Dressage News Notes for April 15, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010
Posted by Lynndee

It's going to be another busy dressage weekend all across America, and we have the shows and links for you to follow. Mules can do Dressage too. Are you in the market for a horse park? Capt. Mark Phillips speaks his mind about the 2012 London Olympics. Did you know you can get arrested for riding drunk?

It's going to be a busy dressage weekend all across America. Texas Dressage Classic I will be going on in Tyler, Texas (www.dressageshowinfo.com); the Williams Wood Spring Dressage is in Fulton, Missouri (573-230-2486); Blue Angel Dressage is in Pensacola, Florida (www.dsdcta.org); Denville-Kanani Dressage is taking place in Danville, California (www.denville-kanani.com); the Spring Fling is in Aiken, South Carolina (www.centralcarolinadressage.com); Spring Dressage will be happening in Moorpark, California (www.dressagetimes.com); the Gold Coast Dressage Finale will be in Loxahatchee, Florida (www.gcdafl.org); the Poplar Place Farm April Dressage is in Hamilton, Georgia (www.poplarplacefarm.com); TDC Spring Fling is in Tucson, Arizona (520-940-3333); and Meadow Lake Spring Classic I will be in Lancaster, Kentucky (www.meadowlakeec.com).   

Mule fans will tell you that mules can do anything a horse can do – only better. And now, you can even find them in the dressage ring. The Bend, Oregon newspaper ran a feature this past week on hunter-jumper trainer Audrey Goldsmith who ventures into the dressage ring not with a Warmblood, but with a mule. Audrey admits that she gets much more attention from the judges than the average competitor.

“I trot down the center line, and, I mean, I’m not even at X halting, and they have these huge grins on their faces,” Audrey said of the judges. Her partner in the dressage ring is the six-year-old Porter, otherwise known as Heart B Porter Creek. Their next competition will be this weekend at the Central Oregon Dressage Classic being held at Brasada Ranch. Porter's mother is a Thoroughbred and his father is a donkey stallion and he sure is a good-looking boy. He looks much like a dark, glistening Thoroughbred, but his ears give away his father's lineage.

Audrey has become a true mule fan since she attended the Bishop Mule Days Celebration in Bishop, California in 2001. She now owns three of them. She bought Porter when he was three weeks old and took him home as a weanling. Although all her mules are trained in multiple equestrian disciplines, she chose dressage for Porter because it has helped improve his flexibility and strength. And now, she's hooked. You can read more about Audrey and Porter in the Bend Bulletin at www.bendbulletin.com.

If you'd like to buy a horse park, New Mexico has one for sale. The Santa Fe Horse Park has been on the sale block and the bank that took it over, Los Alamos National Bank, would like to see it sold. The 80-acre park hosts dressage, polo, show jumping and Western events and because of a legal complaint filed by former owner Charles R. Kokesh, the bank has had to keep the park open and manage it. The complaint centers around water rights, always a big issue in the dry southwest. The bank claims it acquired rights to water from the Hagerman Well when it gained control of the property, but the former owner argues that the water rights don't belong to the park but rather to him. If he wins the case, he'll be able to sell the water rights for a profit. And if the bank loses this case, it'll be holding a horse park with very limited resale value – no water, no value. You can read more about it in the Santa Fe New Mexican at www.santafenewmexican.com.

U.S. Eventing Coach Capt. Mark Phillips has weighed in on the debate regarding the venue for the equestrian portion of the 2012 London Olympics. The plan is to hold the equestrian competitions in Greenwich Park, which hasn't sat well with many who fear it will damage the park. The British press reports that Capt. Phillips criticized that plan saying it will cause "sleepless nights" for organizers. Part of his concern also relates to the growing cost of preparing the site for equestrian events.

“Even an enthusiast like me is a little perturbed that the original £6 million budget for the equestrian games has reportedly soared to over £40 million” he wrote. “Much has been made of the horse sports finally being able to be center stage at the Olympic Games but at what price? Isn't cost one of the things that we are continually being berated about? I hope the lack of physical legacy doesn't come back to haunt the equestrian world in future.” Captain Phillips warned organizers of the problems of importing thousands of tons of soil to level out the show jumping arena and claimed local roads would be unable to bear the weight of some delivery lorries. You can read more in the London Evening Standard at www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard.

And, to end on a humorous note, a Tennessee rider was jailed this past week for doing a bit of drunk riding. The 32-year-old man rode his horse into a restricted area that had been closed to all but pedestrians during the Mule Day festivities in Columbia, Tennessee. He rode into a crowd of people and began asking for beer. Seems he had a bit of beer before he arrived.