Last night, as part of the USDF/USEF Young Rider Graduate Program, the attendees enjoyed a special evening: dining with three of the US national dressage coaches, the USDF president, and the USDF executive director.
In a relaxed atmosphere, the 38 participants got to know chef d'equipe and Olympian Robert Dover, Developing coach and Olympian Debbie McDonald, and young-horse coach Scott Hassler as they swapped stories and shared anecdotes about their dressage careers. Also on hand were international competitor George Williams, USDF's president; and USDF executive director Stephan Hienzsch.
Here are a few of the evening's memorable quotes from our very special guests:
On what makes for a successful equestrian career
In my career, and in Deb’s, and in Scott’s, we were never not students -- from the time we began, and it’s still happening now. I’m still a student when I’m riding. I still have other people who are giving me input while I’m riding. -Robert Dover
Depth -- lots of horses coming up through your pipeline. You can be very lucky and have one special horse, but if you can’t somewhat keep a pipeline coming, then as soon as that horse is done you’re pretty much like the rest of the country. -Debbie McDonald
In life and in sport, those who are going to be great will become great. If you’re going to be great, you’re going to figure it out and you’ll be great and that’s the way it is. -Robert Dover
My team is my vet, my shoer, my groom, my everybody that is part of what I do. I think when you build up a lot of confidence and respect, you work alongside them instead of talking down to them or expecting them to pick up a pitchfork, and you join in. That’s building team spirit, and I think it goes all the way on up to the Olympic Games. -Debbie McDonald
Even in the hardest times, just be true to yourself and kind to everyone around you, and it will all work out in the end, however it’s supposed to be. -Debbie McDonald
We are so grateful to these wonderful role models for giving of their time and expertise to help the next generation of dressage professionals. Thank you!