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breeder’s

farm in Columbia, Missouri, my wife Cheryl and I have bred Trakehner sport horses for 25 years, and for several reasons our main interest has been eventing, especially since cross training is so useful for evaluation and properly starting of each young horse. Plus we raised a gaggle of children on our homebred horses, all of them active in Pony Club, which during those years focused mainly on combined training. I have found the culture of three-day eventing to be closest to the one I most admire, with hard work, tough ambition, high- stakes horsemanship testing, personal responsibility, and a certain camaraderie—all key elements. After nearly 20 very

I

successful years eventing at the lower levels on our young horses, Cheryl has refocused on FEI dressage, studying it as a major challenge, becoming a licensed “r” judge, and earning that coveted USDF Gold Medal in 2006 on one of our Trakehner broodmares she raised and trained herself. Besides breeding, over the years we’ve been active as volunteers in both worlds of eventing and dressage. I often wondered about the differences I have detected

point of view

Can Eventers Ride Real Dressage? By Tim Holekamp

t’s every Warmblood breeder’s intention to produce exceptional foals that ultimately perform well in dressage, jumping and/or eventing. At our home

sure—even at the international level event horses and riders are not asked for FEI-level dressage movements, other than the most basic ones. In the eventing world there is still much angst about

the increasing emphasis on dressage performance in world level competition. There have evolved some riders and horses that produce almost incredibly “perfect” performances in the four-star tests (Bettina Hoy, Ingrid Klimke, William Fox-Pitt and others come to mind). The hard cold fact is that the supposed ascension of the Warmblood in upper level eventing has been largely fantasy. All three of the above riders have been competing just about exclusively on Thoroughbreds in recent years. Whoa! You might

Michael Larsen rides Baron Verdi at second level at the SLADS show in St. Louis. Photo by CJM Photo.

say, what about my own Trakehner stallion Windfall? He held the record for the highest score in dressage at the Rolex CCI**** until a couple of months ago, won a Pan-Am Games gold medal, an Olympic bronze medal, and retired with an incredible string of top placings, very often winning the dressage phase. Ah, but Warmbloods do come with various

in the way dressage is approached between pure dressage competitors and eventers. Asking the top judges for an explanation of the differences has consistently led to the answer: “There are no differences.” I guess there is a certain defensiveness in those voices telling me this, but no further understanding resulted. It is pretty clear to me that obedience is valued highly in eventing dressage, perhaps more than expressive gaits, though correctness and regularity is sought in both forms. One thing is for

66 September/October 2009

pedigrees, don’t they? Windfall’s sire, Habicht was himself sired by an Anglo-Arab and Windfall’s dam was a pure steeplechasing Thoroughbred. So he actually has more Thoroughbred blood than Trakehner blood, and only one grandparent had ANY Trakehner blood in her pedigree. So although we do see more and more Warmbloods here in the U.S. at the lower levels of eventing, I would submit that this is related to the ease of training them, often having a gentler temperament and improved athleticism amongst modern Warmbloods across the board. What this leads us to is a comparison of the pedigrees of FEI-level dressage horses versus top eventing horses—nearly all 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
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