News Notes for February 10, 2011 - This week’s News Notes is brought to you by Back on Track, working to improve the quality of life for humans and animals. It’ll be a busy show weekend in both California and Florida. And the upcoming big event – the Exquis World Dressage Masters – makes news in the local Florida press. This week’s news has an uplifting story out of Scotland about a disabled dressage rider. From Australia comes a very touching obituary of Judy Mackay written by her son Andrew Mackay that is definitely worth reading. And in Washington state, a horse rescued from neglect is now helping soldiers recover from battlefield stress.
California and Florida each have multiple shows this weekend. In Florida, Wellington Classic Dressage will have its Spring Challenge CDI-W being held at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Loxahatchee. And also in Florida, the aptly-named for Valentine’s Weekend Sweetheart Cup will be held in Apopka. Baker, Florida will host the Dixie Gulf Open Dressage and Sport Horse Show. And in Thermal, California there will be the Dressage Getaway this weekend. Yarra Yarra Dressage February I will be held in Pleasanton, California. And Louisiana will play host this weekend to The First Dance in Folsom.
International Polo Club Palm Beach and founder John Goodman got a plug in the Palm Beach Post this past week for stepping in to help save this year’s World Dressage Master’s competition in Florida by serving as sponsor. Also credited for helping keep the event in Florida was Wellington Classic Dressage for serving as Master’s manager. The U.S. leg of the Exquis World Dressage Masters will be held March 9-11 at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Loxahatchee, Florida. According to the Post article, last year it cost about $200,000 to run the three-day show. It isn’t yet known what this year’s tab will be but hosting it at the Jim Brandon will mean that certain upgrades will need to be made, including improved footing and additional seating. According to the article, there is only seating for 800 people and it’s likely that with limited seating, tickets may be a bit too expensive to attract the general public. Read more Here!
From Scotland comes an uplifting article about dressage rider Emma Douglas who credits the sport with keeping her going despite a crippling injury suffered five years ago when she fell from a horse. The 25-year-old rider is paralyzed from the waist down but not only rides her Irish Thoroughbred Murphy in dressage, but has also mastered jumping with him. Says Emma of her partner, “Murphy is a truly amazing horse. After the accident, from the moment my dad first lifted me onto him, straight away Murphy realized something was up. It was as though he sensed I had no balance, and that I couldn't grip with my legs. But between us we managed to come to an understanding about what I needed him to do." Emma has been riding since she was four and she is now working to encourage more disabled people to take up the sport. Read more Here!
Out of Australia this week comes a fabulous obituary on the great horsewoman Judy Mackay, who passed away last month at the age of 84. The obituary was written by her son Andrew Mackay and it chronicles her life with horses as she grew up in the Australian countryside. Judy’s life really was spent on horseback. Her son recalled that she rode her pony six miles to school and back when she was only six years old. She grew up in a family that was into both racehorses and cattle and she started her equestrian career as a racehorse trainer. Eventually, Judy moved on to dressage and became one of Australia’s most successful dressage trainers and competitors who represented her country in numerous international competitions, including the Olympics. Andrew’s obituary of his mother tells some wonderful stories of some of Judy’s well-known dressage horses. She was truly one of Australia’s dressage pioneers. She even spent time training at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. You can read this touching obituary Here!
And finally, out of Washington state, comes the great story of Cisca, an 18-year-old mare rescued last year from a farm that is involved in an animal cruelty case. Cisca has been under government care since September 2009 when she was seized. She is now off to a new life at Rainier Therapeutic Riding where she will join a group of horses that are part of a program to help soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord recover from battlefield stress and head injuries. She also has a new name – Liberty. "She has got the most perfect disposition and loving eye," said Debbi Fisher said, who runs the program. "I think the soldiers and her are going to help each other a lot." You can read more about her Here!