The Carl Hester clinic in Ontario is less than a month away and the internet was abuzz today as the rider names were announced. Fourteen horse / rider combinations will be featured over the two days, ranging from the FEI 4-year-old level to Grand Prix. As well a special guest (I'm not at liberty to say who yet) will do a demo ride each day.
So who are the lucky Canadian dressage riders chosen to work with Carl? Let's get to know them:
Originally from Saskatchewan, Andrea is a well-known rider and trainer based at FoxFire Equestrian in Uxbridge, Ont. She is an EC Level III coach and represented Canada at the 2007 PanAm Games, helping lead the team to a silver medal. Andrea will be riding Ismeux at the 4-year-old level
Does Jacqueline Brooks really need an introduction? The two-time Olympian and owner of Brookhaven Dressage in Mount Albert, Ont. is a Canadian fan favourite with her popular grey gelding D Niro. However the famous "Goose" is staying back in the barn for this clinic and Jac will be riding Emmett Top, a half brother to Valegro whom she has been bringing up the levels and competed successfully at Fourth Level this year.
Vanessa, daughter of well-known rider Diane Creech, is proudly carrying on the family dressage tradition. She has been a medallist at the NAJYRC, both in the junior and Young Rider divisions, and in 2017 began competing in the U25 Grand Prix classes as well. Her mount at the Carl Hester clinic is Fleur de Lis, a Hanoverian mare owned by her sponsor Leatherdale Farms. Vanessa and Fleur captured individual and freestyle silver medals at the 2016 NAJYRC and had a successful summer in 2017 competing at several of Europe's biggest shows.
Tom is another well-known and well-respected international rider who probably needs little introduction. He has represented Canada at the PanAm Games, World Championships and World Cup. Together with his wife Ellen, Tom operates Friday Hill Dressage in Hillsburgh, Ontario. He will be riding Cyrus in the PSG, an exciting young gelding owned by Carla Bahr.
Brittany is one of Canada's brightest rising dressage stars. Originally from New Glasgow, NS, she spent much of her career in New York and Florida working with Ashley Holzer. Brittany recently relocated to Montreal where she has established her own training business. We'll see her ride her KWPN gelding All In at the Grand Prix level in the clinic. This pair was part of the silver medal team at the 2015 PanAm Games, had a very successful winter in Wellington and summer in Europe, and just scored their first large tour victory with a win in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the recent CDI3* in Tryon, North Carolina.
Jane Fraser might not be a household name across Canada, but the Fraser family is something of a dressage legend on the east coast. Jane and her sister Susan are widely credited with introducing and nurturing high level dressage to the region and have been both competing and teaching throughout the Atlantic provinces for more than 30 years. Based out of Susan's Fraser Equestrian Centre in Port Williams, NS, Jane has been partnered with her clinic mount Banjo since 2014. At Bromont in 2016, the pair received an 80% at Training Level, making Jane the first Maritime rider with this remarkable achievement.
Jaimey & Tina Irwin
The owners and operators of Stoney Lake Equestrian in Stouffville, Ont. this husband and wife team have made a real name for themselves in the dressage world. They have been in the international spotlight since their Young Rider days and now have some very exciting horses ready to compete in the Grand Prix ring. Jaimey will be riding Donegal V in the clinic on Saturday, while Tina rides 5-year-old Simsalabim on Sunday.
The daughter of Canadian dressage legends Cindy and Neil Ishoy, Kahla has proven that talent runs in the family, both as a successful competitor and up-and-coming young professional trainer. She will be riding Sakima at Third Level, a lovely imported gelding owned by Cindy whom Kahla competed this summer, winning the Third Level Open Division championship at the Cornerstone Summer Classic.
As part of the silver medal-winning Canadian team at the 2015 PanAm Games and representing Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Megan Lane has etched her name in our national dressage history books. We're used to seeing her compete with her Olympic mount Caravella, but Megan has a string of top prospects at her home base Deer Ridge Equestrian in Loretto, Ontario. We'll get the chance to see Denver, a 2008 KWPN gelding by Vivaldi, at the Intermediare II level in the clinic.
Erin MacQuarrie may not be a familiar name to many dressage fans in Ontario and points west, but she is well known in Atlantic Canada for more than 20 years of success in the show ring, her talent as a trainer and EC Level II coach, and the quality warmblood breeding program she runs at her Hampton, New Brunswick farm. Erin will be featured both days in the 4-year-old group aboard Iron Butterfly (not Iron Maiden as listed in the announcement), a Dutch warmblood she bred and trained herself.
Maya is one of Canada's up and coming young dressage professionals. She first gained international attention by twice representing Canada at the Nation's Cup in Wellington, FL with Lumiere, and hasn't looked back since. A former student of Canadian Olympian David Marcus, Maya now operates her own business, Equest Dressage, in Cambridge, Ontario. In the clinic she will be riding 5-year-old Something Royal, owned by Fiona McLellan.
Karis Van Essen
Born in Toronto and raised in B.C., Karis has ridden and learned from dressage masters all over the world. She spent time in California as a working student for Elizabeth McConnell, then travelled to Germany to work with Canadian Eiren Crawford. When she returned to Canada in 2010 she began working with dynamic duo David Marcus and Nicholas Fyffe, spending several winter seasons training and competing with them in Florida. Karis now operates KVE Dressage and will be riding her own mare Camistry J in the clinic at the Intermediare II level.
Cecile von Martels-Perry
The von Martels name is a familiar one to Canadian dressage fans. Though perhaps not as well-known internationally as her brother Chris, Cecile von Martels has been involved in the family dressage business her whole life riding, training, importing and selling top quality dressage horses. She will be riding Captain, My Captain in the 6-year-old level.
About the author
I'm a middle-aged, overweight, rusty re-rider who refuses to let any of that get in the way of my passion for dressage.