Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Dressage Foundation Kicks Off Two-Tempi Challenge Presented by The Horse of Course

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James and Shannon at the kick off

Wellington, FL (DATE) — Grand Prix dressage riders Shannon Dueck and James Koford helped kick off the second year of The Dressage Foundation Two-Tempi Challenge, performing 39 consecutive two-tempi changes each at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Friday Night Stars Grand Prix Freestyle in Wellington, Florida. Presented by premier full-service tack shop The Horse of Course, Inc., the Challenge kickoff event raised over $12,000 in support of The Dressage Foundation. Every two-tempi performed by Challenge contestants raises funds for The Dressage Foundation.

A committed supporter of the equestrian and dressage community, and Official Partner and Sponsor of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Beth Haist, CEO of The Horse of Course, was excited to see the Challenge become an annual event. “I am so proud to sponsor The Dressage Federation’s Two-Tempi Challenge, and hope to inspire riders from all over the country to get their cameras out and submit their Two-Tempi Challenge videos,” said Haist.

Haist has been connected with The Dressage Foundation long before the Two-Tempi Challenge’s inception, and officially united with the organization to further advancement of America’s dressage athletes and preserve the sport itself. Haist jumped on the opportunity to support and raise awareness for the exciting Two-Tempi Challenge. “This is a fantastic and fun way for everyone to get involved in dressage and raise money for a very worthy cause,” she explained.

The Dressage Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, has been supporting the advancement of dressage in the United States since 1989. The organization uses generous donations from sponsors, like The Horse of Course, to support riders, instructors, trainers, breeders, and judges of the dressage community. “Bit by bit, we strive to make a difference by helping equestrians fulfill their goals and reach their dreams,” explained The Dressage Foundation president, Beth Baumert. “When riders we’ve supported get out there and do great, it’s very fulfilling and rewarding for us to see.”

Both personal supporters of The Horse of Course and The Dressage Foundation, riders Dueck and Koford volunteered to participate in the kickoff event, gaining pledges from supporters and fans throughout the Adequan Global Dressage Festival audience. As the riders and their horses performed the 39 two-tempi changes without missing a beat, spectators cheered and counted along with the announcer.

“This challenge is a fabulous idea for fun competition in the often too-serious dressage world. Next time I’ll be going for the national record,” said Dueck.

Longtime friend and customer of The Horse of Course, Koford was the first recipient of The Dressage Foundation’s Anne B. Ramsay grant in 2008, which allowed him to train and compete Shirley McQuillan’s American-bred Dutch warmblood Rhett in Europe. There, he advanced the gelding to Grand Prix, and after returning home the pair went on to be nominated for the U.S. Dressage Team for the 2012 Olympics.

“The Dressage Foundation is a very important cause for me because their support of myself and Rhett was very instrumental in taking my riding to the next level,” said Koford. “I really owe them so much, and any opportunity I have to give back I absolutely want to take advantage of.”

Both The Horse of Course and The Dressage Foundation are enthusiastic about the development of dressage athletes, and strive to honor dedicated horse and rider pairs around the country. The Horse of Course, which spends it’s winters stationed at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival by popular demand, travels the country setting up shop at prestigious horse shows. While providing a complete selection of tack and apparel for horses and riders at all shows, The Horse of Course will be raising awareness for the year-long Two-Tempi Challenge. Riders and supporters up for the challenge pledge a dollar amount per tempi change, which is donated to The Dressage Foundation. The rider then sends in their two-tempi video for contest submission in their USDF region. At the end of the fiscal challenge year, a champion and reserve champion is awarded from each region, as well as national champion and national reserve champion.

The Horse of Course provides products for all riders, ranging from custom show clothing and training equipment to books and gifts. The Horse of Course also offers expert bit fitting services, and has been partnered with bit developers and engineers since 1995. To explore the wealth of products at The Horse of Course, visit www.TheHorseofCourse.com or call 1-800-4946773.

Meet the Staff: Kristin

Part of what makes The Horse of Course great is the diverse and hard working staff. We’re pleased to introduce them to you through our “Meet The Staff” series! This week, meet our customer service team member Kristin M.

Describe what you do at The Horse of Course.
I help with orders, answer the phone, clean the store, prep the local mobile unit for horse shows, and most importantly, I help you!

