Wellington, FL – Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Heather Bender has been known over the years for her proactive approach to creating a positive influence within her dressage community in Wellington, Florida. Bender has now garnered the notable distinction of becoming the most recent recipient of the Triple Crown Dressage Excellence Award.
Bender was presented with the honor, which included a tri-colored Triple Crown Dressage
Excellence Award ribbon and engraved silver award tray, while competing at the recent Gold Coast Dressage Association (GCDA)’s 2017 Gold Coast Finale I & II show in Wellington. Triple Crown® Nutrition, an official sponsor of the event, gives this award to select riders who have demonstrated a long history of excellence and high levels of achievement in the show ring as well as in the dressage community at large.
During the Gold Coast Finale show, Bender competed Alvarinho Interagro, a spectacular Lusitano stallion owned by Dr. Debra Eddington, winning their Fourth Level class. The previous week, Bender won a Grand Prix and an Intermediate II class on two other Lusitano stallions.
Bender feels that she has recently made much headway in proving the Lusitano breed’s capability as talented dressage athletes. “People have seen me recently on Lusitanos because of my work with Interagro,” says Bender of her involvement with the breed. Interagro is the largest breeder of Lusitano horses in the world, located near Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“When I was working for Interagro, I stepped away from the competition arena for a period of time. After showing a number of Grand Prix Warmbloods, I had to start all over again and learn what the Lusitano needed as an individual, because the training approach is slightly different. That process has been a great education for me. To combine my experience with Lusitanos and Warmbloods together, it just gives me more tools in my toolbox as a trainer. I am really enjoying bringing Lusitanos up to the Grand Prix and also seeing them be taken more seriously in the open competition ring. I love showing that we really do have super Iberian horses – professional horses and amateurs. I hope to bring that to everyone’s attention – you just can’t deny that these horses can do it.”
Bender’s love of horses has given her valuable experiences throughout the past 40 years in many disciplines, from Western and stunt riding to hunters/jumpers and finally dressage. She was a dressage judge for over 20 years and has ridden and studied dressage in England, Germany, and the Netherlands. In addition to training numerous horses to the highest competitive levels, she is a U.S. Dressage Federation Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist.
“I really enjoy teaching amateur riders, who are my main clientele,” noted Bender, who coaches her students through her business, Treasure Coast Dressage at Standing Oak Farm in Palm City, Florida.
Never missing a beat, Bender has an exciting new venture in the works with the launch of her own web-based educational video blog series. Through the videos, Bender aims to share high-quality educational content with amateur and professional riders alike. “I’m really looking forward to this project because I think it will create a positive educational opportunity for many people who want to learn. It is my hope that through the videos, I can provide many riders with an accessible, understandable, and valuable source of information.”
For all these reasons, it’s clear to see why Triple Crown was proud to choose Bender for its prestigious award. Bender herself is a loyal fan of the company’s products, praising its role in helping her create customized feed programs for each of her horses at Standing Oak Farm. “I’m proud to say that I’m very fond of Triple Crown products and use them on my own horses,” explained Bender. “I have a barn full of different breeds and needs, and the variety of nutritional options offered by Triple Crown gives me the ability to create a custom feed regimen for each of my horses.”
Triple Crown feeds are made with revolutionary formulas and premium ingredients to keep every horse in supreme condition. Based in Wayzata, Minnesota, Triple Crown is the official feed sponsor of the U.S. Dressage Team, the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team, and the Hermes U.S. Show Jumping Team. The company supports the White Fences Equestrian Center, Wellington Classic Dressage, and the Gold Coast Dressage Association in Wellington.
To learn more, visit the company’s official Facebook page or Instagram @TripleCrownFeed, call 1-800-451-9916, or visit www.TripleCrownFeed.com. Please direct specific inquiries about Triple Crown Florida to Craig Bernstein at 561-543-4526.