They highlighted the program, including a riding demonstration of legend George Morris and Uta Gräf with her refreshing approach. HRH Princess Benedikte, president of the Global Dressage Foundation, was able to pronounce that next year’s Global Dressage Forum will be hosted by Hof Kasselmann in Hagen, Germany.
During this edition of the Global Dressage Forum, chair of the Dressage Committee Frank Kemperman and Carina Mayer, ad interim chief of the dressage department of the FEI, shared their thoughts and worries about the development of the discipline of dressage.
Olympic status at stake For the Olympic Agenda 2020 some questions will have to be thoroughly answered, to preserve dressage as an Olympic discipline. “Our sport is too complicated and not enough universal. This means the sport format will have to be revised, in order to attract more visibility and understanding for broadcast, for sponsors and to attract youth”, Carina Mayer seriously warned.
Greatest horses ever It was heart-warming to welcome videos of the greatest dressage horses ever, including Bonfire, Salinero, Ahlerich, Totilas, Matador, Rembrandt and Valegro. The horses and their composure were technically well analysed by Dutch journalist Dirk Willem Rosie. “What all great dressage horses have in common is that energy and attitude was, is and will always be the major criteria to excel”, Rosie concluded, “and as we all know, Valegro is an exception: he is the only small sized horse of the giants in dressage”. Jan Schuil, a vet and breeder of Totilas, made the audience think by expressing his opinion that the eye of the horse is the most important factor to pick a special horse from the group: “The eye of Totilas was proud, but not arrogant.” Kyra Kyrklund said that Matador is still alive in her thoughts. “Matador gave me the feeling. So every day I look for the Matador-feeling when riding my other horses”, she said.
Practical This edition practical sessions of Paul Fielder, Uta Gräf, George Morris and Wolfram Wittig had been included. Uta Gräf showed a great example of natural horse-keeping. She was laughing almost all the time, just like her horses showed on a movie, being daily out in the field in a heard, even her competition horses. “Uta is a diamond in the selling and marketing of our sport. She celebrates fun, partnership and harmony”, the panel with Bernard Maurel afterwards complimented her. Both the easiness and strictness of 77 year old George Morris in the saddle was an example to us all. George Morris answered the question that nowadays dressage still is the mother of all equestrian disciplines. “It’s more than ever!”, he said, worrying about the young generation almost sleeping on their draw reins and missing the abilities to practice proper flat work. “While there are only two things that count, forward and backward”, he said.
Partners Just like the previous editions of the Global Dressage Forum skilled moderator Richard Davison guided the audience through the enjoyable and informative program. Partners in the program were FEI, IDRC, IDTC, Dutch Equestrian Federation KNHS, ISES and of course the Global Dressage Foundation. In a few weeks’ time the summary of all lectures will be available at our website. To stay tuned, please visit www.globaldressageforum.com