They say there's no rest for the wicked… I must be a devil because life hasn't slowed down and it doesn't look like it will for a while! I'm working my backside off (literally) doing my best to keep everything running smoothly at David Marcus Dressage. David has now "officially" been named on the Canadian team which is so exciting, well deserved and I couldn't be more proud. (Stay posted on his progress here www.davidmarcusdressage.com) However, there are still clients and 20 horses in the barn at Campbellville in training plus my own competition horses. To stop myself from becoming overwhelmed, I remind myself that this is the path I chose and that I am in fact doing exactly what I set out to do. So complaining that there are only 24 hours in the day when I really need 27 hours is out of the question!
I made my Canadian show debut at The Cornerstone Farms Summer Festival of Dressage held at Palgrave. This enormous venue will host the 2015 Pan American Games and is potentially top class. The organizers were very friendly and accommodating and although the weather was damn hot (I mean Florida hot) they tried their best to suppress the dust and maintain the surfaces as best they could. The less than ideal footing was made up for by the friendly atmosphere and general camaraderie.
Robert Dover's Fiero HGF yet again performed like the rockstar that he is destined to be. We won both of the First Level tests scoring 74% and 75%. I didn't push him at all, and he in fact doesn't even have any shoes on. We took his shoes off at the end of the Florida winter season. He has such wonderful, tough and symmetrical feet and we are trying to keep him as natural as we can. He travels completely comfortably without shoes so we have decided to keep him barefoot again for a while. This horse never ceases to amaze me. There was plenty of atmosphere at the horse show and he just laps it all up. Water trucks, golf carts, semi trailers and loose horses don't phase him in the least but what astounds me is the ability to create such a positive nervous tension without creating any negative tension. Despite not fitting the typical dressage mould one would assume, Fiero HGF is a born dressage horse and I have no doubts that he will reach great heights in his career at FEI level. I know I go on and on about this horse that is just four years old but he is somewhat of a freak. He offers so much each day that I have to force myself to wait. His mental strength and enthusiasm still outweighs what he is not yet physically strong enough to offer and it's my job to keep him under wraps until he is ready. I can't wait until this horse is 7 years old and if you don't believe me, just ask his owner! See http://doversworld.com/
After quite a hiatus, I got back into the Grand Prix arena with Tamara Gerber's PRE stallion, Sentimiento I. Wow, what a horse this is! He has been beautiful trained and has had a few Grand Prix starts already but I've been riding him only a matter of weeks. Anyone that knows anything can attest that it's not easy to get on a new Grand Prix horse and figure it all all in a short space of time. Together we won the Grand Prix and the next day we won the Grand Prix in the FEI test of choice each time scoring over 69%. I warmed up and rode both tests without a whip and am confident that with more time ( and a trainer present ) that we can easily improve and will create a very interesting and successful partnership. This horse has a superb work ethic and incredible talent, motivation and honesty in the piaffe and passage. Our weakest point is our deep understanding of each other that only time together will improve. What I find very amusing since my arrival to Canada is people asking me for advice on purchasing a Spanish horse. I really need to set the record straight and I am no expert but I am fast becoming an advocate. Both PRE stallions that I train and compete are an absolute pleasure to work with and I am completely confident in their ability to reach top level sport. I've ridden some seriously nice horses in my day and although, I'm not prepared to become exclusive, I am definitely a fan of and very proud to promote the spanish breed.
Just to prove to the Canadians that I don't only ride spanish horses, I also rode Deborah Kinzinger's KWPN mare Diaz in the First level at Palgrave. This mare is an adorable type by Stedinger out of a Gribaldi mare and it was her very first show. As I said earlier, there was atmosphere and distractions in abundance so I was very proud of Diaz' performances. She vastly improved day by day and placed in both tests narrowly missing out on 1st place with a 72%. This mare has a very bright future. Diaz is offered for sale to someone looking for a modern european type that looks as good in the flesh as she does on paper and can really perform with the best of the best.
As I write, I'm celebrating (or in my case not celebrating) my 30th (Gasp!) birthday sitting in Detroit airport on my layover to Lexington, KY. I am teaching a bunch of very talented young riders ( oh the irony! ) at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. For those that don't know, this is basically the Olympic Games for young riders and is a huge deal for those who mange to qualify and participate. I'll be teaching two juniors, Lian Wolfe and Jonah Freedman and a young rider Alexandra Reid (riding to another of my freestyles. See it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJq8Natnj_w) who will all compete at the Kentucky Horse Park, venue for 2010 World Equestrian Games. Fingers crossed for a great performance for all.
It is with sadness that I witness the great divide that has developed in Australian Dressage during the muddy Olympic selection. I have tried to stay a little removed but social media has made it difficult to ignore. I certainly believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and has a right to express it. However, I feel that with rights come responsibilities. The attacks on individuals linked to Australian dressage lack class but more importantly are not constructive in any way. Clearly the selection process needs serious reviewing and greater transparency. I believe that the slander against riders, selectors or the federation doesn't actually achieve anything positive but just adds to the divide. I certainly have an opinion on this myself but until I have come up with a constructive solution or idea to solve the mess, I'll keep my opinion to myself. I see very little point in complaining about a situation when one is not at all prepared to do something to help the situation. I just feel for the riders and their whole teams that have been negatively affected during this drama. Hopefully a clearer selection process will develop as a result. Ultimately, I wish the whole Australian team the very best of luck and look forward to personally cheering them on in London. Apparently (according to ANY Australian that I speak to) I've developed an offensive american twang to my accent. I look forward to catching up with some "true blues" during the Olympic Games and getting my Ocker accent back. I am from Finley after all…