What’s your history with the equestrian world? Do you have horses or ride?
Being a western rider and working in the english world is very interesting! I have learned so much working here and visiting with customers when they come in or call. I have a Heinz 57 horse named Smoke. We have a long history together with many ribbons and winnings. Now that he’s older, we just trail ride. I can tell you he loves to drink cranberry juice from my glass, which becomes his glass after that! He is such a silly boy.

What is your favorite product from The Horse of Course?
My favorite product would have to be some of the new apparel from Kerrits and Horze that we just got in! It’s exhilarating to see the new designs they’ve come up with!

Classic & Chic For Schooling

SchoolingRingChic

When you look good, you feel good. Feel your best with new schooling attire from top brands.

Melissa Fladland Wins The Horse of Course High Score Award Two Weeks In A Row At AGDF!

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Melissa Fladland (right) wins The Horse of Course High Score Award for earning the highest score of the week with Sholitaire, presented by Beth Haist (middle) and pays the award forward to the horse’s owner Makenzie Rath (left)

Melissa Fladland did it again— scoring the highest dressage score of the week at the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Fladland received the highest score of the entire week at the show twice in a row, on two different horses. The Horse of Course, Inc., a popular tack shop and sponsor of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, awarded Fladland with The Horse of Course High Score Award both weeks. Most recently, Fladland won the award on Sholitaire, a four-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Makenzie Rath.

Since Fladland had already received The Horse of Course High Score Award embroidered cooler and tri-colored ribbon for her performance the prior week, this week she decided to pass on the prize to Sholitaire’s owner, Makenzie Rath. The Horse of Course’s CEO Beth Haist was happy to present the two with the award at The Horse of Course mobile tack shop on the show grounds.

Fladland and Sholitaire’s impressive score of 79.773 percent in their open training level class earned them first place. The Horse of Course High Score Award suggests that young Sholitaire is off to a promising start with his show career. “I bought him in 2012,” Rath said. “He was about four weeks old. Mo Swanson bred him out of Rolling Stone Farm.”

Rath rode Sholitaire in four amateur training level classes in addition to Fladland’s rides. Each test Sholitaire performed earned a first place ribbon. The Horse of Course, Rath, and Fladland were all impressed by Sholitaire’s performances — especially considering this was his very first show ever.

“You could really feel him mentally kick in and just listen to my aids,” Fladland said. “He stayed really up with me in my hands and said ‘This is my job; I know what I’m supposed to do,’ and he went right to work.”

“I think his temperament is the best,” Rath said when asked what her favorite thing about Sholitaire is. “He’s very sweet, but he’s curious and he’s a very kind horse.”

The Horse of Course is proud to recognize the achievements of great riders and horses during the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, in addition to offering riders’ favorite tack and equipment brands. Fladland and Rath are true fans of The Horse of Course’s wide selection of equine products.

“We have bought a lot of stuff from The Horse of Course,” Fladland said. “A coat, boots, and another pair of boots coming up, too!” Fladland feels that high-quality tack and riding gear aid in helping riders be their best on their talented mounts, like Sholitaire.

The Horse of Course proudly supports the equine community by traveling around the U.S. and sponsoring and attending horse shows with it’s large selection of top-quality, fairly priced merchandse for equestrians. Popular brands that The Horse of Course carries include Konig, Pikeur, Kentucky, Eskadron, Grand Prix, Vespucci, Cavallo, Passler, Redbarn, Schockemohle, Romfh, USG, Neue Schule, Montar, Eurostar, Dyon, and Sommer. Equestrians can find sought-after products at The Horse of Course including full seat breeches, belts, boots, men’s apparel, and horse care supplies. Additionally, saddle-fitting services are available.

Fresh Takes On Classic Show Styles

Spring is the perfect time to update your show wardrobe! We’ve picked out a few pieces from some of our favorite brands to get you inspired for show season.

