It'll be a busy dressage weekend in California with the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair kicking off on Thursday at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank. The CDI3* is one of the West Coast's largest and most popular dressage competitions drawing most of the top U.S. and Canadian riders, as well as several from other nations, who are based in the western half of North America. In Florida, the big show of the weekend with over 300 rides is the first show of the season in the Welcome Back to White Fences dressage series. This series has long been one of the most popular on the Florida season and it was started by the late Ingred Lin who passed away this fall. Ingred believed in creating a show series that was relaxing and fun and to that end, she made sure her shows were more like social gatherings of dressage riders than high-pressure dressage shows. Her son Adam is continuing the tradition this year and this first show of the season will be held in Ingred's memory. The place Ingred held in the hearts of the Florida dressage community is evident by the fact that more than 300 rides have already been scheduled for this weekend.
Two other shows being held in Florida this weekend are the Dressage Concours (www.foxleafarm.com) in Venice and Twice as Nice Dressage II (www. canterburyshowplace.com) being held in Newberry. And a clear sign that spring is on the way is the movement of shows back northward. The Lowcountry Dressage Classic (www.scdcta.com) is being held this weekend in Johns Island, South Carolina and the Fields and Fences February Dressagefest (www.fieldsandfences.com) is being held in Gurnee, Illinois.
Dressage is in a constant struggle to gain appeal from the wider general public, but for those who feel it's impossible to get mainstream media to pay any attention the discipline, here's proof that it's not impossible. An article on a Vitor Silva clinic in Southern California actually did make it into the local press, showing that sometimes it can be done. Although clearly written for the non-dressage crowd, it does give the dressage world wider exposure and perhaps with a bit of push, other clinic and show organizers just might be able to entice local media to cover dressage events in their areas. Read the newspaper article at http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_14440559?source=most_emailed.
Well, with the advance of technology this is perhaps no surprise, but a Canadian company, Numen Communications, Inc., working with the FEI has created something called EquiTests. It's an app compatible with an iPhone or iPod Touch and with it you can read dressage test instructions, view the marking criteria and see animated diagrams of the movements. Thus far, only eventing dressage tests are available but FEI and para-dressage tests will soon be available. Read more about it at http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20100218/bs_prweb/prweb3617804_1.
He's not a dressage rider, but this is a good story anyway. Top New Zealand event rider Mark Todd is aiming for a different competition in 2010 – the New York City Marathon. Yep, it's been reported that Mark is planning to hire a trainer and start preparing for the big race in November. He's doing it in support of CatWalk Trust, a charity that raises money for people with spinal cord injuries. It was started by show jumping rider Catriona Williams who was paralyzed in a jumping accident in 2002. The Marathon is a 26-mile race and one way the 53-year-old Mark figures he can prepare is to go running with his horses – leading them on foot, of course. Read more about his plans at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=295081.