- International Dressage Rider/Trainer
Deborah and Oliver Cantrell of Saddlewood Farms, Inc., Brentwood, Tennessee sponsored Oded Shimoni in an effort to help his quest to become the first Israeli rider to compete in dressage at the Olympics. The Cantrells began their ten-year sponsorship with Oded in 1995 and watched their horse Glenstern, and others, steadily improve under Oded’s guidance.
The Cantrell/Shimoni partnership shared a common goal of getting the first Israeli into the Olympics. “It’s been a wonderful journey,” said Deborah Cantrell who was finishing her PhD on “The Horsemen of Israel” during the time of her sponsorship of Shimoni. “There are many references in the bible and hundreds of ‘horse issues’ scattered in ancient Hebrew texts. In Biblical times, during the Israelite monarchy, Israel became the foremost nation in the world in horsemanship, charioteers and mounted combat. We want to see Israel take its place in Olympic history.”
Glenstern and Oded were one of the top duos in the intensely competitive Winter Equestrian Festival for the 2002-2003 season. In the 2003 Florida Dressage Classic, Glenstern awed the crowds, when he performed the test of his life, coming in second with a score of 71.597%. He then went on to win the Grand Prix Special with 69.933%. “That ride took my breath away,” said Robert Dover, a five time US Olympian, who has watched Oded over the years develop into what he describes as a serious “international competitor.”