Thursday, February 11, 2010

2006 WEG Vaulting Silver Medalist, Rosalind "Rosey" Ross (USA)



Rosalind Ross has been traveling to Europe as a team vaulter since she was 9 years old, though she started vaulting at a much younger age. Rosalind, "Rosey," is a very expressive vaulter and puts her great choreography, skill, grace, and elegance into an emotional performance. Rosey is a gold vaulter (the highest vaulting category). She has been on many teams throughout the years, and has been on many vaulting clubs, starting at Coastline and Mt. Eden Vaulting Clubs.

Rosey is currently in college at Emerson, Boston. She is majoring in literature, writing, and publishing.


As I write this, I am sitting on a plane leaving Boston and heading to San Francisco for yet another weekend of vaulting practice with my team, F.A.C.E. Vaulters, based in Woodside, California. Being a bi-coastal team member is new to me, since I grew up in California and have had the convenience of vaulting on teams based in California for my entire vaulting career. Following the World Vaulting Championships in August of 2008, I set off to attend Emerson College in Boston to attain a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, and thus, unknowingly, significantly complicated my future vaulting career. Upon moving to Boston, my plan was to wean myself off of vaulting and pursue other avenues of interest to me, as well as attempt to have a “normal” college experience to make up for my very abnormal high school experience that was dominated by my rigorous training schedule. Vaulting at the internationally competitive level is incredibly time consuming, as well as mentally and physically exhausting. It leaves very little time for a social life or outside hobbies. Then, despite all of my liberating ideas of hanging up my vaulting shoes and entering college as a normal 18-year old, I was enticed back to the sport by my dear friend and coach, Devon Maitozo.



Devon and I came up with a plan to perform a pas de deux (two person) routine for the 2009 competition season, since there were no World Championships and therefore no real incentive to create a team. We arranged practices on both the east coast and west coast, using every spare opportunity we had to train. Unfortunately, our season was cut short in November when I sustained a shoulder injury during a training session that required me to have surgery. Today marks one year exactly since my surgery. Though the rehabilitation process was lengthy, frustrating, and put me out of training for close to six months, I can look back now and reflect on the idea that perhaps the injury was a blessing in disguise. While my shoulder was inadequate for vaulting purposes, it did not prevent me from doing other forms of physical activity. I was able to begin studying dance seriously, which has been a longtime interest and passion of mine that, until recently, I had never had the time to pursue with intensity.

Dance, particularly ballet and contemporary, is my inspiration for vaulting. The beauty of the sport is that the performers are allowed such artistic freedom with their styles of vaulting. Some vaulters tend toward more gymnastic or acrobatic styles, others more theatrical, and others more dance-like. I would say that in the past four years, my “style” as a vaulter has matured significantly by using dance as my foundation and inspiration for exploring movement. There is nothing more moving to me than seeing an exquisitely choreographed routine performed in perfect harmony with the horse. When this perfect harmony is achieved, the performance looks effortless and the horse canters as though the performer is weightless.


This year, with the WEG in our own country, we finally have the good fortune to compete on the same horse that we will have been practicing on all year. In past years, we have always borrowed a European horse for the Championships that we had only a few weeks of preparation working with. Our horse for this year is Palatine (affectionately called Pally), a 12-year old Westphalian Warmblood owned by Devon Maitozo. We performed the compulsory exercises on him during the Selection Trials in 2008, when he was still brand new to the sport. This year, we are challenging both him and ourselves by relying on him to carry both our compulsories and our freestyle routine. Training a horse to carry a team freestyle while simultaneously training ourselves to know the routine is quite difficult, but we are all extremely pleased with Palatine’s progress so far.

Jumping back to the summer of 2009, thoughts started forming about putting together a team for 2010. I decided that I missed vaulting enough to sign on to the team that Devon was creating for 2010 in pursuit of the World Equestrian Games one last time. Recalling memories from the 2006 WEG in Aachen, standing on the podium with my team and having a silver medal draped around my neck, stirred within me a sense of national and artistic pride that I could not ignore. I had a feeling, which has so far proven me correct, that this season would be one of the most difficult ones logistically in terms of training and preparation.

I had applied and been accepted to a study-abroad program in Europe for the fall semester of 2009, which I promised myself I would not back out on. Training and competing in Europe for so many years with vaulting instilled in me a sense of adventure and an affinity for new cultures that I was eager to experience under different circumstances (ie academically). I spent three months in Europe while my team began training back home in California. I did what I could to keep in shape physically, but I knew that going home and resuming training with the team would be a major reality check for me. One day after arriving back in the States, I started practicing with the team again. It didn’t take long for me to affirm why it is that I love this sport so intensely. I couldn’t ask for a more inspiring and motivated group of athletes and performers to be connected with. I love my teammates dearly, (including our wonderful horse, Palatine) and consider them all like family.
Our team this year is comprised primarily of members from the San Francisco Bay area, aside from Annalise VanVranken from New Jersey, Nicole Czyzewski from Colorado, and myself now a resident of Massachusetts. Our training as a group is limited to one or two weekends per month, which in comparison to most other teams, is very little time. Though this technically puts our team at a pretty significant disadvantage, we do have the advantage of experience. In both 2006 and 2008, Devon compiled teams of vaulters from around the country, and both teams were highly successful. Our biggest initial challenge will be preparing for the Selection Trial competitions that begin in May and end in July (a total of four). The competition within the U.S. will be tough this year, as there are six teams vying for the qualifying position. We also plan to attend the CHIO in Aachen, where we will have to borrow a horse from Europe to compete on, and the U.S. National Championships. Our ultimate goal this year is of course to take home the illustrious gold medal for our country that has eluded us just barely at the past two World Championships.

