What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Double Olympic Gold Medalist Charlotte Dujardin Joins Brooke USA as Global Ambassador

February 13, 2015 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro (Photo Courtesy of Brooke USA)

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro (Photo Courtesy of Brooke USA)

Chooses the World’s Largest International Equine Welfare Organization for First Official Charity Partnership

Lexington, KY – February 13, 2015 – Double Olympic Gold Medalist and international Dressage superstar Charlotte Dujardin today announced her first official charity partnership. She has become Global Ambassador for equine welfare charity the Brooke and its American branch, Brooke USA in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Brooke, whose President is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, operates in 11 countries around the world helping to improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules that support the livelihoods of more than 600 million people globally.

Charlotte, named The Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year in 2014, shared the news with her supporters on social media today:

“Today, I officially become Global Ambassador for the Brooke – an incredible charity that is dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in some of the world’s poorest communities. I’m very proud to be associated with a cause that is committed to making a real difference to the lives of animals that are less fortunate than those we have here…. I look forward to sharing more with you soon,” said Charlotte.

Petra Ingram, the Brooke’s Chief Executive, added: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Charlotte into the Brooke family as our new Global Ambassador. We were so impressed with Charlotte’s enthusiasm for the Brooke and her willingness to help, despite how busy she is. Hopefully together we can raise awareness of the issues these working animals face every day of their difficult lives. We are so grateful to Charlotte for giving up her time to this very worthy cause.” The Brooke began operations in Egypt 80 years ago when its founder, Dorothy Brooke, rescued 5,000 former war horses left behind after the First World War. Last year alone the Brooke reached approximately 1.5 million working equines in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, benefiting several million of the world’s poorest people who depend on them.

The Dressage Foundation’s Renee Isler Fund Awards Grant To Stephanie Brown-Beamer

January 09, 2015 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Stephanie Brown Beamer (Photo Courtesy of The Dressage Foundation)

Stephanie Brown-Beamer (Photo Courtesy of The Dressage Foundation)

January 9, 2015 – The Dressage Foundation’s Renee Isler Dressage Support Fund has awarded a $1,000 grant to instructor Stephanie Brown-Beamer (NY) to train her Friesian cross, Gryphon Z, with Pam Goodrich.

Stephanie’s long-term goal is to compete Gryphon Z at Grand Prix, and she hopes that the month-long training with Pam will help her and Gryphon Z to Intermediate Level this year. While she is in Florida, Stephanie will also be volunteering her time in Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids Winter Intensive Training Program.

“I am very excited to spend time with such an incredible horsewoman as Pam, and add to my knowledge and skill set,” said Stephanie. “The more efficient I can become in teaching, the better partnership I will have with my horses and my students.”

Grants are available for young riders and professionals through the Renee Isler Dressage Support Fund. Since 2008, the Renee Isler Dressage Support Fund has provided nearly $40,000 in grants/scholarships to support the further education of the recipients. For more information about this Fund, visit www.dressagefoundation.org or contact Jenny Johnson at (402)434-8585 or jenny@dressagefoundation.org.


The Dressage Foundation
The Dressage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, donor-driven organization that is dedicated to supporting and advancing the sport of dressage. The organization solicits contributions, appropriately allocates the donations, and awards grants and scholarships to dressage riders of all ages and levels. For more information, please visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

Exciting Changes Announced for Washington International Horse Show

August 17, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

FEI CSI4*-W Rating and USEF Heritage Competition
WIHS Official Prize List Now Available Online


Washington, D.C. – July 22, 2014 – The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), the country’s premier metropolitan indoor horse show, announces exciting news in advance of its 56th annual event, which will be held October 21-26, 2014 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The official WIHS Prize List for the 2014 competition is now available online at www.wihs.org.

Layout 1

The 2014 WIHS Prize List is available at www.wihs.org!

The Washington International has received a CSI4*-W rating, one of the highest classifications for an international show jumping competition, by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the world governing body for horse sports. The rating reflects additional prize money for its highest-level show jumping classes, bringing the overall prize money for all divisions to more than half a million dollars.

Conor Swail of Ireland (ranked #33 in the world as of June 30) competed for the first time at WIHS in 2013. As a top international rider, he noted that the increase to a four-star show is important to riders who want to maintain their ranking. He noted, “The ranking points are always very important to us. We want to try and keep in the top 30 in the world. It’s always nice to have a bigger status on the FEI standings.”

WIHS joins an elite group of horse shows in the U.S. with a four-star rating and is one of only a handful of shows designated as a CSI4*-W, a World Cup Qualifier. Points earned in the WIHS $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix count toward eligibility for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, a highly prestigious and competitive championship held each April.

“WIHS is a unique show jumping competition,” said Kent Farrington, winner of last year’s $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix CSI3*-W with Blue Angel. “Being in the city provides incredible atmosphere; it’s great to jump in Verizon Center, and they have great crowds. The additional prize money and FEI World Cup ranking points we get at a four-star event is fantastic.”

Swail agreed, “The coolest thing is that it’s in the center of the city. It’s a beautiful stadium, and everything is so close by. There’s quite nice crowds. It’s quite unusual, unlike any other show I go to. It’s a nice ring to ride in, and the most enjoyable was the costume class.”

