Riding For Israel

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oded Shimoni - International Dressage Rider/Trainer

Oded is the son of Hungarian Jews- his mother an Auschwitz survivor. He hails from a country that lacks a history of equestrian sport. Where many of today’s top riders have had the luxury of learning from dressage masters early on, riding in fine apparel in manicured rings, Oded began his riding career in a public park in Tel Aviv, wearing jeans and sneakers. Years later, he has moved his base to Wellington, Florida where he is a well-respected dressage trainer and instructor. Oded takes pleasure in teaching other riders the things he has learned throughout his career.

He discovered horse riding at age 13 through a government-sponsored program in his hometown of Ramat Gan. He took to it immediately, and though the sport is expensive, he worked in stables in exchange for training lessons and riding time. "I knew after the first week that horses would be my life," he said.

When he finished his army service in the mid 80s, Shimoni left Israel to pursue his equestrian interests. He spent two years working with Israeli trainer and competitor David Pincus in England and also trained in Switzerland with George Wahl, a world-renowned dressage trainer.

Shimoni represented Israel for the first time in 1998 at the World Equestrian Games in Rome. The Israeli government, however, does not offer financial assistance to sportsmen like Shimoni. “In Israel we have some great athletes, but unfortunately, the number one priority of money-spending in Israel is in security,” Shimoni lamented.

Longtime Partners Saddlewood Farms Inc Helped to Make It Happen