The 10th Global Dressage Forum had a very special highlight. A minutes-long standing ovation for the emotional World Champion Edward Gal and his team moved many participants into tears. Some of them had been present since the very first Forum in 2000, and were convinced that this was the most memorable moment of those 10 years.
On Monday evening, only 12 hours before his clinic in Hooge Mierde, Gal’s champion horse Totilas had left the stables in Harskamp to be transported to the stables of his new owner, Paul Schockemöhle. Although it turned out to be very difficult for Edward to comment, he and his manager-trainer Nicole Werner did their utmost to answer the questions of interviewer Richard Davison. “We feel terrible at the moment when we have to think about another rider riding Totilas, but we are convinced to get back on the highest level with another hose in the future”, Werner and Gal stated. In the clinic, which was the highlight of this years Forum, Gal rode the stallion Lord of Loxely (v. Landadel) instead of Totilas, but impressed the audience with his fine riding and the openness in which he and Nicole explained the details of their training method.
Other highlights of the Forum, that took 2 days, were the clinic of German coach Jonny Hilberath, the explanation of new FEI international stewarding rules by FEI head steward Jacques van Daele and the fantastic show by Frenchman Jean Francois Pignon. There were also interesting lectures from the very top of the international equestrian federation FEI: Trond Asmyr (director dressage department), Frank Kemperman (chairman dressage) and Graeme Cooke (director veterinary department). Cooke presented impressing facts from the Equestrian World Games in Kentucky, and announced that the Games did not have any positive doping case. Very impressing was the presentation by the International Riders and Trainers Clubs, which showed innovations and presented proposals for improving the judging system. Innovation was also an important item in the demonstration of the electronic ‘Flexchair’ as an instrument to improve the feeling and the sit of the rider and in the lecture on the shoeing and foot care of top horses. Over 300 participants from 27 countries, all over the world, were present. Among them many top riders, trainers, judges, officials, journalists and scientists. Most of them agreed that the Global Dressage Forum has now become a very important instrument in exchanging information on technical and organisational aspects on the quickly expanding sport of dressage. In 2011 the Global Dressage Forum will take place in Hooge Mierde on 30 – 31 October 2011.