Parker, CO - The inaugural Dressage Symposium In The Rockies (DSIR) concluded on Wednesday, May 24, at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP) in Parker, CO, after five days of educational dressage clinics and exhibitions offered to dressage riders and enthusiasts in the Rocky Mountain Region.
The week's sessions were presented by top clinicians and riders, including Lars Petersen, Steffen Peters, Michael Klimke, Scott Hassler, Axel Steiner, Jane Weatherwax, and Jane Savoie. Sponsors for the event included presenting sponsor, Adequan®; RMDS Scholarship Sponsors, Perfect Products, and Osphos; Gold Sponsors, Arenus, Dressage Training Online, Gaye Barrett of Engel & Völkers, Premier Equestrian, and Triple Crown; Wine and Cheese Sponsors, Stable Secretary, Rachel Saunders, Suzie Hallé of Random Stables Dressage, and Gwen Ka'awaloa and Heather Petersen of RMDS.
For Meg Krueger, COO of CHP, the event ushered in a new era of possibility and exposure for the facility, not just for the riders and clinicians, but to spectators and auditors wanting to participate in the event as well.
"My hope for the DSIR was to create a special event for the dressage community that showcased our Colorado hospitality and equestrian talent that drew internationally recognized clinicians to infuse new energy and opportunity in our region," said Krueger. "I couldn't have hoped for a better inaugural year, and the entire team was heart warmed to hear the positive reviews and enthusiasm. This first year paves the way for our region to continue to build, collaborate and inspire our dressage athletes and enthusiasts, and thanks to the input from our attendees, we have many new ideas to unveil at the 2018 DSIR."
The Rocky Mountain Dressage Society (RMDS) played an integral role in the communication of the event to their members located in the area, helping to engage riders and offer opportunities to participate through the RMDS Scholarships presented throughout the week.
"For people in Colorado, any time we want to go to a major dressage event or any clinics, we usually have to go to California or to the East Coast," commented Ka'awaloa, President of the Rocky Mountain Dressage Society. "When Meg Krueger offered this as something she envisioned for dressage out here, we hopped right on board. RMDS didn't expect an event this big. We were quite surprised, and very thankful. We are very pleased to be apart of it. We hope it grows and we hope it helps our local community."
Adequan® has been a major sponsor of numerous disciplines of equestrian sport throughout the years, with a large presence in dressage. As the main sponsor of the dressage shows at CHP throughout the year, Allyn Mann of Adequan® felt that DSIR was the perfect beginning to what he hopes will be a fruitful season at the facility.
"With all of our participation in the discipline of dressage, we are always looking for opportunities to expand the sport nationwide. There is a great dressage community here in the Rockies, and it can benefit from such wonderful clinicians and support from The Colorado Horse Park," said Mann. "With the help of companies like Luitpold Pharmaceuticals and their product Adequan®, we feel that it's vital to the health of the horse, as well as the people involved with these wonderful animals to make sure we do everything we can to support them, both from a health point of view as well as the events and the opportunities to learn. Education is really key to growing this sport."
The end of the week brought a generous amount of positive feedback for the CHP management team surrounding the event, as they will look to organize a similar experience in 2018. Riders, as well as clinicians each eager with anticipation for the growth of dressage in the Midwest and feel that the event showcased the popularity of expanding opportunity for the sport in the region.
Clinician Steffen Peters, a veteran rider for the United States, led clinic sessions for the final two days of DSIR and discussed his experience at the event. He commented, "It's so important that we share the things we learn from our horses. A huge thank you to Adequan®, Michael Stone, Meg Krueger, and CHP staff. It's an amazing facility, I saw the facility ten years ago and it's just incredible how it has bloomed. We've had a wonderful clinic here this week."
"Every rider has been fun to work with and I even had a chance to ride a few horses. It has been one of those clinics that you truly enjoy. I would love to come back, not just to teach but also to compete here," he added.
For riders, the event promised growth amongst the dressage community in the Midwest region and a prime opportunity to train and receive feedback from some of the sport's most knowledgable athletes and experts. Trainer Benjamin Pfabe traveled from Dallas, TX, specifically for the symposium. For him, the opportunity to work with clinicians of such high caliber, was not one he could pass up.
Pfabe noted, "This event was well run and everyone was very welcoming. There are so many opportunities on the East and West coasts, and I think that this event was able to bring education to an area that may not have as much of it so readily available. These were top clinicians coming in, so we got great instruction, great feedback, and I really think that this will push the sport to a new level."
President of CHP, Michael Stone, also contributed his thoughts regarding the wave of hope for the dressage community this week when he addressed a group of riders, auditors, and spectator on Monday evening.
"The intention is to make The Colorado Horse Park the center for equestrian sport in the Midwest," said Stone. "I think that dressage in the west has slipped back a little bit, partially because there aren't the facilities and competition venues around to make it work. We had the same problem in Wellington when we started the Global Dressage Festival five years and it is now the biggest festival of dressage in the world."
Stone continued to describe his hopes for the future of The Colorado Horse Park, which is poised to become a strong equestrian competition and destination venues for numerous disciplines of equestrian sport.
"We believe that we can do the same here. We aren't going to stop; we are going to keep going. We believe that by bringing in top clinicians, we can give something back to the community, and invigorate dressage once again. If everyone gets together, we can make a difference. We are committed to making this work."
The second annual Dressage Symposium In The Rockies will tentatively take place May 17-20, 2018, at The Colorado Horse Park, in Parker, CO. For more information, please visit www.coloradohorsepark.com.