Now that my mind has wandered to visions of performing to an enraptured audience in Kentucky, I must burst my own bubble and slip back into my role as college student to write an essay for my literature class that is due as soon as I step off the plane on Monday morning!

Until March…

60 comments:

  1. Beautiful picture of you in action! I find vaulting interesting given I have been in and out of the horse world for the majority of my life but only recently really have begun to see what a huge world of vaulting there is out there! Good luck!

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  2. Animo y a recuperarse para los Juegos, desde España esperamos con impaciencia el empiezo de los juegos ecuestres. Saludos desde España.
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  3. HI,
    Nice post posted here, specially that photo. Thanks for posting such a interesting blog and keep posting such an informative articles.

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  4. If that's another type of vaulting it's very dangerous! It was sad to read about the shoulder injury but it is said that for something bad that happens the best is yet to come. So hope Rosalind finds peace and success in her dancing career.

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  5. A picture is worth a thousand words! This looks like a thrilling sport to watch. I hope your shoulder doesn't continue to bother you. I wish you much luck in your future endeavors.

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  9. What a lovely and courageous young woman you are! I wish you well and thank you for this post. I have learned more about your sport. - Arlie Jarels

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  10. What a fantastic action shot! You, your partner and your horse must really have a special relationship. I can't imagine trusting another person like you must trust them. Amazing!

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  17. It has been my pleasure to have come across such an amazing post wit such awesome info's. Great work I must say.

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  18. On teams based in California for my entire vaulting career.

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  19. as well as attempt to have a “normal” college experience to make up

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  20. When this perfect harmony is achieved, the performance looks effortless and the horse canters as though the performer is weightless.

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  21. Very exclusive photo and article thanks for sharing.

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  22. Respect is what she deserves. Great potential for the states for upcoming years.

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  23. Now that my mind has wandered to visions of performing to an enraptured audience in Kentucky

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  24. Wonderful blog. information are important and useful and photos are really exclusive. thanks for sharing.

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  25. My friends, this is really amazing blog. I recommend you all to read this blog at-least once.

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  26. Rossie is not only an athelete but also a charming lady. She continues her studies while she plays. Geart person. thansk alot for sharing

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  27. I would like to thank the author for sharing such mind blowing information to us. Great talent

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  30. There is nothing more moving to me than seeing an exquisitely choreographed routine performed in perfect harmony with the horse.

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  31. Wow...striking picture with performing the horse......I think her medal inspired her a lot..

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  32. This picture says that how incredible player she is!! she deserved this prize...

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  34. I falling love with Rosey. Rosey you are beautiful .You choreography skill always amazed me .

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  35. These kind of post are always inspiring and I prefer to read quality content so I happy to find many good point here in the post, writing is simply great, thank you for the post

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  36. Devon and I came up with a plan to perform a pas de deux (two person) routine for the 2009 competition season

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  37. Dance, particularly ballet and contemporary, is my inspiration for vaulting. The beauty of the sport is that the performers are allowed such artistic freedom with their styles of vaulting.

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  38. Rosey you are beautiful .You choreography skill always amazed me. HCG Blue Drops, the Faster and Natural way to lose weight..

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  39. This year, with the WEG in our own country, we finally have the good fortune to compete on the same horse.

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  40. The competition within the U.S. will be tough this year, as there are six teams vying for the qualifying position. We also plan to attend the CHIO in Aachen.

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  41. The beauty of the sport is that the performers are allowed such artistic freedom with their styles of vaulting.

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  42. Vaulting at the internationally competitive level is incredibly time consuming, as well as mentally and physically exhausting.

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  43. i think Rosalind Ross deserve the gold medal. she is beautiful.

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  44. The two horses are very different. I have a bond and confidence with Ace that you strive for with a horse you’re competing on.

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  45. A WEG siver medalist! A rare combination of beauty & brain.
    I hope I get a seat in the audience the next time she performs.

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  46. That is a tough chore as our reining horses start their careers

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  47. The path to an event like WEG is a long one filled with triumphs and hurtles.

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  50. Miss Ross was amazing at that tournament and she really deserved the gold medale, but the silver one is not that bad.

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  52. There is nothing more moving to me than seeing an exquisitely choreographed routine performed in perfect harmony with the horse.

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