Archive | May, 2012

This and that

28 May

Global Dressage Festival in Florida this past year was hailed by almost everyone as a wonderful adventure: great shows, organization, footing, purses, commitment .  The town of Wellington benefited  hugely from the boost to the local economy, the wonderful  PR  and the promise for more opportunities.

Dressage was perhaps the biggest beneficiary, as international riders began to commit to the next season, drawing the glamor and spectators with them.

All of that is in the dumpster for the moment, as  egos and power-mongering have taken over from all good sense.  Local political forces have seen to it that a new mayor and council were elected—even having the vote tally thrown out and re-counted by hand to ensure that the correct officials were ‘elected’.



Horses—always one hoof away from disaster. Never truer than in Olympic years. The past few months, the Danish riders have seen their fortunes rise in amazing ways, including young shooting star Anna Kasprzak  with her new GP partner Donnperignon (former WEG partner to German team rider Christoph Koschel). 22-year-old  Anna K and Donnperignon have been scoring in the high 70’s, including a recent  76 in GP and 77.4 in GPS , beating Danish  star Princess Natalie and her Digby, among others.

Things, as they say, were looking up for the Danish Olympic dreams.

That was last week.

This week, Donnperignon has been reported to have a mild injury , two week lay-up,  and will miss next week’s Danish Championships.  Sending best thoughts for quick and total recovery!



Best quote of this or any week from (who else?) Carl Hester (responding to a person complaining about top sport dressage):

<< As I am only 45 years old hopefully my knowledge will improve as will my riding, and one day I will achieve what it is that people expect of me and my horses.  >>

Thank you, Carl!





The video of  the sub-human abusing a Tennessee Walking Horse has gone viral — but if even one more person sees it and adds their voice to the protest, perhaps people in that section of the industry will think twice before more abuse.





The great bicarb debate-shout out to trainer of I’ll Have Another, Doug O’Neill whose horses burst with muscle and pride and good health.

Doug: I don’t care if your horse got a milkshake! I wish every trainer’s horses look as good as yours do and run with half the pride! Fingers crossed for the Belmont! And thanks for taking such great care of Lava Man (a horse O’Neill claimed, then took on to win several  graded stakes races for over $ 5 million and now I’ll Have Another’s lead pony).


This next item will be confusing. I am still confused…

Edward Gal’s latest star, the stallion  Jack Sparrow, has been bred to about 100 mares this past season.

BUT his KWPN registration expired  recently without satisfying the licensing requirements and the horse is for the moment without proper breeding approval.

A decision was made a few months ago to not attend the KWPN’s mandatory final approval—precisely because the stallion was so in demand for breeding, Gal and the owner decided it was too much showing.

So, Gal and Jack Sparrow went this past week to Germany, Iserlohn, to qualify for the German Bundeschampionate and perform the 30 days test—and  thereby receive his Oldenberger license.

BUT German rules state that the rider has to be a member of a German riding club to be allowed to qualify for the Bundeschampionat. (ie, not happening for Edward Gal  even though he has presented this horse at Oldenburg stallion shows out the wazoo in Germany). The Oldenburger Verband   said that Edward  could ride a normal L-test, rather than the much easier BC qualifier test.

(Note:  the new head of the Oldenberg Verband  just happens to be Paul Schockemoehle, current owner –more or less– of Totilas)

To qualify for the BC they needed an average score of 8.

This seemed like a good idea—the stallion has received exceptionally high scores in all his outings so far, up to and including 10 on gaits..

Incredibly enough, on this day, in this place, he was scored as 6.9, beaten by among others, a German riding pony.

In the end, I am sure Jack Sparrow will be fully approved for breeding. Just another wrinkle in the hot, insular world of sport horse breeding.



And finally, godspeed to Ulando L, Icarus, and Jude’s Law.

These three of  U.S. event riders Michael and Natalie Pollard’s horses were only five miles from home when an impatient car driver felt a need to cut directly in front of the horse trailer that blocked his path, causing the driver of the rig to swerve very suddenly and  sharply, overturning the trailer.

6 horses were in that trailer, and 3 have gone over The Bridge. Ulando L first, then Icarus a day or so later and finally, Jude’s Law, who seemed to have only mild cuts–but turned out to have suffered major internal damage.

I hope everyone driving any vehicle realizes the responsibility that comes with that gas pedal.





Para-Dressage: American Para rider Ellie Brimmer

17 May

Getting on the U.S. Para team:

First you have to achieve a certificate of capability this is a 60% on the team or individual test at a CPEDI***

(Ellie just did this in Wellington with her newer horse, Carino H.)

This can be on any horse, but you are only allowed two horses at selection trials and they have to declared in advance.

Everyone has a blank slate going into selection trials.  Riders have to score a 65% on the team or individual test to make the short list which is 12 riders.