Also new this year, FEI horses will be stabled in a dedicated, outdoor tent with larger stalls. “We’re extremely pleased WIHS has made this change in stabling,” said Farrington, a board member of the North American Riders Group. “It makes a big difference knowing that our horses are in a safe, secure environment.”

At its June meeting, the U.S. Equestrian Federation Board of Directors named the Washington International a USEF Heritage Competition, a prestigious designation reserved for long-established shows widely recognized within the sport and with significant involvement in the local community. WIHS joins an impressive list of Heritage shows, including the Devon Horse Show, the Hampton Classic and the National Horse Show.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized as a USEF Heritage Competition. We’re extremely proud of our history and commitment to providing the finest in equestrian sport,” said Victoria Lowell, WIHS President. “We love hosting national and international riders in the nation’s capital and sharing our passion for horses with the local community.”

New for 2014, two cash bonuses will be awarded to riders accumulating the most points in the International Jumper Division. WIHS will present $15,000 to the overall leading international rider, thanks to presenting sponsor The Boeing Company, and a $10,000 bonus, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch, to the overall leading rider 25 years of age or under.

Kent Farrington and Blue Angel won last year's $125,000 President's Cup Grand Prix.

Kent Farrington and Blue Angel won last year’s $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix.

“We have a great longstanding relationship with The Boeing Company,” said Bridget Love Meehan, WIHS Executive Director. “Boeing has helped us build WIHS Military Night on Friday into a powerful program blending exciting competition with recognition of our servicemen and women, and support for our official military charity, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). We’re very pleased Boeing will also sponsor the Leading International Rider bonus this year.”

Swail commented, “The bonus is very nice. If you have a great show, you’re also rewarded a little more than the rest of the riders because you’ve done the best, and your consistency is rewarded.”

The 2014 competition will also feature a new $5,000 leading hunter rider cash bonus, which will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points in the professional hunter divisions. The Young Jumper Championship Incentive Bonus Program, which encourages investment in developing young horses, will return with up to $20,000 at play, thanks to SHF Enterprises.

This year’s members of the Jumper Ground Jury are Ralph Alfano, Wellington, FL, president; Neil O’Connor, Southampton, NY, member; and John Taylor, Mono, Ontario, Canada, foreign member. Hunter and equitation judges are Linda Hough, Wellington, FL; Jimmy Torano, Southwest Ranches, FL, Philip De Vita, Apopka, FL, and Mark Leone (equitation), Franklin Lakes, NJ. Course designers are Kenneth Krome, Westminster, MD (Hunter) and Anthony D’Ambrosio, Red Hook, NY, (Jumper).

The 56th annual Washington International Horse Show will be held October 21-26, 2014, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Find out more by downloading the 2014 WIHS Prize List at www.wihs.org. Entries close Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

About the Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
An equestrian tradition since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is the country’s premier metropolitan indoor horse show. Each October, more than 500 world-class horses and riders, including Olympic medalists, arrive in Washington for six days of exciting show jumping and hunter competition. Highlights include the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix (a World Cup qualifier), the Puissance (high jump) and the WIHS Equitation Finals, an important goal for top American junior riders. Exciting equestrian exhibitions, boutique shopping and community activities, such as Kids’ Day and Breakfast with the Mounted Police, round out this family-friendly event. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group.

Since its debut, WIHS has been a Washington, D.C. institution attended by celebrities, business, military and diplomatic leaders, as well as countless horse enthusiasts of all ages. Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Christoph Hess and Linda Parelli Create The Scale of Training in Action DVD Series

August 02, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Pagosa Springs, CO- (July 30, 2014)– Dressage training is systematic and based on the classical training scale, but often it is a complex task for riders to assimilate the training scale into their day-to-day riding programs. To help riders and trainers incorporate these principles into their riding programs, Linda Parelli of Parelli Natural Horsemanship and acclaimed FEI dressage judge and trainer Christoph Hess have developed and released their latest collaborative educational DVD, The Scale of Training in Action. Devoted to accurately depicting and explaining the application of the classical training scale, The Scale of Training in Action walks viewers through daily training sessions with horses and riders at various points in their training, all while applying the training scale to their work. The horse and rider combinations in the DVD series include a rider just starting out in dressage, an accomplished FEI level competitor, Linda Parelli and her own horse (who are developing impulsion and thrust in their dressage work), and an accomplished eventer and his young horse.

As a core philosophy in dressage, the training scale’s progressive system of concepts should be established in the horse and rider in successive order. Because of this, correct training in the beginning is essential to long-term success, and riders from all disciplines can benefit from following its ordered structure: rhythm, relaxation, contact, impulsion, straightness, and collection. Using exercises to improve each horse and rider’s overall connection, Hess coaches Liz Jones, Tik Maynard, Linda Parelli, and Mette Larsen through two lessons apiece. Parelli also brings her own unique insight on the importance of equine psychology and how it can be applied to the classical training scale, creating an invaluable source of information for riders across a variety of disciplines.


linda parelli

Christoph Hess and Linda Parelli (Photo courtesy of Parelli Natural Horsemanship)

“In my point of view, the training scale is a proper guide for schooling and training a horse,” says Hess. “Horses that are trained strictly in proper training are ridden correctly in the sense of biomechanics, are matured within their personality, and fulfill the required tasks with joy, good elasticity, and economics of movement. I recommend riders and trainers stick to the criteria of the training scale, regardless of their personal level of riding and their objectives. It will serve them every time.”

