The intense activity on the Florida circuit is a fabulous opportunity and the only time our riders have the advantage of living close to each other and physically sharing their experience.
But it is a four-month stint at best, and then everybody disperses to their home base, and the distances loom large once again. The vast separation between our riders and shows is one of our greatest stumbling blocks, but we bravely face the challenge by routinely driving and flying our horses across the United States and the world to get where we need to be.
Australia, Canada and South America share our dilemma, and it sure slows down the progress and sometimes brings it to a halt.
Since practice is the issue here, and instant genius appears to be a misconception, this is a problem we’re constantly trying to work on. It’s hard to achieve perfect practice without the tools available.
Luckily, this country abounds in energy, optimism and inventiveness.
Adversity has never hindered Americans from testing their ability and measuring their skills against others, and we do love to compete. I know we have the pool of talent we need, the will to work and the ambition to win. All we need is more endless, perfect practice.
Anne Gribbons is the U.S. Equestrian Federation Technical Advisor for dressage. She has trained and shown 15 horses of her own to Grand Prix and competed in 10 national championships as well as in Europe, including the Aachen CHIO (Germany). Seven of her horses have been U.S. Dressage Federation Horse of the Year, and she was a member of the 1995 Pan American silver medal-winning team for the United States. Anne is a Fédération Equestre Internationale five-star judge, and she’s been a member of the FEI Dressage Committee since 2010. She started contributing to Between Rounds in 1995.