Tina Konyot is the bearer of a genetic code that spans five generations of stellar horsemanship and performance, which is documented in depth on her website with text and historical photos. Discovered by Ringling in Europe, Tina’s grandfather, Arthur Konyot, went on to occupy the center ring in the acclaimed Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He then trained horses owned by celebrities (Arthur Godfrey for one) and was honored posthumously to the Circus Hall of Fame in 1974. A book, The White Rider, was written about his life.
Tina’s grandmother, a relative of the world renowned prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova, was a bareback equestrienne and ballerina who incorporated into her performances all the beauty and discipline of both high art forms: Dressage and Ballet. And her mother Josephine was a high wire artiste who performed without a net, high above the center ring.
It was Tina’s father, Alex Konyot who played a major role in bringing the art of Dressage to America. His contribution is part of an American legend, and was part of the foundation of the depth of Dressage not only as a classical skill, but an art form. In the course of his more than 80-year career he nurtured riders and horses to Olympic status including a very young Robert Dover, who has now earned for the United States 6 Olympic medals in Dressage. Dover, who travelled to Stuart, Florida to be a pallbearer at Alex’s funeral knows and respects the importance of his influence on his career. “He was a genius, “said Robert, “who gave me key information at a very crucial time in my development as a rider.” But it was not just the protégés like Robert who Konyot inspired a passion for the sport. In his clinics and training sessions held throughout the country he brought out the best in those who travelled to experience his genius. “I will never forget my one and only lesson with Alex.” recalls DressageDaily’s Mary Phelps. “I was house sitting for a family with an Arabian who had done some dressage, and they said I could take him to a clinic with Alex. I explained it was just a one shot deal for me; I just wanted to learn something and have some fun. Konyot smiled with a twinkle in his eye, and put on some music. The hour we had together is still deeply imbedded in my memory and did much to instill my lifelong passion for this sport. It was also the beginning of a lifelong friendship. It was always a joy to see him at the shows when he came to watch and coach his beautiful young daughter.”
For Tina a youngster raised in the midst of a unique and unconventional lifestyle, her early impressions of what her father did for a living have influenced her life to this day. “As a child I would see people arrive by private jet to come to train and buy horses from my father.” Tina recalls. “I remember a woman who desperately wanted a particular horse he had in training and was there with the money to pay what at that time was a very high price. My father would not sell the horse to her because he knew it was not the right fit.” Tina emphasizes her desire to have the same honor and honesty with the horses and clients she works with. “I have learned as I grow older to be more diplomatic, but,” insists Tina “I will always stay true to myself, my horses, and my beliefs.
More History of the Konyot Legend on tinakonyotdressage.com
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