Loxahatchee, Florida – When Ingred Lin started her series of dressage shows in the early 1990s she had one goal in mind – create a non-intimidating environment for riders. Well, more than a decade later, no one can say she didn’t meet that goal.
Lin, herself a rider and trainer, particularly of Lusitano horses, has managed to make the Welcome Back to White Fences dressage show series one of the best-loved of the southern Florida circuit. At one point, her shows were so popular that she had to spread onto neighboring properties to accommodate all the entries.
"We had so many horses and with me being just one person, it became too much. We’d have several hundred horses. It just kept getting bigger and bigger," Lin said. That’s no surprise considering that a big part of her strategy in making the shows fun was to create a "picnic-like environment." As a result, Lin began providing free food and drink, first for competitors and then later for spectators.
"It became an all-day food fest," Lin said. "Whole families come with the kids. It’s really rather sweet. But, it was expensive and the first few years I had no sponsorship. But I’m happy to say, we’re starting to get sponsors now, like the homeowners are helping out. Butch Widen, Tom Lavell and Teri Flaim and Marilyn Rassweiler were instrumental in getting things going. And this could never have been done without donated time from Bridget Rogers as show secretary. It could never, never have happened without her."
At one point, overwhelmed by the work involved, Lin stopped the show series, but it was so popular, she soon started it again, but tried to keep it small by limiting class sizes to eight. That limit is now gone and the shows are growing in size gain. But, now that she’s got a bit of help from others, Lin doesn’t seem to mind.
"I’m thrilled that people like to be here that much. To me what brings the most joy is that I will see a trainer come in with a whole barn and there will be a person riding her first test and the whole barn will cheer her on. And that is so good," Lin said.