2011 Autumn Digest: Kyra Kyrklund, Global Dressage Forum
12/3/11 I’ve never met Kyra Kyrklund. I’ve seen her ride only once…real time… in Stockholm Stadium, during her Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special tests at the 1990 World Equestrian Games. And I’ve read, and will read again, her book. I unabashedly admire her, and am forever grateful for having enlightened and stimulated me to pursue this craft. (My gushing reminiscence in post-script, following, will explain.)
So when I read of her presentation at the 2011 Global Dressage, I hung on her every word, as reported by Eurodressage’s Astrid Appel.
I’ve read, since, that Kyra spent her sixtieth birthday, not sunning herself on a beach, but questing onward, attending the Morning Training of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
As would I, if I could take the schoolmasters with me.
Gone surfing, I found this video of Kyra and then PSG accomplished Master 850, giving the impression of dancing around sparklers on a birthday beach. Happy Birthday to me!
Now, to reminisce:
I had ridden and studied dressage for already 30 years, seen US National Dressage tests, and World Championship dressage tests of Three Day Events here in the States and in England, and even ridden a confirmed GP horse as part of my ’87 Kentucky job. I was still not convinced of elite Dressage’s contribution to the preservation, much less enhancement, of the essential nature and nobility of The Horse. I was, and am, afterall, a Littauerite, ever aware of Littauer’s admonishment to beware of “charlatans” coming from abroad. But I had also read much of Podhajsky – who was utterly revered by my family and riding mentors – including his analysis of Olympic Dressage judging. And enlightened, spiritually elevated, enthused, by two mid 80’s performances of the Spanish Riding School in the St. Louis Arena.
So there I was in Stockholm for the first ever World Equestrian Games. To absorb all I could learn from the best of the best of all disciplines of the time. For Dressage, I was seated just to the right of, but many meters behind C. I trained my binoculars on each Dressage contestant’s ride, and made copious notes in the margins of the WEG program between tests.
And learned a lot.
I remember coming away from the GP rides thinking “that black horse and Finnish rider could have captained a winning team.” (had Finland fielded a team) And during the GPS rides for individual medals, being impatient for Matador II and Kyra Kyrklund’s entry, elated by their performance, and disappointed that it was ever over. Resorting to coffee, I was satisfied and confident that the Jury’s scoring should have preferred the qualities of Matador’s motion, his exuberant expression, including evident delight in his own accomplishment, over the impressions of automation imposed by other riders’ determined accuracy of their horses’ tests.
Since my own awareness of youtube, I’ve been searching for a video of Matador at the 1990 WEG. I have’t find one.
Close as I can get is this record of Kyra Kyrklund and Matador breaking the barrier at the 1991 World Cup Final Kur: