There are several Easter weekend dressage shows on the calendar. Coming up this weekend in Lexington, Virginia is the Spring All Arabian Classic. Florida will play host to the International Horse Sport Invitational and IHS Series Finals in Loxahatchee. Riders will be gathering in Parker, Colorado for the Arabians and Dressage for the Cure at the Peak. With the arrival of spring, dressage competitions have made their way to the Northeast and kicking off the season is the Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Gales Ferry, Connecticut. Pleasanton, California will host CDS East Bay Summer Show. And in Lynnville, Tennessee this weekend riders will gather at Dressage at Greystone Farms.
Several Dutch media organizations carried news this week on the sad passing of top Dutch breeder Adrie Gordijn. He passed away Sunday night at a Maastricht hospital after a short illness. Adrie was a major figure in Dutch equestrian sports in both dressage and show jumping. As founder of the Stable De Ijzeren Man, he produced a number of highly successful horses in both dressage and show jumping. A good many top riders also came from his stable. His family has also seen much success as international competitors. His daughter Gonnelien is an Olympic dressage rider and several of his grandchildren are successful young riders. Adrie was only 69 years old.
Great Britain’s Rhyl Journal reported this past week on the success of up-and-coming para-dressage rider Georgia Wilson. The 15-year-old from Abergele was a championship winner at last month’s Para-Equestrian Dressage Festival. Her success has put her on the British Equestrian Federation’s UK Sport funded World Class Development Programme which works with talented riders to maximize their potential. Riding her horse, Quality VH, otherwise known as Jack, Georgia won the Grade III Restricted Championship with a score of 71.85 per cent at Vale View Equestrian Centre competition. Georgia has cerebral palsy. You can read more about her here!
The top young rider news coming out of Australia last week focused on the Donges Supa IGA 2011 Young Dressage Championships, one of that country’s biggest events for young dressage riders as well as leading adult competitors. Riders and horses came in from Canberra, Victoria, Orange, Sydney, Bathurst, Wagga and Dubbo. The two-day dressage event gave out around $23,000 (Australian dollars) in prize money and it served as a warm-up for the upcoming Sydney CDI3*, which will be a key event for determining members of Australia’s 2012 Olympic Dressage Team. The Young Dressage Championships gathered not only many of Australia’s best riders and horses, but also dressage fans who come not only for the competition but also for the mass of shopping available.
It’s not a dressage story, but it’s an uplifting one nevertheless. Canada’s Windsor Star newspaper ran a feature article this past week on breast cancer survivor Julie Macfarlane, who was diagnosed a year ago. The article chronicles how her horses and riding have helped Julie hold on in her cancer battle. Riding, she said, has given her a sense of normalcy in her life. The law professor and mother of three also gives much credit to her support network at the barn. Friends picked up the workload whenever she was too tired to handle her barn chores. Throughout her recovery, Julie has continued training with her Thoroughbred Mr. Louie and the pair is planning their competitive comeback in May when she joins her daughter and friends in a Hunter Team Challenge competition at the Rock ‘N Horse Fest’s Cidermill Hunter Jumper Classic. Proceeds from that event will benefit the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. You can read more about Julie here!
And this also isn’t dressage news but it might be news to some that former teen idol and Partridge Family star David Cassidy is a long-time breeder of Thoroughbred horses. And he recently aired his views about Thoroughbred breeding on Britain’s The One Show where he got into a bit of debate with jockey Brough Scott. Discussion turned to Britain’s famous race the Grand National, which has been in a bit of controversy after the death of two horses in the competition. Brough argued that there is nothing wrong with putting horses to such a test, but David disagreed. He argued that Britain’s jump racing is too challenging for horses today because Thoroughbred breeders have gone for speed rather than strength. As a result, horses don’t hold up well under such grueling conditions at the Grand National. Cassidy cited the direction in breeding as being a reason why so many race horses today break down. You can read more here!