

Know Who to Thank - And Remember To
It takes a village for you to have made it to any event, so know who to thank both in print and in person, before, during and after the show. Be sure to mention your trainer, organizers, sponsors, owners, and above all your parents who have made this all possible for you. Remember to compliment your fellow competitors and teammates, and of course remember to thank your horse. Learn about the sponsors and pay attention to who they are. I guarantee you they have put out a lot of energy and money to help make the show what it is. Think of patronizing them as a thank you for their effort, and it will reinforce their reasons to continue. Thank them for sponsoring when you see them at the booth, or when they hand you a ribbon. Don’t forget the volunteers who also make it possible for the show to go on.

Make It Interesting and Fun

Tim McQuay and Tom McCutcheon with USEF Dressage Chef D'Equipe Eva Salomon.
Tim McQuay and Tom McCutcheon with USEF Dressage Chef D'Equipe Eva Salomon.

I love going to a press conference featuring the US Reiners. They are like the NASCAR drivers of equestrian sport. Some of our High Performance Reining team are, shall we say, “big guys”, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the international press. At the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games press conference a Japanese journalist made mention of that fact, and asked the team about their size. Gold Medalist, and 2010 USEF Horseman of the Year, Tom McCutcheon leaned into the mike placed in front of him where he sat with his teammates at the table and said “Ma’am, when we come to a heavyweight event, we bring the heavyweights.”

Talk about your ride, your feelings, and don’t be afraid to mention your mistakes. Maybe someone reading the interview can learn something from your experiences. Don’t assume that all journalists or those reading the articles published are knowledgeable about your sport. Keep in mind you are an ambassador for your sport and your country.

Don’t be intimidated by the tough questions, be honest and don’t be defensive. Take a moment before you answer the question, don’t rush, take a sip of water as a tactic to give yourself the time needed to formulate your answer. Give a short but straightforward answer. You don’t have to say anything you do not want to. At Aachen, where Edward Gal was competing for the first time at the same event as his former mount Totilas a journalist asked him about his feelings. He stated simply that Totilas was now the mount for German rider Mathias Rath, and they should direct all questions about the horse to him. When the journalist pressed for a response from Gal, he responded short and sweet at to the effect; “Yes of course there are mixed emotions, but life goes on.”

Not all equestrian superstars give a great interview, and as journalists we can often direct the information we are looking for. If they forget to mention those they would like to thank, we can ask for names, or even though we know the answer can ask a question about the sport, show or their performance to help guide them to a better interview. We talk among ourselves too. “If I hear one more time ‘I love my horse’ as the only response to a winning medal” said one fellow journalist, after an interview, “why bother to even ask if that is all we can get!” Provide some detail about the ride, think of some good, original and descriptive “buzz words” to use for the writers to seize on. Writers often have to condense the interview into a much shorter version of all that was said, so keep that in mind when giving answers. Get to the point with some unique response, which shows your personality and feelings. We know that most of you have the dream of becoming an Olympian, or of being on the team of your country, but that should not be the ultimate goal for your career as a horseman. That too becomes a standard answer, and personally I feel not the right goal. Be the best that you can be, as a horseman, trainer, and professional if that is your direction, and the opportunities will come. Your education is important too, so be sure to talk about the balance in your life if it should be a part of the interview.

I also have many of the same questions from reporters presented, “How did it feel? Or how do you feel?” . When you are sitting there in an interview you might think, “Well how do you think it feels to win a medal, awesome!” Be prepared for this kind of a question and try to come up with an original funny or interesting quotable answer.

And please please, please, avoid using the redundant words “like” and "you know" .

Creating Lasting Impressions
Not all of you will have the privilege of being at the press table or being interviewed by a journalist for the news, but I would like this opportunity to share some more thoughts and ideas about the impressions you will make throughout your riding career. They say that first impressions are lasting ones, and in the horse world, which can be very small, this is very true. At the show, in the arena, with friends, stablemates, and at the barn you board and train remember to be kind, courteous, and helpful. Be neat and clean in your appearance, especially when you ride, even if you are just going for a hack after arriving on the grounds.

In the show ring, be immaculate. Watch out for too much bling. Be sure your jacket fits well, your hair is neat and plastered down, boots shiny, no dangly earrings or bouncing bun behind your head, and that your horse is presented in the best appearance ever. When you make the effort to present your self in the best light possible, you will ride better too.


Whether during the test or in her victory round Ashley Holzer always has a winning smile.
Whether during the test or in her victory round Ashley Holzer always has a winning smile.

Learn to smile, even if it is hard to do when you are concentrating on your ride. Many of our top riders who compete have expressions that we as photographers struggle to work with. Look at photos and watch Ashley Holzer. She presents the perfect picture of serenity and happiness on a horse. So if you find a natural smile a distraction, just try to do it down the centerline as you finish your test. Look the judge right in the eye, and give them a smile, which says “thank you for watching”. If you had a horrible test, don’t let them see you sweat or look upset, or shake your head. They have seen it all and many have had along the way an awful test in their lives too. It is insulting to a judge to display your feelings and emotions about your test. They know what they are looking for you don’t have to tell them. And for Pete’s sake, don’t cry, or storm out of the arena blaming your horse. Smile with your mouth open. When you smile with closed lips it displays a level of insecurity. Many of your parents have invested into those lovely straight white teeth of yours, so work it. All that said no need to overact, getting all gushy and falling over your horse at every halt and salute as if he just delivered the gold medal ride of a lifetime. The first time I saw a well known cutting horse trainer at work, each time his mare would navigate a calf from the herd, he would just stop as she stood perfectly still after her accomplishment. “I wonder why you do not reward her with a pat on the neck.” I asked. “The best reward is to just leave her alone.” was the straightforward reply.