Hess and Parelli have a long history of collaboration. Both were headline presenters at the 2013 Dressage Summit in Wellington, Florida, a groundbreaking event that featured the top minds in classical horsemanship and natural horsemanship. Additionally, they worked together to produce Parts I and II of their Scale of Training DVD series in 2012. The Scale of Training in Action continues this legacy of good basics, classical horsemanship, and the natural methods developed by the Parellis to bring a more harmonious experience to riders and trainers across the world.

“Christoph Hess is one of the most positive, passionate teachers I have ever encountered,” says Linda Parelli. “His interest in how Parelli works to get horses more calm, connected and responsive mirrors many of his goals for horses and riders incorporating the training scale. Together our goal is to entice more riders into dressage from the natural horsemanship world, increase the dressage rider’s feeling of success and growth, and underline how powerful the training scale is when you understand how to use it”.


linda 2

Christoph Hess and Linda Parelli during one of the lessons featured in the Scale of Training in Action DVD. (Photo courtesy of Parelli Natural Horsemanship)

For more information on The Scale of Training in Action, call 855-PARELLI or visit http://www.shop.parelli.com or YouTube:  tinyurl.com/q3wwkbe



Interagro Lusitanos Offers Handpicked Selection of Exceptional Geldings

July 28, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Itapira, Brazil (July 25, 2014) – Horses from Interagro Lusitanos’ farm in Itapira, Brazil have made their mark with equestrians across the globe, as their athleticism and trainability is matched by their beauty and willingness to work.  Interagro’s long tradition of preserving the purest Lusitano bloodlines and exporting exceptional horses continues with the debut of a number of exceptional geldings now offered for sale.  Due to increasing demand for geldings in the international market place, Interagro has introduced a selection of Lusitanos to meet this demand.  Each horse has been hand selected by Interagro’s team of professionals according to their temperament, movement, and suitability for chosen discipline.

Interagro’s first crop of geldings were handpicked in 2013 from hundreds of superbly bred Lusitanos for their potential as sporthorses for dressage, working equitation, and driving.  Dior Interagro, a stunning dapple grey by Nirvana Interagro and out of Novela Interagro, brings all the presence and movement required in an FEI prospect.  Three naturally uphill paces are one of the hallmarks of Interagro’s selections.  These sought after gaits are combined with the beauty of the Lusitano for an impressive overall package.  Ferrabosco Interagro, a 5-year-old by Tufão Interagro and out of Baiuca Interagro, exhibits the stunning golden buckskin coloring and active hindleg that will make him a showstopper.  Galdor Interagro (Ofensor MV x Umbelina Interagro), is another exceptional prospect, both he and Ferrabosco are progressing well and showing talent for working equitation.  Fauno Interagro (Nirvana Interagro x Ninfelta Interagro), has demonstrated exceptional talent in dressage.  His uphill movement and compact, powerful build will make success in the dressage or working equitation arenas easy for their riders.  Canaletto Interagro (Nirvana Interagro x Ximbica Interagro), a powerful dapple grey, demonstrates excellent gaits and has been in training with Grand Prix dressage rider Pia Aragão.  He has shown aptitude for driving and is preparing to debut in competition next year.

While also being a top choice for professional riders in Brazil as well as aboad, the Interagro Lusitano has marked itself as an exceptional mount for amateurs.  Their ease and poise both under saddle and in harness are what have made the Interagro Lusitano an increasingly popular competition mount.  Their naturally uphill builds and overall strength have made them a preferred ride for dressage, with many amateurs taking them to the FEI levels.  Interagro Lusitanos are also making strides in working equitation, a growing sport in Brazil and the United States which focuses on the agility, quick wittedness, and stamina required by both horse and rider while working on a farm.  Interagro’s horses and riders have excelled in both disciplines, as well as in driving, jumping, and endurance.

Interagro is a unique experience for any visitor, but especially for those looking to take home a new mount. Buyers will not only be able to view prospects individually, but also have the chance to study sires, dams, siblings, and relatives going back generations.  Because of their close relationship with Interagro’s owners and knowledge of the breed, Interagro’s dedicated staff have insight into the geneologies and history of each of the Interagro bloodlines.  This kind of multifaceted knowledge of temperament, conformation, movement and overall suitability for various disciplines can help buyers be sure they are selecting the perfect Lusitano from Interagro’s vast herd.

Interagro’s website gives a sampling of Lusitanos currently for sale, including their selection of geldings as well as stallions. To view the horses Interagro has for sale, visit their website at http://www.lusitano-interagro.com/sale.htm.

