News Notes for the Week of February 1, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Without a doubt it was a busy weekend in Florida with another one coming up. There were both dressage shows and the Kyra Kyrklund clinic hosted by Wellington Classic Dressage. Those who came to Florida either to compete or to see the clinic might just want to stay an extra week because this upcoming week is just as busy. For one, the Exquis World Dressage Masters CDI***** is being held in Wellington during the Wellington Dressage, which runs Wednesday through Saturday (www.dressageshowinfo.com). The Master's competition is by invitation only and brings together the world's top riders.

Seven Americans will be competing, including the pair of Steffen Peters and Ravel. Anky van Grunsven is also coming to town and will be doing some teaching this week prior to the competition. Also being held in Florida this week is the American Dressage Concours in Venice (www.foxleafarm.com). There is also action on the West Coast this coming week. The Golden State Dressage Premiere is being held in Rancho Murieta from Friday through Sunday (www.goldenstatedressage.com).

She's only 17 and just starting her dressage career, but if Noor Ilyana Ahmad Rafidzi has her way, she'll one day be riding in the Olympics. That might not sound like a dream worth writing about considering there are a mass of young American riders with the same dream. But Noor Ilyana lives in a place where it is rather difficult to find good dressage instruction – Malaysia. Her native country might be giving her a bit of help in this endeavor as the Malaysian Equine Council (MEM) is looking to send her to nearby Australia for two months of training. Noor Ilyana, who started riding three years ago, has made it clear that her intention is to become a trainer so that she can help improve dressage riding in her country. However, aware that there might not yet be a lot of business in Malaysia for dressage instructors, Noor Ilyana is also planning to earn an education in nursing. Learn more about Noor Ilyana.

In reporting on a fashion show in Paris last week, The Independent newspaper's Carola Long had this to say about an equestrian-themed segment of the show: "John Galliano's sultry horsewomen couldn't be further from the Zara Phillips take on riding gear. Instead, the models in the first part of the show looked like Edwardian dressage dominatrices replete with net-veiled top hats and whips. Riding jackets with nipped waists and peplums, halterneck dresses and riding skirts with pleated inserts or origami folds: all came in huntmaster red, fuchsia and grey or black checked wools."

An Australian newspaper gave the equine portion of the show a more positive report saying: "Brandishing riding crops and wearing top hats, Galliano's show ponies pranced down the runway in jackets of hunting pink or English checks, teamed with pleated and draped riding skirts as part of the designer's dressage-inspired range. Kylie Minogue, one of several A-list guests who also included Dita von Teese and architect Peter Marino, predicted Galliano's whips would give handbags a run for their money. 'I'm sure I could make a few moves with a riding crop,' said the pop star, who sat front row in a black-and-white check Dior dress." Check out a photo.

Here's another good one from Australia. A mother and daughter got up early to get their horse ready for an event and discovered a new addition in their horse paddock – a life-sized fibreglass horse. “I have no idea who put it there but they must have gone to a lot of trouble. They would have to have carried it 300m through the bush next to our property - in the dark,” said Jenny Mahoney of the discovery made by her and her daughter Adelle. No one has come to claim the newcomer and if unclaimed, Mahoney said it just might become a new addition to the family. See the video.

It's not about a dressage rider, but for all who may have taken a fall from their horses this weekend, know that you are not alone. Britain's Prince Harry, 25, also took a tumble – from his polo pony. But it was all for a good cause. Harry was in Barbados at a celebrity polo match, the inaugural Sentebale Polo Cup, in order to raise money for his African children's charity. Both Harry and horse are fine, but some reports say Harry was a bit upset about his unplanned dismount. If you'd like to see pictures, click here.