In the Beginning - Realizing A Dream

George Williams

George’s relationships with horses began early in life. At the age of 15, he watched a riding lesson and was astounded at how a horse changed its form underneath a skillful rider. He realized, at that moment, that riding was very similar to the art his father practiced as a sculptor. Just has his father molded clay into a beautiful image, so too could a rider transform a horse.

Although unable to replicate his father's skill with clay, George was excited about his own possibilities as an artist working horses. And from that moment, he knew that dressage was what he wanted to do with his life. George wrote about this revelation in a story he titled "Awakening" and it was included in a collection written by dressage riders in the book Along The Way published by Kent C. Gilmore in 1999 as a fundraiser for the USDF Young Riders Program.

That riding lesson wasn’t George’s first experience with the beauty of riding. At the age of nine, he was one of the lucky Americans to see the horses of the Spanish Riding School during their first U.S. tour in 1964. George describes attending the event with his mother and father as being part of a "pilgrimage" that many horse people made to Boston to watch the historic event. It was a marker in the lives of a good number of New England dressage aficionados, but for George, the performance was almost prophetic. Twelve years later, Karl Mikolka, who had retired as a chief rider from the Spanish Riding School in 1968, became George's mentor. Shortly thereafter, Lipizzans became the focus of George's life when he followed Mikolka and joined the staff of Tempel Farms in Wadsworth, Illinois – a tenure that spanned nearly 20 years.

Despite nearly two decades of performances with the legendary Tempel Lipizzans, and service on a list of high-profile dressage committees and boards, George remained a virtual unknown in the U.S. until his name, along with Rocher’s, flashed onto the reader board at the 2001 CDI in Oldenburg, Germany. Since that day, George has been a consistent top-ranked national and international dressage rider. Today, there are few dressage enthusiasts who do not know the name ‘George Williams.’

Clearly, George has achieved the personal goal he set when he left Tempel Farms in 2000 – achieve success competing at the international level of dressage. Since leaving Tempel Farms, he has followed that dream single-mindedly. He has had tremendous support for that dream in the form of Joann and Chuck Smith. It was to their Gypsy Woods Farm in Richwood, Ohio that George went after leaving Tempel Farms. At Gypsy Woods, the Smiths have provided George with the horses and financial support that, combined with his talent as a rider and trainer, has brought success to all.

Growing Up With Horses