Top Trainers Influence Chrissa’s Successful Career with Horses

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chrissa F. Hoffmann

As an FEI rider, Chrissa Hoffman has trained with luminaries including Barbara Silverman, Alex Gerding, and Olympians Robert Dover, Michelle Gibson and Steffen Peters.

Chrissa’s life with horses began at age seven when her grandfather Glenn David Purdy of Frankfort, Kentucky, bought an Appaloosa named Kado for her. Chrissa competed in eventing through Preliminary level during high school. It wasn’t until she was in college that Chrissa took her first “real” dressage lesson with Barbara Silverman of Diamond Hill Dressage in Simpsonville, Kentucky.

Photo: Barbara Silverman

“All it took was one lesson with Barbara and I never returned to jumping again,” recalls Chrissa. “Barbara’s true love for dressage inspired me, and basically, she had to start from ground zero!”

Under Silverman’s tutelage from 1996 through 2000, Chrissa excelled as a rider, horsewoman, and competitor. In May of 2000, Barbara Silverman, the popular FEI competitor who was short-listed for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, passed away after a long, valiant and inspiring battle with ovarian cancer.

“Before she died, she told me to ride with two people: Robert Dover or Tina Konyot,” Chrissa notes. Chrissa has followed Silverman’s orders, as well as paving a path of her own. “Barbara is still such an inspiration in my riding today. I think about her all of the time and miss her dearly.”

In 2003, Chrissa took two horses to Florida to train with Robert Dover for the winter. Chrissa’s mounts were Roberto (Rubinstein x Baghira by Bolero), her own Hanoverian gelding; and Dancity Savoir Faire, a Morgan owned by Full Circle Dressage of Pendleton, Kentucky.

“In my opinion, Robert Dover is one of the best instructors for horse and rider. His lessons are straightforward and his ability to articulate to his students is outstanding!” Chrissa enthused. “I learned so much, not only from my lessons, but watching him ride and train. He instills confidence in both horse and rider, and that is what is so inspiring about his training.”

Chrissa clearly made a good impression on Robert as well. “Chrissa is a lovely person and a smart and determined rider,” Robert said. “I wish her all the best.”

After training with Robert, Chrissa and her two horses returned to Kentucky. She assessed that she would not be competing in Florida during the 2004 season, so to continue her progress she hosted clinics at her facility with Tina Konyot.

“Tina is wonderful to work with,” Chrissa commented. “She is a beautiful rider and horses love her. She helped me with my Warmbloods and the Morgans and Saddlebreds. She especially liked Harry Callahan, the Saddlebred gelding. I learned so much just watching her ride. Tina is mesmerizing to watch – horses carry her like they are true dance partners, and she absolutely makes it look effortless.”

Chrissa began working with Michelle Gibson at her Glenfield Farm in Kentucky in May 2009. Michelle went to Europe for the summer of 2009, but will return to Glenfield Farm to give clinics on a regular basis starting in October.

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