By Jan Westmark
Betsy Juliano is a devoted supporter of U.S. dressage and can be found on the sidelines of the biggest shows around the world. She supports Laura Graves and Laura’s horse Verdades; Adrienne Lyle, who competes Betsy’s horses Salvino — they competed at WEG in Tryon — and Horizon; and Jennifer Baumert, who competes Betsy’s horses Handsome and Cleopatra. Betsy grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and spent her childhood riding at nearby camp Red Raider. The camp owners were staunch conservationists and as a result, Betsy became an active and dedicated conservationist. Betsy owns Havensafe Farm, with locations in Ohio and Florida. “The farm in Ohio is 450 acres, and 348 acres will be preserved forever by a conservation easement I placed on the land,” she said.
How did you get involved in the dressage world?
I had an instructor at Red Raider who taught us the basics of dressage. He also had us read many books written by the old masters. The riding and the theories fascinated me. When I began my career in the business world, I left riding for over 20 years, but returned in the ’90s. I started riding dressage again and eventually bought some talented horses from Europe.
What are your goals for U.S. dressage?
Staying on the podium is a big goal. I also think it’s critical to continuously strengthen the pipeline of horses and riders so that we can remain competitive. It’s important that we do this in an ethical and humane way, stressing the importance of classical training.
Favorite shows you have traveled to?
I have been privileged to attend quite a few nice shows, but there are more I’d like to attend. I love our shows at Global. I’ve also enjoyed showing at Tryon. Outside of the U.S., I have to say Aachen is the gold standard in my experience so far.
Any favorite horse experiences over the years?
Being a part of the U.S. team is definitely a favorite. Watching our riders achieve personal bests and do well in the competition arena is very moving. It’s fantastic when one of my horses does well, but when you spend a lot of time with all of the riders and horses, you feel committed to each one’s success.
What’s your favorite thing about being part of the horse world?
I love the community we have in our horse world whether it’s local, regional, national or international. Through the horse world, I’ve met some people I truly love and whose friendship I cherish. I also still — with every molecule — just love horses. Each and every time I walk into a barn, whether mine or someone else’s, I’m thrilled to see the horses.
If you weren’t involved with the horse world, what career do you think you would have picked?
My career and profession aren’t in the horse world. I own several companies, the oldest of which I started 35 years ago.
If you had a week off, what would you do?
My weeks off are the ones spent with the horses and traveling to shows, but I would still like to see certain parts of Italy I have not yet visited.
What talents do you feel you have?
I know myself to be a strategic thinker, often focused on the long-term view, which can sometimes be a good thing. From my parents, I inherited a good sense of humor for which I am deeply grateful. Finally, I think I’m a good listener — most of the time.
Do you have a personal motto or catchphrase?
I have two: “It is not how a relationship begins that is important; the important part is how it ends.” The second is one by Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
What three items can usually be found in your refrigerator?
Eggs, San Pellegrino and apples
What’s your favorite meal?
Any meal, anywhere with good friends and family
What would be the best gift in the world?
Continued good health. I have been lucky so far.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I think superpowers are a burdensome responsibility. I would rather not have one.
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
Sit in a concert hall, be perfectly still, and listen to a world class orchestra, such as the Cleveland Orchestra.
How would you like people to remember you?
As a person who was fair, kind, committed, empathetic and made a difference.