USPRE Annual Meeting Report
February 23rd 2009
The first USPRE Annual Meeting in Wellington last month was a fun and festive time for all who attended. Members from all corners of the country flew in for a whirlwind 24 hours of socializing, food, wine, horses, and plans for the future. The White Horse Tavern on the grounds of the International Palm Beach Equestrian Center was the site of the kick-off gathering where members representing breeding farms from California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, and New York mixed with PRE riders and owners who gathered to start the weekend with a casual Meet and Greet cocktail party on Sunday evening.
Monday morning started early with an 8.30 to 12.30 clinic featuring member PRE horses taught by 2008 Olympic Team Rider Courtney King-Dye. Over 50 spectators from Wellington attended in addition to our membership and the impression of the clinician, horses and riders was very high. Many comments were made at the quality of the movement and trainability of the horses and the high level of performance that each rider was achieving through their exercises with Courtney, who herself trains two PREs and who could offer many practical tips from her own experience with them.
A Spanish luncheon by the pool was followed by an Open Board Meeting. The members were introduced to all of the Board and each one had a chance to talk about how they came to be involved with PREs and their passion for the work of USPRE. New Board Member, Kelly Farmer, was unanimously approved as was a draft 2009 Budget. Plans for USPRE activities were presented to the membership and input from individual members was received and questions answered. Proposals for USPRE participation in 3 ANCCE sanctioned events were put to vote before the membership as was the creation of a feasibility committee for the prospect of the United States as the host country for SICAB 2010. Following the meeting, USPRE Year End Recognition Awards were presented to the following members:
2008 Horse and Rider of the Year: Janne Rumbough and JR
2008 Member of the Year: Jennifer Stewart
2008 Exhibitor of the Year: Avi Cohen
2008 Breeder of the Year: Raul Armendariz
2008 Equestrian of the Year: Jesus Jiminez
Sunday Evening concluded with a reception at the International Polo Club of Palm Beach. Members and special guests included two United States Official Judges Linda Zang and Gary Rockwell, Wellington Classic Dressage Show Manager John Flanagan, International Rider and Trainer Juan Matute and his wife Maria, Pamela Nelson, President of the College of Judges of Spain and PRE breeder Diego Marin Fidalgo and Dr. Ana Gragera & Maravillas Perez-Cela from the LG-ANCCE in Miami.
The evening was highlighted by a special musical performance by dressage rider Ana Gilmour, whose live guitar and Spanish vocals were a stunning exclamation point to the enthusiasm and positive sensation of the weekend.