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It’s mid February 2017 and the snow banks are piled high around the stable. Most years at this time would find me in Florida with clients and horses, training, showing and enjoying the sun and warmth. Friends ask me if I miss Florida and I reply “Not at all” and here’s why. Through a grant from The Dressage Foundation’s Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize I have the opportunity to travel to Germany to train with Hubertus Schmdit. I will leave in February with Wrigley and two other horses, to train and compete for the and winter and spring.

I was awarded The Dressage Foundation’s Carol Lavell Gifted Advanced Dressage Prize, a 25K grant specifically designed for top upper level FEI horse and rider combinations to get training and exposure in Europe. I was awarded the grant with Wrigley, a dutch warmblood gelding that I have trained and competed with since his purchase as a green 6 year old in 2009. Wrigley blossomed into a wonderful horse and has been competing at top US competitions since 2011 where he was third at the US Developing horse PSG Championships in Illinois. In 2012 he was Region 8 Intermediare II Champion, and ranked 2nd in US for Young Horse’s at Grand Prix. In 2010 Wrigley and I competed at the USEF National Grand Prix Championships and finished seventh in the U.S. In 2011 we competed at the U.S. Selection Trials for the World Equestrian Games at Gladstone, NJ and finished 12th in the country. From 2011 to 2016 we were on the USEF Long list and trained in Elite training sessions with top US coaches. In 2016 we were 3rd in the country at the USDF National Grand Prix Championships.

The Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage prize will fund the trip to Germany to train with Hubertus Schmidt, German Champion and Olympic team gold medalist. I will be concentrating the training with Wrigley but will have two other young horses with me as well. A 6 year old Christo Ball and an 8 year old, Diamon. Having three horses at levels from First through Grand Prix will allow me to glean training tips at a range of levels. I have been fortunate to train with Hubertus in past years. First with my former Grand Prix mount Juli Sherif at a Symposium hosted by NEDA and then subsequently in clinics in Florida where Hubertus would come to train riders in the winter. I’ve always admired Hubertus’s relaxed, straightforward, correct training. His focus on building power and expression in the horse through relaxation.

Over the coming months I will share my training experience through this blog. Our sport allows us to continuously learn and grow and each horse at each level is another layer of experience and knowledge. Having the opportunity to train consistently with Hubertus and have the opportunity to watch daily training, competition warm ups and top European shows is something I’ve always yearned to do. My hope is to share what I learn so that others may gain from my experience.