It’s that time of year in the Northeast again. If you didn’t ship south and are basking in Florida’s sun (and soaking in the rain) this winter, then you are already looking forward to when the white stuff melts for good and the frozen ground softens. Right now, a good day is when you can ride without snow sliding off the roof of the indoor arena.
Another productive horsey activity in two weeks (in the bye weekend between the end of football playoffs and the Super Bowl) is the annual Weekend Educational Program held near Southbury CT. This is organized by Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids, but the program is for adult horsemen as well as youngsters. There are as many as five presentations at a time all day Saturday and Sunday, with some this year aimed specifically for eventers and trainers.
As many as 300 show up for the program each year. Lendon brings in a wide variety of speakers, and I fly back from North Carolina to help talk about dressage showmanship. There is also a forum specifically for judges held on Sunday.
One of Lendon’s aims for the weekend is to inspire. Last year we had Laura Graves talking about what it was like to compete at the World Equestrian Games and Donna Decker speaking on what it was like to climb Mount Everest. This year, the speaker list is led by eventing superstar Denny Emerson.
If you are starting to get cabin fever (well, barn fever), check out the Dressage4Kids website and click on the tab for the Weekend Educational Program. Information on local hotels, registration and costs can be found there, in addition to the schedule of speakers.
In the meantime, this week I’m at the first Florida CDI of the year, in Wellington, where you can feel Olympic fever building. There were 37 horses in the Grand Prix Thursday, with a huge number of foreign entries. (The class was won by Tinne Wilhelmson-Silfen of Sweden, a veteran of six Olympics, on Don Auriello with 76.9% with Laura Graves second on Verdades with 75.54%). There will be even more horses showing up here from around the country and world over the next three months, and it will be interesting to see which ones improve their chances for a trip to Rio this summer. Even if you can’t get to Florida to watch, just following their adventures from afar could help to heat up the winter a bit.