Kathy Priest’s Assistant Trainer Olivia LaGoy-Weltz Gets a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity with Pikardi
Friday, March 25, 2011
When Olivia LaGoy-Weltz made the decision to move to Woodspring Farm, a training and sale barn in Wellington, Florida and Versailles Kentucky to become assistant trainer to Kathy Priest not even her five years in Europe of doing much of the same led her to the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to ride and compete Pikardi, the World Equestrian Games partner for Canadian Bonny Bonnello. While [#4849 override="Pikardi is for sale" title="Pikardi is for sale"] and in the care of Priest in Florida, the 27-year-old LaGoy-Weltz and Pikardi got on so well, they entered the Brentina Cup division, The Grand Prix Test for young dressage adults. Now entered in the International Horse Sport Palm Beach Champions Cup CDI*** this weekend the newly formed alliance are going for their third straight win. LaGoy-Weltz knows it could be over when the next person walks into the barn to try him, but that’s okay with her.
DressageDaily asked LaGoy-Weltz some questions about her experiences and how a girl from northern California ended up in the back yard of the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games Kentucky and on the Florida Circuit:
Q: What has it been like for you getting the opportunity to ride a horse as accomplished as Pikardi?
LaGoy-Weltz: Riding Pikardi is one of the most amazing opportunities that I could have ever asked for. It is the sort of thing that I would have never even dreamed of because it was so far outside of what I viewed as the realm of possibility. He is a once in a life time horse, bold, powerful, beautiful, he is unique. I remember the first time that I saw Bonny riding him at the WEG training camp. I remember thinking to my self, that horse could be on the German team, he took my breath away. He has so much presents and charisma. He is a challenge for me because he is the first horse that I have competed at this level but he is an amazing ride. I am very grateful to Bonny for entrusting Kathy and I with her horse.
LaGoy-Weltz: Well, it's sort of a catch 22 for me. I know that the reason that I am getting to ride Pikardi is because he is for sale. The opportunity is created by the sale...but ultimately it will end (with this horse) because of the sale. For me the qualifying process is what really counts. Going to the championships would be great, but that would be the icing on the cake. Of course it's hard sometimes. My stomach does a little flip flop every time someone comes to see him. But in the end I really want what's best for the horse and best for Bonny.
As a young professional this sort of situation is important to learn from and to understand. It is a huge opportunity and an honor, but ultimately owning your own assets is very important. For me, and other riders, our horses are our assists. They are what we use to build a reputation in the community and with clients. They are our pride and joy, and they are our partners and vehicles to success. In the end you do not want someone else to have this amount of control over your professional and personal life. Having a plan of self reliance to the best of one's abilities is really important. It makes a situation like this one much less emotionally charged, and makes it easier to keep a clear picture of what the end goal is.
Q: Given your international experience, how did you come about settling in with Kathy Priest and Woodspring Farm?
LaGoy-Weltz : I moved back home to California from Germany in 2007 to be with my dad and had been working as the head dressage trainer at a large facility in the greater San Francisco Bay Area for about two years when Egbert (Kraak) , Kathy's business partner in Holland, called me about going to work with Kathy. I had worked for Egbert for three years in Holland and we had kept in good, consistently sporadic contact over the years. He was really excited about the situation with Kathy and worked me over big time about needing to spend time on the East Coast circuit. He and Kathy needed a good rider and I knew there was a lot for me to gain as well. I flew to meet Kathy in Florida. And then when plans started to get serious I flew to her farm in Kentucky to see what life would be like there. Egbert worked me over some more, the decision was harder because of my dad and the clientele that I had developed and really enjoyed. Then in the fall of 2009 I put all my horses in the trailer and hauled them from California to Kentucky with my dad as co-pilot.
Q: Besides riding Pikardi, what have been some of the perks of your job?
LaGoy-Weltz: There are a lot of things that I enjoy about working with team at Woodspring. Teasing, and in return being tortured by Judy Tudor, Kathy's friend and assistant of 15 years is probably high on the list. Having the opportunity to compete my own two FEI horses in addition to Pikardi here in Florida has probably been the best, it's why I came. Hosting the Canadian's pre WEG training camp at our farm and getting to work with their team coach Robert Dover was fantastic. Having the World Equestrian Games in our own back yard was a once in a life time opportunity. In the day to day I enjoy getting to ride a lot and I enjoy the way that Kathy's and my relationship has evolved. We exchange ideas a lot now about the horses we are training, we have a great group of horses. Woodspring Farm is a training and sale barn in Wellington, Florida and Versailles Kentucky currently with a great group of sale horses geared toward the amateur market, as well as managing and training client horses.
Check out a couple of Woodspring sale horse in Dressagedaily's horsemarket section -
[#4956 override="Meliano" title="Meliano"]
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