Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone isn’t easy. I’m experiencing this firsthand with my 9-year-old gelding. For the past four years we’ve been status quo—bopping along doing our own thing. But his world (and mine) is about to change as he goes into professional training and we attempt to find out if he’s got what it takes to be the horse I need. And what I’m realizing is that sometimes going outside of your comfort zone is a necessity that can yield positive results.
Even top level riders leave their “box” from time to time, including international dressage rider Silva Martin and her husband, Olympic eventer Boyd Martin. This month we learn how the power couple melds their two disciplines to create horses who are better prepared for their jobs at hand. In “Building Partnerships,” the couple says that while dressage horses aren’t likely to come across a bank or water jump unless they also compete in eventing, cross-training can build any horse’s confidence and make him a more worldly individual—a benefit in all sorts of situations. Boyd also discusses how his respect for Silva’s talents makes it easy for him to accept her riding advice. “I think it would be harder to take advice from each other if we were both event riders, but her level of dressage expertise is far beyond what mine will ever be, which makes it easier to accept her advice.” Read more about their philosophy and how they work with the rest of their team (including owners) on page 32.
In the spirit of shaking things up, have you noticed our special bonus section? We thought we’d try something a little different this month with a flip book that offers lifestyle features, including an introduction to Reem Acra, the sponsor of the 2015 FEI World Cup Dressage Finals, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Acra, a haute couture designer who created the gown worn by Dutch Olympian Adelinde Cornelissen on the flip cover, tells us why she chose to sponsor dressage and the parallels she sees between the sport and high fashion (p. F2).
We also hear from Olympian Debbie McDonald about her retired mount, Brentina, and life outside of dressage. While no longer riding, McDonald still plays a huge role in U.S. dressage as the USEF’s developing dressage coach. But she also finds time to spend with her family and visit Brentina. “That bond is way too strong to be forgotten,” she says of her relationship with the mare.
Lastly, join us as we kick off DT’s World Cup sweepstakes, which will award one winner with two round-trip tickets to Las Vegas plus a behind-the-scenes pass to spend time with McDonald. Read more in “Enjoying the Ride” on p. F6.
Until next time.