Wellington, FL – Riders work with many horses in a lifetime, building new relationships with each one, but the lessons they learn along the way never leave them. This is the reasoning behind the most recent initiative by Betsy Juliano, a longtime supporter of dressage in the United States. Juliano has just announced sponsorships of Laura Graves and Jennifer Baumert that will allow the two U.S. athletes to receive top-notch training and support for their expenses as they work toward their competitive goals.
“I felt the best thing I could do to help Laura and Jen in their journey forward was to defray expenses, including those related to training costs,” Juliano said. “Whether they are competing the horses they have now or the horses they have in the future, the training will stick with them."
Juliano owns Havensafe Farm in Middlefield, Ohio, and Wellington, Florida, and also serves as the secretary of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation. She is a key supporter of the United States Equestrian Federation’s Human Sport Science and Medicine program, which aims to produce fitter, stronger, injury-free athletes who can perform to their highest potential on the international stage. In mid-2015, Juliano joined a syndicate to purchase an international prospect for U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle. Throughout each of her initiatives, Juliano aims to contribute to the formation of a competitive, cohesive team.
Sponsorship of Laura Graves
Graves is launching an Olympic campaign with her own Verdades, and with Juliano’s help, she will focus on strategically preparing herself and her horse to represent the U.S. on the world stage. A key element of her plan is to continue the training with Debbie McDonald that helped take the horse to the next level.
“Having my coach there when I compete makes a difference,” Graves said. “If we are looking toward things like individual medals and team medals, and we have the opportunity to put American riders on the podium, I want to be a part of making that happen. Betsy wants to be a part of making that happen too. I am so impressed with her generosity, not just for me, but for the sport.”
Juliano described Graves as “someone who inspires you to want to help because of who she is, what she's done and the seriousness she brings to it.”
She added, “The more I’ve gotten to know Laura, the more I really respect her commitment and her abilities. I’ve also had a window into how difficult it has been on a financial level to achieve what she has. It takes a lot of concentration and commitment for these riders to do what they do to represent their country. I hope to help alleviate some of that concern to allow her to focus this year leading up to the Olympic Games.”
Graves hopes to give back through her own teaching, taking advantage of opportunities to guide younger riders as they make their way up through the ranks.
“I'm learning something in my training every day with Debbie; it makes me a better trainer,” she said. “I don't have a lot to give – I can't give someone a horse, I can't afford to sponsor someone else – but I can teach Robert Dover's youth clinic, for example, with the knowledge that I've gained. I can give that. It's about coming full circle. Betsy supporting me to take more lessons improves my education and helps Team USA, and I can also pass it along to the next generation of kids.”
Sponsorship of Jennifer Baumert
Juliano feels that Graves and Jennifer Baumert are similar in their ability to stay poised under pressure and bring out the best in their horses. While training with Baumert, Juliano has valued her expertise and commitment.
“Jen has had a great education,” Juliano said. “She's worked with excellent trainers, has a very strong knowledge of theory and is able to communicate that knowledge quite well. She is enthusiastic and considerate. I also think she is extremely fair with the horses she trains. I think she has the athletic ability to ride for the Team, and if the stars continue to align, she has the potential to do it."
Like Graves, Baumert appreciates opportunities to work with McDonald, and she also benefits from riding with Kathy Connelly. Her current aim is to bring the 9-year-old Ramiro up from small tour to Grand Prix as he matures and progresses, and she also recognizes the long-term advantages of adding to her education.
“There are so many people who have been influential in my life, like my mother [Beth Baumert]. I think of something she says every time I teach,” Baumert said. ”Those things stick with you and help you with the next horse. I feel honored to be able to ride with Debbie because she has really clicked for me, and I'm really excited to absorb everything I can from Kathy as well. I'm so thankful for the opportunity and for Betsy for making it possible for me; I feel thrilled and honored to be a part of the Havensafe team.”
Syndicate Support of Adrienne Lyle
Juliano partnered with Akiko Yamazaki, Bruce and Jen Hlavacek, and Elma Garcia-Cannavino and Jim Cannavino to own Salvino, an exciting up-and-coming prospect now being developed by U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle with coaching from McDonald. Juliano points to Lyle’s ability, integrity and ethics as prime factors in earning her support.
“Adrienne has impressed me with her ability to maintain her professional demeanor and poise, staying true to herself and her horse through all of the ups and downs on the road to international competitions,” Juliano said. “Akiko’s purchase of the horse was fantastic in that it secured another horse for the U.S. and also allowed people like me to participate in the ownership of what will hopefully be a top international horse. It has been an exciting opportunity, and I think all of us who are involved with this horse feel he is very special.”
Lyle is thrilled with the potential Salvino has shown and grateful for the people who came together to make their partnership possible.
“I was incredibly honored that they thought of me as the pilot person for that program, and you could not have a better group of people to spearhead it,” she said. “Betsy stepped up as a big player in it, and I feel incredibly fortunate for it. I have been training with Debbie for 11 years now, and I think Betsy is on the same level with her approach to dressage and her empathetic way of training with the horse.”
Building a Team for the Future
Lyle pointed out that Juliano’s big-picture perspective of U.S. dressage allows her to align herself with key initiatives that truly make a difference.
“Betsy has an incredible vision of all aspects of the sport,” Lyle said. “She understands the need for depth and has an appreciation for looking into the future and developing long term goals.”
McDonald agreed, explaining how Juliano’s support of strong U.S. combinations helps athletes elevate their competitiveness for years to come.
“Betsy gives riders education to bring to the next great horse that might come along,” McDonald said. “That is exactly how we want people to think about it. It is great when you have her supporting someone like Laura, who is one of our top riders in the country right now and is financially not able to do it on her own. The help from Betsy has made Laura able to sustain her training and continue on the path. Betsy is just a very amazing and unique individual, and I think that she is one that hopefully people see as a role model for other sponsors coming up.”
Juliano’s aim is to give athletes the feeling that they are not alone as they enter the competition arena under the U.S. flag.
“A team should have a synergy and be able to do more together than as individual parts,” Juliano said. “When they are going down the centerline, they should know that there is a group of people behind them who want them to do as well they can. I think that is a really important feeling to have, especially when the stakes are so high. In all aspects, what I'm trying to do is to contribute to the development of a cohesive team that goes out there to represent the country. I can put myself behind them and get every bit as much joy as if I were riding myself.”