California rolls out the horse sport red carpet

25 Mar

Once the sun comes out in Southern California, horse sport really gets rolling.
OK—that’s not fair, because the sun shines almost too much in SoCal, and while parts of the world had worst floods/storms in decades, the word ‘drought’ and ‘voluntary restrictions’ have been on everyone’s lips around here. Nevertheless, The first joint effort that is California Dreaming Productions (Glenda McElroy and W Farms), designed to create a series of CDIs and CDI-Ws which will attract top sport riders as well as top sport sponsors, was a resounding success, with riders and spectators alike excited for more.
Thanks to PSI/Uli Kasselmann, names synonymous with top horse sport the world over, the livestream, the VIP lunch, the rider’s lounge, all the other amenities and pleasantness–and of course the cooperative Southern California weather—made for great sport in Burbank at Los Angeles Equestrian Center (LAEC).

The last-minute withdrawal (minor problems for both) of two Grand Prix combinations—Olympians Jan Ebeling/Rafalca and Kathleen Raine/Breanna only makes the next two shows that much more exciting and meaningful , as the WEG qualifying period for the US Selection Trial comes to an end after San Juan Capistrano’s back-to-back shows the last 2 weekends of March.

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Leslie Reid on the exciting young stallion, Kobal

IMG_8609(Courtenay Fraser)


Almost as soon as the first CDI was over,LAEC geared up for the much-anticipated Charlotte Dujardin /Judy Harvey Symposium.

The answer to the age-old question:

is it possible to be in two places at the same time?

was brilliantly answered that weekend, when world record holder/ uber-star Charlotte Dujardin was in Los Angeles, California, with her first mentor FEI judge, GP rider and British team selector Judy Harvey, doing major instruction/teaching and some truly inspiring riding to show how to develop and train towards top sport, even as Charlotte’s current mentor, world-everything Carl Hester was in Herning, Denmark, doing much test riding of young Danish horses and also talking about the training and development towards top sport.
There were over 450 tickets sold, and Glenda McElroy pronounced herself highly satisfied with this result. Charlotte and Judy met with the riders on Friday morning to observe and get a feel for the participants. That afternoon, Charlotte asked to have a sit on Canadian Olympian Leslie Reid’s young (8 years old) PRE stallion, Kobal, and after a few minutes, announced that she would like to take him home.

Both Charlotte and Judy Harvey were extremely complimentary to Leslie for the super training on Kobal, pointing out—and with Charlotte riding on Saturday, demonstrating–that his foundation is so strong and correct. Charlotte showed everyone exactly how she builds power and cadence into the gaits and then showed her unbelievable seat/timing/sympathy by producing an expressive, engaged, big uphill series of ones (!!) down the long side, some amazing pirouettes, and an extended trot to rival–well, Valegro. Kobal walked around like he owned the joint, never lost his composure, and it was easy to forget he is only 8 years old. On Sunday, Reid herself rode, and the schooling/preparation for piaffe/passage was exemplary, as the young stallion showed himself up to the task.

Charlotte Dujardin on Kobal

Kobal Charl


These sessions provided a fitting cap to a weekend of outstanding work from all involved.
The next two West Coast CDI’s are back-to-back, both in San Juan Capistrano, and continue the California Dreaming circuit, sponsored in part by Hof Kasselmann. More about them in the next blog.




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