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, April 26, 2015 - 08:14
“Premier Equestrian” Adreinne Lyle (center) with Mark Neihart (left), CEO of Premier Equestrian, and Heidi Zorn (right), President of Premier Equestrian, at Premier’s booth at the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage and Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Finals Las Vegas, Nevada – From the red carpet to centerline, “Premier Equestrians” were in top form as Las Vegas welcomed the finest dressage and jumping riders in the world for the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage and Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. Premier Equestrian, which provided the world-class dressage arenas and flower boxes for the prestigious event, also rolled out a red carpet for visitors and competitors with its own exceptional cast of welcoming stars, known as “Premier Equestrians.” The lineu...
Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 09:56
Custom Saddlery rider Steffen Peters (center) took photos with his fans, including Custom Saddlery saddlefitters Sarah Boothe (left) and Hillary Boothe (right), at the USEF booth at the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage and Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Finals Las Vegas, Nevada - A highlight of the World Cup for Custom Saddlery was the “Selfies with Steffen” event that Custom sponsored at the USEF booth on Thursday, April 16 - directly after Steffen Peters’s amazing third place finish in the Grand Prix aboard Legolas 92 with a 76.843 percent. Hundreds of enthusiastic show attendees lined up to snap a photo with the Olympic athlete, who is sponsored by Custom Saddlery and calls Custom saddles “simply the best dressage saddles on the market.” Peters also signed Custom Saddlery visors...
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 12:30
Written By: Mary Phelps
Edward Gal and Glock's Undercover Photo: © Mary Phelps "This is where dressage becomes art," is what Axel Steiner, retired O judges and official commentator for the 2015 Reem Acra/FEI World Cup Final, Las Vegas, while watching Edward Gal (NED) and Glock's Undercover N.O.P. The sensitive 14-year old KWPN gelding by Ferro out of a Donnerhall mare and owned by Ghpc Holding Bv. Masterfully ridden by Gal, finishing second place to the unbeatable Valegro and Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle with a stunning result of 84.696. Former World and FEI World Cup Champion Edward Gal of The Netherlands made his third trip to Las Vegas to compete in his ninth FEI World Cup Final. Gal and Glock’s Undercover, won team Bronze medals at both the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 201...
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 22:00
Written By: Mary Phelps
View the image gallery of the greatest dressage horse of all time, Valegro and his pilot, Charlotte Dujardin.Photo: © Mary Phelps DressageDaily's Mary Phelps was on the scene at the Reem/Acra FEI Dressage World Cup Final 2015, Las Vegas. Over the next two weeks we will be sharing image galleries of all participants, starting with Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain and the iconic horse, Valegro. Valegro, the 13 year old KWPN gelding by Negro/Gerschwin is owned by Carl Hester, Mrs. Roly Luard, and Mrs. A Bar. It was impossible to take a bad photo, and difficult to choose what to publish so here are 60+ images to enjoy! Charlotte and Valegro are the undisputed greatest dressage combination of all time. As the reigning Olympic, World, European and FEI World Cup champions, Dujardin and the p...
Monday, April 20, 2015 - 07:19
Written By: Kelly Sanchez
Viva Las Vegas! Elvis (Guenter Seidel) and one of his "showgirls" Elizabeth Ball (Photo: © Mary Phelps) If he ever decides to forego dressage, Guenter Seidel might have a career in show business. Dressed as Elvis, the three-time Olympian brought down the house in a “Viva Las Vegas” quadrille featuring his three “showgirls”: Elizabeth Ball, Michelle Reilly and Sarah Christy at the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final Dressage Showcase. California-based fashion and costume designer Melanie Sommer worked for two months to put together the elaborate fire-engine red costumes, which had tall feathered headdresses, bustiers and red sequined boots. The midday showcase kicked off with an Intermediare I Freestyle featuring Sabine Schut-Kery riding Alice Womble-Heitmann’s expressive Hanoveri...
Sunday, April 19, 2015 - 08:11
Written By: Louise Parkes
Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin holds the new Reem Acra trophy aloft after making it a back-to-back double of victories with the amazing Valegro at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015 Final (FEI/Dirk Caremans) The sensational British duo, Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, secured their second consecutive title when winning the Freestyle at the Reeem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015 Final at the Thomas...
Saturday, April 18, 2015 - 17:42
Written By: Astrid Appels - Eurodressage.com
The 2015 World Cup Finals' podium: Edward Gal, Charlotte Dujardin, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl There was no surprise and no challenge for Charlotte Dujardin to reclaim her world cup title as she cruised to victory in the Kur to Music at the 2015 World Cup Finals in Las Vegas on Saturday 18 April 2015. After earning her first World Cup title in 2014 in Lyon, Dujardin extended the honour this year and shared the World Cup podium with Dutch Edward Gal and German Jessica von Bredow-Werndl. Charlotte Dujardin put in an immaculate ride to her much beloved music based on the Disney animated movie How to Train Your Dragon. Valegro is a very lightfooted mover despite being a musled athlete. Read the full story on Eurodressage.com!
Saturday, April 18, 2015 - 09:06
Wizard in his offical retirement with rider Adrienne Lyle (Photo:(c) McCool Photography) Dressage was the main attraction at the Thomas...
Friday, April 17, 2015 - 11:17
Written By: Kelly Sanchez
Charlotte Dujardin and Valergro, Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final 2015 Photo: © Mary Phelps On a day that saw many of the world’s top horses and riders go head to head at the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final, defending champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro (Negro x Gerschwin) shrugged off the pressure that comes with being the world’s number one combination and did what everyone expected them to do. They handily won the Grand Prix, with the 13-year-old Dutch gelding showing little evidence of the jet lag that had affected him after his arrival in Las Vegas. Their score of 85.414 percent was a few points shy of their world record-setting score of 87.460, but Dujardin was pleased nevertheless. “It’s just a mass of excitement for me to come here and take part,” she said....
Friday, April 17, 2015 - 08:58
Written By: Louise Parkes
Defending champions, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, lived up to expectations winning the Grand Prix on the opening day of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final (FEI/Dirk Caremans) Defending champions, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, lived up to expectations when winning the Grand Prix on the opening day of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2014/2015 Final at the Thomas...

