This is the weekend when America’s top para-dressage riders learn who will be chosen to represent the U.S. at this fall’s WEG Para-Dressage competition. Dressage judge Marcia Bryant makes the local press for her work in battling pesky gnats. Kentucky legislators get on update on the state of WEG preparations. A wayward miniature horse stops traffic on a California freeway. Dressage rider Maria Eilberg joins the list of injured riders. And from New Zealand the story of a failed racehorse that has become a steeplechase champion.
This weekend’s big dressage competition is the USEF Selection Trials and National Championships for the Para-Dressage (www.dressageshowinfo.com). The action takes place at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois and it will be the event that decides who will represent the U.S. in the upcoming Para-Dressage competition at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games being held in Kentucky this fall. In conjunction with it will be the IDCTA Summer Dressage competition (www.idcta.org). It will be one of dozens of dressage competitions being held this weekend. Ohio will be the site of the popular Cincinnati Dressage Tradition Breed and Performance show being held in Wilmington (www.cincinnatidressagetradition.com). In the upper Northeast, the University of New Hampshire’s equestrian program will host a dressage competition at the university’s main campus in Durham (www.equine.unh.edu). In the Mid-Atlantic region the PVDA Ride for Life will be taking place in Upper Marlboro, Maryland (www.pvda.org). And out West in Utah, the Utah Dressage Society will be playing host to dressage competition in Jordan, Utah (www.utahdressagesociety.org).
Dressage judge Marcia Bryant made the news in her home town of Southern Pines, North Carolina. But it wasn’t her judging career that got her attention in the local Southern Pines Pilot. It was for her work making horses more comfortable – by eradicating pesky gnats that swarm horses’ ears and eyes. Marcia is chair of the local Black Fly Control Fund, a program working to eliminate black flies, also known as the buffalo gnat. The local newspaper did a short interview in which Marcia spoke about her riding career, the problems the gnat creates for horses and the program she chairs.
Members of Kentucky’s state legislature got an update this past week on preparations for the upcoming WEG. Legislators were educated on the potential benefits Kentucky will receive by hosting the WEG and received an overview of the equestrian disciplines that will be involved. This will be the first time the WEG has been held in the U.S. and Kentucky is going all out to make it a success. Part of the sell made to state legislators was the potential money that Kentucky will earn from the tens of thousands of tourists who will attend the WEG. The report to legislators also noted that more than 2,000 volunteers are now in place to help keep the show running smoothly. Aside from the competition, the WEG will also feature a trade show, a Kentucky produce showcase called “Kentucky Experience” and the popular “Equine Village”, which will showcase a variety of horse breeds and sport. It is expected that the WEG will contribute $167 million to state’s economy.
And talk about early planning for a WEG, it was reported that a team from Normandy, France has already been to Kentucky to meet with organizers of this year’s WEG and get some hints. Normandy will host the 2014 WEG. The CEO for the Normandy organizing committee is Fabien Grobon, former sponsorship director for the French Tennis Federation.
And here’s the fun story for the week. A miniature horse went for a romp on a busy highway in the eastern fringe of the Los Angeles region. The Riverside County Press-Enterprise reported that police received reports on the horse and went to investigate. They found him running up and down the freeway with a young boy chasing after. The brown and white horse was eventually caught. Fortunately, the mini easily fit into the in the Animal Control’s van normally used to collect wayward dogs.
Check out the photos.
Guenter Seidel isn’t the only high performance dressage rider to be taken out of the riding game due to injury. Horse and Hounds reported on the fall of dressage rider Maria Eilberg that has kept her out of competition. One might assume the fall that broke her elbow would have come from a horse, but no. Alas, Maria’s injury came from a bicycle. It happened right before she was to compete in the CDI Grand Prix at Lingen, Germany. She was riding the bicycle back to her hotel and decided to race her father. She is expected to make a quick recovery.
Read the whole story.
Out of New Zealand comes a sweet horse story about Logan James, a rising young star in the steeplechase world. Owners Graham Falconer and his daughter Bridgette had once tried to give the horse away when he showed no promise as a racehorse. “A girl was supposed to pick him up," said trainer Ross Elliot. “But she never arrived and Graham said to me the horse is sitting here, what are we going to do with him? Can we make him into a steeplechaser?" They did and the rest is history. The eight-year-old Logan James, named after Falconer’s grandson, is now setting steeplechase records.
Read more about Logan James’ transformation from racehorse outcast to steeplechase star.