Suzanne Dansby-Phelps reflects on Her Experience as a USET Team Alternate to the 2006 World Equestrian Games

After a busy and successful winter, Suzanne Dansby Phelps is returning to her home in Atlanta this week, in spite of the fact both her Grand prix Horses, Cooper, and Goubergh's Kasper qualified for the upcoming Laegue Finals in California. "My plan is to train at home for the rest of the Spring until Raleigh, then travel up to New Jersey for the Grand Prix Championships in June." Dansby-Phelps shared with DressageDaily.

Much of her success was a result of fine tuning years of training and experience as an alternate for the 2006 World Equestrian Games. "Of course there are many things that go through your head, like I was so close, I wish I could have made it.' However, in the long run, I felt it a privilege working alongside our country's greatest riders, and also felt it my duty to forget myself at the time and to support them."

"Support in a situation like this not only means telling them they are doing well or the horses look good. You have to prepare yourself and make up your mind either to be a part of it, or allow it all to get to the best of you and alienate yourself. Life is too short. As the 'ole motto goes, 'There's a time and place for everything.'"

"In representing our country at a worldwide competition, our riders had a big responsibility ahead of them...taking care that their horses were in optimum condition, and making sure they too were mentally and physically prepared.

Emotions were intense, and a lot went on behind the scenes. Getting those horses and riders already chosen for the team to the WEG in a good light was far more important than worrying or gossiping about what happened here and there.
Photo: Suzanne and Cooper training in Germany with Klaus Balkenhol

The only regret is not remaining in Germany for the WEG, as I was terribly home sick for my family. Looking back on it, I wish I could have been there for our team. We all worked so hard to get to where we were going, and where some of the rest of us ultimately went!

But, as it turned out, I had to make an emergency run to New York and pick up Cooper in quarantine and Halo, my groom's (Thiana) dog, who spent the night with one of Tim Dutta's employees. Tim lives up to his motto of being a full-service company! Needless to say, Thiana and I were ever-so-grateful!

The drive from Newburgh back to Atlanta was 23 hours, so, instead of being home with my family or attending the WEG, I was driving across the country to get my horse home from a long journey. Thiana finally made it back to the States three weeks later after updating her passport. She went to the WEG and said it was a blast!"

Photo: Suzanne's groom Thaina Hamilton

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