Dear USPRE Members,
I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year and am delighted to bring you up to date on our eventful first 31 days and our plans for 2008, which are taking shape.
First I want to welcome all of our new members. We have received an overwhelming response to our invitation to join USPRE in December. We now have members in 47 States, in addition to members from Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Spain, Belgium, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Germany. We are especially pleased to have so many American PRE breeders join our voting membership-over 100 to date. With so many breeders clearly placing high priority on the functionality of our horse, we feel that our membership base will have the depth of knowledge that comes with the art and science of morphology, which is ultimately inseparable from performance. We also want to welcome the many PRE owners and riders who have joined our ranks and look forward to your impact on our organization with your own training and performance experience.
Before we look forward to the plans for 2008, I feel that a number of milestones for the PRE were achieved in 2007, in the US and world-wide, that I should take a moment to look back at a few of these highlights:
- Here in the States, USPRE member Margaret Carrera’s PRE Stallion, Rociero XV, made huge strides for the PRE breed with a stellar first year at Grand Prix. Ridden and trained in California by Kristina Harrison-Naness, and coached by both Debbie McDonald and Klaus Balkenhol, Rociero came into the National Grand Prix Championships in June as a relative new-comer, and topped the impressive field of seasoned Grand Prix horses with a Third Place finish behind Steffen Peters and Courtney King. Following that, Rociero and Harrison-Naness were awarded a USDF Developing Horse Grant and traveled with McDonald to Balkenhol’s training facility in Germany where they competed this past fall. Their most impressive performance came in the Oldenberg CDI, where Rociero finished second in the Grand Prix, and fifth in the Special against challenging German and international competition. Rociero and Harrison-Naness are currently in the top five pairs in the USEF standings going into 2008, an Olympic Qualifying Year. Given such an outstanding year, USPRE has decided to announce that our first official Horse and Rider of the Year Award will go to Rociero and Kristina Harrison-Naness. Our congratulations to them, to Margaret and Phil, and to all who have contributed to this marvelous team.
- In the world of US PRE Breeding, 2007 was a banner year. The selection of three stallions and three mares to Qualified Status in the Spanish Stud Book is evidence of the American breeders’ abilities to obtain and develop the highest level of standards and traits of the PRE for promotion in the US . The various examples were reviewed and judged by a delegation of Spanish officials, including a member of the Spanish National Dressage Team who evaluated movement, at two Tribunals in August-one in Las Vegas, Nevada, and one in Wellington, Florida. The 2007 recipients of Qualified Status are: Copon, Fugitivo XII, Kabileno XV, Carralera III, Kapparah IA, and Latina VII. Congratulations to their respective owners.
- In addition, a PRE horse, Idolo Americano, bred in the United States, was awarded Top American-Bred Stallion and Reserve Champion Stallion In Hand, Four Years and Older, at the Devon breed show in September. This competition, which is open to all breeds, is considered the most prestigious breed show for dressage horses outside of Europe and features the top warmblood breeding stallions in the country. The jury consists of International and Official dressage and breed judges from Europe and the United States. Success of a PRE in venues such as this attests to the quick development and strengths of the PRE for the athletic expectations of the international dressage community.
- Several events in Spain over the past year signaled new and improved changes for PRE owners and enthusiasts. Firstly, the official Studbook (known as the LG) was handed over exclusively to ANCCE, the national Spanish Association of PRE Breeders. ANCCE’s desire is to conform to the standards of the sport horse registries of the European Union, essentially bringing the breed and its management into the 21st century. In the past year, ANCCE representatives have met with several other breed organizations, such as the German Hanoverian Society, and are implementing a number of recommendations. The transition, which has come incrementally and not without glitches, ultimately will translate into improved services for US Breeders and more marketing and prominence of the PRE in equestrian media and events. (We are pleased to hear that many US breeders have already satisfactorily resolved outstanding registration issues by contacting the registry office of ANCCE directly.) USPRE is committed to its relationship with ANCCE due to its knowledge and faithfulness to the LG, its efforts to modernize the promotion and oversight of the breed, its history and commitment to breed shows and competitions such as SICAB and the various ANCCE Cups in all sports that elevate the PRE, and ultimately due to its efforts to ensure that all benefits are available to all breeders and owners of the PRE horse worldwide.
- While the breed organization is undergoing its own evolution, several PRE horses from the Spanish Team have represented the breed in major European events and competitions. Most notable of these is Fuego XII and his rider Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz, who consistently maintained impressive scores in a long tenure this fall in the top-rated European shows and against world-class competition. Most recently, Munoz and Fuego won the Grand Prix Special at CDI Odense (Denmark) and finished in the top five horses in both Odense and CDI Oldenburg. Just last month, Fuego and Munoz scored over 70% in the highly competitive CDI Mechelen. In early November, Fuego and Ortiz were featured in a lecture by Jean Bemelmens at the Global Dressage Forum in the Netherlands. Bemelmens demonstrated traditional techniques of the German classical training method, modified for different types of horses. By all accounts, Bemelmens’ lecture was the most successful of the weekend and Fuego further established himself as one of the most promising young PREs in the international dressage scene.
Given such a year as 2007,we now look forward to 2008 with a heightened sense of expectation. We hope to see great things from these established competitors, and also many new milestones achieved by the growing community of PRE riders. We hope to see the evidence of our own US breed acumen in various breed shows across the country. And we all desire to continue in our education of this glorious horse, its training, development, and care. At USPRE we have a dedicated group of volunteers who are serving on our various Boards and Committees, most of whom came with experience and enthusiasm for the many programs that we hope to initiate in 2008. What follows is a brief overview; more information about each will follow soon.
In 2008, we are looking forward to many events and programs which include:
- A Rider’s Forum in Wellington with Spanish Team Member Victor Alvarez on February 11th, followed by a USPRE Kick-Off Reception at Hampton Green Farm. Announcement to follow shortly.
- A Dressage Awards Program, developed by Janne Rumbough and Margaret Carrera.
- USPRE sponsorship of various PRE High-Point Dressage Awards. We plan to invite regional associations to apply for this award. (Please let us know if your association is interested.)
- Various PRE breed show sponsorships, beginning with Fiesta Midwest in June (Show Chair is USPRE member Gabriele Baker), and including the IALHA Nationals and the Devon Breed Show. (Also, please have your show committee contact us if you are interested.)
- Development of the English version El Caballo magazine for distribution to our membership, as well as an abridged on-line version for the website.
- Development of our corporate identity and a marketing strategy for sponsorship and ad and press placement.
- An annual meeting for all members, tentatively scheduled for next fall. Details to be announced.
- A reception for USPRE members in Spain during SICAB week.
- A series of receptions, hosted by USPRE members, to grow membership and further education of the PRE horse, its history, and its present-day development.
The formation of USPRE is the last big news of the year for the PRE and also the first big news of 2008. We were thrilled with the enthusiasm of our new members, and the willingness to serve and represent the PRE on the part of our Board and our Honorary Board.
Thank you for your time in digesting all of these details and plans. Please refer back often to the website where we will flesh out all of the upcoming events. In the meantime, please keep in touch and send us news of yourself and any ideas for the organization. As we grow, we are bound to stumble and we thank you in advance for your support and patience. We hope that our programs and sponsorships will bring a new awareness and appreciation of the Spanish Horse to the equestrian sport community, and support to all of you who own and ride Spanish horses.