With New Training Program, Kim Herslow & Rosmarin Competing for Place on USA Pan American Games Team
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 17, 2015–Kimberly Herslow and Rosmarin sat out most competitions last year after capturing the United States Intermediate title in 2013, but are back in the show ring with a new training program aimed at winning a small tour place on their first championship team, at the Pan American Games.
“We’re ready with our A-plus-plus game.” Kimberly said of moving to Wellington earlier than ever before to ride at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival of seven international events with a goal of becoming part of the squad of American Big Tour and Small Tour horses that will go to Europe for two or three shows before the Pan Am team is selected in early June.
“I’m feeling like we can get better scores than in the past and that’s our goal.”
The initial test will come next week when Kim of Stockton, New Jersey and the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding compete in their first CDI in well over a year after a warmup national show at Global in the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex earlier this month.
Kim, 43 years old, and Rosmarin (Rosentanz x Weltmeyer) scored 73.816 per cent in the national event, about where the pair were consistently producing in CDIs in 2013 when they won the national title with 75.789 per cent for Prix St. Georges and 75.789 for Intermediate 1.
Although Kim talked about moving to Grand Prix at the time, she appeared reluctant preferring to give the horse a chance to develop. She has moved Rosmarin through the levels since their first show in 2010 and feels she knows the horse well.
If their past performances are a guide, they are likely to be in the top echelon of small tour horses that will be vying for at least two slots on the U.S. team at the Pan Ams in Toronto in July. Teams of a unique format of mixed Big and Small Tour combinations–a total of four pairs will make up the team–will be looking to win Pan Am gold and, more importantly, the single team berth up for grabs for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Among other top prospects are Olivia LaGoy-Weltz of Middleburg, Virginia and Rassing’s Lonoir, Sabine Schut-Kery who brought Sanceo from her Thousand Oaks, California base to compete in Wellington for the second year, and Dawn White O’Connor of San Diego, California on Aristo.
Laser surgery on Kim’s blue eyes to correct problems caused primarily by prolonged exposure to bright sun and reflection off sand–not uncommon for riders outdoors–kept her off horses for two months last year, but stress about the procedures had an affect beforehand.
“It’s nice to be over that hump,” she told dressage-news.com.
She brought her three horses and four with clients to Florida in November, earlier than ever and plans to stay through the Global circuit ending in March.
One of the biggest changes, though, was to start training with Debbie McDonald, the Olympic and World Games team medalist as well as World Cup champion who is now based in Wellington for the winter circuit. She is also the coach of Adrienne Lyle and Laura Graves, both on the 2014 World Games team.
“Debbie has been phenomenal,” she said. “She has made me aware of details I was not aware of before, things that will bite you if you don’t set up right.
“It has made an amazing difference, creating more cadence and engagement. It has gotten me to be more focused, and has made an amazing difference in the rideability of the horses. I have a good feeling coming to the show this week
“My horses want to do it. They want to do their best for me and that makes it that much more fun. That’s why we’re doing this.”
Compared with two years ago, “Reno,” as she calls Rosmarin, is more mature with a different physique that came from training toward the Grand Prix before deciding to stay at Small Tour for a while longer.
“He has more presence now than before,” Kim said, “more expression. That’s what we’ve been working through.
“I believe he’s about at the place where it’s just a matter of fitness to get him really solid, to peak at the right time. It will be nice to go down the centerline with him right on.
“If anything, he is ready. I need to be just as ready as he is. If I can do that we can put in a super performance.
“i think he’s going to be in best place ever been, definitely improve on my mid-70 scores.
“It’s going to be almost easy in a way because he’s so willing to want to do it. That’s what makes it so much fun.”
She is, however, “a little concerned” with the travel and training schedule for horses seeking to be on the Pan Ams team–if making the long list in CDIs in the U.S. over the next three months, go to Europe for several weeks to compete in two shows there and then return in June to be based at Gladstobe, New Jersey before going to Toronto for the July championships.
“I know my horse well enough to pace myself through it all,” she said. “My horse travels well and handles that kind of stuff. But maybe I’m green at this.
“My horse will give me the answer ultimately.
“I want to keep him fresh and on his best game, make sure I don’t overcook him too soon. I want him to be a fresh piece of meat.”