One of the top-placing four riders must be from Grade 1a (walk only) Grade 1b, or Grade 2  and no more than three riders can be from the same grade. In the event that the top four riders are all  from the same grade, I believe they will go down the list to the next highest ranked rider from another grade.

(Grade Ia – Walk only
Grade Ib – Walk and some trot
Grade II – Walk and more complicated trot pattern; canter in freestyle
Grade III – Walk, trot and canter
Grade IV – Walk, trot, canter including lateral work and medium paces

As can be seen from the list above, the judges have to really understand how to assess each grade, as the riders go from walk-only to near PSG in level of difficulty)

It is getting to the stage where we want to see just as much gait as the able bodied riders do, but the horses need the right temperament to be a para horse —  and I imagine the able bodied riders want something that is kind and willing as we do!

( The Para selection trials will be held at USET  headquarters in Gladstone, in June,  during the other Olympic selection trials and National Championship classes).

Judges for Para selection trials:  Carlos Lopes (POR), Ann Prain (FRA) and Marc Urban (BEL)

Ann and Carlos will both be on the judging panel at London, Marc will be the assistant TD

It is a lot to know–the different grades and the requirements,  which is why the judges have to go through additional training by the FEI to judge Para, and it is the responsibility of the classifiers to make sure each rider is placed in an appropriate grade.

( To make this clearer–

The FEI 2008 Classification Manual defines the grades as follows:

Grade Ia – Mainly wheelchair users with impairment of all 4 limbs, may be able to walk with an unsteady gait, however trunk and balance are severely impaired.
Grade Ib – Mainly wheelchair users with poor trunk balance and / or impairment of function in all four limbs, or no trunk balance and good upper limb function, or moderate trunk balance with severe impairment of all 4 limbs.
Grade II – Mainly wheelchair users, or those with severe locomotor impairment involving the trunk and with good to mild upper limb function, those with severe arm impairment and slight leg impairment or severe unilateral impairment.
Grade III – Usually able to walk without support. Moderate unilateral impairment, or moderate impairment in four limbs, severe arm impairment. May need a wheelchair for longer distances or due to lack of stamina. Total loss of sight in both eyes, or intellectually impaired. Blacked out glasses or blindfold must be worn by Profile 36 riders.
Grade IV – Impairment of one or two limbs or some visual impairment.)

I think the United States riders certainly have the passion and determination to make it to the top, but not yet have  the advantage of infrastructure that is a hallmark of the top-placing teams in Europe. But we are definitely getting there,and I have high hopes for our team in London!

Not much new, but here goes…

15 May

From Tidningenridsport:

British team rider Emma Hindle has returned the gelding Brisbane to  Sweden’ s Mattias Jansson,after not being able to form a truly satisfactory partnership with the 12 year old gelding. Jansson and Brisbane apparently do get along quite well–they were 2nd with a 69.291 in a Swedish CDN last weekend.

Not to worry–Hindle and the great stallion Diamond Hit themselves went to  Mannheim CDI and promptly scored 69.19 in the GP and  72.778 in the GPSpecial!


American international competitor Kathleen Raine  put on Facebook that her World Cup partner, the great Dutch horse, Avontuur, just turned 30! She and husband David Wightman’s farm is named for ‘Vinnie’.

Happy Birthday,Vinnie!


Anky van Grunsven’s legendary partner, 29 year old Bonfire, had to go to vet clinic over the weekend, where it was found his kidneys were not working too well, but Bonnie is back home now, much to Anky’s great relief, and his progress will be charted by at least one more vet visit.

Sending best wishes to one of the great ones!


American Olympic rider McLain Ward has decided to retire the great mare, Sapphire. 17 years old now, Sapphire helped McLain and the US win team gold in showjumping in 2004 and 2008. “Sara’ is one of a kind, and we wish her a wonderful  and happy healthy retirement.And maybe some babies!

McLain himself is recovering from knee surgery,and is listed on USEF Show Jumping Squad. McLain returned to action at Old Salem this past weekend, promptly winning a warm-up class with his  hopefully London partner, Antares.






By the way…a quiet announcement

7 May

From an interview in the current issue of CHIO-Aachen Magazine:

Sjef Janssen points out that people were criticizing Matthias Rath when he did not live up to expectations at Rotterdam (European Championships) and now ,with all this success at Hagen, where he and Totilas won their classes with cores in the 80s, people want to criticize him for how he trains.

Then the article goes on to say:


Which translates as:

Janssen will train Rath for the Olympic Games in London this year.

Oh yeah.


Notes from Mannheim CDI 3*:

This was an official observation show for the Australians, and Lyndal Oatley, Hayley Beresford and Kristi Oatley all had successful rides.
Brett Parbery and Lord of Loxley, perhaps the shiniest star before the show, placed 31st out of 32 with a 60.
Brett explained to cyberhorse:

“I was thrilled with the test, it is just that my horse stuck his tongue out nearly the whole way through and we lost one or two points for every movement. But I was really really happy with him. He felt really rideable and we got all the transitions. I don’t know what it looked like but going on the maths I know I’ve lost a point every movement because I saw the tongue out and knew I would have been in the game, but have probably lost 10% overall.”