Tina Konyot and Calecto V at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games
Tina Konyot and Calecto V at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games

Tina Konyot is a dear friend and so I know she will not mind me telling this story: I have photographed her throughout her career. She is a beautiful woman, and gorgeous rider. She has a lovely smile and dimples, yet when she rode, she looked like she was just angry. “Tina, I finally told her one day, you look like such a (I used the B word) up there. “Work that beautiful smile, not all of us are endowed with dimples like that.” Tina has taken my advise to heart over the years, and it was such a joy to photograph her and Calecto V at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games, as she grinned with joy at the movements he delivered in the arena.

Just like journalists, judges are not the enemy either. Put yourself in their shoes from time to time. Sitting in a hard cold chair for hours on end, usually following a hard day of travel, with the prospects of another long return trip home. I talked about my smile theory one time to a judge, and she responded. “You know, if I was vacillating between a 5 and 6 on a score, and the rider made eye contact and gave me a nice smile, I might be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and the higher mark.

Be Positive, Always – Make it a Way of Life
It is everyone’s inclination to talk, gossip, complain. I have been guilty of it and work very hard these days not to do it. Find something good to say about everyone which in only a very few cases in my life can be very difficult. Don’t ever talk badly about anyone, never, ever, ever. I know this is a tall order, but practice it in your daily life and it will come easier all the time. It has a domino effect. People will try to suck you into their gripes and issues, which may be justified for sure, but I just find it tiring and uncomfortable to be a part of it. Riders and trainers who are well known become a bigger target, o be prepared the more successful you become to know it could happen to you. How would you like to be the topic of a joke in a Jay Leno monologue? That is what famous people and presidents have to deal with all the time. Years ago I did an interview with Isabel Werth, when the European press was making much of the rivalry between her and Anky Van Grunsven. I asked her if it bothered her, or if this was the price that you pay by being on top.  I will always remember her response. “I am a farmer’s daughter who had the great fortune of being discovered and trained by Dr. Uwe Schulten Baumer. In the beginning when I had success at the shows everyone was happy for me, and congratulated me for my successes.” She recalled. “It is different when you are at the top in some ways.” That year we did the interview her Gold Medal mount Gigolo had been injured and was not able to compete at Aachen. “I rarely have the time to sit in the stands, but at Aachen this year I had no choice.” Isabel remembered. “I got to hear the comments about another up and coming German rider, and knew I was not alone.”

So you had a bad show, a bad ride, a tiff with your trainer, your parents, or the show secretary. Don’t brood, sulk and worst of all, don’t take it out on your horse. There is always a way to turn a negative into a positive. “Today was just not our day, but I learned something from my mistakes, and it will be better next time.” It never hurts to apologize when you know you said or did the wrong thing. When I used to work all day as a show photographer and ran our then video company, there was never a perfect day. We could miss a ride, or not get the shot someone was looking for: sometimes with the website someone may e-mail and be upset I did not mention their horse or ride. The day could have gone so well in so many ways, but when that happens it just puts a cloud on my tired self who tried my best to please as many people as I could.

Make Facebook and Social Media Your Ally Not Your Downfall
As a journalist I use Facebook all the time to access riders for quotes, images, feedback. Employers, potential clients, owners, sponsors all monitor Facebook. This is your chance to project the right image about yourself as a young person who is aspiring to excel in what you do. What you say and do on Facebook could follow you for a long time, even with your so-called private friends. I could do a whole other article on this, and might sometime, but here are a few thoughts:

Your Facebook page is often how you project first impressions in the new age. Don’t wine, insinuate someone has hurt your feelings or be too silly or goofy. Don’t put suggestive photos on line or talk about how you got drunk at the party in your dorm last night. I know of a horse owner, very active on the Internet who was looking for a young rider to sponsor and give an incredible horse to ride. The owner ruled out a few potential candidates being seriously considered simply by reading their Facebook page.

Make it interesting. Share your show photos, keep a little blog on your travels, successes, and perspective on your challenges. When I began my website there was no Facebook or Google or Twitter. We told some stories about our travels. Astrid Appels of eurodressage.com has been a part of our lives since we first met on line in 1997 when she was 15 years old. She would keep her “journal” on line when she travelled with us to shows in America when she came over to visit. We learned then how people loved reading these reports almost more than the coverage of the show. You are allowed to have opinions, but don’t be mean, negative or critical. Keep it happy, positive and respectful and you may be surprised to see what could come your way from your Facebook page: Maybe a job, an opportunity, a horse.

When you are immersed in a serious competition which requires your concentration and focus, stay off the phone and computer. I recall being at a Young Rider clinic with Ulla Salzgeber, who admitted she stays away from articles about herself. So even the best of the best have feelings and can be affected by what is commented and said about them. With Facebook and the internet, multiply that factor by a million. You don't need it , you need to ride and keep your head in a good place. I am connected to just about every US team rider and know that when the competiton is underway, unless I meet them at a press conference, I do not expect to hear from them or see updates on their page.

In closing I can’t tell you and all of our readers how exciting, inspiring and effective this program, The Emerging Dressage Athlete Program and the inaugural Robert Dover Horsemastership course was. Although I was just there for part of one day, the energy and excitement from not only the young riders in attendance, but also those who developed the program, Lendon Gray and Robert Dover was exhilarating and an inspiration. As we head into a new year, with hope and promise for good things to come, I can’t help but get a sense of growth we have in our sport.

You can always contact me at mary@horsesdaily.com

See video

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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