For Diana Zakharova, supporting and promoting the competitive spirit, effort and fine horsemanship that her fellow international riders bring to the United States is an important way to give-back to the dressage community in her new home of Wellington, Florida.
Originally from Russia, Zakharova recently made the move to the US to compete among the top riders in the sport. “Wellington is the best place in the world for dressage,” she says. That’s why she is proud to sponsor the International Sportsmanship Award to recognize riders like herself who made the effort to compete in the United States, specifically in Wellington, Florida.
Zakharova explains that dressage is about tests and for her, it’s all about the joy of taking on new challenges, balancing her family and riding life, and “enjoying it all”. She is excited to share this enthusiasm by recognizing other riders through the award because she personally knows the courage and commitment it takes to travel overseas and compete at these levels.
Prior to bringing her family and horses to Florida, Zakharova, a mother of four, competed successfully in 34 CDI competitions in Europe. In Russia, she became the idol of her riding companions when she decided after only a few years of competing to step up and out of the amateur ranks and challenge herself as a professional competing in the CDI. “I love the sport of dressage almost as much as I embrace new challenges,” explains Zakharova. “I love being an ambassador to the sport and I believe having a positive attitude is the key to success in dressage ...and life!” she continues. Along with her upbeat attitude, Zakharova is known for her eye for detail and fashion sense. “It’s important to look and feel good to put your best performance forward,” she adds. That creed, along with her smile and positive attitude, has made Zakharova a favorite amidst her dressage peers in the US. Because of this, the International Sportsmanship Award sponsored by Diane Zakharova takes on a unique significance during the Gold Coast Dressage Association (GCDA) 2019 show season. Winners will be recognized with a ribbon and a silver tray.
The GCDA is a USDF Group Member Organization that is committed to providing educational programs, clinics, shows and seminars aimed at promoting and upgrading classical riding, and to offer a framework in which individuals can progress with the schooling of themselves and their horses. The 2019 GCDA show season kicks off with the Gold Coast Opener held on January 17-20th at The Global Dressage Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.
Zakharova is looking forward to continuing to compete herself along with supporting her fellow international riders in 2019 and beyond.