Karin Reid Offield has been involved with horses her entire life. She was born and raised in Aspen, Colorado and began riding at an early age. Her first love was jumpers and equitation and she traveled around the country competing at the highest level of shows. During her junior years she relocated to schools in Arizona and California, enabling her to ride throughout the winter months and also providing her access to top coaching. Among her early mounts was Iron Warrior, who earned many tri-colors at prestigious shows, including Cow Palace, Bakersfield and the Santa Barbara National. Legendary horseman Ronnie Mutch was among Karin’s coaches. With his help, Karin finished in the Top Ten at the AHSA Medal Finals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Throughout her riding career, Karin has always looked for ways to help promote horses to non-riders as well as young children. After stints working in New York and North Carolina, Karin returned to Aspen to run a ranch where she not only rode horses, but also helped organize the youth program. Eventually her love of international competition won out and she returned to the show circuit in Wellington, Florida and began a long association with Carl Knee. During these years Karin competed from Canada to Florida and even galloped racehorses. With her exposure to the best sport in the country, Karin began to think in terms of sports promotion and founded Equestrian Reels, a production company dedicated to equestrian sports. Among their projects was a behind the scenes look at show jumping in the United States. Karin took this interest in promoting equestrian activities further when she co-founded El Rojo Grande Ranch in Sedona, Arizona. This was the culmination of a project that began in college when she designed an equestrian center as a course requirement. El Rojo Grande Ranch was an international-quality equestrian facility that was designed for the community. With a dude string, authentic stagecoaches that were built on the ranch, and facilities for special events, El Rojo Grande Ranch became a model for how a synergistic partnership can be created within and by the local community. Karin developed a variety of projects to encourage children to spend time with horses, including lessons, vaulting and demonstrations. Karin’s own career with horses took a new direction when she became intrigued with the classical traditions of international dressage. With lessons from a local dressage trainer, Karin and a pretty black horse from her dude string advanced through first level at the Arizona Dressage Association shows. Karin soon committed herself to understanding the intricacies and nuances of dressage. Trainer Michael Etherly came highly recommended from U.S. Olympian Steffen Peters. Michael relocated to Arizona and the rest is history. With Michael’s help Karin progressed steadily up the levels and began competing in California. In addition to her first black trail horse, Karin successfully campaigned several Quarter Horses until she received the warmblood stallion Alla C’zar as a gift. This was the beginning of an impressive string of mounts that have been carefully selected not only for their quality of movement, but their impressive characters. Over the years Karin and Michael expanded their training program to Europe where they have worked with many classical trainers, including Master Egon von Neindorff and Olympic coach Jean Bemelmans. Karin has earned numerous USDF year-end awards from training level to FEI and has won four USDF Regional Championships at the FEI level. Karin has recently expanded her training program to include coaching by six-time Olympian Robert Dover. In 2005, she qualified for the USDF Regional Championships at grand prix and will continue to show Hexagon’s Louisville and Tiamo Trocadero at CDIs on the east coast. Throughout her dressage education Karin has worked to bring the sport to a wider audience, first by hosting dressage demonstrations in Arizona as well as by supporting a variety of educational programs, including the Dressage Foundation’s Advanced Young Riders Olympic Dreams European tour. After selling El Rojo Grande Ranch and moving to Michigan, Karin formed Brek N Ridge Dressage, which was recently rebranded Offield Farms. Sponsorship of the 2005 FEI World Cup Dressage Final, Presented By Offield Farms is simply the next chapter in the story of one woman’s effort to make a difference in the advancement and promotion of the horse sports generally, and now dressage specifically. 