PRE Horses Full Speed Ahead at 2024 USPRE Week

Mon, 02/19/2024 - 15:11
Juan Munoz Diaz teaching during 2024 USPRE Week :: Photos © Lily Forado

-- Text and Photos © Lily Forado for USPRE

At the heart of the equestrian world, the vibrant city of Wellington transforms into a paradise for horse lovers during three consecutive months. Standing out over the twelve weeks of continuous competition is the iconic USPRE Week, organized by the American Association of the Pure Spanish Horse (USPRE). This year, the experience reached new heights with the fusion of classic cars and classic horses.

Entering the third week of the circuit, USPRE Week, held from 23 - 27 January 2024, presented a comprehensive program of educational activities, seminars, exhibitions, etc. International breeders, renowned riders, and equestrian personalities gathered in Wellington.

Pure Power

Horse power at the welcome cocktail party
The main theme of this year's event was the fusion of classic cars and classic horses, known as 'Pure Power,' providing attendees with a unique experience. The week commenced with the first part of a clinic by Olympic rider Juan Manuel Muñoz. Riders, including Tiago Ernesto, Heidi Hauri-Gill, Meghan Kavanah, Edwin Benavidez, Leah Winston, Lori Bruno, Eduardo Pérez, Mary Beth Klock, Jorge Arauz, Micah Deligdish, and Lisette Blanco, with their P.R.E mounts, received guidance on various training methods, from the young levels to the highest level of Grand Prix.

After a morning of intense learning, the agenda continued in the afternoon at Horses & Hounds Farm, with a welcome cocktail for USPRE members. The fusion of the two classic worlds, where speed and elegance converge, created a stunning backdrop for an unforgettable experience. The presence of classic cars added a vintage touch to a cocktail with a strong Spanish presence. Among those in attendance were Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, Phil Merril, Juan Manuel Muñoz, José Daniel Martin Dockx, Javier Ruiz, Pablo Gómez, Dr. Jane Bistline, Tom Reed, Kim Van Kampen, José Juan Morales (President of ANCCE), Ignacio Candau, Rafael Lemos, among others.

Education is Key

Keynote speaker and clinic, Juan Manuel Munoz
Wednesday's program featured a series of informative and educational seminars. Javier Ruiz opened the curtain, focusing on warm-up techniques. The rider emphasized various points, including the physical and psychological aspects of the horse, rider aids, and gaining control. Juan Manuel Muñoz continued the training thread, this time focusing on young horses. Rider Mathilde Blais, along with her horse Don Letrado, received advice and guidance on presenting the horse's rhythm in the trot.

Conferences and seminars continued after lunch. The first one focused on the prevention, treatment, and risks of laminitis in P.R.E. horses, presented by Dr. Robert P. Boswell. Following that, national judge Sue Kolsted shared her perspective on the highlights of P.R.E. horses, emphasizing the fundamental role of the Training Scale. She defined it as the "bible" of classical dressage for evaluating competitors, covering aspects from rhythm to tempo, flexibility to collection, with each phase being crucial.

Ignacio Candau on morphology
The next seminar, conducted by Ignacio Candau, focused on morphology. The breeder provided a deeper understanding of the basic morphological pattern of the P.R.E. Through photos and slow-motion videos, Candau described in detail the characteristics of the breed, including well-arched necks, gaits, defects, and other distinctive traits that make the P.R.E horse truly exceptional.

The event that concluded the training day was an exhibition of the P.R.E through images. Prestigious photographer Rafael Lemos took us on a historical journey through his professional career, full of anecdotes, travels, and iconic photos where the P.R.E (Pure Spanish Horse) takes center stage.

The PRE and Dressage

Thursday was full of action and gas, as Muñoz continued with the second part of his clinic in the morning. Around noon, all dressage enthusiasts gathered to witness the GP CDI4* sponsored by USPRE at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Young rider Felicitas Hendricks riding Drombusch OLD won with 72.457%. Also, in fourth position, Pablo Gómez with the P.R.E Ulises de Ymas (owned and bred by Yeguada de Ymas) scored 70.152%.

The 2024 USPRE Award Winners
In the evening, the USPRE Gala Dinner at The Wanderers Club welcomed more than 50 members. Dr. Jane Bistline, president of USPRE, delivered a brief speech highlighting the great year for USPRE. After the dinner, special awards were presented.

The winners were:

  • Mare of the Year: Kali del Encanto
  • Stallion of the Year: Olivo I de Marengo
  • Functionality Award: Miztli del Encanto
  • Breeder of the Year: Rancho el Marengo
  • Member of the Year: Jesús Jiménez & Jesús Naranjo
  • Equestrian of the Year: Lily Forado
  • Horse and Rider of the Year: Kerrigan Gluch & Mejorano HGF
Round Table

Hendricks won the GP class sponsored by USPRE
On Friday, January 26, the thrilling conclusion of USPRE Week 24 marked an event that left a mark. The day began with a morning roundtable discussion whose central theme was the essential role of amateurs in classical dressage with the P.R.E horse. Moderated by Lily Forado, the discussion, enriched by expert participation, included Janne Rumbough, David Marcus, Ignacio Candau, Juan Manuel Muñoz, and Amador Alonso. The diversity of perspectives provided a comprehensive view of the impact of amateurs on the equestrian world.

The last activity of the week was the Freestyle night at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Before that, Olympic rider Yvonne Losos de Muñiz warmed up the engines with a brief demonstration. International rider Maria Aponte presented Indiano, and the audience witnessed several minutes of tips and wisdom from the Olympic rider on P.R.E. training. Jennifer Williams closed the evening with a charming exhibition, riding Escritor JF II under the stars. Rider Felicitas Hendricks secured a double win, claiming the CDI4* Freestyle with Drombusch OLD at 78.790%.

Dr. Jane Bistiline and Tanya Duffey with ANCCE representatives
Jose Juan Morales y Manolo Gonzalez
USPRE Week 24 is a significant showcase week for educational, informative, and promotional activities dedicated to the P.R.E horse on American soil. USPRE extends its gratitude to all participants, sponsors, and panelists for contributing to the resounding success of this event.

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