Founded in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga to preserve the Lusitano breed, Interagro Lusitanos is the world’s largest breeder and exporter of Lusitano horses. Dr. Gonzaga started with a small band of four mares and one stallion imported to Brazil from the breed’s native Portugal, and since that first generation has produced more than 2,185 Lusitanos. Today, 450 horses populate Interagro’s 1200-acre, six-barn showplace ranch (which has appeared on the covers of 21 international magazines). In 2009, Interagro was recognized as ABPSL ‘Lusitano Breeder of the Year.’

To learn more about Interagro Lusitanos, the Lusitano breed, and upcoming auctions and events, please visit www.lusitano-interagro.com.  To contact Interagro’s US Sales Representative, Peter van Borst, about horses for sale and his services, contact him via email at Capall9336@aol.com or by phone at 817-368-9447.



The Dressage Foundation Awards Three Grants from Elysium Farm Fund for U.S. Breeder Excellence

July 09, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

July 7, 2014- The Dressage Foundation is pleased to announce three grant recipients of its Elysium Farm Fund for U.S. Breeder Excellence; Gigha Steinman of River Oaks Farm (FL), Barbara Cadwell (FL), and Jessica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche of Signature Sport Horses (NC).

The Elysium Farm Fund for U.S. Breeder Excellence, established at The Dressage Foundation in 2011 by Abbey Henderson, owner of Elysium Farm (MA), provides financial assistance to breeders to pursue educational opportunities related to breeding that will advance their careers, promote sound breeding practices and further enhance the quality of U.S.-bred dressage horses.

Gigha Steinman and Lexington 6

Gigha Steinman and Lexington 6

Gigha Steinman of River Oaks Farm and Breeding Director and Registrar of the Friesian Sporthorse Association was awarded $500 to attend the USDF Sport Horse Seminar hosted by Iron Spring Farm. Gigha says, “I’m excited at the opportunity not only to increase my own knowledge, but also to share what I learn through my role as the Friesian Sporthorse Association’s Breeding Director, as well as applying what I learn to my own breeding program.” Gigha intends to contribute to the growth and development of the Friesian Sporthorse and produce quality, talented FEI dressage prospects.

Barbara Cadwell

Barbara Cadwell

Barbara Cadwell was awarded $1,000 to attend the USEF “Verden Experience” at the FEI World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses in Germany. She is one of six U.S. breeders that were selected to attend this program, led by Scott Hassler and Janet Foy. “It is especially gratifying to be an Adult Amateur and be selected for this program,” said Barbara. “Thank you to The Dressage Foundation for its assistance in making this possible.” Barbara and her mother, Anne Barlow Ramsay, have operated a breeding farm in Wisconsin for the past 25 years.

Jessica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche with foal

Jessica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche with foal

Jessica Stallings and Jennifer DesRoche of Signature Sporthorses received $1,000 to attend the 2014 Oldenburg Winter Meeting in Vechta, Germany. This program offers visits to various breeding farms, along with lectures geared towards training of the young horse. “Better developed young stock would provide buyers in this country with comparable animals to which they would find overseas, which will strengthen U.S. based buying,” Jessica stated. Signature Sporthorses has been breeding since 2001 with over 40 foals to date. “We hope to bring back the knowledge we gain for other breeders in the U.S. to support the mission of the fund.”

Applications will again be received in 2015, with a due date of May 1st. Further information about the Elysium Farm Fund for U.S. Breeder Excellence is available at The Dressage Foundation website, www.dressagefoundation.org or call (402) 434-8585.


The Dressage Foundation

 The Dressage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, donor-driven organization that is dedicated to supporting and advancing the sport of dressage. The organization solicits contributions, appropriately allocates the donations, and awards grants and scholarships to dressage riders of all ages and levels. For more information, please visit www.dressagefoundation.org.


Valiant’s Legacy Lives On with the Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award During the American Horse Publications’ Annual Award

July 03, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'


South Daytona, FL – July 1, 2014 – The relationship between horse and human is one that has held strong throughout the centuries. For Jeanette Sassoon of PoloGear®, one horse tugged at her heartstrings more than most: a blind dressage horse named Valiant. Valiant wasn’t always a champion dressage horse competing with the best of the best on a national and international level in Wellington, FL. After he went blind he ever so slowly rehabilitated his body and mind and regained his trust with the unconditional love and care of his owner. He never recovered his sight but through the eyes of his human companion he surpassed all expectations of ever reaching a normal life-he reached the impossible dream by anyone’s standards. Sassoon was invited to the 2014 American Horse Publications Annual Awards Banquet, where she presented Silke Rottermann with the Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award, sponsored by Luipold Animal Health, manufacturers of Adequan® (Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan.)

The Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award was presented on behalf of the blind dressage horse that has captured the hearts of thousands. Valiant passed away in November 2013, but he left a legacy and the quintessential example of the human-horse bond between him and his beloved owner, Sassoon. The award was presented for its second of three consecutive years to the author of the article that best promoted the relationship between horse and human, and this year Rottermann stepped into the spotlight to claim the award for her Dressage Today article, “The Legendary Balagur.”

