What's Happening: December 2017 - Part 1

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 14:06
What's Happening in the Dressage World?

Swedish Grand Prix rider Sofie Lexner is pregnant with her first child and due to give birth on 5 February 2018. Father to the baby is Sofie's boyfriend Johan Reuterskiöld , who is a professional race horse jockey.

The 31-year old Lexner had some problems with morning sickness at the start but is now doing fine and still riding as long as she feels comfortable.

Renowned Austrian dressage trainer and judge Gertrud Knopfhart has passed away at age 91 on 13 November 2017. Knopfhart was born in 1927 but only began riding in 1952. She was talented and moved to the Westfalian Riding and Driving school in Munster for a training to become riding instructor. In Austria she was trained by Alois Podhajsky and Paul Stecken. In 1976 she became the first female "Reitmeister" in Austria. As of 1980 she was a national dressage judge for ten years. 

Swedish Emma Ahlberg has decided to resign from her job as an assistant trainer at Andreas Helgstrand's yard and start her own, independent business with her Danish boyfriend Lars Ringkjaer as of 1 February 2018. The couple will be based at Vandstedfaard in Barmer, Denmark. The 29-year old Emma rode stallions such as Sezuan (during her time at Gestut Peterhof in Germany) and Revolution and competed horses such as Zgander (Sönke Rothenberger), Fine Time (Katherine Bateson), Casablanca (Mateusz Cichon), Zardetto, Grandine, Liva Enshoj and many more.

De Hoefslag reported that Dutch Under 25 rider Geert Hofland has taken over the ride on the 14-year old Dutch warmblood gelding Look at Him (by Likoto xx) from Debora Pijpers. The 25-year old Debora has decided to focus on finishing her collage degree and is putting her competition career on the back burner. Debora was member of the Dutch Young Riders team in 2013. She quit competing in the spring of 2014 and returned in the spring of 2016 at Under 25 Grand Prix level with Blof. Pijpers rode her last show on Blof in June 2017. Look at Him last competed internationally in April 2014.

Dutch warmblood stallion owner and breeder Kees van den Oetelaar became the father of a second son Marius. Kees' girlfriend, Norwegian Linn Kvernes, gave birth to Marius on 22 November 2017. The baby was born two months too early and weighs 1700 grams. Kees and Linn are already parents to son Willem.

Belgian Laura van de Moortel has acquired the 11-year licensed KWPN stallion Bristol (by Jazz x Goodtimes x Nurprimus), which was trained to S-level by Kristen Beckers. The stallion was now being ridden by John Tijssen as a sales horse. The 27-year old Van de Moortel trains with Tommie Visser.

The Taiwanese owned KWPN stallion Four Legends (by Wynton) has a new rider, the third one in 15 months time. Initially competed by Marieke van der Putten, Four Legends KS sold in August 2016 to Taiwanese Vincent Chen, but the stallion stayed in the care of Dutch horse dealer and trainer Judy de Winter. The ride was initially allocated to Philip van Ommen, but then went to Stephanie Kooijman. Now the beautiful black is being ridden by Rozemarijn "Roos" van Schaik.

The beginning of the 2018 Dressage in Florida show season has been marked by a tragic fatality. Show jumper groom Dana McWilliams, 19, who recently moved to Wellington from Connecticut, and young dressage rider Christian Kennedy, 21, of Iowa, were killed in a car crash, when McWilliams lost control of her 2013 Chevy Camaro while driving “at a high rate of speed” along South Shore Boulevard where the Global Dressage Festival is located in Wellington, Florida. McWilliams and Kennedy had spent the night out on Saturday 25 November. Both McWilliams and Kennedy were declared dead at the scene. They did not wear seat belts. A third person in the car, 24-year-old Elaine Halloran of Wellington, was critically injured and taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center. Kennedy was a working student at Oded Shimoni's dressage yard in Wellington. He had also worked for Ilse Schwarz and ridden with Robert Dover.