Thursday, July 8, 2010
Irish Dressage Rider Judy Reynolds Vies for A Chance to Compete at the 2010 Games
My 2nd qualifying score with Remember in Stadl Paura means that Ireland has 3 dressage riders qualified for a major championship for only the 2nd time…EVER!! I look forward to linking up with already qualified Anna Merveldt (aka Peetsy) and Yvette Truesdale to represent Ireland on the Big Stage!
Hi. My name is Judy Reynolds. I’m a long time reader first time blogger. Where to start? I suppose some details about me and my journey so far is as good a place as any. I’m 28, from Kildare, Ireland and I’m a professional dressage rider. I live in Germany with my partner Patrick, my dog Blitzen and three of my horses Remember, Vancouver and Bodessa who are all at different stages in their training.
Patrick and I have been together for over 8 years. I met him first when I was working part time at my fathers transport company. He left his job in Ireland and moved to Germany with me 3 years ago. Before Patrick joined me here it was myself with only my faithful hound Blitzen for company after the long days at the stables. His steadfast loyalty and honest advice are a big reason I’ve been able to dedicate myself to my training in Germany. I consider him a major factor behind my success, and Patrick isn’t bad either ;)
We live in a small town called Voerde, which is about 60 km’s north of Dusseldorf. I’m based at Johann Hinnemann’s stables with my horses for training and competition. I’ve lived in Germany for almost 7 years now, I spent the first few years in Bavaria where I trained with experienced Irish rider Anna Merveldt and then with Ulla Salzgeber. Around 2 years ago I moved to my current location to work on bringing my #1 horse, Remember (or “Remy” to his friends) from ‘Small Tour’ to ‘Big Tour’.
Remy is a really talented 12-year-old KWPN gelding. I bought him 6 years ago from a small producer in Holland. As a 7 year old he hadn’t done very much, he was competing at elementary level (German level L). He’s not the biggest horse -only 166cm, but I’m not the biggest girl, only 158cm (on a good day!) so the picture works. What Remy lacks in size he makes up for in presence. He has fantastic paces, in particular his canter. We had our most successful year so far in 2008. We had many wins at German national shows at Prix st George and Intermediare I level, beating some of the big name German riders in the process; we also won at the CDI Lipica, Slovenia. The successes of 2008 were culminated with me being named Irish dressage rider of the year by the main Irish equestrian publication, The Irish Field.
2009 was a quieter year on the competition front as we concentrated on making the step up to Grand Prix level. At our first time out at Intermediare II level last year we won the class with over 66%, this may have gone to my head a little at the time though because shortly after I entered for two international CDI’s at Vierzon in France and Hickstead in the UK. Neither show went particularly well but there were definitely some positive points. We picked up a WEG qualifying score at Hickstead and I learned something valuable about ensuring you and your horse are secure in the work before you take it in front of international judges. Anyway, lesson learned.
After Hickstead I went back to working hard on securing the new movements, which Remy had to learn to make the step up to Grand Prix (piaffe, passage and one tempi changes). Later in the year we competed at a couple of national shows to check what we were doing at home could be transferred to the competition arena and picked up another win and a few placings along the way.
2010 started with a bang and we won scoring over 70% at national shows here in Germany. At Easter we got our 2nd qualifying score for WEG at the CDI*** in Stadl Paura, Austria.
More recently we travelled down to Munich CDI***** where the best in the world were competing including Edward Gal, Adelinde Cornelissen, Isabell Werth and Ulla Salzgeber. It’s inspirational to watch these riders work their horses and ride among them.
I had my first Grand Prix win recently at a national show not too far away from home and I was also presented with the Deutsche Goldenes Reitabzeichen (German Golden Riders Badge) which you get for having 10 wins at ‘S’ level (Prix St George and above). This was a great honour for me and I am only the second Irish dressage rider ever to have earned it. It was so nice at the show in Krefeld as the Kuehnen family really made the presentation ceremony very special for me, and the spectators -though possibly seeing me for only the first or second time- gave me a brilliant reception, cheering and clapping during the lap of honour. I didn’t stop smiling for days! (Pictured from left to right: Judy's trainer Johann Hinnemann, Judy on Remember and the Vice President of the Rheinland Federation, Herr Heiner Nachbarschulte at the National Show in Krefeld, Germany where Judy won her first Grand Prix and received the Goldenes Reitabzeichen)
In between all my travelling around to shows with Remy I get the other horses out competing as often as possible and also go home to Ireland every 4-6 weeks to teach the growing number of students I have there.
Next up on the calendar are some more national shows in Germany and at the end of June the Fritzens CDI**** in Austria, this competition is run by the Swarovski family and is one of the most beautiful shows of the year. Set into the Austrian Alps and the hospitality is second to none.