George Williams Bids Farewell to Rocher and Gypsy Woods Farm

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

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Delaware, Ohio (April 6, 2009) With the recent announcement of Rocher’s retirement, which I fully endorse; I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chuck and Joann Smith for the privilege of riding and training such a wonderful horse. The thrill of competing a horse of her quality, talent and generous spirit is indescribable. The Smith’s backing and belief in the two of us was unsurpassed. My partnership with Rocher allowed me to pursue a dream of competing internationally and representing our country.

I want to thank the Smiths for also providing me with other special horses to train and compete, including Marnix, Donnerbube III and Vermeer. It is with great emotion that I leave these horses behind. The doors which Rocher opened for me and the experiences we had over the past nine years have been a spectacular adventure.

The support which I have had from the Gypsy Woods staff, the farriers and veterinarians, massage therapists, students, friends and family – the entire village it takes – is without equal and truly appreciated. These friendships and relationships are deeply treasured and will remain with me as part of the fabric of my life. The dedication in particular from a number of these individuals to the care and well being of Rocher has been outstanding. Additionally, I have been fortunate in having product sponsors who believed in me and in my partnership with Rocher. A special thanks to Klaus Balkenhol who was instrumental from the beginning and to my friend and coach, Kathy Connelly. Perhaps, the most humbling part has been the support of the fans and the adulation directed towards Rocher. Roberta, Noel and I want to thank all of you, as each of you has made this a rewarding journey.

On a more personal, note I want to thank my wife Roberta and daughter Noel for their unwavering support. They were always there for me in so many ways, as eyes on the ground, giving me the freedom to travel and with words of encouragement.  As a family, we are committed to continuing to give our energy and time to the sport of dressage. We will maintain our participation in our national organizations, both USEF and USDF.

My family and I are looking forward to the opportunities that the future holds as we weigh our options. These options include continuing to compete at the FEI levels on some of the promising young horses I have been offered.  With Rocher, I flew close to the sun. I hope to fly close to the sun once again.

George Williams