Eventing

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 14:28
Lexington, Ky. - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named the Team and Alternates for the U.S. Pan American Eventing Team for the 2015 Pan American Games. The following athlete-and-horse combinations will compose the U.S. Team (in alphabetical order): Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Thomas Tierney and Simon Roosevelt's...
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 16:00
John Strassburger & Heather Bailey
Woodside, CA May 19, 2015 - When the horses gallop over Ian Stark's redesigned cross-country courses at the Event At Woodside on May 22-24, it will be a brand-new experience for them as well as for him. That's because it will be Stark's first Event at the Horse Park. In fact, the former British Olympic rider had never been to the Horse Park at...
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 11:18
John Strassburger & Heather Bailey
Woodside, CA - The seventh annual Woodside Preliminary Challenge will be the highlight of the Event At Woodside on May 22-24. The popular competition, which climaxes with show jumping in the Grand Prix Arena on Saturday evening, will offer $15,000 in prize money and additional $15,000 in prizes for the two divisions. The Woodside Preliminary...
Monday, May 18, 2015 - 14:09
Jenni Autry for Eventing Nation
“There are going to be a lot of disappointed people on the day the team is named” — that’s been the overarching theme of the U.S. Pan American Games selection process for the past eight months, ever since Team USA’s bid for Olympic qualification breathed its last on a muddy cross country day in Normandy at the World Equestrian Games. That...
Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 10:12
Equine Canada
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...
Monday, May 11, 2015 - 16:50
Kate Green, FEI Communications
William Fox-Pitt (GBR) re-wrote the record books when he became the first rider in history to win a CCI4* on a stallion, jumping a magnificent clear round in today’s final phase on Christopher Stone’s Chilli Morning to capture the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, fourth leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015.
 
The popular German...

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

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...
Friday, May 22, 2015 - 09:44
Lexington, KY - At promptly two o'clock on a cool May day in Lexington, the first official happening at the inaugural Split Rock Jumping Tour was underway, the FEI Horse Inspection.  Forty-eight horses representing thirteen countries jogged in The Limestone Jumping Arena to kick off the anticipated event.   The Split Rock staff was dressed in...
Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 15:01
Mill Spring, NC - Competition was underway at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TEIC) today with the start of Tryon Spring 6, the sixth installment of the 2015 Tryon Spring Series. Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, AL, finished in first and second in the $1,000 Adequan® 1.30m Open Jumper piloting Dejan Krunic's Belle Clara DKS to first and Loretta...
Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 13:41
"This was such a moving experience," said Braun after the visit. "These kids have such courage to battle their illnesses the way they do and I really want to thank Reed and Denise for taking the time to join me in visiting with them and giving back a little bit to our Lexington community." Kessler came home to Lexington for the Split Rock event...
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 15:56
Brian Hennessy
The battle to grab a coveted place at the 2015 Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show has begun, with the first qualifier for the Connolly’s RED MILLS 7...
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 11:26
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
Devon, PA - May 19, 2015 - The rich history, style, and ambiance of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair are unmatched. The show began in 1896 as a one-day show, but today it is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. The show is internationally recognized and globally respected. In addition to its horse show...
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 11:11
Emily Riden, Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Littlestown, PA - May 17, 2015 - Andrea Torres Guerreiro's show jacket, stirrups and saddle pad are already an eye-catching blue, but following a successful week at the Blue Rock Classic Guerreiro is going home with even a bit more blue. She earned the victory in Friday's $5,000 Speed, and on Sunday she rounded out the horse show at Swan Lake...

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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