2005 also marked the Karin’s CDI debut. CDI is a French term meaning, Concours de Dressage International—international dressage horse show. The CDI division at dressage shows is among the highest international rating by the international governing body of equestrian sport, the FEI. Very few riders in the world compete at the CDI level. With Hexagon’s Louisville, Karin competed at the CDI Ox Ridge Show in August of 2005 and earned a second place in the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle. Her results in 2005 and early 2006 garnered her an invitation to compete at the 2006 USEF National Grand Prix Freestyle Championships. Only the 10 best riders in the country are invited to compete not only for the national title, but also for the chance to represent the United States at the World Cup Final. Karin placed sixth and eighth in the grand prix and the grand prix freestyle, respectively. At the end of 2006 Karin and Louisville were the best in the country in two divisions. They earned the 2006 USDF Adult Amateur Grand Prix Horse of the Year and the 2006 USDF All Breeds Award (KWPN-NA) Adult Amateur Grand Prix Horse of the Year with a score of 65.204%. In November 2006, Karin welcomed superstar Lingh to Offield Farms. The impressive bay stallion has a legion of fans worldwide. In 2005, the charismatic champion wowed American dressage fans with his second place finish at the World Cup Finals. While Karin has successfully ridden several stallions in her career, she has worked hard to develop a true connection and partnership with Lingh. In late 2007 Karin and Lingh returned to the United States with the goal of competing at the CDIs in Florida. The pair kicked off the Florida season with top five placings in the Grand Prix Special at the Gold Coast Opener, a qualifying event for the Selection Trials for the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. The duo competed at one other CDI before the close of the Florida circuit. With the goal of gaining additional experience and exposure, Karin and Lingh returned to the Netherlands to ride at Anky’s. As a young horse with Edward Gal in the saddle, Lingh learned to piaffe and passage under Anky’s guidance. This long history has proven invaluable to Karin and Lingh. During the summer Lingh had an injury that stemmed from the stable accident in Florida. He went into a rehabilitation program and improved each month. In addition, the summer was an excellent opportunity to observe all the nuances of the Dutch Team preparing for the Olympic Games. Four years ago, Karin watched the Spanish Team prepare for Athens. As icing on the cake, Anky brought home the Gold Medal from Hong Kong, so there were many celebrations! With its strong dressage traditions, Europe continues to provide an ideal environment for Karin to learn from great riders, horses and teachers. Over the summer she attended international competitions, including Aachen and Flyinge. Now that it is the fall of 2008, Karin and Lingh are working together to get fit. Lingh is becoming stronger every day and she is enjoying every minute with him. In November 2008, Lingh moved to Flyinge, the Swedish Stud established in 1661. He began his breeding career in earnest. While Karin continued to ride in Holland at Anky’s , his rider during this time is keeping him fit and loving it ! Swedish rider Mattias Jansson is making sure Lingh gets as strong as possible with track work, trail rides and good exercise. His groom, Matts, is amazing…they go for long walks thru the village. They are becoming quite famous in Flyinge. In April 2009, Karin returned to America to spend time with her father and return to Northern Michigan. Over the summer, between trips to Florida, Karin’s Brek-n-Ridge Farm filled with Dressage horses and activity. (See the New News) In September 2009, Karin’s father passed away. “It’s been a wonderful experience, life with Dad. I am honored to have shared this life. Now, I have to move along. In late October I expect to return to Europe to ride, attend the Global Dressage Forum, the FEI meet in Copenhagen, the huge Gala in Sweden on November 4th with Kyra Kyrklund (FI), Minna Telde (SWE), Mattias Jansson, (SWE), Emma Hindle (GBR), Imke Bartels (HOL), Ettan Deng (FI), Jan Brink & Briar (SWE), Patrik Kittel (SWE), Jens Fredricson (SWE), Peder Fredricson (SWE), Peter Eriksson (SWE), Stein Endresen (NOR), Connie Bull (NOR), and Pia Pantsu (FI).in attendance, and finally the Stockholm CDI at the end of November. It’s going to be quite a month! The Global horse world is an incredible adventure…….We have much to be grateful for !”
NOTES FROM KARIN :Here is a window into the first part of my trip to Europe.
The moment I arrived I was excited to see old friends and make new friends too. As a rider this year I am taking home to my stable more and better information than in the years past. The update by the FEI made me feel work was being done on behalf of the horse. The presentation by Instructor and rider, Dr. Meyners and Heike Kemmer made me think of my body from a different perspective – and I have been a gym rat for many many years. I think my horse will appreciate me upon his back, more than before. I certainly know where to send my students who can’t sit the trot. Rachel Murray – wow what can I say about her presentation. I have thought long and hard about all the harm that my decisions have caused in the stable yards of my horses over all these years. Today I am better prepared to take care of my horse- as a rider and as a stable keeper. Thank you Rachel ! Judge Katrina Wurst – she makes me want to design a new freestyle. As a rider – my hats off to you for doing all this work and bringing forth your presentation in a timely manner. Vet Frits Sluyter taught me as a rider to recognize the difference of medication for the horses benefit and medicine for selfish performance enhancement. His talk also made me realize that the circle of responsibility around me cannot be taken too lightly. It will change the way I hire and practice with my team in the future. My horse thanks you too ! Thank you Frits.
