Top Trainers from Europe, Americas in Florida Over Winter
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 3, 2014–Numerous top dressage trainers from Europe and North America will be in Florida and while most training sessions are private a prime–and FREE–location to see how the leading riders prepare is the warmup arena during the 12 weeks of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
Entries for next week’s World Cup event presented by Mtica Farm, the first of eight CDIs in Wellington, include world No. 5 Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén of Sweden, the two Florida-based Danish team partnerships of Lars Petersen and Marriet and Mikala Gundersen and My Lady, and Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro, Canadian participant at the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, last April.
United States entries include America’s 2012 Olympic team reserve combination of Heather Blitz and Paragon, Caroline Roffman and Sagacious HF in the first CDI since their successful Under-25 European tour last summer, and Susan Dutta and Currency DC who were regulars at the premier European shows last summer and fall.
The intensity of the CDI Grand Prix circuit will be high as riders seek to be at the World Cup Final in Lyon, France in April and to be on their national teams at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France next summer, the extravaganza of international horse sports held once every four years. Last year was a preparation period after the 2012 London Olympics with no regional or global team championships in the Americas. North America gets to send only two combinations to the annual World Cup but that is only for individuals.
A reconfiguration of the spectator areas at the show grounds will allow fans to see both the competition and warmup arenas from a raised deck that organizers plan to make a food and drink court. So fans will be able to hang on the rails and move between the two rings or watch from the spectator deck.
To prepare for the CDIs and maybe become members of their national teams, many riders are regularly coached by leading Europeans who collaborate with the national coach, such as United States Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover and Developing Coach Debbie McDonald, both successful championship riders and trainers.
In the case of Canada, Volker Moritz of Germany, retired after a career as an “O” or what is now FEI 5* judge for decades who also developed numerous horses to Grand Prix including the great Ideaal, will be working with the top riders and their personal trainers.
Most training sessions will be private–the riders and their sponsors foot the bill of air fares, accommodation and time.
One exception is Kyra Kyrklund, who has excelled as a championship rider winning the World Cup and competing in six Olympics as well as sivler medalist at the 1990 World Equestrian Games for her native Finland and has been the Swedish team trainer for the past three years. She will host a symposium at the Jim Brandon Center in West Palm Beach Jan. 25-26.
Jürgen Koschel, one of the most accomplished coaches for both Germany and other nations, has already been in Wellington this winter working with Arlene “Tuny” Page and other riders.
Christoph, his son and a rider on the bronze-medal winning German teams at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the 2011 European Championships who sold his horse to Denmark where it has become the top international team mount, moves to Florida in mid-January.
He will be training Susan Dutta as well as the rising Russian star young rider Daria Marchenko and her three horses.
Christoph may also become a member of a German team in the Nations Cup in mid-February, the first time the nation will have fielded a team in the three years of the event that has grown to become perhaps the first in the world to include teams from four continents–Australia, Europe, North America and South America.
Ton de Ridder, the German-based Dutch trainer, is expected to return in his role as Australia’s team coach.
Ernst Hoyos, the longtime coach of both America’s Lisa Wilcox and Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen, is scheduled to be a regular.
Hubertus Schmidt, the German trainer and rider of possibly more Grand Prix horses than any contemporary, will continue training of Devon Kane, the Young Rider gold medalist who has become an American team prospect, and have worked together in Germany and Florida in recent years.
Carl Hester, both the stalwart of Great Britain’s emergence as a world dressage power and part-owner of Valegro as well as coach and mentor of the KWPN gelding’s rider Charlotte Dujardin will make regular visits to help Katherine Bateson-Chandler, the 2010 U.S. WEG team rider. Katherine spends summers at Carl’s English training center with her horses owned by Jane Forbes Clark.
Morten Thomsen, a top Danish trainer, has become the regular coach of Christopher Hickey on Hilltop Farm’s horses, and recommended by Catherine Haddad-Staller who will be spending her second winter in Florida since returning from Germany.
The Europe-based Christilot Boylen of Canada will get the eyes on the ground and advice from Udo Lange when he can make the time to return from taking care of their horses at home.
Ulla Salzgeber, the German Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion who is back in the top echelon of the sport with her Herzruf’s Erbe after time out for injuries, may come to Florida to coach the Colombian team.
Rien van der Schaft, a classical dressage trainer and former Olympic rider for the Netherlands, who lost out for the official U.S. coaching job to Robert Dover, is also scheduled to be in Wellington to work with American riders.