Things are looking up!

23 Apr

thingslookingup

The U.S. has been bumbling along, at least for the Good Ship Dressage. While new US Eventing Coach David O’Connor has been traveling /clinicing from one coast through to the other, looking for talent to mold and advise, the US dressage program has been…bumbling.

Within the space and time of a week,however, the picture is starting to get clearer.

The U.S. has a new dressage technical advisor, Robert Dover. Many of Dover’s ideas were ‘borrowed’ — and have proven successful– from the first time he applied for  this position and outlined his plans. His experience is inarguable, and all that is necessary is for any who might disagree with his opinions to stand up and provide equally mature, cogent alternatives.

Steffen Peters and his new partner, Legolas ( Laomedon x Furstin), owned by Four Winds Farm LLC,  competed at Hagen and showed a new maturity  that has to have made Steffen happy. In Florida, the horse–renowned for his piaffe-passage tour– seemed a bit unsettled, but in Hagen, with all the pressure of a CDI 4*, the horse put in confident tests, the new freestyle showing high risk and degree of difficulty.

Steffen will formally retire the great Ravel this coming weekend at Del Mar National’s Dressage Week, in Southern California, on Saturday evening, April 27th.

Jan Ebeling and his mare Rafalca (Argentinus x Rubinstein) became Olympians as part of the US dressage team at the 2012 London Games. A hard act to follow, but new dance partners are a necessity in all partnership sports,human or equine. Especially equine, given the reality that horses peak a lot sooner than their human partners.

 The ‘three amigos’ who bought Rafalca, Amy Ebeling, Ann Romney and Beth Meyers, sponsored the search and eventual purchase of Rassolini, a horse whose every career move has been star-studded. Top  five placings at World Young Horse Championships and the German Bundeschampionat, developed into winning Germany’s ever-prestigious  Nürnburger Burg-Pokal championship for young Prix St. Georges horses ( other winners include Olympic medalists/competitors Desperado, Augustin, Whisper, Elvis, Bonaparte,Relevant, Chacomo,etc.)

Rassolini’s own grandfather, Rubinstein, won this championship in 1994, like father like son.

This young 10 year old stallion ( Rubioso N x Silvano) has just started at Grand Prix, ridden throughout his career by Kathrin Meyer zu Strohen, and trained by her husband Hans-Heinrich, a highly successful and respected coach of the German Young Rider team ,as well as star riders such as Ann-Sophie Fiebelkorn.

“He has no holes,” says a very happy Jan. “One long side, the connection, the responsiveness– I knew he was the one.”

RassoliniRassolini and Meyer zu Strohen

It takes a team to find a special horse,and for the Ebelings, their contact in Germany is Christian Heinrich.

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Heinrich was one of several contacts Jan would call when searching for new horses. “It started as business,” says Jan, “but over the years, our families have developed a real friendship and strong connection. So much so, if he tells me he has found a special horse, that means we just get on a plane. We don’t wait for a video or anything.”

Heinrich says simply, “Horses like Rassolini are rare. After the results with Rafalca, I felt this was the next  chance.”

The plan is for Jan to return to Germany in June and spend time working with Rassolini. The stallion will then fly to the U.S., where he will of course undergo quarantine. “And after that,” says Jan,  “we will see.”

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