Kasey Perry-Glass Building an American Pipeline for Future Competition Horses
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July 7, 2020
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
When Kasey Perry-Glass set out with Dublet to make the American team for the 2016 Olympics to earn team bronze and went on to add a world championship silver medal two years later, the journey intensified a passion to develop a pipeline of future international Grand Prix horses.
With a growing herd of youngsters, Kasey is implementing her plans as are a growing number of riders and trainers in America. Kasey’s team mates Laura Graves and Adrienne Lyle are pursuing similar programs, over the years have increasingly turned to buying foals and other youngsters as the prices of horses has skyrocketed. This is a sea change from just a decade ago when three of the four horses on the American squad at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky were acquired at or near Grand Prix level.
Kasey’s program is modeled more along that of some European powerhouses where specialists in starting horses correctly begin the process, as she is doing with her husband, Dana. She then wants a knowledgeable young horse rider to develop sound basics to the point where an experienced competition rider takes over.
“I would love to build a pipeline,” the 32-year-old Kasey told dressage-news.com. “I would love to keep having young horses coming in, but my true goal is to get them to the Grand Prix. And having my husband breaking in these horses, doing the amazing work he does to get their minds good. Then having someone come in who’s really talented at the young horse stuff and training them up properly.
“Then being able to showcase these horses that are healthy in their minds and are HORSES.”
Kasey talked of her plans that evolved after she fulfilled the goals with Dublet, the Danish Warmblood gelding she bought in 2012 with the aim of making the American team for the 2016 Olympics. After success on the bronze medal team in Rio de Janeiro, Kasey and Dublet then were on the U.S. team that earned silver at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018.
Along the way, she built a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic as a talented, soft rider, a style developed over almost two decades of competing, first near her home in Sacramento in Northern California then when finally ready to move to Big Tour on the other side of the country at Wellington, Florida. There she competed on a schoolmaster, Scarlet, and Dublet, the last horse she tried, and reluctantly, after a search through Germany, Norway and Denmark.
She made her first European competition tour on Dublet in 2015, but wasn’t selected for the Pan American Games in Toronto, a decision that she describes as “heartbreaking” but gave her a chance to begin working with Debbie McDonald, the U.S. developing coach at the time and now team coach.
A year later, Kasey and Dublet were back in Europe, and fired up. The pair led the U.S. to victory in the Nations Cup at Compiègne, France, and silver at the Nations Cups in Rotterdam, Netherlands where a local horse dentist botched tooth work on Dublet that affected the horse’s performance. But she still made the team for Rio.
Dublet, Kasey said, kept getting better as she worked with Debbie and made the World Games team that took silver in 2018. She competed in the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April, 2019 and hasn’t competed since though was being pointed at the tail end of Wellington’s Global winter circuit this year.
With Dublet 17 years old, she was leaving until the last moment competing in an Olympic selection show. The schedule for Tokyo team horses was gruelling–do well enough in Wellington or Tryon to earn a trip on a long listed squad to Europe where a short list would be decided, then back to the United States for final preparations before flying to Tokyo for Olympic dressage at the end of July.
The coronavirus pandemic upended those well laid plans–all international dressage competitions were brought to a halt before the Wellington end of March show and Tryon in mid-April that were canceled and the Olympics themselves postponed until the summer of 2021.
Before the coronavirus break, she competed Mistico TM, a horse she bought in 2015 from Juan Matute Azpitarte, the Spanish three-time Olympian who is based in Wellington after being competed by his son, Juan Matute Guimon, as a junior rider. Developing the Hanoverian gelding was put on the back burner as Kasey focused on Dublet’s career. But on the Global circuit this winter she had four CDI Small Tour starts on Mistico, now 13 years old, that she reports is schooling the Grand Prix.
Although she and Dublet haven’t decided on a competition future, Kasey said: “He’s done exactly what I got him for. I had such a clear focus on the Olympics, that was my drive and that was my goal. I think that was part of my break after the Olympics–‘OK, what do I do now?’ It’s taken a little bit to figure out what I want out of this sport.”
What she’s figured out is that, “I have such a passion to follow my heart and make this sport fun and beautiful to watch, and have a happy horse. Also showing the power, how these horses can move.”
That’s the pipeline she wants to build to fulfill the passion.
She currently has five horses in training–a couple of young ones coming up as well as Mistico.
And she and Dana bought Mount St. John Jaxson from Emma Blundell’s stud in Yorkshire, England, the first horse she and Dana have purchased together.
“We are really excited to have a journey with a horse from the ground up and really make it our own,” she said. “I believe Dana has a gift in giving babies/young horses a positive first start to their careers. Not only does he instill proper ground manners and behaviors, but he also teaches them about pressures on and off their back.”
She and Dana think about buying a farm with more land than is available in Wellington, somewhere for the horses to be horses, and even have some cows–critters that Dublet doesn’t think much of but can be good pasture mates for horses.
“As far as training goals go,” she said, “I have big goals for each horse in my head and on paper. But as we know with horses, it takes time and it never pays off to force something. I try my best to listen to them and take what they are offering.”
At the same time, “I want to improve the quality of life for these horses, make sure they’re being treated like a horse. They need to be out and see the world a little bit. I love that. I love what I do, I love seeing progress and building confidence.”