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USA Offers Friendly Education for Horses in Wellington, Florida


The International Polo Club hosted the dining and care of the guests

The International Polo Club hosted the dining and guests

Everyday, people all over the world can be happier, can be smarter, can move faster or slower, and they   can learn more about horses. Wellington,  Florida offers visitors more equestrian education than any place on earth!

Consider this: January 21 and January 22 – The 2013 Succeed/US Dressage Federation FEI Level Trainer’s Conference – Two days of watching Steffen Peters and Scott Hassler work with eight riders riding some of America’s up and coming young stars. Steffan rode many of these horses and it was incredible to see.

The trainers’ conference allows FEI-Level trainers’ and other individuals, who meet the attendee criteria, to see training techniques and interact with these two, world class dressage trainers, as they analyze each horse, determine where to start, and identify training problems and how to solve them. 

My favorite training tips : Give the horse a purpose in the warm-up; reach forward gently into the bit; reaching is great, not pulling the rider; show them the way to relax; when they fuss- not ok; interrupt those habits with different exercises; keep your standards high; difference of ‘forward’ and ‘fast’; brings your best to the horse. Say “I am here, trust me.”; do not kick when there is tension, kick when the horse is not paying attention – but not much; balanced contact; ask for bending, then wait it out; guide your horse into a frame; create the ‘sensation’ of the shoulder-in; make sure the horse does not run away, out of balance when you release; energy stays in the body of the horse not out the door; make the passage available in the half pass; test the situation; collect because of the movements; testing the similarity, the reliable; passage gets better by changing the passage; momentarily be stronger to make your horse lighter; connection needs to be manageable and guidable; ride clearly, set your horse up for success, so that the horse has the chance to get it right; a lot of great words from Steffen and Scott! 

Thank you to the staff!

Thank you to the staff!

January 24, 25 and 26th arrived with the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach 2013. Competing for one of the richest prize money show series in the world the WDM CDI – 5*  is the highest endowed dressage show in the US featuring many European top riders. Sponsors, judges, officials, competitors and spectators praised the event from the facilities to the friendly atmosphere to the appreciative crowd.


Antonia Axel Johnson, title sponsor of World Dressage Masters series “We don’t know of any show in the world where when you ride in, the rider coming out says ‘Have a good ride.’ And that is really unique, I think, for the WDM show here,” she said.  “It’s really extremely exciting and nice to be here.”

THE WINNER, Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven floated through her freestyle beautifully. IMG_0235International Judge Stephen Clarke spoke highly of Vilhelmson-Silfven’s freestyle ride. “Tinne’s horse, for me, it’s absolutely what dressage should be about,” Clarke said. “It’s all the talk about horses that should be uphill and in balance and in complete harmony with the rider. The picture that she presents is, for me, truly outstanding, and I think that we were very lucky to witness that tonight.”

Join us in 2014!

Join us in 2014!

THe Results are as follows….what an experience.

FEI Grand Prix Freestyle O CDI5* USEF HP GAIG/USDF

Sponsored by: Axel Johnson Group 70.000 Euros

1. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) – Don Auriello – 84.075%
2. Patrik Kittel (SWE) – Watermill Scandic H B C – 82.525%
3. Steffen Peters (USA) – Legolas 92 – 80.175%
4. Heather Blitz (USA) – Paragon – 74.900%
5. Lars Petersen (DEN) – Mariett – 73.925%
6. David Marcus (CAN) – Chrevi’s Capital – 70.750%
7. Adrienne Lyle (USA) – Wizard – 68.575%

World Dressage Masters FEI Grand Prix CDI5* 

1. Patrik Kittel (SWE) – Watermill Scandic H B C – 77.681%
2. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) – Don Auriello – 76.851%
3. Steffen Peters (USA) – Legolas 92 – 75.149%
4. Heather Blitz (USA) – Paragon – 74.064%
5. Lars Petersen (DEN) – Mariett – 71.809%
6. Adrienne Lyle (USA) – Wizard – 71.362%
7. David Marcus (CAN) – Chrevi’s Capital -70.660%
8. Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) – Withney van ‘t Genthof – 69.872%
9. Mikala Gundersen (DEN) – My Lady – 68.447%
10. James Koford (USA) – Rhett – 66.383%
11. Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) – D Niro – 66.362%
12. Cheryl Meisner (CAN) – Tango – 65.404%
13. Silvia Rizzo (ITA) – Donnerbube II – 65.255%
14. Diane Creech (CAN) – Devon L – 64.106%
Eliminated – Tina M. Konyot (USA) – Calecto V

FEI Grand Prix Special CDI5* USEF HP 20.000 Euros

1. Mikala Gundersen (DEN) – My Lady – 69.479%
2. James Koford (USA) – Rhett – 67.333%
3. Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) – D Niro – 66.833%
4. Cheryl Meisner (CAN) – Tango – 66.208%
5. Silvia Rizzo (ITA) – Donnerbube 2 – 64.917%

On January 28 and 29th Wellington, Florida hosted the North America Dressage Forum. A two-day educational program featuring four lecturers, six clinicians and 12 panelists. Dressage training techniques for the development of horse and rider are analyzed and presented in both practical and theoretical sessions. Forum topics also include the latest developments in horse management, veterinary practices and sports sciences. Aside from the education, my favorite things that happened during the Forum were running into old friends and making new friends. That’s the beauty of such a gathering.

My favorite suggestions and training tips... “The horses show you what is possible;  a lot of time-outs; I train my horses in the best horsemanship in mind; more balance in the tempe changes; there is a huge knowledge gap, we need to train people to watch dressage knowledgeably; don’t use your strength to compensate for your horse not coming back to you, use it for a temporary fix; counter positing to gain contact; gently forward; rib cage up in position; use all the possibilities of the neck to create positive tension; if the quality of the rhythm gets lost then there is too much bending; pick up speed to get contact; improve the gaits, if you lose the quality – use the inner leg; keep giving the reins to prove the horse is independent; as collection is higher, the connection is lighter.”  Thank you to all these equestrians from all over the world for the time you gave us.

Clinicians:  Ingrid Klimke – Germany , Steffen Peters – USA, Wolfram Wittig – Germany and Rudolf Zeilinger – Germany, Arthur Kottas – Austria and Bo Jena – Sweden will present and demonstrate theories, philosophies and methods on the training and development of dressage horses and riders.Each of these clinicians use one or two riders or horses to demonstrate their technique.

Panelists: Christoph Hess, Stephen Clark, Wim Ernes, Gary Rockwell, Lendon Gray, Sue Blinks, Anne Gribbons, Kathy Connelly, Betsy Steiner, Leslie Reid, Jan Ebeling and Felicitas von Neumann Cosel.

Lecturers: Dr. Hilary Clayton-maintaining soundness in the dressage horse; Dr. Grant Moon-shoeing the competitive dressage horse; Dr. Ina Gosmeier-natural medicine and acupuncture for the sport horse; Dr. Juan Samper-the art and science of breeding a dressage horse.

The mild weather in Florida allows you to enjoy sun shine daily, the temperatures range in the 70 and 80 degrees.

On January 30 and 31st I was able to watch Conrad Schumacher teach his system for 3 hours. Over the years the videos of Conrad teaching riders have played in many stables across the United States. Coming to Wellington enables you a window into the global world of horsemanship. We are so lucky!

How we can make the shows better in Wellington?  Attend them all, compliment the staff and volunteer , send your friends, teach them the basics of Dressage 101, give the kids pictures of the top horses, sign autographs, enter and pay the entry fees, support the shows, volunteer and return every year if only to watch your friends ride their best ride of the day!

and finally desert!

and finally in time for desert!