Blacksmith Rob Renirie…..now I know that a horseman can never stop learning. Thank you for your help in remembering that no matter how smart we think we are, we can always learn something more that helps our horses. I know Lingh was in very good hands with your help. Your talk was great. Statistic expert David Strickland will hopefully release his facts on an e-learning site. I would like to look at them more carefully. We are lucky to have him with us in the sport. If you didn’t learn from his lecture you were sleeping ! Coach Tom de Ridder gave me some new teaching techniques. I really like the way he laid out the importance of communication between client and coach. That is an age old problem that is rarely addressed. Finally there was Steffen Peters…and he was really great. His Mom and my friend was there too which made his stay even better. The meals together, the camaraderie and the family that hosts this each year are to be commended. It was a productive two days and I hope to attend a Dressage Forum next year if the Bartels Familywill have us !!
The Forum was the place that my friend Laurens van Lieren and I presented the first draft of The Stallion Club - A Members only Club for Dressage Breeding Stallions that have competed internationally in CDI’s. This list calls the stallions to attention that genetically, environmentally, physically and by their training make them stand apart. They are special, and we created this Club in their honor. They all survived the test of time and now can be recognized for this great achievement.The Club will take some time to organize and we are searching for people to help us research the stallions and their careers. Our colleague Dirk Willem Rosie is supportive and has offered to help !
The next few days were taken by seeing Lingh three year olds. I traveled through Belgium and Holland. I have made several posts of these youngsters with photos. Everyone was welcoming.
My favorite Belgium adventure was the stop in Essen, Belgium to visit with Johan and Penny Rockx. After a long and relaxed after riding sitting around drinking couple hours we ventured into Antwerp and had an amazing evening. Johan is well versed in the history and color of this fanciful city of incredible ornate architecture. With us that evening were Geoff Butler, Angela from HorseGirlTV and Joel, her handsome husband.
My next days were spent visiting best friends Fransje and Peter, my western friend Archie and family in Vorstenbosch and Anky and Sjef for Sunday lunch and favorite colleagues at Anky’s (Lisbeth….I didn’t see enough of you… ) seeing the newest stable improvements with great dinners and finally visits with the families of Maucca Karki for Halloween and Deborah and Claartje Van Andel of DressageDirect fame for weekend dinners. Thank you all for your Dutch, Belgium and Finish hospitalities.
I write when I can of adventures like these and post them on NEW NEWS……… Europe has become a second home for me and I will try to return as much as possible.
Updated Bio by Karin Offield
Once I left Holland and I arrived in Sweden my time with Lingh and riding was what I looked forward to since leaving Europe in April. I was finally back in my saddle and learning. I spent my time with a young 6 year old mare, taking lessons and learning to longline with teacher Bo Jena and working with Lingh, spending time with him. I love him ! We had a great winter, traveling back and forth a couple times from America.
For the winter of 2010 I spent it mainly in my hometown in Aspen, Colorado. Since both my parents passed away, I felt it was important that I return home and establish my friendships with my peers and their families. My second week on the ski mountain I was hit by a fellow skier and I spent the remaining months in Aspen going to physical therapy and healing a crushed calf muscle. The experience proved to me that I had been right about not skiing during my Olympic journey years with Lingh….too risky !
In April of 2010 I returned home to Harbor Springs and opened my BreknRidge Farm year round for boarders, students and horses-in-training. You can see our website www.breknridgefarm.com and learn about our goals and dreams. The summer was a remarkable experience and we entered into our first winter in Northern Michigan with some trepidation. No worries !!!!! It was great ! It’s never windy in the indoor arena, we dressed for the cold and the horses loved it. The stable – a metal utilitarian Morton Building – was cozy and if someone said it was like a meat locker I always laughed and said ” really ? I never noticed !!”
In December 2010 I headed to Sweden and the excitement for this trip was in Stockholm at the International Show st the Globe. Bo Jena and Lingh were incredible. The video of their performance is posted on the home page. My time spent at Flyinge this winter was extra special too. Meeting friends and colleagues and many adventures. The Christmas Flyinge Gala was superb ! Lingh the King ! Thank you to Matts, Mattias, Karl-Henrik, and all the beautiful Swedish girlfriends that work at Flyinge and take care of Lingh…..
In early January 2011, I received a phone call from Europe from a small town south of Stuttgart. On the telephone was Thomas Casper, a well respected breeder in Southern Germany. He asked me if I would consider bringing Lingh to Germany from Sweden. Many reasons led me to the decision to say yes and within 2 weeks, Lingh was on his way. I have now traveled several times to Gestut Birkhof and am satisfied that my breeding goals are being met. Lingh is stabled with a fine family and we are all happy. I am hoping to return to Sweden for the 100th Anniversary of the Globen Stockholm International horse show, and this we will decide in months down the road. To keep up with the adventures of Lingh and Karin, stay tuned to New News and read about the journey.
If you would like to ride along with Karin and Lingh on this adventure, send us your email address and we will also update you with a Friends and Family Newsletter. Take care and write soon ! Karin