This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
D

rakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa—a very befitting name for this giant gray gelding, since

together he and his owner Roberta Williams experienced a courageous climb up an ambitious path. “Bergie earned his gold medal, not me.” This

is what owner and trainer Roberta Williams of Delaware, Ohio, and wife of trainer George Williams, says about her now 24-year-old 17.1 hand Dutch gelding, a horse that overcame many health related obstacles during his life. Five years ago Roberta earned the coveted USDF Gold Medal, which is a rider’s lifetime achievement award requiring scores in the 60’s at Intermediare and Grand Prix dressage. After years of soundness issues, rehabs and treatments, the pair was finally able to canter down centerline to show their first Grand Prix. It’s a journey and a memory that Roberta will always cherish.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The story begins with Roberta spotting a large gray gelding almost overpowering a petite woman competing in Palatine, Illinois in the early 1990s. The woman was showing him at first level and during a trot lengthening, he managed to lengthen them right out of the arena! Later Roberta saw him again with the same rider at a Lamplight Dressage show “misbehaving by rearing during a test.” Given his size and antics, he was a horse that was not easy to forget. Bergie, an imported Dutch Warmblood

registered as “Drakensberg,” was owned by Bunny Haney of Peoria, Illinois. “We received a call from Bunny that she needed help with her big gray, and so she started hauling him 200 miles to work with my husband George,” Roberta remembers. There were times when Bunny left him with George for training and this is when Roberta first got involved. “He had a training issue where he avoided the contact and pinned his nose to his chest. It was my job to ride him out in enormous fields in trot and canter to get his nose out in front.” Bergie also came with other idiosyncrasies.

“To catch him in his stall was a challenge since he would do this stall-spinning routine first. And if you tacked him up in his stall he refused to walk through the stall door with a saddle on his back. You couldn’t tack him up in his stall at a show!” Bergie by then was almost white and being blessed with a large head and roman nose, he looked like a giant Lipizzan. Since George was still director at

Warmbloods Today 39

Tempel Farms riding their Lipizzans, many people assumed he was a big Lipizzan and not a Dutch Warmblood. Despite these issues, over time Bergie and

George clicked and soon they were a team to be reckoned with. In 1994, George had qualified him for the Fourth Level National Championship for the Central Region. Then by 1995 George was showing him Prix St. Georges and Intermediare I (PSG and I1) where they qualified for the Millers/USET Intermediate Championships. Bergie was going so well that George even brought him to Dressage at Devon to compete PSG and I1.

TIME TO SELL

In 1997 the Haneys decided that Bergie should go up for sale since they were relocating to Arizona. George knew that he would require a strong confident rider since Bergie was somewhat insecure. Many people came and tried the horse, but Bergie wouldn’t tolerate the typical adult amateur who needed a schoolmaster. “He required someone with a solid independent seat and enough core strength so that they didn’t ride with their hands. He was very well trained, but given his temperament, he wasn’t going to be easy to sell. He was big and strong but he always worried about things,” Roberta reports. A year later, he still hadn’t sold. In early 1998, George had gone to Florida to compete for the winter season and the plan was to Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com