A Salute to the United States Dressage Federation and USEF - Reflections from the Adequan/USDF National Dressage Symposium

 

Charlotte Bredahl Baker and Chanel a 6-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Horse Romanow x Gribaldi) Photo: Kathryn Burke
Charlotte Bredahl Baker and Chanel a 6-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Horse Romanow x Gribaldi) Photo: Kathryn Burke

I have never been more proud to be part of the US Dressage world. The Adequan/USDF National Symposium supported by Trilogy was a resounding success on so many levels. I was lucky enough to be selected as reserve rider with two horses. I got there on Wednesday and already by Thursday many of the riders and horses arrived. I was amazed by the quality of both. So much fun to be able to watch them all. The top 4, 5 and 6 year olds in the country, many of the top up and coming GP horses as well as the 2012 Olympic contenders including our star Ravel and Gold medal winning Pan AM horse Weltino's Magic, both ridden by Steffen Peters. On Friday all four national coaches worked with every horse/rider combination to see where they would fit in. Jeremy Steinberg worked with the young riders, Scott Hassler with the young horses, Debbie McDonald with the developing horses and Anne Gribbons with the GP horses.{C}

Saturday morning started with Youth coach Jeremy Steinberg doing a lunging demo and then teaching several young riders for about 30 minutes each. I have never watched Jeremy teach, but was very impressed with his knowledge and his enthusiasm. Never at a loss for words.
 

Charlotte and Chanel (Photo: Kathryn Burke)
Charlotte and Chanel (Photo: Kathryn Burke)

I have known Young Horse coach Scott Hassler for many years and as always I was impressed with his very positive style of teaching. Always complementing the riders and the horses, yet still pushing them to be better. He is a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to the young horses. All the young horses where wonderful and well ridden. At lunch time the riders and their grooms as well as horse owners where treated to a delicious lunch up in the arena room overlooking the arena. It was so nice to be able to watch from there, since it was warm and very comfortable.

After lunch Developing coach Debbie McDonald worked with the up and coming FEI horses and also did a superb job. I have known Debbie for many years. In 1997 I was on a team with her at the North American Championship. She has trained some great horses including her Olympic horse Brentina. Her star student Adrienne Lyle on Wizard rode in the symposium and they have their sights set on London 2012. 
 

Charlotte and Chanel (Photo: Kathryn Burke)
Charlotte and Chanel (Photo: Kathryn Burke)

As our Team coach, Anne Gribbons had the last group of team contenders, including Jan Ebeling, Mette Rosencrantz and Kathleen Raine.  I have been friends with Anne for 20 years. We became friends when we where competing in Europe together in the early 1990'ies. I have always respected her as an incredible horse women, who has trained many horses successfully to Grand Prix and at this point she is also a highly respected Olympic judge. I love her spicy sense of humor and she didn't disappoint in the symposium. I think people who didn't know her were surprised of her amazing and quick wit.

The audience never had a chance to lose interest for a moment. They got to see one top rider and horse after the other as well as four clinicians who all had their own style and exercises, yet all treated the horses and riders with respect. 
 

Charlotte riding Dreammaster, bred by Dreamcatcher Meadows (Photo: Jill Giese)
Charlotte riding Dreammaster, bred by Dreamcatcher Meadows (Photo: Jill Giese)

One of the things I was most impressed with through the entire weekend was the positive tone and the obvious respect the four clinicians showed towards each other. They worked very well together and never missed an opportunity to compliment each other and the riders. Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday's format, but with new horses and some new riders. Steffen introduced a new 7 year old, that showed amazing talents and at lunch he performed his freestyle on Ravel much to the delight of the auditors.

During the 6 year old session I had a chance to bring my mare Chanel into the stadium along with Jan Ebeling and Adrienne Lyle on their young horses. While we were riding all four coaches were watching and just making general comments. I felt it was an amazing opportunity to get my young horse in a major arena with loudspeakers etc.

Katherine Robertson deserves a medal for her efforts organizing the Symposium. I have worked a lot with Kathie before when I was teaching the USDF adult clinic series and she is truly amazing. Every little detail is taken care of and she makes herself available day and night.  The person in charge of stabling, Lisa Vidov, was also great and took care of the demo horses every need. 
 

Charlotte and Dreammaster with USA Team Coach Anne Gribbons (Photo: Jill Giese)
Charlotte and Dreammaster with USA Team Coach Anne Gribbons (Photo: Jill Giese)

After the Symposium Anne and her husband came and stayed with us for a few days. I had the privilege to work with her on my 6 year old mare Chanel and Dreammaster, an 8 year old stallion owned by Dreamcatcher Meadows in British Columbia.  Anne is a great teacher and gave me lots of good homework to keep me going for a while.

Having watched the Symposium I have new hope for the future of US dressage.  I think we have many good trainers to choose from right here in the US. The Symposium also showed a great partnership between USDF and USEF and the clinicians showed how we should all work together for the love of our sport. Congratulations!!
 

 




GET THE LATEST NEWS DELIVERED TO YOUR MAILBOX