News Notes for December 8, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Posted by Lynndee Kemmet

This week’s News Notes is brought to you by Back on Track, natural pain-relief products for you, your horses and your pets.

It’s a weekend for holiday-themed horse shows. Meanwhile, out in California a sex offender masquerades as a dressage instructor and gets arrested. A top U.S. young dressage rider is featured in her hometown newspaper. Two Florida riders bring dressage to elementary school students. And in New England, town residents keep a potential dressage farm at bay.
The holiday season is just around the corner and that seems to be the theme of dressage shows coming up this weekend. Out in California, the Dressage Holiday Special will be held in Burbank (www.cornerstonedressage.com). Florida has two winter season shows taking place this weekend. The Orlando Winter Classic is being held in Apopka (www.orlandodressage.com) and in West Palm Beach, Wellington Classic Dressage will play host to its Holiday Challenge (www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com).

Well, here was an unusual disguise. Media in California reported this week on a convicted sex offender who was posing as a dressage instructor. The San Luis Obispo Tribune wrote that Hugh Lewis Higley, 71, was arrested this week on charges of failing to register as a sex offender, which is a felony. And, he was charged with a misdemeanor for giving a false identity to law enforcement officers. Higley was going by the name of Ben McLeod and was running a business called McLeod Dressage. According to the article, he advertised on the Internet giving his email address as piaffe4fun@yahoo.com and worked as a roving dressage instructor. You can read the Tribune story at http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/12/06/1397754/convicted-sex-offender-working.html#ixzz17Txn2gRc.

On a happier note, leading young rider Meagan Davis, of New York, earned a hometown news feature when the Kingston Daily Freeman published a long article on her. It even included a video interview. Meagan was the 2010 Young Rider Champion at the Collecting Gaits Farm/USDF Festival of Champions this year and also earned the right to represent the U.S. at the FEI World Cup Dressage Final for Young Riders being held in Germany next week. Meagan, 21, was quoted in the article as saying “I’m very excited and nervous at the same time. It’s a lot to put on someone’s plate, but Bentley and I will do our best as we always do.” This is Meagan’s first trip to Europe and she’s planning on staying for a month before heading home to the U.S. and then on to Florida for the winter season. You can read the whole story at http://dailyfreeman.com/articles/2010/12/07/sports/doc4cfd7ef24c559656648550.txt?viewmode=fullstory.

The cancellation of this year’s Exquis World Dressage Masters has been most felt in Florida where the Palm Beach Post recently ran an article about the event that was to be held during the Wellington Winter Equestrian Festival. In the article, organizers of the event said that hosting the Masters in Florida costs around $200,000. That cost includes the transportation of horses and riders to Florida, mostly from Europe, as well as housing for the riders. Organizers said the event was cancelled because of conflicts with other world events and due to “changes in horse ownership,” which may have meant Totilas. You can read more at http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/wellington-loses-world-renowned-dressage-event-in-real-1102970.html?cxtype=ynews_rss.

Two Florida dressage riders made the local news this week for their efforts to introduce dressage to elementary school students. The Marco Eagle Press in Florida reported that Mona Raux and Doris Suenkel joined forces for a pas de deux musical freestyle demonstration at Tommie Barfield Elementary School. Mona’s partner in this venture is a Quarter Horse named Miss Ace of Spades. Doris’s partner is a Thoroughbred named Lujean. School officials viewed the demonstration as not only an introduction to dressage for the children, but also as a valuable education in music and dance. What better way to introduce the concept of teamwork in dance than with the partnership of horse and human? You can read more at http://www.marconews.com/news/2010/nov/29/musical-horse-show-coming-tbe/?partner=yahoo_feeds.

From Boston comes news of the failed efforts of a couple to develop a dressage farm in the community of Westwood. According to boston.com, residents in the area have been quite successful at limiting development projects. Their latest success was stopping Polly Komblith, a relative newcomer to the town, from developing a horse farm that would have focused on dressage. Opponents won their battle when the Massachusetts’ Department of Environmental Protection ruled that the farm development project might harm nearby wetlands. Polly plans to appeal but chances of success are limited. You can read the whole story at http://www.boston.com/yourtown/westwood/articles/2010/12/06/westwood_neighbors_give_horse_farm_the_boot/.