George Williams and Rocher

George Williams has made some major changes in his life after many years as the resident trainer and rider for The Tempel Lippizans in Wadsworth, Illinois. Two years ago he moved his family to Joann and Chuck Smith's, Gypsy Woods Farm in Richwood, Ohio, breeders of sport horses. For his family, the Smith's and American dressage it was a change for the better.

Competing for the first time ever in Europe at the Oldenburger Pferdetagen, Oldenburg, Germany, November 9-11 2001, American George Williams and the Westphalen mare, Rocher in only their 5th Grand Prix, and third Grand Prix Special together, finished second and fourth respectively in a field of top international horses and riders.

Rocher is a 10-year-old Westphalen mare by Rolls Royce (Rheingold-Romadour II) out of a Fraenzi (Westphalen - Fruehlingsstern-Fruehlingstr.II), who was owned by a German Young Rider. Through Guenter Seidel, Williams connected with Balkenhol and the mare was imported to the US in February, purchased by Gypsy Woods Farm.

In their first show together they won the Grand Prix Special at the Lamplight USET selection and at the Tempel Farms USET Selection show they swept the Grand Prix division. This earned them the right to go the USET Festival of Champions in June where they were 5th overall.

The recipient of a USET Grant they joined Debbie McDonald in Germany to train with USET Dressage coach Klaus Balkenhol, former German Team coach and Olympic Gold Medalist.

Perry and Peggy Thomas' mare, Brentina and Rocher are now currently stable mates. "It has been a wonderful learning experience to watch Klaus work with both mares and great fun to get to know Debbie McDonald and her crew." said George's wife Roberta who is able to join him and share the experience. "There is a wonderful spirit of camaraderie and a unity of team spirit with the Americans. Klaus is very proud of his students and was positively beaming at Oldenburg."

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