DRESSAGE DAILY

Sara Spofford Dressage - Strengthens the Sport of US Dressage

Friday, May 2, 2014
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Sara Spofford Dressage
Sara Spofford Dressage
Sara Spofford has been riding and training dressage professionally for over 20 years after establishing a strong foundation in US Pony Clubs. She is an FEI rider who competes at the top of the sport around the United States after having spent several years training in Europe at different points in her career. Sara has years of experience training horses from the breaking stage through the international levels of competition. Sara’s home base is a full-service private boarding and training facility located at Windswept Farm in Waterford Virginia. The beautiful farm is situated on 96 rolling acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, ten minutes from Leesburg and the main horse show venue, Morven Park International Equestrian Center. The facility boasts a beautiful, bright indoor arena with top-of-the-line footing, mirrors, lights, and wall-to-wall windows. Stalls are 12x12 with Mayo mats and all have dutch doors both into aisle way and outside. Turnout is ample with many choices depending on the needs of the horse, ranging from small groups in 5 acre grassy fields to individual paddocks to all-weather bluestone paddocks for layups or foul-weather use. The farm is perfect for hacks and hillwork with lots of open space for riding, making a great setting for keeping the dressage horse’s mind and body well-rounded, happy, and fresh.

Windswept Farm located in Waterford, Virginia
Windswept Farm located in Waterford, Virginia
The program for each horse and rider at Sara Spofford Dressage is tailored based on individual needs. From offering a variety of hays, feeds, and turnout options to training programs ranging from full-training to weekly lessons on your horse to schoolmaster lessons on one of our FEI “professors.” 

Sara Spofford Dressage has been based at Windswept Farm for 7 years. Sara has worked to create a happy and relaxed atmosphere for horses and riders to learn. She teaches adult-amateurs, junior, young riders, as well as other professional riders from a range of disciplines from this home base and also travels to teach clinics around the country. There are also a handful of local barns that Sara also travels to on a weekly or monthly basis to teach several lessons at a time.

Sara Spofford with Armante, 8 yr old KWPN mare (Contango/Welt Hit II) owned by Natalie Miller and Lagrima, 12 yr old Baden-Wurttemburg mare (Lanthano/Tolstoi) owned by Sara.
Sara Spofford with Armante, 8 yr old KWPN mare (Contango/Welt Hit II) owned by Natalie Miller and Lagrima, 12 yr old Baden-Wurttemburg mare (Lanthano/Tolstoi) owned by Sara.
Aboard Lagrima, Sara has earned many wins, high score awards and regional titles in Region 1 and on the Florida circuit. She and her own elegant chestnut mare affectionately known as “Lola” completed their first season of small tour CDIs together at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington with great success. Sara’s future goals for Lola include qualifying for the Festival of Champions held in June 2014 in Gladstone, New Jersey. Sara also plans to compete at Dressage at Devon in September 2014 and looks to move Lola up to Medium and Grand Prix tours in the coming year. Sara believes Lola has what it takes to be at the top of the sport as a Grand Prix horse but owning and campaigning such a horse takes substantial financial support.

Sara Spofford about her own Lagrima competing in the Small Tour CDIs at the Global Dressage Festival Photo: Betsy LaBelle
Sara Spofford about her own Lagrima competing in the Small Tour CDIs at the Global Dressage Festival Photo: Betsy LaBelle
To find out more about how to become a part of helping Sara and Lola reach their goals, please visit www.ExperienceDressage.com where you will find their profile and further information about getting involved in supporting dressage in the United States. Sara is passionate about making owning a top dressage horse  more accessible and fun for everyone – not just the super wealthy. Syndication of a top horse is a great way to involve more and more people in dressage, sharing the excitement and fulfillment of being a part of a special horse/rider partnership. 

Sara has several horses coming up through the ranks. One special mare, Armante, owned by Sara’s longtime friend and client Natalie Miller, launched her career as an FEI horse in the Prix St Georges at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington. “Meeka” is a nine year old KWPN mare by Contango out of Romante (Welt Hit II). Sara hopes to qualify Meeka for the National Developing Horse Championships at the Prix St Georges level held in Chicago in August 2014. 

Sara Spofford riding Armante at the 2014 Global Dressage Festival
Sara Spofford riding Armante at the 2014 Global Dressage Festival
Sara has a long-standing training relationship with Danish Olympian Lars Petersen whose monthly clinics at Windswept Farm provide the continuing education and guidance Sara believes is crucial for any trainer. These clinics have become a highlight in the local dressage community drawing other professionals and amateurs alike for continuing education from a master horse trainer.

Sara believes in strengthening the sport as a whole by creating supportive relationships with other area professionals who can be a great resource for networking, problem-solving, and friendship in a sport that can be challenging and at times frustrating. “We as trainers spend a lot of time alone on a horse in an arena. That can be a bit lonely, but if we recognize that we are all facing similar challenges we can learn to support one another. This is a much more common sight in Europe, where riders are often found at the warm-up, helping one another. I view my time in the show arena as competing against myself and to get feedback about how my horse is progressing, rather than looking at it as competing against fellow trainers. The friendships I have created with other trainers and riders over the years have helped me develop as a person in ways I never could have imagined. “

Sara Spofford about her own Lagrima competing in the Small Tour CDIs at the Global Dressage Festival Photo: Betsy LaBelle
Sara Spofford about her own Lagrima competing in the Small Tour CDIs at the Global Dressage Festival Photo: Betsy LaBelle
Over the span of more than two decades of training horses and riders Sara has developed a philosophy of teaching that combines several of her strengths. “After many years of learning dressage, I realized that there are some trainers who seem to focus more on the horse’s development, and there are some trainers whose strengths lie in breaking down the rider’s aids and position. I have worked to become a trainer who could both explain to the rider HOW to achieve the correct position and aids as well as develop the horse through the levels. I am a trainer to both the horse and the rider, a trainer who has the feel for the horse’s development as well the skills and experience to develop the rider.”

The 2014 Florida Winter Dressage Season, Sara shared, “This has been an amazing season. The second year I’ve been in Lars Petersen’s barn with five horses. Working in full training with Lars only raises the level of my own training and showing. It’s great to bring what I’ve learned home to my help my clients even become better riders.”

With two horses showing in the FEI levels during the 2014 Wellington, Florida winter dressage season, one she broke as a youngster scores high in the Prix St. George at the Global Dressage Festival. Sara said, “The level of competition in Florida is so high. To win blue ribbons against such great riders and great horses, I’m so very proud.” 

Clinics (Sara travels to nearby stables to teach clinics) 

Boarding 

Private Training barn located in Waterford, Virginia (Near Leesburg, VA)

Sara said, "Because the number of horses is small, 15 stall training barn, the individual care of each horse is specialized. There are many turn out paddocks, three of which are blue stone all-weather, to small grass paddocks to huge turnout fields. The feed program includes three types of hay and each horse has the feed and supplements necessary. Sara said, “It’s not a big boarding facility that focuses on the numbers. We really care. It’s very specialized care for the horse as an athlete.” 

Training Dressage Horses through the FEI Levels

Monthly Clinics with Lars Petersen 

To contact Sara: 

Sara Spofford Dressage  - (703) 627-0533

  
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