Wayne, Illinois – It was worth the trip for Amy Bock and Parcival, who traveled all the way from Texas to win the FEI Prix St. Georges class on the opening day of Dressage at Lamplight.
Bock, of Argyle, Texas, was part of a group of four that traveled to Lamplight Equestrian Center from the Dallas area for the three-day show that includes the Markel/USEF Young Horse selection trials for the Midwestern U.S. Bock is using the weekend to compete in the FEI Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I competition. Her three fellow Texans are Anna Burtell, Lyndon Rife and Julie Madriguera. Burtell, a trainer from Montgomery, is competing in the FEI Five-Year-Old Test with the Dutch gelding Valentino. Rife, a dressage trainer from Aubrey, Texas, is competing in the USEF levels with the 10-year-old Hannoverian gelding Willkommen that he co-owns with Madriguera, a dressage trainer who is acting as support staff and groom on this trip.
“I’m doing the braiding, grooming, whatever,” Madriguera said. “We’re just having a lot of fun. It’s nice just to get away and have just one horse for everyone to care for and not have so many students along that everyone is hectic and feeding off each other’s tension. It’s been lots of fun so far and it’s only the first day.”
Madriguera and Rife made the 19-hour drive from Texas with the horses while Bock and Burtell flew up from Texas. Madriguera and Rife, who are based at Shannon and Pegge Kinslow’s Southern Comfort Farm, made one stop along the way in Missouri. “We first went to one place where we made a reservation, but it wasn’t suitable, so we had to get back into the truck and keep driving. But we found another super place that wasn’t far off,” Madriguera said.
From a $600 Quarter Horse to a World Class Warmblood Stallion
Bock, who grew up in Michigan and Colorado, got her first horse when she was 12. When she was seven, her father told her that if she still wanted a horse when she was 12, she could have one. She waited patiently for five years. “I turned 12 and reminded my dad of his promise. I started looking in the newspapers and I found a Quarter Horse for $600 with tack. It’s hard to imagine that price today. That was my first horse. I lived on that horse.”
She competed in numerous Western competitions and got her first taste of dressage when she saw a woman giving dressage lessons. By then, Bock was highly competitive and noticed that this woman’s students did better in competition. Hence, Bock approached her asking for help with her equitation. What she got were lessons in things she’d never heard of before, such as roundness and “being on the bit.” From there, she eventually moved on to be a working student with a dressage trainer based in Boulder, Colorado named Sue Curry. Along the way she became a USDF First Level Junior/Young Rider champion. She found her way to Texas when she went there for college and, of course, took her horse with her so she could continue to ride and compete.
Bock has never taken a break from her riding, despite the fact that she has a busy career as an attorney. Her riding, however, is so important to her that she convinced her employer to take her off the partnership track and give her time to campaign her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Lancelot. Parcival was found in Barcelona, Spain by Rife and initially Bock rejected him because he was a stallion, but she changed her mind when she met him. She’s was won over by his good manners and obedience.
“He had been with the same trainer for many years and was supposedly a Prix St. Georges champion in Spain, but I haven’t verified that,” Bock said.
Riding her way to a spot on a U.S. team has become a goal of Bock’s and to that end, she devotes endless hours. “All my vacation time is spent at horse shows. It’s rare that I go somewhere that doesn’t involve hauling my horse along,” she said. She has even put her 12-acre farm north of Dallas on the market so that she’s free to travel if that’s what it takes to make it to the top. Where she’ll end up, is unknown to her. “My future is kind of wide open,” Bock said. “I don’t know where my riding will take me. At the same time, Lyndon has been a good trainer and has stood by me for 12 years, so I might even just stay where I am.”
Lamplight Equestrian Center Inspires Design Ideas for The Texas Horse Park
Bock has much to keep her in Texas, including her role as leader of the effort to create a Texas Horse Park that would be part of the city of Dallas’s Trinity River Project, located on about 800 acres of forest land. If all goes as planned, the Texas Horse Park will open its doors in the fall of 2009 and it’ll have everything one can imagine – covered rings, stables, grooms quarters, camper hook-ups and enough rings to suit the needs of every sort of equestrian discipline. To ensure that all are accommodated, Bock has been meeting with equestrian groups representing the various disciplines and breeds.
But it’s not just the horse community to whom she’s reaching out in the quest to create a super horse park. “Our goal is to make this a park that attracts everyone and especially families. We want people to come here on a Sunday afternoon and bring the family and enjoy the equestrian park,” Bock said.
Coming to Lamplight gave Bock not only the chance to compete, but also the chance to check out the Lamplight Equestrian Center and get design ideas. She and the rest of the Texas contingent agree that Lamplight is an excellent model of what an equestrian park can be.
“Lyndon used to live in this area and was familiar with the facility at Lamplight and he said it was really nice here, and it is. We really like the atmosphere. It’s much like what we want to see created at the Texas Horse Park,” Madriguera said. “Our facilities in Texas were mostly built for Western horses. A lot of them are really small and closed in. Lamplight has a different feeling and we like it.”