Naturally, Brett and his team have been trying to work out why it has happened this week and trying new things to try and get rid of it before Compeigne CDI in France next weekend–the 2nd observation trial.

Fingers crossed that the solution is found, they are such an elegant and exciting pair!


And finally– Canada’s dressage team coach, Markus Gribbe has moved yet again.
May 1, he moved all his horses (*and ended his agreement ) from Stal Bockmann to new stalls leased from Gestut Sprehe in Menslage.
By ‘all his horses’, this include’s Jamie White Welling’s elegant young new stallion, Tomahawk,purchased last year at Vechta for one million dollars US..

A day of congratulations…

5 May

Congratulations to Leslie Morse on King’s Emerald, her latest baby

Leslie has a great breeding program as well as doing well in show ring with homebreds— Dressage Week at Del Mar, where she won the Developing PSG Horse with King’s Excaliber (72.132)

Congratulations to Rich Fellers and the indefatigable Flexible—won the 1st observation trial for US Show Jump team Friday night in California. It’s been, what? Less than 2 weeks since World Cup Final? Ho hum, on to Del Mar. Sending best thoughts for tomorrow’s even BIGGER course.


Mannheim CDI3*, GP results just in.
CLEAR winner, Denmark.
1. Anna Kasprzak/Donnperignon (DEN) 76.00
2. Princess Nathgaline/ Digby (DEN) 72.57
3. Beata Stremler/Martini (POL) 71.128
4. Isabell Werth/ Warum Nicht (GER) 70.70
(Didn’t Isabell announce a week ago that she was giving the ride on Warum Nicht to her day rider, Matthias Bouten??? Hmm.
10. Christoph Koschel/Donnperignon(GER) 69.11
(Wonder if his former partner Donnperignon looking better to him now? Although he still might not make the German team, what with all the 80-and-above rides)

Mannheim an official observation show for Australia’s Olympic hopefuls.
Lyndal Oatley/Sandro Boy (watched by husband Patrik Kittel, Champion rider from Sweden) highest-placed, 7th with 69.72
Hayley Beresford/ Bellissimo, 68.82
Kristy Oatley/Ronan 68.55
Chantal Wigan/Ferero 66.70
Mary Hanna/Sancette 66.36
Rozzie Ryan/Bullwinke (65.55), Rachel Sanna/Alabaster (63.53) and Brett Parbery/(Lord of Loxley (61.13)
Next observation is Compeigne CDI (FRANCE) 31 May -3 June 2012. Kristy Oatley will probably ride her other top sport partner, Clive, in place of Ronan. This has been cleared with Australia’s selectors.


The FEI. Sigh. plus Mannh…

3 May

The FEI. Sigh. plus Mannheim CDI3*

The FEI. Le BIG Sigh.

The Dominican Republic (Yvonne Losos de Muniz/Liebling) has lost their bid for an Olympic spot.

Dressage-News has an excellent wrap-up of all the issues:


I will only add—I wonder if Brazil hosting the 2016 Olympics had any effect on the FEI Tribunal’s unfair, peremptory, out-of-touch and rather nasty decision…????

It’s Princess Haya’s Birthday.  (May 3  1974)
Breaking with tradition, it is I who will make a wish:

       PLEASE let Princess Haya care a little more about dressage.


From Anky on twitter: <<Watch the movie Moneyball and you understand why people do not want to understand our training methods>>



Mannheim CDI 3* this weekend. It is a mandatory outing for the Australian Olympic hopefuls and they are all listed, including Brett Parbery and Lord of Loxley who have been quite of late.

The Danes are represented by Andreas Helgstrand/ Tacolando, his student    Anna Kasprajk/ Donnperignon  and Princess Nathalie/Digby.

Isabell Werth will ride El Santo , fingers crossed she has the piaffe under control now.


In the small tour, this is a Nurnburger-Burgpokal qualifier (Germany’s amazing national competition for talented young horses doing PSG-Int One).Isabell/Laurenti,  Christoph Koschel, Uta Graf with her Damon Jerome (by Damon Hill) reserve champion at World Young Horse and Bundeschampionat winner.


Carl Hester sets new British record for GP

2 May


Man and beast alike–we all bow down.

Addington today, Carl Hester and Uthopia set a new British record for the Grand Prix,  83.298

He and Charlotte Dujardin took other horses out as well, placing 1st and 2nd to each other in the one  class they both entered.

Carl placed 2nd to himself in the GP,   Wie Atlantico scoring 73.546.


all results here:,%202nd,%203rd%20May%202012%20Premier%20LeagueDay%20tworesults.pdf