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The 10th Global Dressage Forum had some very special highlights. But the most emotional one was preserved for the end. A minutes-long standing ovation for the emotional World Champion Edward Gal and his team Nicole Werner and Hans Peter Minderhoud moved many participants into tears. Some of them had been present since the very first Global Dressage Forum in 2000, and were convinced that this was the most memorable moment of those 10 years. The pair Edward Gal and Totilas has been unique, combining the ease, all lectures so athletically and technically perfect. “Thank you for sharing your journey and experience with Totilas with us”, chairman Richard Davison said.
“Now we can add a third type of riding to good and bad riding. It’s: the best riding!”, Jenny Loriston-Clarke added. “I have two words: bloody fantastic!”, David Hunt said. “A work of art has fallen apart. We have never had this and you can call it Divine”, Johann Hinnemann said. The memory will not be taken away from any of all dressage enthusiasts who really have seen dressage develop to a new world.
On Monday evening, only 12 hours before his clinic in Hooge Mierde, Gal’s unique champion horse Totilas had left the stables in Harskamp to be transported to the stables of his new owner, Paul Schockemöhle. Although it turned out to be very difficult for Edward to comment, he and his manager and trainer Nicole Werner did their utmost to answer the questions of interviewer Richard Davison. “We feel terrible at the moment and don’t want to think about another rider riding Totilas, but we have had so many fun moments that we rather like to comment on that”, Gal said. And so he did, talking frankly about the amazing power and energy that he never had felt before in a horse but in Totilas.
“We are convinced to come back on the highest level with another horse in the future”, Werner promised. Their clinic was the highlight of this years’ Forum. Gal rode the approved stallion Lord of Loxley (Lord Sinclair x Landadel), owned by Australian Clyde Wunderwald, which will be a prospect for Australian Brett Parbery. Edward and Nicole impressed the audience with their fine riding and the openness in which they explained the details of their training method. One of the specialties was their attentiveness to trotting small and smaller, and canter small and smaller, just to have control over the tempo.
Another highlight of the Forum of two days, was the explanation of new FEI international stewarding rules by FEI head steward Jacques van Daele. Van Daele is very friendly but quite clear and no interpretation can be misunderstood through his guidance.
The fantastic jubilee show by Frenchman Jean Francois Pignon was another highlight. As an exception this time Pignon even took some moments to explain the training aspects behind his work in free. The first and main rule was earning respect of the horse. “It’s an easy comparison with children, this is the same”, Pignon said. The consistency in his training method and the happiness of his horses was greatly admired.
German coach Jonny Hilberath gave a riding clinic on the first day. His best pupil is Mexican Bernadette Pujals, who was able to reach a peak performance at the WEG 2006 in Aachen. It was a pity that he didn’t bring his own students to work with, as the theme that riding is a mind sport for the brain could not be reached now.
The very top of the international equestrian federation FEI gave some interesting lectures: Trond Asmyr (director dressage department), Frank Kemperman (chairman dressage) and Graeme Cooke (director veterinary department). Frank Kemperman said that his role to sell dressage is quite good under way. “We have new stars now apart from Anky and Isabell, dressage sells as the Freestyle to music has been the only sold out house in Kentucky. Now we have to work on more media coverage through different formats probably with shorter tests and a summer series, preferably a Nations Cup Dressage series starting in 2012”, Kemperman promised.
Cooke presented impressing facts from the Equestrian World Games in Kentucky, and announced that the Games did not have any positive doping case.
Very impressive was the presentation by the International Riders and Trainers Clubs, which showed innovations and presented proposals for improving the judging system. Innovation was also an important item in the demonstration of the electronic ‘Flexchair’ as an instrument to improve the feeling and the sit of the rider.
Rob Renirie impressed by his professionalism in shoeing. Last year he showed how to work on different sized feet. Now his message was the finetuning in shoeing, which needs a specialized farrier who takes time to watch and view, before shoeing.
Among the participants many top riders, trainers, judges, officials, journalists and scientists.
Most of them agreed that the Global Dressage Forum has in ten years become a very important instrument in exchanging information on technical and organisational aspects on the quickly expanding sport of dressage. Probably by Edward Gal and Nicole Werner the harmonious and united atmosphere was the nicest ever.
In 2011 a new Scientific Forum on Equitation Science will be held the days before the Global Dressage Forum, while the Global Dressage Forum 2011 will take place in Hooge Mierde on 30 – 31 October 2011. You don’t like to miss this!