Olympic Dressage Rider Charlotte Bredhal-Baker Announces Dressage Retreats

Charlotte with her Hanoverian gelding Westpoint, by Windfall
Charlotte with her Hanoverian gelding Westpoint, by Windfall

Check out Charlotte's updated Who's Who! As an international judge, Olympic competitor, sought-after clinician and trainer, Charlotte Bredahl-Baker knows what it takes to achieve success in the dressage arena, and she’s dedicated to helping riders move up the levels and develop and refine their own skills. It was her students, in fact, who inspired her latest venture: Dressage Retreats (www.dressageretreats.com). While giving a popular series of U.S. Dressage Federation clinics sponsored by Platinum Performance, she was impressed by the 50-100 auditors who gathered for each session, no matter what the conditions. “They were so dedicated,” Charlotte recalls “They’d sit there for eight hours a day, taking notes and listening to every word — sometimes in freezing temperatures. I realized there was a need for something where people can learn just as much, but in a much more intimate and comfortable setting.”

Charlotte will lead the retreats — designed for groups of up to 12—out of Circle JB Polo Ranch, the 50-acre horse property she owns with her husband, Joel Baker, in Southern California’s idyllic Santa Ynez Valley, some 90 minutes north of Los Angeles and just a stone’s throw from the beautiful coastal town of Santa Barbara. Charlotte has planned an active—and interactive two-and-a-half-day schedule for participants, who can stay at the Marriott Hotel across the street from the ranch. In the morning, they’ll watch Charlotte and her horses demonstrate training methods and exercises, with plenty of time for questions. In the afternoon, there’ll be lively discussions about everything from training issues to test riding skills and visualization at Platinum Performance’s state-of-the-art conference center nearby, where Charlotte will also review videotapes of participants and their horses, giving them a chance to get invaluable feedback from the perspective of a top judge. “It’ll be very concentrated work and much more interactive than a typical clinic,” she explains. “We’ll get a lot done in a very short time, but I also want these sessions to be fun and very social. After all, Santa Ynez is major wine country and major horse country.” She envisions group meals at area restaurants and side trips to local wineries and Monty Roberts’ Flag Is Up Farm. She is also happy to customize retreats for groups of 10 or more.

Charlotte says she’s looking forward to a new endeavor that will keep her close to home, her husband and her horses. “I’ll continue to pursue my judging, but I am excited to be back in the saddle and showing.” She’s especially excited about two up-and-coming horses that she has in training: Dreammaster, an 8-year-old Hanoverian stallion (DiMaggio-Dreamcatcher) bred and owned by Dreamcatcher Meadows in British Columbia. He was FEI high-point champion at two recent shows, with no less than 73% and 76% from two different judges at Prix St. Georges. “He’s doing really well,” says Charlotte. “I have high hopes for his future.” She’s also begun competing Chanel, a 6-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Romanov-Penelope Solyst) that she bought last fall, and has just started at Second Level. “She’s still rather green, but super sensitive, sensible and beautiful. At the past three shows, she already has five scores in the 70s.”

Dressage Retreats will enable Charlotte to continue to do what she loves best, while still being able to travel for her judging commitments. “For a lot of reasons I’m really, really excited about it,” she says. “I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life and loving it.”