Deborah Hausman who trains dressage horses and students at her Quailhurst Stable and Vineyard in Sherwood, Oregon, travelled over 3000 miles across the United States to Florida for the 2013 winter dressage season. With two young horses, Alexiss, a 2005 Holsteiner Mare (Caletino x Tjinja/Kennedy) and Verona, a 2002 Dutch Mare (Jazz x Glennridge) Hausman, her “girls” and her horse van towing her Austin Mini Cooper settled into a cozy studio apartment at Anne and Davis Gribbons’ Knoll Dressage near Orlando. Hausman, a longtime professional and breeder brought Alexis who she bred, backed and trained and Verona the mare she placed in the top 15 overall at the highly competitive PAVO Cup Young Horse series in the Netherlands. But they were not part of the original longtime plan. Hausman has trained and competed in Europe, works with Conrad Schumacher when he comes to the US, as well as competed on the busy California winter circuit, yet has always wanted to work with Gribbons. While her two young mares were worthy of the time and investment, they were not in the original plan. Deborah Hausman proves that starting over after loss is reachable. In 2012 a huge tragedy struck with the loss of her two FEI horses within a devastating six months.
The 54-year-old proves perseverance furthers. She said, “The reason I decided to come to Florida this winter is because I was searching for good help after this tragedy of loss. You begin to struggle about "Why" and "Do you will want to work this hard all over again" When it’s completely removed from you, you stop and re-evaluate. It’s hard to pick yourself up from something so gut wrenching. “ Deborah’s close friend, former Region 6 Director Gail van Dermoere pushed her collecting her students, friends and family to do the same pushing. “They know how much horses mean to me." Hausman continued. "For the past 16 years Gribbons and Hausman talked about her coming to train at Knoll Farm. “It’s not easy leaving my large farm to travel across the country and horses and business for a five-six month period of time. After showing multiple years at the FEI level, young horses and all the lower levels in California and a couple of years in Europe now was the time that made perfect sense for Florida and Anne. This has been the best decision ever.”
Hausman said, “I don’t buy made horses. I prefer to train them myself. It’s a long road with hard such hard work yet I go to bed at night and I can hardly wait to get up and ride every day. It's just in me. The drive, determination and dedication aren’t something you can teach a human or a horse but I obviously have it.”
The two horses she lost she trained for 13 years. She said, “They were both finally ready for the CDI's one at Grand Prix and the other at Prix St George.” With the great support system to look after everything in Oregon she decided to pursue the Florida circuit for the winter season. She has competed in Europe for two successive years on young horses, but never Wellington. She said, “You have to experience more than just a few competitions to be respected as a trainer and ride at different venues. This year, every time I competed in Wellington, I’ve experienced something different, something unique. That is, the trainers here share a lot of comradery and a lot of support. I don’t think I’ve seen that any other place. It’s very obvious and evident that all people are in it for the same reason, to work the horses up the levels. I particularly like the Global Dressage Festival venue. My horses were a bit overwhelmed by the atmosphere, but they got through it. Even the other riders and trainers help you ride through it with their support because they realize the degree of difficulty of those rings. They’ve been there. It was wonderful. And riding with Anne Gribbons has been very focused. It’s been a fabulous experience.”
Hausman said, “With the loss only months ago, I have to admit that when I am at the shows and watch others competing their FEI horses, my thoughts go to the loss. I know I need to get to work. It’s been a slow painful process. “
In Memoriam - Ferrogamo and Tjinja
Spending years training with Conrad Schumacher Hausman said, “Ferrogamo was a horse my husband picked out as a three year old. We were breeding jumpers at the time and we had a horse on the jumping team for Holland with a man who won the gold medal at the Olympics." She continued, "I trained with Conrad Schumacher who said that he was the most difficult horse to train, but we did it. His piaffe and passage was wonderful. I finally got him to a place where we could enter the show ring to compete with complete confidence in the Grand Prix level.” He passed away at 17. “Tjinja is another we picked out when we were looking for a broodmare. She was a champion as a young horse in the 3-year-old division (PAVO CUP) and was pregnant to Scandic at the time. She lost her foal in quarantine and came out of the loss healthy after some time.
I showed her up the levels to Prix St George at 7 years old, never for scores, just to get into the ring for the experience. She won the DG Bar Cup, many KWPN awards and numerous titles and competitions. One year we took to embryos from her and one of them became Alexiss.“
The future looks bright for Deborah Hausman with two high quality young horses she bred at home. The two fabulous mares spending time in the Florida winter season gained the needed show experience at top Wellington Horse Show venues. With the season over, Hausman has now just returned to Oregon, but word is, she’s planning to return next winter!