In this issue of DT, we explore dressage in other parts of the world. I’ve had the opportunity to travel some, including my trip to Wales during college when I trained with British Olympian Mary King. But I’ve mentioned this before, so I won’t expound again—although I could since it was such a dreamy trip! On another horse-related trip, I took a day-long trail ride among the redwoods and along the coast of Northern California. I’ve also visited Canada (Ontario and Québec) and found the landscape and the people to be exceptional. I still have a bunch of Canadian destinations on my wish list.
This month we hear from dressage riders in various countries, including Canada, home of Canadian Olympian Evi Strasser. Born in Germany, Strasser was a World Cup skier competing in downhill skiing. She also competed internationally in snowboarding and windsurfing. After moving to Canada in 1988 with her Olympic mount, Lavinia, and becoming a citizen in 1994, Strasser competed in the 1996 Olympic Games. Strasser tells us in her one-on-one interview how she was able to be successful in so many different sports and how she trained and conditioned herself for each. She says that skiing, snowboarding and windsurfing are based on your own ability and drive to be the best and master the sport, but that dressage is different. “[In dressage] you have to be a team player to make sure you and your horse are well prepared to make it a successful partnership.” You can read Strasser’s interview, “From Ski Slopes to Centerlines,” on p. 30.
From Canada we travel to Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom with freelance writer Corinne Foxley, who offers a firsthand explanation of the differences in the structure of dressage competition in Europe versus the U.S. Having been a werkstudent with top German trainer Uta Gräf, Foxley had the opportunity to learn the different systems and offers a very informative explanation. You can read her story beginning on p. 58. You can also read Foxley’s first column in our new monthly series, “Journey Through the Levels,” on p. 26.
We also join several California dressage riders as they travel to train with Rafael Soto at the Epona Equestrain Center in Carmona, Spain. Here the riders experienced the beautiful scenery of the region of Andalusia on the country’s southern coast while riding twice a day with Vivi Garcia (Epona’s master horse trainer) and Soto. Depending upon the level of rider, training consisted of passage, piaffe, flying changes, pirouettes and the traditional Spanish walk. You can read about their experience on p. 48.
I hope you enjoy our dressage travel adventures this month.
Until next time…