Category Archives: Horsemen

This One’s For Switzerland

As you may have heard, the Swiss ended their 88-year long stagnant streak in the individual show jumping portion of the London 2012 Olympics.

It’s a pretty big deal

Image courtesy of Vaterland.li

Swiss rider Steve Guerdat rode the talented Nino des Buissonnets to win the individual gold medal. Guerdat’s success was the first in over 88 years, the last individual gold from a Swiss rider was in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

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Horse Dancing for Breast Cancer

Pictured: Julio Mendoza of Mendoza Dressage. Image courtesy of Friesians Direct.

Julio Mendoza of Mendoza Dressage is renowned for his talent with horses. Whether it is performing the “garrocha” or more traditional dressage maneuvers, it demonstrates a high level of professionalism and talent. On June 23rd, he will perform for the Potomac Valley Dressage Association Ride for Life’s Dancing Horse Challenge which will be held to benefit the John Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Center. The event is set to take place at Prince George’s Equestrian Center, in Upper Marlboro, MD.

(A short clip of Mendoza’s 2011 performance has been embedded below)

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Romney’s Rafalca Headed to Olympics?

Ann Romney has long been a rider to combat her Multiple Sclerosis, but it seems the Romneys may soon have a chance at Olympic stardom. Rafalca, a horse owned by the Romneys has recently made the short list for the 2012 London Olympics in dressage.

Pictured: Jan Eberling aboard Rafalca. Image courtesy of Dressage News.

Should the horse succeed, Rafalca will join the political must-see list of competitors alongside Zara Phillips (who has secured a spot in eventing on the British team). As Stephen Colbert vivaciously declared, Dressage will be the ‘official Sport of the Summer’, and it will be interesting to see how veteran dressage rider and Jan Eberling are effected by being such high-profile horses at the event.

On a less professional note, I would like to advise the New York Times that not all horse events are called “races“. In the article’s title ‘For Ann Romney, a Different Sort of Horse Race”, it is implied that Rafalca is a racing horse. This is highly inaccurate. More succinctly, what Rafalca does is compete at a “horse show“. A tennis game is a “match“, similarly a track competition is a “meet“. You wouldn’t refer to a soccer game as a soccer “meet“, so please do your homework before carelessly mis-labelling an equestrian event.

What do you think? Will we have a star-studded summer olympics?

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All My Daddy’s Horses: Wealth In The Showring

It should be no surprise to anyone in the equestrian sport that being a participant in the show ring comes with a lofty price tag: between the cost of equipment, horses, horse care, show fees, veterinarian bills, shoeing, and show clothes, you are already looking at an annual bill that would make the lease of a ferrari look like chump change.

Pictured: Moorlands Totilas, one of the dressage world's most expensive, and most talented performers. Image courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk.

In a recent article in Forbes, high-profile riders such as Georgina Bloomberg and Jennifer Gates are mentioned, both of whom compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival. An unnamed source mentions that because these girls are pampered and given tutors and funds, that riding is often “the only part of their life that they care about”. As an equestrian I take a lot of offense to that statement, and find it highly unprofessional that a journalistic source of information like Forbes would not name whoever made such an inflammatory remark. Furthermore, I highly doubt than any equestrian, celebrity or otherwise, only cares about riding competitively and nothing else.

So then they don’t care about charity work, the welfare of animals, or anything else except spending daddy’s money on their horses? Really?

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The Olympic Long List Welcomes Laura Kraut and Beezie Madden

Fans of show jumping will be pleased to hear that two more familiar names will join the long list before the Selection trials set to run from March 21st until March 24th at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Joining previously announced competition McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut will join the hopeful contenders to represent the United States in London this coming summer. Joining these ladies on the list will be their respective mounts: Kraut aboard Cherry Knoll Farm’s Cedric, and Madden aboard Coral Reef Ranch’s Coral Reef Via Volo.

From Left to Right:Will Simpson, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden and McLain Ward
who won the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. Image courtesy of Zimbio.

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Equitation: What People Think I Do

In the wake of the highly popular meme trend of “what ___ thinks I do” images that have been appearing across the internet, I decided to write my own opinion piece of what non-horse people think I do. To provide an example of what I mean, here is an example of one of those images:

Image courtesy of Horse Forum.com

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Equestrian Sports And Safety: Concerns For Future Olympics

As equestrian Olympians prepare for the London 2012 games, there has been some concern over the safety of the sport and whether or not it should be retained as a summer sport in the olympic games after London. In recent remarks made by International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Princess Haya, “Anyone who thinks equestrian sports are secure for London is mistaken”(reference). Haya goes on to say that due to low-interest in the dressage discipline, show jumping may also be in jeopardy, as it is highly unlikely that show jumping would be allowed to remain as a standalone equestrian sport in the olympic games. Because cross country requires so much space and very specific location requirements, it too could be in jeopardy.

Sad but true: we may never see legends like Steffen Peters and Ravel at olympic tournaments if what Haya is saying is true. Image courtesy of La Times

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Equestrian Star James H. Fairclough II ‘Goes Medieval’ in History Channel Premiere of ‘Full Metal Jousting’

James H. Fairclough II is aboard the white horse. Image courtesy of Zach Dilgard via NJ.com

James Fairclough, an acclaimed equestrian and Drew University Alum traded jumping for jousting on the February 12 premiere of History Channel’s ‘Full Metal Jousting’ show. Noted for winning the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Cacchione Cup in 2008,   and has been the co-rider of renowned equestrian Mary Chapot’s horses Starquest (resulting in a performance good enough to ride into the 2011 Six Year Olds Circuit Championship) and Zealous ( who was awarded the 2011 WEF Circuit Champion for the Seven and Eight Year Olds, as well as Horse of the Year for the Seven and Eight Year Olds in 2011). Fairclough is the owner of Cavalier Show Jumping out of Seahorse Stables located in Water Mill, NY and is optimistic about the upcoming season of FMJ.

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Equestrians Lose a Legend: Mourning Jack Fritz

Image courtesy of Equisearch.com

Capt. John H. “Jack” Fritz was well-known in the equestrian community for being a founding member of what is now the United States Eventing Association, and serving as a chair during the founding meeting of the United States Dressage Federation. Fritz was also acclaimed for playing a large role in the creation of The United States Pony Club and the United States Equestrian Federation. An avid promoter of equestrian sports, Fritz was awarded the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, and  ‘Horseman of the Year’ in both 1968 and 1969. He was inducted into the United States Eventing Association’s (formerly Combined Training) Hall of Fame in 1999 as a ‘non-riding’ member, and is currently recognized by Chronicle of the Horse as one of the 50 most influential people in this century. In addition to his monumental contributions to the equestrian world, Fritz was also deeply involved with American History Studies: he was a notable professor of history at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, and was also a Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University’s Madison campus.Additionally, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees and Officer Trustee of Centenary College. Responsible for drawing up many of the founding guidelines that make each of these organizations what they are today, Jack Fritz will be sorely missed. He is believed to have passed away on the morning of February 9th at the age of 87.

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