Adequan's Allyn Mann, Editor of Dressage Today Jennifer Mellace and PoloGear's Jeanette Sassoon Photo by: Diana DeRosa

Adequan’s Allyn Mann, Editor of Dressage Today Jennifer Mellace and PoloGear’s Jeanette Sassoon
Photo by: Diana DeRosa

Sassoon stated, “Valiant’s message of hope and inspiration transcends all equine disciplines, all geographic locations, all people and all periods of time. His story is an example of how all types of relationships work best, without confrontation and without force and with the right intention coming from honesty. Acceptance of what life offers, and understanding there are lessons to learn from all these trials and tribulations, was an important personal awareness of our journey together.”

The AHP Annual Awards Contest included 171 award presentations with over 50 categories, 736 entries and 97 contestants. Of the original numbers, 64 became finalists and 38 rose to the pinnacle of the awards. Rotterman, of Germany, was thrilled to receive the honor, although she was unable to attend the event.

She accepted the honor with these words of appreciation and gratitude: “Having been awarded the Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award from the American Horse Publications is a great honor in itself. Having been awarded this honor for a text on such a very special animal like Balagur makes it all the sweeter.”

“I would like to thank the judge very much for appreciating and acknowledging the lifetime achievements of this horse, which is owed, in no uncertain part, to the late George Theodorescu,” continued Rottermann. “For me this story showed that there are no limits for a horse as long as somebody believes in him and creates that special rapport, which really can give a horse proverbial wings. Balagur and Mr. Theodorescu have taught us all an important lesson with their story.”

Sassoon owned Valiant’s dam and sire, and raised her beloved Valiant from birth, working with him as a colt. She began to examine his potential in the competition world. When she turned to expert opinions, a prominent German dressage trainer informed her that he was “too small and crazy – get rid of him now,” and the veterinarian who did his pre-purchase veterinary exam thought he could have a degenerative neurological disorder. Reflecting back on it, Sassoon said, “With Valiant I guess I was always meant to be challenged and I finally realized the way our story unfolded allowed growth to take place in me as a human being. It’s not just a physical and mental growth, it’s all about trying to understand who I am and what I am suppose to be doing with my life to become more fulfilled and peaceful. I guess it’s about sharing and looking for not only ‘answers’ but looking for ‘questions’ as well…never giving up because there is always more to learn, to do, to share and to give back again and again. It’s that ‘circle of life’ that the Native Americans tell of…the journey of life never ends, it just connects and continues.”

Jeanette Sassoon and Valiant

Jeanette Sassoon and Valiant

Not too long after Valiant’s dressage evaluation and pre-purchase diagnosis, Jeanette relocated from California to Florida. One day, while walking to the ring, Valiant stepped on a horseshoe nail. That one impeding step was the start of a new journey for Sassoon and Valiant.

The veterinarian was called and the sole of Valiant’s foot was thoroughly cleaned and medicated to prevent infection. Penicillin was administered and prescribed for five days. A few days later, abscesses developed where the injections were given on both sides of Valiant’s neck. Sassoon noticed his eyes were cloudy at the center near the pupil. To this day it is a mystery as to what actually caused this infection, but it raged on, nearly killing her beautiful black gelding. Valiant had the worst form of uveitis or “Moon Blindness.”

The bacteria traveled to Valiant’s eyes from the abscesses on his neck, and his eyes clouded over within days. Sassoon and Valiant soon faced life’s next challenge in their entangled web: life without sight. Sassoon was faced with two options. The specialists told her Valiant would never see again, she could turn him out in a pasture without trees the rest of his life or put him down.

“I felt lost and helpless,” Sassoon said. “I couldn’t replace his sight but I knew somehow I could give him a good life. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but after Gary, my then-fiancé and now husband, said, ‘He’s not lame, is he?’ the answer appeared. Gary was right. Valiant was healthy in every way except he couldn’t

At that moment Sassoon entered on one of the most heartwarming journeys of the equestrian world, being Valiant’s eyes. She decided without hesitation that there was only one option: she would somehow provide a good life and care for him. At first just getting him over his life threatening infection with relentless focus and hour after hour round the clock care was paramount. Then getting him used to living without sight and retraining even the most basic life tasks was the priority.

Jeanette Sassoon and Valiant perform at the USET Festival of Champions

Jeanette Sassoon and Valiant perform at the USET Festival of Champions

“Riding him ever again was not even in my realm of consideration or focus as it just wasn’t important but saving his life and the quality of that life was,” Sassoon said. “At the same time, in the back of my mind I always felt at some point in our lives we would again ride together and I never gave up that glimmer of a dream.”


Year after year Sassoon amazed the specialists, family and friends as she patiently and lovingly worked to train Valiant to the highest level of dressage that was possible for her mount, and she did, taking him to the international level of Prix St. Georges winning tough competitions at 4th level along the way, and finally at 25 years young, Valiant finishing in 6th place out of 15 international competitors at Prix St. Georges in the 2012 Wellington dressage festival. Although her 27-year-old gelding passed away in November of last year, he is still remembered and his legacy currently lives on through the Valiant Human-Animal Bond Award and the profound words and ideas of journalists, such as Rotterdam, who can express the bond between horse and human.