ShowDayStyle

  • The HKM Paris softshell show jacket has just the right amount of stretch for total freedom of movement. Subtle purple detailing on the pleats and pockets makes for an edgy, modern look.
  • The La Valencio Canda belt is made from luxurious braided leather and studded with glittering rhinestones for an eye-catching look.
  • Pikeur’s classic Candela breeches are universally flattering and utterly fashionable. You’ll love how they look and feel!
  • Comfortable and beautiful, the One K Defender with Swarovski crystals is available in several colors to coordinate with any coat.
  • Treat yourself to the best dressage boots on the market- the König Favorite! With hundreds of custom options available, you can get this boot exactly how you’d like it.

Meagan Davis Earns The Horse of Course High Score Award at White Fences

Meagan Davis with White Fences owner Adam Pollack.

Meagan Davis with White Fences owner Adam Pollack.

During the recent Welcome Back to White Fences Dressage Show in Loxahatchee, Florida, Meagan Davis and her self-owned equine partner Damocles HLF dominated their First Level class – finishing more than 10 percentage points higher than the second place rider. Davis scored a stunning 78.824 percent, and the judges weren’t the only ones blown away by her performance.

The Horse of Course, Inc., a tack shop based in Claremore, Oklahoma with a mobile unit stationed in Wellington, Florida during the winter show season, also was impressed with the performance. Davis and Damocles HLF’s score was the highest score of the entire show, earning them The Horse of Course High Score Award. The Horse of Course presented Davis with a tri-colored ribbon and embroidered cooler to recognize their success. The Horse of Course is proud to award the highest scoring rider at horse shows across the country.

For Davis, the impressive score and High Score Award are the culmination of hard work and years of developing a relationship with her horse. Having purchased Damocles HLF (better known as Douglas) as a two-year-old, Davis has spent plenty of time getting to know the 2010 Oldenburg gelding and working up to this point in their career.

“The relationship I have with him has been vital to his success because I have had him for so long,” Davis explained. “He really trusts me, and he knows I’m never going to put him in a situation where he’s not going to be safe.”

But even being confident in their relationship, Davis didn’t expect the extreme success of their performance at the Welcome Back to White Fences Dressage Show. Even for her, the amount of effort and sheer skill Douglas put forth was a bit of a surprise – and a very pleasant one at that.

“He really stepped up his game from what we’ve been schooling at home,” she said. “He was up in the shoulders with more self-carriage than I’ve ever felt. He went out and blew me away and I was so proud of him.”

Looking forward, Davis and her trainer Danish Olympian Bent Jensen plan to move Davis and Douglas into Third Level by the end of March – an ambitious goal, but an attainable one given their recent success.

The Horse of Course is happy to play its part in recognizing amazing pairs like Davis and Douglas in their quest for success. So as more and more duos go down centerline this winter show season, The Horse of Course will keep an eye out for top performers to reward throughout the upcoming weeks of the South Florida winter show series with The Horse of Course High Score Award.

A quality tack and apparel shop for fashion-forward equestrians, The Horse of Course has everything today’s competitive rider needs to dress for success in the arena. From clothing and saddles to accessories and training equipment, The Horse of Course caries what the modern equestrian is looking for. To learn more, visit www.thehorseofcourse.com.

Melissa Fladland Takes Home The Horse of Course High Score Award At AGDF Week 7

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Melissa Fladland (left) with The Horse of Course CEO Beth Haist (right)

It was Melissa Fladland and Bismarck J who stole the highest score of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s week seven competition. The Horse of Course, Inc., a popular tack shop with a mobile store on site at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, is dedicated to honoring the best in the dressage world— which includes offering top quality products and rewarding top scoring riders. The company presented Fladland and Bismarck J with The Horse of Course High Score Award for their impressive 78.409 percent score, which earned them first place in their Training Level class.

The Horse of Course, based in Claremore, Oklahoma, is an Official Partner and Sponsor of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Beth Haist, CEO of The Horse of Course, awarded Fladland and Bismarck J with a tricolored ribbon and an embroidered commemorative cooler for their winning ride.

Three years ago, Fladland partnered with Bismarck K, a six-year-old Hanoverian (Bugatti x Whimsical 1, Wall Street Kid) gelding owned by Rocking Diamond S. Fladland’s husband Kip started Bismarck as a colt at their home base of La Riata Ranch in Griswold, Iowa. Fladland explained that they took their time and were patient with Bismarck’s training because of his tall stature and growing body. Fladland did not start Bismarck under a full time training regimen until only this past July, to make sure that he was fully comfortable in his body.

