The latest parties in Florida, Lobster Point South goes on the market and Canada wins the inaugural "Challenge of the Americas". " /> The latest parties in Florida, Lobster Point South goes on the market and Canada wins the inaugural "Challenge of the Americas". " /> The latest parties in Florida, Lobster Point South goes on the market and Canada wins the inaugural "Challenge of the Americas". ">
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Fumella Frostbite's Dressage - March 2005 Issue

Mason Phelps & Michael BarisoneThe whirlwind of parties and social events this past month has the entire dressage community yawning in their sand boxes every morning after.  But oh what fun and fund raising!  If you missed the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center’s Benefit Auction and Dinner at International Polo…you missed a biggie.  Thanks to board member Tuny Page, the event was a sell out and every dressage trainer that came got into the game. Tuny said she got a lump in her throat when Michael Barisone announced that a group of dressage riders got together to adopt (cover the care expenses) a horse for the Center.  Not to be out done, Mason Phelps said the jumper riders would also adopt a horse and with that the crowd went into a frenzy. In a matter of minutes, $50,000 was raised to adopt all the Center’s horses for the year.  “It was so gratifying to see everyone pull together and support Vinceremos,” gushed Tuny. “I’m so impressed with everyone’s willingness to help.”  Speaking of helping, kudos to you Tuny for a job well done!

And Sharon (Sherri) Criswell answered Fumella’s plea and left California for a visit back to Florida.  This of course was an excellent excuse for Lisette and Michael Milner to throw a big bash at their Morningside Farm (formerly Sherri and Bill Criswell’s place). Everyone had a rip-roaring good time and later Sherri discovered a design flaw in her former hacienda.  She realized the light switches in the upstairs bath were too high to switch on when you are on your knees in front of the toilet!

Next stop on the party trail was Lobster Point South, where an impromptu cookout for the Canadian contingency turned into a who’s who of dressage judges, choreographers and trainers. It was nice to see Dick Marks up and about with Barbara Marks after a tough go in the hospital recently.  Both Barbara and Dick have had more than their fair share of physical challenges this year and everyone was glad to see them both back in action. Meanwhile, it looked like a big discussion was underway at Lind Zang’s table with hubby Jim, Kathy Connelly and Gary Rockwell in deep discussion about judging, riding and the state of dressage!

But holy boiling lobster, Batman!  The big news is Lobster Point South is for sale! Oh Canada.  And this is no rumor. Owner John Risley was at the Challenge of the America’s and said it was so. So if you need 50 stalls, a shrine of a covered arena, a barbeque patio complete with a massive fireplace and endless pool and offices and rec rooms all decorated by Beyond the Barn nicely situated on one of Wellington’s most prime and pristine pieces of property, then simply cough up a dozen mill or so and it is all yours!

But back to the bashes. The Challenge of the America’s Benefit for Breast Cancer Research at Players Club and Palm Beach Polo was a mega party.  The riders performed on the lawns with panache, while just about the entire equestrian community mingled and cheered for their favorites. Hats off to Heidi Zorn of Premier Equestrian whose beautiful arenas transformed the polo field into a dreamy dressage exhibition area. And just as stomachs were growling and the crowd was glancing at the buffet, the Canadian quadrille performance got underway and stole the show.  With movements reminiscent of the Royal Lippizans (the real ones from Austria, not Orlando), the Canadians intricate choreography (thanks to Eva-Marie Pracht) and their rock-the-house music (thanks to Karen Robinson) left no doubt as to who would dominate the competition. The Canadian team of Lisette Milner, Shannon Dueck, Ashley Holzer, Evi Stasser, Cheryl Meisner, Susanne Dutt-Roth and Jacqueline Brooks did have special sparkle for the ride, thanks to Cheryl Meisner and her mom Laurie, spending hours gluing glitter sequins to their Canadian-red leg wraps.  The combination of patriotism and performance could not be topped and they sang the Canadian National anthem at the awards ceremony.  A few tipsy fans of the 2nd and 3rd place teams sang the South Park rendition of “Blame Canada.”  But it was all in good fun and the event was a great coming together of riders from many disciplines, a display of good sportsmanship and no doubt a successful fundraiser for a worthy cause! 

Team Canada - photo © Susan J Stickle

Great Britain’s Stephan Clarke earned Fumella’s Think Pink award…just for tying one on.  His necktie, that is. The stylish pink silk tie with maroon dancing horses was a real winner for a breast cancer fundraiser. Always the snappy dressers, those Brits!