“The morning before Valiant passed away, I stood alone with him in his stall at Palm Beach Equine Clinic. My eyes were closed and my hands were laid on his body. Subliminally I was asking Valiant for clarity and guidance in my life,” Sassoon described. “I was feeling very low and disheartened with his prognosis and felt our time together was coming to an end. I also knew there was something I was still missing, and I didn’t know what it was, but I was feeling confused and uneasy. After settling down a bit I felt through his body he was giving me the key to our journey together and whatever happened to him to remember this message and always live it.”

He told Sassoon to “Believe”–To believe in herself, their journey together and in God.



With this message Valiant told Sassoon that all things are possible if you just “believe” you can and go forward with courage and determination and just listen to that inner voice urging you onward.

“This message unlocked my confusion and opened a new inner strength for me to carry on,” Sassoon said. “After a few minutes I thanked him and emotionally rushed to my car to call Allyn Mann, the director of Adequan and a very close friend of many years because of Valiant and his story. Allyn truly understood the physical relationship Valiant and I shared but more importantly the spiritual one as well. I felt a strong need to speak with him and he helped me gain composure and clarity during probably one of the most difficult times of my life. He told me of the important work we had done together and he said that Valiant’s life work needs and will live on and we will be filled with joy of the many hearts touched by him now and into the future. I instinctively knew at that moment of realization of Valiant’s message to ‘Believe’, our life together was divinely encapsulated into that one word “Believe” and his work was finally done and he was free to move on. Thank you, Valiant.”

Valiant may be gone and certainly will be remembered through the Valiant Human Animal Bond Award but his best buddy and stablemate ‘Cherokee,’ who is also blind, was passed the torch and will carry on in Valiant’s memory and legacy.

Jeanette Sassoon and Cherokee

Jeanette Sassoon and Cherokee

PoloGear® has been a staple in the Wellington equestrian community since 1993. They offer top of the line apparel and design, as well as premier saddles offering their patented Free Shoulder Saddles™. Always seeking more avenues to best serve clients and their horses’ needs, PoloGear® recently joined forces with Trilogy’s Debbie Witty, creating Performance Saddlery, a division of PoloGear®, in an effort to expand nationally and utilize Witty’s expertise to take saddle design to the next level. In addition to selling the proven Trilogy® saddles the national force of Performance Saddlery fitters will also be selling the Verhan saddle line as well as all the PoloGear® Teamshop™ products.

PoloGear’s dedication to quality and attention to detail is never lost in their production. For more information on PoloGear® USA and to order products, visit www.PoloGearusa.com.


Adrienne Lyle Receives Patsy Albers Award From The Dressage Foundation

July 01, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Adrienne Lyle

Adrienne Lyle-photo credit to SusanJStickle.com


July 1, 2014 – The Dressage Foundation has announced that Adrienne Lyle is the recipient of the 2014 Patsy Albers Award, established in 2012 in special remembrance of Patsy. The $500 award provides financial support for continuing education and training to a High Performance rider.

Adrienne Lyle, of Hailey, Idaho, is a Grand Prix competitor riding Wizard, a 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Parry and Peggy Thomas. The team placed fourth in the Grand Prix Division at the USEF High Performance Championships held at the Festival of Champions on June 12-15, 2014. The Patsy Albers Award is given to the highest placing Grand Prix rider at the Championships who also competed for the U.S. at a previous North American Junior/Young Rider Championship.

“I am very honored to receive the Patsy Albers Award,” said Adrienne.  “Her dedication and passion for dressage touched so many. I hope to always radiate the same enthusiasm for the sport that she did.  I am honored to receive this award in her memory.”

Patsy Albers, one of the nation’s best known figures at dressage shows across the country, passed away in October 2012.  She was a longtime supporter and Chef d’Equipe of the North American Junior/Young Rider Championship (NAJYRC) Region 1 team.  She was also very involved at the prestigious Dressage at Devon where she served for many years as the FEI Event Director.  Her expertise also extended into management, officiating, and volunteering, for which she was honored multiple times. “Patsy was a Region 1 delegate for as long as I can remember,” said Janine Malone, a close friend of Patsy’s who established the Award at The Dressage Foundation. “I knew she would want to support riders who had come up through the ranks, competing at the NAJYRC and going on to the Festival of Champions.”


For more information about the Patsy Albers Award or The Dressage Foundation, please contact Jenny Johnson at (402) 434-8585, by email at jenny@dressagefoundation.org, or visit www.dressagefoundation.org.


The Dressage Foundation

The Dressage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, donor-driven organization that is dedicated to supporting and advancing the sport of dressage. The organization solicits contributions, appropriately allocates the donations, and awards grants and scholarships to dressage riders of all ages and levels. For more information, please visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

George H. Morris Gladstone Program at Annali-Brookwood Farm Completed As Riders and Program Developers Eagerly Move Forward

July 01, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Antioch, IL – June 30, 2014 – The George H. Morris Gladstone Training Session at Annali-Brookwood Farm, organized by Diane Carney has come to a close, but riders who participated in the session are more motivated than ever to take the next steps to get on a team USA list.

