News Notes for the Week of February 16, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Posted by Lynndee

The West Coast will be the center of dressage competition this weekend. California is hosting two dressage shows. The Winter Dressage Festival at Hansen Dam (www.gdsdressageshows.com) is scheduled for Feb. 20-21 in Lakeview Terrace. And in Pleasanton, the Denville-Kanani Farms Dressage (www.denville-kanani.com) will be held on February 20-21. Las Vegas will also play host to dressage competition this weekend with the Las Vegas Dressage Winter Fling.
It was a long week for a 10-year-old Quarter Horse named El Nino. Owned by Scott and Chris Frisby, the horse bolted last week on Feb. 7 when being led and disappeared into the woods surrounding the family's farm in Duluth, Minnesota. El Nino was lost for most of this past week – six days to be exact. With the help of family and friends, El Nino's owners raised enough money to pay the cost of having a search plane aid the effort to find him and it was a thermal-imaging camera on the plane that tracked him down in the woods. Once located by the plane, Scott Frisby made his way to the horse in waist-deep snow by wearing snow shoes and was able to lead El Nino home. The gelding was tired and hungry and when found, he was eating tree bark. His family reports that he is a bit thinner after his ordeal and has a few scratches, but is otherwise doing fine.

In the effort to make dressage more spectator friendly, a new dressage format will be unveiled at the big Aachen horse show in Germany in July. It will serve as a pilot for the new Olympic dressage format that was adopted by the FEI last fall. The FEI described the changed format as one that will hopefully make dressage "more fair and transparent, more exciting and more comprehensible." Among the changes, there will be seven judges rather than five and half-marks will be allowed. In the freestyle, one judge will mark technical elements and another artistic performance. Information on the new format can be found at www.fei.org.

The southern parts of the U.S. have really taken a hit in weather this past week with snow reaching further southward than normal. And a horse farm in Texas experienced the worst of what snow can deliver – collapsed roofs. Local news media in Texas reported on a riding arena in the Dallas area that was the victim of the unusually heavy snows. You can see the video at http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/horse-arena-collapses-under-snow.

Colorado resident Ginny Wegener proves that getting older doesn't mean one has to give up dressage. The 86-year-old resident of Canon City, Colorado is still competing in the sport. She'll turn 87 this May and that's when she'll earn her Centurion Award. To earn the award, the rider and horse must have a combined age of 100 or more and must ride a dressage test under a qualified judge. Wegener got a late start in riding, having started only at the age of 58.
It's not that Wegener wasn't around horses. Her children rode when the family lived in California and she spent much time taking her daughters around to horse shows. After they all left home, she must have missed being around the show environment, because she soon got into riding herself. She bought an Arabian and started taking lessons. Wegener moved to Colorado in the early 1980s and got involved in dressage. Aside from dressage, she's also an accomplished pilot with more than 50,000 hours of flight time. To read more about Wegener, go to http://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/region-story.asp?ID=12916.