Steffen Peters & Debbie McDonald - photo © Linda Wirtz

Also on hand for the Challenge of the America’s were Steffen Peters, Debbie McDonald, and Lisa Wilcox, who was dressed to the hilt in her A’Dashi outfit.  (Lisa Wilcox is the A’Dashi fashion model; just one of this super-star Olympian’s many accomplishments). Steffen, Debbie and Lisa were in town for Cetty Weiss’ Young Rider Clinic, along with Robert Dover, Lorraine Stubbs and Kathy Connelly.  The clinic, which was hosted at Carol Cohen’s Two Swan Farm and Tuny and Dave Page’s Still Point Farm, was an incredible success and Cetty capped off the event with yet another soiree on Sunday night following the Challenge of the America’s. Lisa Wilcox was in rare form, no doubt excited about a new international prospect expected to be coming her way in Switzerland! So when Steffen Peters said his 3-hour time difference (Steffen is based in San Diego) was worth it to work with these great young riders, Lisa Wilcox was quick to tease him for being a whiner and said her 9-hour time difference was no problem either. Later when Steffen remarked that he’d like to get his wife the black turquoise-beaded dress that Lisa was wearing (yes, from A’Dashi), Lisa said, “Take this one,” and pretended to slide the dress off while singing “It’s now or never”.  Despite the fun, Steffen opted to get the dress from A’Dashi at the World Cup. (Photo of Steffen Peters and Debbie McDonald – Photo Credit: Linda Wirtz)

Carol Cohen has her own Swan Song drama going on. It seems Two Swans Farm is now four swans farm, or at least it was at the writing of this column.  Ginger, one the farm’s two swans, was attacked and killed by a bobcat last week while she was protecting her eggs.  An upset Carol Cohen took action.  She got the eggs under an incubator, thanks to help from Red Barn Feed Store.  Then she got Fred, the remaining swan, a new partner and erected a 6-foot electric fence around the swan ponds. No sooner than trappers had caught and relocated the bobcat, a second larger cat, probably a rare Florida Panther, attacked and killed the new swan. Carol replaced this white swan and obtained two black swans, which now live in the barn and only go out in the pond when supervised. I think if any other large cats threaten these swans, Carol will have the “roar heard around the world,” as she has had it with these big cats!

Meanwhile, top dressage competitor Michael Shondel is “High on the Hog.” Seems Michael rented a motorcycle and went to bike week last week. Then he went “hog wild” and used the bike as transportation to the Player’s Club for the Challenge of America’s. So are we losing this rider to the lure of more horsepower? Nah, Michael simply likes to try new and fun things and keep his riding in balance. Awesome insight for such a young man!

And speaking of balance, Steffen Peters may have thought he came to a rodeo instead of the Young Rider’s Clinic when he rode an unruly horse at last week’s clinic. One of the juniors’ mount did his best to twist, buck and unseat Steffen, who seemed literally unmoved by the horse’s antics. He simply pushed the horse forward and rode the buck out of it. His patience and skill was well worth the price of admission.

Laura Boyton KingAnd for those of you who think you could never ride like that, Fumella recommends hypnotist Laura Boynton King’s new book, The Power to Win. Laura was signing books and dishing out positive self-talk at the recent wine and cheese party at Beyond the Barn.  She’s empowering to spend time with and new book is really thought provoking!

After 10 years in the making, dressage judge Sue Malone Casey competed her Dutch gelding, Lamborghini, in his first Grand Prix at Canterbury.  Coach Dennis Callin was on hand for the event. Sue was thrilled when she won the class and earned their first qualifying score at Grand Prix. The next day Sue and hubby Ben (with Lamborghini in tow) drove back to Texas in the pouring rain.  The dismal weather found them singing in the rain over Lamborghini’s success. Meanwhile, Dennis Callen dropped in on friends in Orlando before flying back to Raleigh, North Carolina the next day.

And word from Orlando is that Kathy Grove’s Quiet Oaks Farm may be sold or close to it.  Kathy is looking for a smaller, more private facility to pursue her dressage goals.  The question is where, Kathy? Oh and not to worry, Kathy and Quiet Oaks Farm are still sponsoring their not-to-be missed gala party at this year’s Heidelberg Cup on March 25th. Fumella will be back with a full report on that one next time!

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