The six-day training session included daily riding sessions with Morris and afternoons packed with industry experts who shared their knowledge with the ten riders who were hand picked by Morris. The riders were Caitie Hope of Barrington, IL, Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, IL, Stephen Foran from Lake Forest, IL, Hunter Holloway from Topeka, KS, Courtney Frederick of Longmont, CO, Ashley Stannard from Tuscon, AZ, Adrienne Dixon of Hillsborouogh, CA, KC Van Aarem of Wheaton, MD, Lindsay Lamb, Tulsa, OK and Caroline McLeese from Omaha, NE.

horse badge


Morris’ sessions emphasized basic dressage and straightness of the horse along with utilizing the power of the inside hind leg. Olympian Anne Kursinski gave a demonstration on correct flatwork during the first day of the training session, giving riders an example to follow for their future training. The riders were put through gymnastic exercises all week and a no stirrups session to prepare for the final day, which the riders referred to as “The Grand Prix of Brookwood.” The difficult course asked questions of the horses and riders that they were given the skills for throughout the week. The goal was clean rounds, just what a Chef d’Equipe is looking for when choosing a team.

George H. Morris

George H. Morris

Besides Morris, the training session was filled with top-notch experts beginning with Carney, who has organized the Chicago George Morris clinic for over 25 years, competed with Morris as a young professional and has shown repeatedly and successfully in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows, as well as organized groups of riders to show there since 1989. Carney is about quality and correctness from the barn to the ring and her lifetime of professional connections certainly brought A-team players to the program.

Another bonus to the session was Diane Langer, the Developing Riders Chef d’Equipe. Her presence alone added to the credibility and seriousness of the program.  Langer’s presentation on the “Process for Team Selection,” provided for a valuable question/answer session with the young riders. During her time there, Langer met with riders one on one to help them establish a road map for getting on a team list. She also presented “How to Do the FEI Jog,” which as simple as it may seem, had more than meets the eye for the riders.

“This is one of the best clinics I’ve been to,” said Langer. “I know Diane Carney is absolutely passionate about this sport and if she’s going to put on a clinic, it’s worth going to.”

Langer not only gave information but also received valuable information from the riders regarding The Young Riders Program and the process of the team applications. Attending the clinic allowed Langer to meet riders who are interested in competing for the United States and see their abilities first hand.

Chef d'Equipe of the Developing Riders Program Diane Langer

Chef d’Equipe of the Developing Riders Program Diane Langer

Behind the scenes, Dr. Mark Cassells of Homestead Veterinary Clinic, St. Louis, MO was accessible to the riders and horses 24/7. Dr. Cassells not only made sure horses were healthy, sound and well cared for, but also spent hours at the end of the day with curious riders who asked questions and wanted to be hands on with Dr. Cassells. He showed them the app, Horseanatomy3D, and graciously went over each horse individually with the rider.

“They are just so eager for information,” said Dr. Cassells. “We talked about stem cells and injections and answered a lot of their questions.”

Laurie Pitts was the barn manager for the program. Pitts, of Goochland, VA, was also the barn manager for the George H. Morris Horsemastership Program in Wellington this past winter. Parents, trainers and owners were prohibited from the barn area so riders could stay focused without distraction and problem solve on their own, having the ultimate responsibility for their horse. Pitts worked with riders to get them to understand they need a program for success in the barn as well as in the tack. Pitts mentioned horses that are treated well know it and feel like they are champions.

In addition to the core people making the clinic happen, the afternoon presentations provided in depth information with humor, rider participation and open question and answer periods. On the first day, Brenda Mueller from Phelps Media Group/Chicago Equestrian presented “How to Talk to the Media” with a mock press conference putting riders in the hot seat and teaching them how to handle it. The message of social media accountability was not only addressed on the first day, but on each day of the clinic as Mueller checked each rider’s Facebook accounts and ended the weeklong session with individual interviews for practice.

Dr. G. Marvin Beeman of Littleton Equine Medical Center from Denver, CO, gave an amazing presentation on the second and third days, which gave everyone in the room a lesson on “Conformation, Form and Function.”  Dr. Beeman is the veterinarian behind the success of the Olympic horse Calypso and rider Melanie Smith Taylor. Dr. Beeman related the information to Morris’ riding sessions earlier in the day so riders could understand the topic better. He also used photos of Calypso to illustrate major points.



Hunter Holloway

Hunter Holloway

Dr. Beeman is also a horseman dedicated to horses and the industry like both Morris and Carney. It is evident in the way he speaks and the look in his eye that he has a love of the sport and a love for the horses. Dr. Beeman was a perfect fit for the program and inspiration to everyone in the room.

The fourth day brought world-class farrier Bill Liggett from Woodstock, IL, to share his knowledge of shoeing and caulks. Liggett also used Morris’ information that was emphasized to the riders regarding the power of the inside hind leg and the importance of footing and traction.

Having the collection of top professionals at the session, only added to the perspective of the topic. The entire group walked out to the field where the riders would be jumping, to assess the footing first hand and decide what caulks would be the best. Again, an open question and answer scenario provided riders the opportunity to get their specific concerns on the topic addressed.

Caroline McLeese

Caroline McLeese

On the fifth day, equine legal expert Yvonne Ocrant did the presentation. Riders were impressed with the information provided by on the liability and insurance of their businesses or future businesses. There was particular interest in the discussion on how to set up syndicates.

The final day brought standing room only for auditors as the week long training was put to the test. A friendly competition between the two teams of riders added to the team spirit that seems to be missing from much of the team competitions in this point and time.

