Canadian Contingent Finds Success at Dressage at Waterloo Spring Classic
Thursday, June 18, 2009
These Canadians not only enjoy the show for its geographical convenience, but also because of the efficiency of the show and the positive atmosphere it provides the exhibitors. “It is a very horse-friendly show,” said Jacklyn Courtney Brooks, coach to many of the Canadian competitors who competed. “I would feel very comfortable taking a young horse or a green rider there for their first show.”
Marilyn Fahringer-Being “Part of the Solution”
Fahringer is no stranger to helping at horse shows; her volunteering experience started nearly 15 years ago when she started bringing her daughter, Holly, to dressage shows in the States. With a lack of technology and a shortage of volunteers, Fahringer was frustrated with how long it took to get test scores. After coming home many times complaining about the lack of efficiency of the shows, Fahringer’s husband, John said, “Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.”
Fahringer and her daughter took these words to heart and made it a common practice to introduce themselves at the show office and offer their services whenever Holly was not riding. “Whatever needed to be done is what we did,” recalled Fahringer.
Although her daughter does not show anymore, Fahringer continues to be a supportive force at many shows across the United States, including Horse Shows by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan, Dressage at Devon, and the Challenge of the Americas in Wellington. She also received the Volunteer of the Year Award from Detroit Dressage in 2004. Even if she is not slotted to work at a show, Fahringer’s helpful spirit can not be kept at bay. Fahringer said, “Whenever I go to a show, I go to the show office and let them know that I am available.”
Fahringer especially enjoys working at the Waterloo shows and credits their success to the show manager, Kevin Bradbury, and the grounds people at Waterloo Hunt Club. “Kevin absolutely bends over backwards to make the shows exhibitor-friendly,” she said.
It is safe to say that when Fahringer’s husband offered his advice almost 15 years ago, he did not expect his wife to take it quite so passionately. “I enjoy helping people,” she said. I’ve gotten to meet some interesting people and see interesting horses. I really enjoy doing it.” Fahringer’s hard work was certainly noticed at the Waterloo Spring Classic, and the dressage community is lucky to have someone this dedicated to being part of the solution.
Jacklyn Courtney Brooks- Taking the Positive Approach
Brooks has been a full-time freelance dressage trainer for 14 years and does full training, private lessons, and clinics all over Ontario. The Paris, Ontario native has a very positive training style, and believes that training with kindness garners the best results. Brooks says her goal as a trainer is to “influence people to be empathetic towards their horse. If you have a sense of empathy as a rider your horse will perform all the better for you.”
When asked what contributed to the success of so many of her students at the Waterloo show, Brooks credits the supportive and encouraging atmosphere that the Canadian group created. “Positivity breeds positivity,” Brooks said. “It takes a lot of individual willpower and focus to do this sport, but it’s also about the support of the people around you.”
Although she remains reserved when talking about her contribution to her students’ success, it seems as though Brooks’ positive attitude in general and positive teaching method specifically proved to be a winning strategy in Waterloo.
First Time’s a Charm for Andrea Bingham and Voldemort
Throughout Voldemort’s training, Bingham has followed the Young Horse Development test schedule and has never pushed him in his training. “Anything I ask him to do, he tries his best,” she said fondly of her 17.1 hand gelding. Jacklyn Courtney Brooks, who has been Bingham’s coach throughout her time with Voldemort, said of the pair, “Andrea is very in tune with her horse. The welfare of her horse is always a priority and he has a lot of confidence in her.”
As for the future, Bingham would like to eventually compete with Voldemort at Grand Prix and is setting her sights on qualifying for the Canadian Pam American Dressage team. Whatever the future may bring for this pair, it is clear that theirs is a thriving partnership.