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Hundreds of young dressage riders are gathering this weekend in Saugerties, New York for Lendon Gray’s annual Youth Dressage Festival. And the FEI dressage committee advises competitors to wear helmets, not only in the warm-up rings at shows but when training at home. The press reports this week on Rio, a horse that helped give his rider the will to live. Several dressage riders make the news in their local press this past week for their recent big successes. And, international dressage trainer Ferdi Eilberg is injured when a horse kicks him, adding him to the list of dressage world injuries.
The big event in the dressage world this weekend is Lendon Gray’s annual Youth Dressage Festival. The event runs Friday through Sunday at the HITS show grounds in Saugerties, New York and attracts young riders from around the world. You can read more about it at www.youthdressagefestival.com. Fans of the Arabian will be gathering at Sauk Centre, Minnesota this weekend for the Great Arabian Get Together (www.mhaha.org). And, dressage comes to music central this weekend when the Blues City Dressage (www.deltadressage.com) takes place in Memphis, Tennessee. This weekend’s Summer Sizzler dressage competition (www.canterburyshowplace.com) is aptly named considering that it will take place in Florida, but the truth is that this past week it was hotter in the northern part of the East Coast than in Florida. The coolest place to be this weekend might be at the Isaac Royal Dressage show (www.isaacroyalfarm.com) because it takes place in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. And out West, look for the Rocky Mountain Dressage competition in Longmont, Colorado (www.twowhitefeet.com). For a complete list of this weekend’s competitions, visit the calendar section of www.usef.org.
The FEI’s dressage committee has come out “strongly recommending” that riders were protective headgear when schooling horses both at home and in the warm-up ring at competitions. The recommendation reflects the impact that Courtney King-Dye’s accident this past winter has had on the dressage world. It seems unlikely that the FEI will require protective headgear in competition, but its recommendation also came with a comment to riders that they are free to wear helmets when competing, even at the Grand Prix level, and doing so won’t count against them in the scoring.
The News Press in Colorado ran a touching story this past week about a horse that has given his rider the will to live. After being diagnosed with cancer a second time, rider Lisa Ross wasn’t sure she could battle the disease again. After being told the news, she spent the night crying in her barn and sitting with Rio. His gentle nudging seemed to tell her to fight on and so she did. That was over two years ago and Lisa has been cancer-free for two years. She says her connection to Rio is unlike any she’s ever had with an animal. She wrote about their friendship for the Bayer Animal Health’s “Enjoy the Ride” essay contest and took the $5,000 prize for first place. You can read more about Lisa and Rio at http://www.coloradocommunitynewspapers.com/articles/2010/07/08/news_press/news/08_ad_lisaross_dc.txt.
A young rider from Vermont made the local press this week when the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper wrote about her qualifying for the prestigious Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show that will be held in Oklahoma City in October. Alexandra Glover, 17, is also the recipient of Vermont’s Youth of the Year. She won that title at the Vermont Spring Classic in May after passing a written test, a riding test and giving a five-minute speech on a topic chosen by the panel of judges.
Alexandra’s discipline of choice is dressage and in the spring Morgan competition, she took the first-place win in dressage. Alexandra bought her first Morgan horse six years ago and they have become her horse of choice. She will join about 5,000 other Morgan fans when she travels to Oklahoma in the fall. The National and World Championships awards more than $300,000 of prize money. Her mother, Julie, says the young rider has paid nearly all the costs of her riding and competing through hard work, which includes her job at a Hannaford supermarket. When not working or busy with her local 4-H Club, Alexandra is with her horse, Holly, which she keeps on the family farm – Bensch Mountain Farm. She trains with Laura Hamler of Hobby Horse Hill Equestrian Center in Fredricktown, Ohio and makes the long trip for training sessions two or three times a year. You can read more about Alexandra at http://www.reformer.com/ci_15453500?source=most_viewed.
Horse and Hound reported this past week on another horse-related injury. Dressage trainer Ferdi Eilberg was kicked in the head by a horse and knocked unconscious. He is the father of dressage riders Maria and Michael. The incident happened on the family farm in Redditch, Worcestershire. Ferdi needed stitches but otherwise appears to be fine. You can read the whole story at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=299788.
Kansas University student and dressage rider Emily Wagner made the press in Lawrence, Kansas when the Lawrence Journal World and News wrote about her success in qualifying to compete at the FEI 2010 World Breeding Championships in Germany with her horse Wake Up. The stallion was the only five-year-old horse in the U.S. to score above the 8.2 needed to qualify. Emily and Wake Up have been partnered for two years. After the August world championships, both rider and horse will return to Kansas. Emily is pursuing a degree in biology with hopes of going on to medical school. You can read more about her at http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/jul/05/stable-partners-ku-student-taking-horse-worldwide-/.
Para Dressage rider Jennifer Baker made the news in Ohio after she qualified to compete in this fall’s Para-Dressage competition at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games. Baker, 46, has been a life-long rider and competitor. In 2001, she was hurt in a motorcycle accident and badly injured her legs. She’s overcome the first hurdle to the WEG – qualifying – and now Baker is working on the next hurdle – raising the money to cover the costs of competing. You can read more about her at http://communitypress.cincinnati.com/article/20100701/NEWS/7010313/1001/news/Baker-makes-para-equestrian-team.