Liz Austin has been fortunate in her career to have opportunities to work with some of the best, starting with her mother, Madeleine Austin. "My mom has certainly been my most influential trainer. She has always tried to make sure I've had excellent opportunities. The second most influential trainer in my early career as a Young Rider was definitely Conrad Schumacher and I am hoping to continue working with him this coming year, as well, with Olivier and Versace," Liz said.
Another important influence in Liz's life has been Lendon Gray, for whom she worked in 2005. "During my stay at Lendon's Gleneden Dressage, I was also able to participate in clinics with Michael Poulin and Cesar Parra," Liz said. Lendon continues to play an important role as mentor for Liz. "Lendon is always the second phone call I make after a horse show – the first, of course, being my mom. Lendon always has the best advice for me, whether it be about training or showing or anything else I can think of to ask her. She is always there and I appreciate that more than anything."
Liz's successes with Olivier in 2006 also earned her an opportunity to train with Klaus Balkenhol in Germany, which she said gave her "irreplaceable training and international exposure in the show ring. Although our stay was for less than two months due to quarantine restrictions for stallions, I learned a lot and also had the chance to sit on some very interesting horses."
Liz also credits Tuny Page and Oded Shimoni with helping her in recent years. "I was able to work with Tuny Page for periods in 2006, 2007 and 2008 when I was in Florida at her Stillpoint Farm in Wellington. In addition to having some once-in-a-lifetime riding opportunities myself, Fizzy and I learned a huge amount under her tutelage and she was really our saving grace when we had a tricky start to our 2006 Florida season. Fizzy and I both were lacking confidence in putting together the whole Grand Prix test, and she helped us a tremendous amount."
Because Shimoni is based at Stillpoint Farm, Liz also had opportunities to work with him with both Olivier and some of her other horses. "Oded would always somehow keep one eye on me when he was in the ring, and always had little tips for me that would make a huge difference in the horses. I remember many philosophical training discussions cooling out or hacking in the field. Oded loves what he does and always is so excited when his horses make progress. It was a real treat getting to be around him," Liz said.
Liz has also been lucky enough to be one of the demo riders at Ingrid Klimke clinics sponsored by the New England Dressage Association. "Ingrid Klimke is a huge Fizzy fan. She helped us to do our first real line of one tempis – I think we did 6 – and she was so encouraging when we were 'almost' there as far as the Grand Prix."
In 2008, Liz and Olivier also had opportunities to train with Robert Dover and more recently, Liz has been working with Michael Barisone. "He is so brilliant with the piaffe and passage, and absolutely makes me ride Fizzy in the right way. I call Michael my 'babysitter' because he always knows the right thing to say and has given me a tremendous amount of confidence and trust in Fizzy as well as in my own abilities. Michael tells me 'Liz, he's trained. He does everything beautifully.' And then he just gives me little pointers, such as 'sit up in the piaffe, ride the changes more forward,' that sort of thing. That has given me a lot of confidence," Liz said of Barisone.
[#23806 override="A Lifelong Love of Horses" title="A Lifelong Love of Horses"]