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dressage trainer profile

for the love... First they fell in love

with dressage and then with each other. These days Lyn- don Rife and Julie Madriguera operate Rife Dressage at their facility one-half hour outside of Dallas.

from non-horsey families but once they latched onto their riding discipline there was no stopping. Lyndon was reared in Texas, and returned twenty years ago after a stint of early adult years in Michigan where he studied pre vet at Michigan State and worked as a farri- er. His background includes staring dressage with USDF hall of fame inductee Chuck Grant and then working at Temple Farm in Illinois after being inspired by the late Bodo Hagen and encouraged by US Olympian and judge Hilda Gurney. Other influences were: Kalman de Jurenak, Walter Zettle, Olympian Michelle Gibson and her coach Rudolf Zielinger. Olympians such as Jan Ebeling, Robert Dover, Steffen Peters and German Olympians Ulla Salzgeber and Heike Kem- mer have also been guides. More recently, Spanish national champion Carlos Torrell has been teaching Lyndon and Julie.

Web: - Call about other horses we have for sale! 5022 East FM 20, Lockhart, TX 78644 - Phone 512-398-4958

don’s wife, Julie, met him while seeking out ad- ditional dressage instruction in Dallas. Born in Connecticut she worked her way up as a groom to Vicki Hammers O’Neil at Once Again Farm in Meriden, CT. There Julie was exposed to large shows such as Devon. She watched dressage great Lendon Grey campaign 8-10 horses at the same show and Michael Poulin compete Graf George the year after the Olympics.

energy, the two continually stage clinics and contribute in a major way to shows. For example, when they hosted Steffen Peters, probably the top US dressage rider today


2002 Bay Mare-Under Saddle. Docs Sug-Three Bars-Speedy Glow-King bred for cow events

PEBBLE PLUMBERRY 2006 Red Roan Mare-Her Poco

Tivio-King-Three Bars-Poco Bueno blood assures cow and speed!


1995 Brown Mare. High Docs Sug- Doc Bar-Tripolay Bar-Three Bars blood. Shown Cutting & Barrels.


2006 Sorrel Stallion. High Poco Tivio-King- Poco Bueno blood. Cut, Rope, Sort, Breeding Prospect.

Flashy 2007 Sorrel Mare. Cow & Speed Potential. King- King Hankins-Three Bars bred.


2005 Dark Bay Mare-Tripolay Bar- Three Bars-Poco Tivio bred. Lots of barrel and speed event potential.

Generous with their Ly n - Both of them came by Ingrid Edisen

own horse, not just for the mo- ment or challenge at hand, but also developing a plan for the near and distant future. Lyndon is expert at teaching ideas and schooling exercises for im- proving both my horse and my riding for the long term.” Their farm in Pilot

Point has over 33 stalls, a mir- rored indoor arena, full-sized outdoor dressage court and a lunging ring. Obviously their

days are beyond full--and long- -as each of them ride multiple training horses and conduct lessons on and off the proper- ty. They have help, of course, in their assistant trainer Luke McLaughlin and many working students.

that ring clear throughout. From Lyndon: “When I work with a new pair I always try to build on their base. The worst

Their philosophies

a long loose neck and a swing- ing back. Never stop working on the gymnastic training and development. It can be discour- aging because it is hard and the judges will often reward horses that have a lot of energy but go short and tight in the neck and croup high. I can’t allow that to shape my training. I had strong influence from watch- ing dressage as performed by the late Bodo Hagen while in Michigan and from training with Kal- man De Jurenak. His mantra was, ‘First comes the rhythm, then the outline, then the movement.‘ It is very important that one trains the horses to accept the training so they are safe and relaxed when the work keeps get- ting harder. I don’t have any real per- sonal mantras but I hear some things in the media that I enjoy. Ron Wash- ington, manager of the Texas Rangers, would say, ‘That’s how baseball go’ and I repurposed

that for dressage. I tell the students that they have to ‘be in it to win it’ and for the more ad- vanced and ambitious students, who I make do really difficult gymnastic training exercises with the horses, I tell them that there is no point in doing easy shit.”

they opened the event up to an eager riding public. No surprise that 150 auditors a day attend- ed that!

a money-winning freestyle competition that continued for almost a decade which allowed winners to pull down a total of roughly $100,000. Lyndon is a USDF gold medalist and a past winner of the prestigious USDF Region 9 Horse Person of the Year award. Julie is a USDF silver medalist plus a USDF L* graduate who is working towards her USEF dressage judging “r” license. Lyndon travels and

conducts clinics. One partici- pant, Houstonian Carrie Chaf- fin who rides a Holsteiner, had this to say about his coaching: “Lyndon Rife really helps me understand how to train my

Page 8 They also formed

thing that an instructor can do is take away their confidence. I try to give riders theory be- hind the technique so they are learning more about the riding and the horse (mentally and me- chanically). Then the lessons can have a lasting benefit. If a rider understands why it is im- portant not to just ‘get the head down’ the work is a lot more interesting and sustainable. But sometimes all a student wants to know is how to get the head up or down so it immediately looks the way they want, or how it can immediately feel easier. That can be a challenge because they have lost some patience for the training. I am an idealist. I still believe that it is the most important thing to allow the horses to work with

vice for those new to having dressage horses or getting into dressage riding: “Just remem- ber that the horses do not owe you anything. As frustrating as it is they do NOT understand that as people we have sched- ules and time lines, budgets and goals. We are all incredibly lucky when it all works out at the time that we want it to. If you have a sound, healthy horse that can go to work-- get to work! That time does not last forever. So change your schedule and make use of the horse or find someone that can make use of them. I don’t say dressage is a journey--you hear that a lot-- but I do tell peo- ple that it is a marathon. You have to be prepared to a high level physically, intellectu- ally, and emotionally just to start the run and then recognize that you are going to be running for a long time--hopefully the entire length of your life with horses--so don’t get over- whelmed by one super good or super bad competition. I think that dressage is such an art and it elevates one so much when they gain the trust and un- derstanding of the horse. No matter the level of the horse, or the quality, or the color of the ribbon--the feeling and reward of achieving that understanding is incredible to me.” To contact Lyndon

and Julie, visit www.lyndon-

and Lyndon. Middle: Lyndon

competing Jago, a Swedish Warmblood gelding, in Jago’s Grand Prix debut. Photo: Julie Madriguera.

peting on Lincoln, a Hanove- rian gelding. Photo by Terri Hatcher.

Bottom: Julie com- Photos: Top - Julie Julie shared this ad-

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