Text and Photos Sheri Scott
The 2007 Dressage at DG Bar Ranch was the last of the annual extravaganza dressage shows put on by Tony and Betty De Groot, the entire De Groot family; five children, their spouses, 21 grandchildren, their spouses, and soon two great-grandchildren - and the never tiring Willy Arts.
After 16 years, the dressage show, one of the largest in the United States, had grown from two rings in their front pasture to as many as eight rings and 1,000 rides over the three day span.
DG Bar Ranch, in Hanford, California is located in the heart of California's agricutural region. With a 24 hour dairy farm, and a large breeding program for Dutch horses, DG Bar Ranch has shared with the Californian Dressage community their property and warm hospitality throughout the years, and it was time for those to show how much it was appreciated.
This year the show was down in numbers, only having 7 rings on Friday and 6 rings on Thursday and Saturday. But the Friday evening party was bigger than ever, with over two and one half hours of exhibitions, a catered dinner in the main arena, and dancing ‘til the wee hours.
An Evening of Entertainment
Willy Arts organizes the evening entertainment and brought back favorite exhibitors from over the years.
The Showtime Vaulters from DG Bar Ranch demonstrated vaulting from the beginning with teaching the moves at the walk, through the movements of their competition team at the canter. Megan Benjamin, the individual vaulting gold medalist at the World Equestrian Games last August, was a guest performer with the Showtime team.
And a highlight was Willy Arts returning on the vaulting horse to demonstrate his vaulting style. Willy had vaulted when he was a student in Holland. He demonstrated the flag and also the stand. Not bad for 25+ years between vaulting sessions.
Lynn Lloyd and the Red Rock Hounds of Reno, Nevada joined us again, as they have many times over the years. At their last visit the hounds were overwhelmed by the crowd noise and fled the ring.
This time the crowd held their applause until the end and the hounds loyally followed huntsman Lloyd around the ring to the sound of the hunting horn.
The Fred De Boer Royal Friesians from just down the road in Tulare, Calif. wowed the crowd with a demonstration of a big four in-hand pulling a marathon cart. You can see why this team is very successful in combined driving. They can spin a donut in less room than you can in your car!
Local barrel racers demonstrated their speed and handiness around the barrels, set inside the boundaries of a dressage ring.
Tamara (De Groot) Majors (daughter of Tony and Betty) and Ashlyn De Groot (granddaughter) performed an FEI pas de deux. California dressage trainers Nicole Perry on Contester, Jan Ebeling on Waterford, Jo Moran on Minna, and Steffen Peters on Lombardi II performed musical freestyles for the appreciative crowd.
The Degroot Family is Showered with Appreciation
Tony and Betty received thanks from everyone. The competitors presented them with apple trees and climbing roses as a remembrance. The many young riders that have competed at DG Bar over the years thanked the De Groots for all of their support and presented them with flowers. Glenda McElroy of Cornerstone Events Management presented Tony and Betty with a sponsors table at all of her events.
Tony De Groot, along with daughters Ingrid Hamar and Tamara Majors, sung the national anthem. Sabine Schut-Kery, fresh from her performances in Las Vegas at the World Cup, did two dressage demonstrations on her Andalusian stallion, one side saddle.
The dressage show included high performance classes for the championships at Gladstone and selection trials for the young rider and junior rider championships. Jo Moran of Valley Center, Calif. won the High Performance Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle on Victoria Cotchett’s Swedish Warmblood mare Minna. Amanda Harlan of Oakville, Calif. won the Young Riders Team test and the Young Riders Prix St. George on her Dutch Warmblood gelding Liberte. Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, Calif. won the HP Prix St. Georges and the HP Intermediaire I on Sandrina, an Oldenburg mare owned by Ann Romney of Belmont, Mass.
Willy Arts has more events planned at DG Bar Ranch in the future. Watch their website dgbarranch.com for details.