It has seemed to pan out quite well for the pair, as they have already been turning heads at the international venue of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. This past week was only Bismarck’s second show, and Fladland has big plans for his future. Earning the highest score out of all competitors of the week proved they are off to a very promising start.

“He’s got some great natural gaits, and balance is really easy for him,” Fladland explains. “He has a super mind really, and is easy to train because he is a very willing horse. I trained his full sister, who was great for us. We started her and brought her along through the Intermediare I.”

Fladland states that she couldn’t be more proud of Bismarck’s performance this past week. She was especially impressed with their partnership when it came to potential distractions at the show.

“He was a little worried of the signage on the fence, but I was so proud because he was very willing to stay with me and on my aids through the entire test. For only the third or fourth time going into the ring, he was a very good boy.”

Fladland also credits her husband and mentors for their efforts with Bismarck. Fladland has sought out training from legendary horsemen such as Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, and Buck Brannaman, for whom her husband used to work. The pair combined their western natural horsemanship and dressage expertise to train all types of horses through the levels.

The Horse of Course is a strong supporter of the equestrian community, and travels across the United States attending and sponsoring horse shows. The Horse of Course is a one-stop shop for leading equestrians who are looking for top quality, fairly-priced merchandise. Popular brands that The Horse of Course carries include Konig, Pikeur, Kentucky, Eskadron, Grand Prix, Vespucci, Cavallo, Passler, Redbarn, Schockemohle, Romfh, USG, Neue Schule, Montar, Eurostar, Dyon, and Sommer. The company’s complete selection of sought-after items include full seat breeches, bridles, horse care supplies, belts, and boots. A large men’s department and saddle-fitting services are also available.

The Horse of Course High Score Award will continue to be presented to the highest scoring horse and rider duo of each CDI week throughout the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. To learn more about the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival’s sponsor The Horse of Course, visit www.thehorseofcourse.com or call 888-494-6773.

Sponsored Rider Shelly Francis Wins FEI Grand Prix Special!

Shelly Francis and Doktor

Shelly Francis and Doktor

The fourth day of competition at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) concluded last Saturday  with a win for Shelly Francis and Doktor in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W, presented by The Axel Johnson Group.

Francis and Doktor won the class with a 73.373%, narrowly edging fellow American Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet who finished in second place with a 73.137%. Kelly Layne  and Udon P earned a 70.157% for third place.

Shelly Francis and Doktor, owned by Patricia Stempel, have consistently placed amongst the top three for the past two seasons at AGDF and have always seemed to fall just short of the victory gallop, but today, the duo wowed the judging panel as the final ride in the class, just nudging Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet to second place.

“In a funny way I’m not always sure what feels good. I kept thinking about what Robert [Dover] said to me before I went in about the half halts. When he got a little bit strong I was trying to just really sit in there,” said Francis. “He really put out effort for me today and he felt like he was going nice and steady. There were no real hiccups in the rhythm anywhere, from what I felt.” The duo finished one of their most fluid and harmonious tests, as Francis rode with a bit more contact in the bridle than she typically asks for from the 2003 Hanoverian gelding (Diamond Hit x Gurena).

She described, “I was really concentrating every step. For me, there was a little bit of sweat dripping off my head, but he was very there with me trying to do everything. It was a little bit more contact than I usually ride him in, but it also shows me that I’m trying to be a little too light sometimes. It made him stay a bit steadier and the passages felt really steady. Sometimes he can get a little hoppy there, but today he just felt in my hand and very nice.”

“I’m still a little bit surprised that Kasey [Perry-Glass] didn’t whoop my butt to be honest,” laughed Francis. “It feels good. It’s kind of a little reward here and there and I’m happy for the rest of the year now.”

With a talented string of Large Tour horses moving up through the ranks, Francis has been pleased with the steady progress of each of her mounts, but incredibly impressed with the consistent improvement of Doktor, her most experienced partner. “It felt better than some of my other rides. I have to realize what they feel like versus what’s easier for me to sit on. Sometimes it’s not so easy to make a nice ride,” she explained.

