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When Julie moved to France, she settled in Normandie, known
for breeding the best Selle Français in the world. “I like the
French horse – he doesn’t spook and he’s a very logical guy,” she
admitted. “The German horse sometimes moves better, but still
has a spook in him that you have to deal with. I often think a horse
that spooks a lot has a lack of logic.”
It all comes back around to riders and horses learning to
communicate. The clinic at Beverly Equestrian flled all three
levels, both days. The USEF 2012 four-star national three-day
eventing champion Allison Springer rode three horses: Otto
(OTTB Intermediate level), Tonique (French mare Training level),
and Maine, (OTTB mare learning new job), owned by Jessice
Rich, clinic organizer.
“Julie is such a great horsewoman,” said Allison. “She knows
how horses feel and think, has studied how they move, and
stresses the correct timing of your aids. I got a lot out of the clinic.
I really enjoyed picking her brain.”
The riders (grouped into 2’6”, 3’, 3’+) expressed interest in future
clinics with Julie. “I learned timing, precision and patience,” said
Jessica. “My horse is a feisty ex-racehorse, currently eventing
at training level, and Julie stresses the important work done at
walk and trot to build that even base and to develop strength in
his hind end on both sides. I’ve known Julie since I was 14. She
still approaches every day and every horse with great humor,
enthusiasm and optimism. Each time I see her, I am inspired to be
a better rider and a better person.”
Julie enjoyed returning to her old neighborhood and stated, “I
love to teach and give clinics, and I hope I’ll be coming back to the
Middleburg area to give more. This life with horses – I remember
back when I was a kid – lots of people taught me for nothing. They
were always willing to help me out.”
Her list of mentors is impressive. Reiner Kimke gave her
horses to ride. Karl Mikolka (Roemer Foundation/US Dressage
Federation Hall of Famer) helped her immensely at Friar’s Gate
Farm in Massachusetts. For one whole winter in Florida, Frances
Rowe trained Julie for free.
“People helped me out – as a result I’ve had a lifetime of joy with
horses and the least I can do is to try to give that back,” said Julie.
“Teaching clinics is one way. We had all level of riders, from adult
amateurs to Allison Springer, who is a very good horsewoman and
a good competitor, too. They were all interested in the same thing:
getting their horses to do what they wish in a happy, cooperative
spirit. They were all eager to improve their own performance. If
you’re willing to adjust, you can get 100 % out of every horse and
the horse remains happy, because you and the horse make a
bond. You never forget it.”
Julie’s common sense classical horsemanship concentrates
primarily on the basics. She quoted her great friend, the late Jack
Le Goff, who served as coach of the US three-day team from
1970-1984, the “golden years”: “We are training a generation of
super-competition riders, but we are not training a generation of
horsemen.” Julie would like everyone to ride for the horse. She
applies this philosophy everywhere, especially sales.
“It seems to me that the majority of people think only in terms
of what will win. It is fun to win, but the most important thing is to
progress in one’s own equitation,” stated Julie. “A horse might
not be the world’s best winner, but you might learn so much from
that horse that he enables you to develop 10 more horses later. A
horse can be a winner, even if he’s not a winner in the show. It’s
really important to fnd not only the horse that suits the person, but
also to fnd the person that suits the horse. It’s a joy when you fnd
the right match.”
About the writer: Sidelines staff writer Lauren R. Giannini is an award-winning
writer specializing in stories and photos about the equestrian world. Crazy about
horses her entire life, she lives in the horse and hunt country of Virginia. Lauren’s
motto is “write, ride - not necessarily in that order!”