In the wrap up interviews, riders were extremely grateful for being chosen to participate in the program and walked away with inspiration and knowledge to get them to the next level and closer to a spot on a U.S. team. It was a general consensus that more programs like these need to be available to young riders seeking the education to be better riders and horseman and to understand the process to someday compete internationally for the United States.

Riders headed home to sign up for dressage lessons, fine tune their show schedules and stay connected with each other with a book of the month club to expand their knowledge. They left the Gladstone Program as better horseman, better riders and have an increased inspiration for the sport. Carney and Dr. Cassells stayed in touch with the riders making sure they arrived at their next location safely with horses in great shape.


Gladstone Program

Without the USET Foundation and Morris, the Gladstone Program would not be possible. Thank you also to Diane Langer for taking the time with young riders and for helping to set the course for them to follow for the benefit of our future teams. Special thanks goes to Rush and Caroline Weeden for the use of their beautiful facility and to Carney for providing the funding to make the session possible. Young riders across the country look forward to more sessions like these.

For more information on the Gladstone Program, contact Sara Ike at sara.ike@uset.org.

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation. 

To make a donation to support the Gladstone Program, please click here .

For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE atwww.uset.org.

British break records with world number one slots in all three Olympic disciplines

May 14, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

British riders have broken all-time records, occupying the world number one slots in all three Olympic equestrian disciplines. This is the first time that athletes from one nation have simultaneously topped the FEI World Rankings in Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing.

In the latest rankings published by the FEI, Scott Brash heads the Longines Rankings in Jumping, Charlotte Dujardin heads the FEI World Individual Dressage Rankings, and William Fox-Pitt tops the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings.

“To be the first country whose athletes have simultaneously been world number one in the three Olympic disciplines since the FEI Rankings began in 2002 is a truly outstanding achievement,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said.

“Congratulations to Scott Brash, Charlotte Dujardin, and William Fox-Pitt for their remarkable performances, and also to their trainers, owners, grooms, support crews, veterinarians, the British Equestrian Federation, and the British Olympic Association. And, of course, I would like to pay a very special tribute to the talented horses that are an integral part of the success story in British equestrian sport.”


Photo caption: Scott Brash (GBR), pictured here at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014 riding Ursula XII, heads the Longines Rankings in Jumping. ©FEI/Arnd Bornkhorst

Scott Brash, the youngest member of Britain’s London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal team, jumped into the world number one spot in the Longines Rankings in December 2013 and has held the position ever since. With 3,266 points, the 28-year-old from Peebles in Scotland is ahead of fellow countryman Ben Maher (2,830 points), and Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum (2,799). Beerbaum and Brash claimed second and third places behind Daniel Deusser (GER) in last month’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Lyon (FRA).


Photo caption: Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro, pictured at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2014, head the FEI World Individual Dressage Rankings. ©FEI/Arnd Bornkhorst

Charlotte Dujardin (28) and the 12-year old bay gelding Valegro became the first British partnership to head the FEI World Dressage Rankings in September 2012 following their double Olympic gold at the London Olympic Games. The combination reclaimed world number one status last September and have now been in pole position since the beginning of the year. Dujardin and Valegro, winners of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Lyon, are also the FEI Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special, and Grand Prix Freestyle record holders.

Dujardin and Valegro lead the FEI Dressage Rankings with 3,138 points ahead of Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW (2,917 points), and Edward Gal (NED) and Glock’s Undercover (2,702 points).


William Fox Pitt World Eventing Number One
Photo caption: William Fox-Pitt (GBR), multiple Olympic, World and European Eventing medallist, pictured here at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is now leading the FEI World Eventing Rankings. © FEI/Jacques Toffi/Arnd Bronkhorst.

William Fox-Pitt, multiple Olympic, World and European medallist, and the first British rider to top the FEI World Eventing Rankings in 2002, took over as world number one at the beginning of the month. Triple Olympic team medallist Fox-Pitt (44), who this week bids for a Badminton victory to add to last month’s win in Kentucky, has a 16-point advantage over Andrew Nicholson (NZL), with Bruce O. Davidson Jr. (USA) third in the world rankings.

“This is another historic first for equestrian sport in Great Britain and is wonderful proof of the skill of our riders, the dedication of the owners and staff, as well as the support provided by the Lottery-funded World Class Programme,” British World Class Performance Manager Will Connell said.

“Of course ranking lists are a record of what has already happened, but now all of us are focused on the competitions ahead and especially on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy.”

View the FEI Rankings in the three Olympic disciplines here:
Longines Rankings
FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking
FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings

Photo caption (attached image): British riders have broken all-time records, occupying the world number one slots in all three Olympic equestrian disciplines. Pictured from left: Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, leaders of the FEI World Individual Dressage Rankings; Scott Brash, world number one on the Longines Rankings, aboard Ursula XII; and William Fox-Pitt, who tops the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings, pictured here at the London 2012 Olympic Games riding Lionheart. © FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst and Jacques Toffi.

FEI Photo Catalogue: Free images for editorial purposes are available for download at www.feiphotos.org.

Media contacts:
Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 33