Lars Petersen On The Importance Of A Good Team

Danish-born rider Lars Petersen is an accomplished equestrian. He’s competed at the World Equestrian Games, the World Cup Finals, the Continental Championships, and the Olympics, and dominated the sport of dressage for decades. The Horse of Course is part of Lars’s team, acting as a sponsor, saddle fitter, and clothier.

The Horse of Course’s Stephanie Peck chatted with Lars about the importance of a good team, his goals for the year, and how he keeps Mariett in tip-top shape.

Lars Petersen aboard Mariett.

Lars Petersen aboard Mariett.

SP: I heard you recently became an American citizen- congratulations! Are you excited to ride for America in the future?
LP: Yes, I am. I must say, I’ve been here for- I’m going on my sixteenth year now, and I really like it here.

SP: That’s good to hear! As someone that’s lived and competed and trained in both America and Europe, what kind of differences do you see in training systems, competitions, and the horse culture?
LP: Competition wise, the competition is of course harder in Europe than it is here. They have more good shows. I mean, many, many shows like WEF every weekend, which we don’t have so many of over here. We have the new facility in Tyron, which hopefully- well, I have seen it- will be just spectacular. So hopefully there will be some more shows. And training-wise…I mean, people can train the way they want to train, I always say. I do it the way I have always done it. I still go to Blue Hors ten times a year to train and I haven’t changed that system. There’s a lot of systems over here.

SP: So you just do what works for you.
LP: Yeah.

SP: And it has been working- you’ve been at the top of the sport for two, three decades. How did you get started in dressage?
LP: From my dad. He got me into it, and he rode himself, both dressage and jumping. I used to jump horses a lot.

SP: And you made the switch to only dressage?
LP: Yeah, I was always better at dressage. I enjoy jumping a lot but yeah, it’s dressage now.

SP: Your horse Mariett is eighteen. How do you keep a horse like her on top and getting better as she ages?
LP: Well, that’s very difficult. And it doesn’t work with all horses. But my dad always said, “Learn from people whose horses get old.” And I guess as I get older- well, as you get older, you learn a lot of horsemanship. It’s having a good blacksmith and a good veterinarian. What you do in the ring every day is the most important. I’ve been fortunate; a lot of my horses got old. It’s the whole team- farrier, vet, rider, groom, saddler.

SP: You ride in Sommer saddles. How do you like them?
LP: [Laughs] They are great!  I have been riding in them a long time. I rode in them when I was in Europe. I saw The Horse of Course carried them and have been coming to you guys ever since. Beth and Marty are great. [ed.- Beth is the CEO/founder of THoC; her husband Marty is THoC’s saddler.]

SP: Can you tell me about some of the other horses you’re working with and bringing up?
LP: I have a horse, from Altersgait Farm, he’s now turned eight. He’s a Quaterback. My good friend in Denmark bred him and I bought him and sold him to them [Altersgait Farm] but then they got a little too much horse! So now I have him, and he’s gone Prix St. Georges already as a seven year old. He’s very talented, so he’ll be fun over the couple of years to finish up.

SP: What do you look for in a dressage prospect? Are there certain breeds or bloodlines that you like, or is it more about a horse’s conformation?
LP: Yes, there are some bloodlines I like, but it’s also about conformation. You know, an uphill build horse. Good hind legs.

SP: What kind of bloodlines do you like?
LP: You know what? All my horses are from all different kind of bloodlines. I think if you have one with a good heart and good gaits…A dressage horse is made. You can train, you can do a lot. It’s not like a jumper- if they just don’t have the talent to jump, you don’t go very far. Of course, I like something Danish. [laughs] I never used to like Dutch horses, and especially not Jazz, but now I have two Jazzes in my barn that I love! One is a seven year old mare, I think she is the best young horse I’ve ever had, so easy and very talented. But I don’t think I have a specific bloodline.

SP: So what are some of your goals for 2016, for this season?
LP: For this season? Well, Denmark is not qualified for the Olympics, so they have to go through world rankings. So I’m just trying to keep showing, keep Mariett up on the world ranking list, and that goes then to the Federation and the Federation decides who the team is. So, yeah, after that, we go from there!


The Horse of Course is proud to be part of Lars’s team, and we wish him a very successful 2016!