Dressage Comes Full Circle

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The late Lowell Boomer must be smiling. Let me explain: I sometimes wonder how anyone from Nebraska could possibly be the “father of USDF.” Dressage isn’t booming in Nebraska even 40 years after the founding of the organization. But Boomer was a man of extraordinary vision. In 1973, he founded the Nebraska Dressage Association and he immediately saw the need for a national umbrella organization. He gathered like-minded dressage fans and they met in Nebraska with the intent of founding a United States Dressage Federation dedicated to the promotion of dressage through education and recognition of achievement. The result was the USDF as we know it.

Charlotte-Bredahl-Baker-Dressage-Today

The Boomer spirit is still there. So why is he smiling? (I know he is!) Because the universe has come full circle (as it often does) now that Omaha, Nebraska, is making plans to host the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final (and jumping final as well). This unlikely location has been the source of lame jokes such as “Omawho?” and “Omahahaha.” But don’t discount this Heartland State or make the mistake of thinking Cornhuskers have nothing in common with dressage riders. Read all about it in Nancy Jaffer’s story on p. 48, “Omaha on the Way to the World Cup.” Then buy your plane tickets and make hotel reservations. You won’t see Lowell Boomer there from March 29–April 3, but you might feel his spirit.

This month you’ll learn how 1992 Olympian Charlotte Bredahl-Baker develops throughness in her horses, and she offers several exercises that nearly any horse can do. My students have benefited already from these exercises and I look forward to hearing how they help your horses. Next, you’ll learn about the aspects of Charlotte’s life that are more important than riding, believe it or not. If you feel like being inspired, read Lindsay Paulsen’s story about Charlotte, “Life in the Arena and Beyond,” on p. 40.

We also go beyond the arena as interior designer Diane Barber takes us “Inside the Rider’s Home,” on p. 56. That story helped me think creatively about home design. I’d like to hear more about that in the future.

Way beyond home, Annie Morris brings us insights from her trainer in Germany, Judy Allmeling in her column called “Tips from Trainers who Teach,” on p. 30. And in “Journey Through the Levels” on p. 32, read about the 10-meter circle. When done correctly, this simple figure can make all other exercises easy. After all, if your horse can’t do a 10-meter circle, how can he possibly do shoulder-in, haunches-in or half pass—all of which require maintaining the 10-meter bend on a straight line. Conversely, when your horse can do a 10-meter circle, those exercises are like cake.

I hope this month’s issue gives you ideas that help your horses. That’s the idea. If you have suggestions, we’d love to hear from you!

Cheers,
Beth

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