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By Lauren R. Giannini
According to Julie Ulrich, horses don’t have to earn pretty tri-
colors and blue rosettes to be winners. Her approach develops the
bond between horse and rider so they work together to become
the best they can be.
“The challenge is to learn to communicate with the horse,”
stated Julie. “The horse does not think on the same wavelength as
you. Once you get the horse and rider thinking alike and thinking
together, the rest is very easy. When you meet a horse with which
you don’t communicate well, you have to re-think how to explain
things to that horse. It keeps you always growing.”
Personal evolution is a key element in Julie’s bible of
horsemanship and life. She cited the Outward Bound program’s
exercise of dropping participants into the woods to fnd the way
back as the inspiration for her move to Europe. “Say that in your
profession everyone knew you, things were going well, and you
were doing the same things you always did,” explained Julie. “Say
you moved to a country where you did not speak the language
and no one knew you. How long would it take you to get back to
your level?”
In 1995 Julie sold her farm and relocated to France. “The spirit of
adventure, that’s why I did it. It took six years,” she recalled. “The
frst two years – I like to talk, but I couldn’t talk with anyone, unless
they spoke English and not many did. My old working students
helped me out, interpreting. When I couldn’t explain verbally, I
could demonstrate on a horse. The older guys in Normandie were
nervous about a woman in this profession, because there are
none. An English-speaking woman was pretty nerve-wracking.
Younger guys were less intimidated, but now even the old duffers
are comfortable with me.”
Ever wonder what happened to someone you knew way back
when? When Sidelines learned via a Facebook post that Julie
was teaching a jumping clinic at Beverly Equestrian Center, in
The Plains, Virgina, the announcement revived vivid memories
of Friar’s Gate Farm, just north of Middleburg, where in the 1980s
until 1995 Julie had presided over the buying, training and selling
of jumpers to riders on all levels. She rode jumpers to the grand
prix level and offered her expertise to working students, many from
Europe with their sights set high. Over the years Julie not only
established herself in the horse world, she also earned respect.
Julie Ulrich and Quincy Z
All photos by Alan Fabricant
Julie, who is in Wellington for the Winter Equestrian Festival,
works with her student Lindsay Skalak of Ohio, who is in
Wellington for the winter circuit.