While the United States wasn’t internationally competitive in dressage in the 80s, there were stars. Carol Lavell and Gifted graduated through the levels, starting by scoring 80 percent at second level at the York (Pa.) IEO show in 1985 and earning Horse of the Year awards every year for the next four years. They topped the Grand Prix Special at the Millers-USET Grand Prix Dressage Championships at Gladstone (N.J.) in 1989, during their first season at Grand Prix and had to turn down offers for half a million dollars to keep the ride on the horse, finishing as reserve champions behind Robert Dover and Walzertakt.
The freestyle started appearing on schedules in the 1980s to instant acclaim, sending the community cramming to figure out how to ride them, judge them, choreograph them and arrange music for them.
In Other Sports
In 1980, the United States sent a team to attend the World Driving Championships in Windsor (Great Britain) for the first time. Editorial staffer Patricia Chelberg took a leave of absence to serve as a groom for Clay Camp’s four-in-hand at the World Driving Championships, setting the precedent for Associate Editor Molly Sorge to head to the Burghley Horse Trials (England) in 2004 to groom Test Run for Kim Meier. Unfortunately, Camp had to retire on marathon after overturning his vehicle, one obstacle from home, and the best result came from Deirdre Pirie, who still finishing well down the standings. (Team stalwart Jimmy Fairclough was described as “inexperienced” that year.)