Charlotte Bredahl was a member of the 1992 bronze medal U.S. Olympic dressage team in Barcelona riding Monsieur. In 1997, she was part of the silver–winning team at the North American Championship on Lugano. She trained both horses from the start. Charlotte is a USEF (S) judge and FEI 4* judge who has judged all over the world. Three years ago, she was appointed USEF Assistant Youth Coach and now dedicates most of her time to coaching. She recently purchased a home in Wellington, Florida, where she plans to spend winters. Do you have a question you want Charlotte to answer? Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last winter I spent the season in Wellington, Florida, and one of my regular students was Kerrigan Gluch. I met Kerrigan when Kim Van Kampen asked me to teach several clinics for the PRE Association. Kerrigan worked for Hampton Green Farm where one of the clinics was held. Dani Martin Dockx, who has been Kim’s trainer for years, happened to be there at the same time and watched me teach. After the clinic, he suggested to Kim that I should fill in for him, since he is based in Spain and not able to travel that often to the U.S.
I was happy for the opportunity and started teaching at Hampton Green Farm three times a week. I worked with Kerrigan and Maria Lithander, who also trains for Kim. It turned out to be a great season and Kerrigan was very successful on Kim’s PRE stallion Bolero. Because of Kerrigan’s success, she was invited to compete in the U25 division in Europe. Kim asked me to go as her trainer and I was excited to do it.
We met up at the beautiful Jewel Court Stud Farm in Belgium. This was also the base for six of the seven short-listed riders. In the beginning, it was Adrienne Lyle, Kasey Perry, Ashley Holzer and Steffen Peters. A little later Laura Graves and Olivia LaGoy Weltz joined them. The first week we were there, George Williams was also there with Callie Jones, Anna Weniger and Ben Ebeling. They were headed to Hagen the following week as part of the Young Rider European Tour. This was an amazing opportunity for them as well as for Kerrigan and our other U25 rider, Natalie Pai. Every day they had the opportunity to watch and learn from these top riders. Kim Van Kampen is the founder of Discover dressage (www.discoverdressage) and one of our biggest supporters of youth and youth programs. Thank you for making this trip possible.
I loved watching and learning. Debbie McDonald was coaching Adrienne, Kasey, Laura and Ashley on a daily basis and it was exciting to see them progress. Every session was videotaped and analyzed afterwards. It was great to see the commitment all the riders put into their riding, their horse care and their own personal fitness. All horses were ridden, hand walked and turned out on grass every day.
Ice boots and magnetic blankets were also part of the daily routine for some. Debbie and I worked out at the gym every day, but couldn’t quite keep up with Adrienne and Kasey — they are unbelievably fit. Steffen also worked out on a regular basis. He brought three horses as well as their own physio, Tom Meyers. Tom is great and at times would help out with other horses and on occasion a rider. Including Natalie Pai when she sprained her ankle two days before Aachen.
I was very impressed by the incredible team spirit and trust among all the riders. You would never have guessed the six of them were fighting for four spots on the World Equestrian Games (WEG) team. Shelly Francis was also on the short list, but based at another farm. She joined us at the shows and did great. We went to three shows that were considered observation events for the WEG and at those shows Robert Dover would come and work closely with Debbie. Managing director Hallye Griffin and team vet Cricket Russillo were also there.
Hallye is in charge of just about everything and does an amazing job. Cricket oversees all the horses during competition and does a very thorough examination the day after each show. Not only is she an amazing vet, she also has the ability to work closely with the riders’ personal vets at home. It truly takes a village, and in our case, phenomenal team spirit.
I was so glad to see it firsthand and so happy Kerrigan and Natalie were able to experience it all and have amazing role models to look up to. They both did very well at the shows and put in mostly mistake-free tests. The last show was Aachen, which was an incredible success for the U.S. team and all our riders. In the Nations Cup, the team of Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, Adrienne Lyle and Steffen Peters won silver behind Germany with fantastic performances. In the CDI 4*, Steffen Peters, Shelly Francis and Olivia Lagoy-Weltz all did great, too. Next month I will dedicate the column to our week in Aachen.
The Dutta Corporation USA Dressage Team has been announced for the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon 2018: Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, Steffen Peters and Adrienne Lyle. Olivia Lagoy-Weltz is the alternate. I am so happy for all of them and wish them the best of luck.