Bettina Drummond has been named “Honorary Écuyer” of Saumur with the Cadre Noir at the French National School of Equitation in Saumur, France. The honor was bestowed on Bettina while in France attending a colloquia at Saumur and coaching riders at the Cadre Noir and at Allege-Ideal. Bettina is only the second American to receive this honor. The other is George Morris. She is also only the second woman to be named Honorary Écuyer. The other is French Olympic dressage rider Margit Otto-Crépin.
The country of India is mourning the loss of one of its most interesting and well-known horsemen. S.A.H.A.A. Imam, better known at Tootoo Imam, passed away on January 5 at the age of 97. He hailed from a well-known, prestigious Indian family that played important roles in the political development of India in the early 1900s. Iman was a passionate horseman who authored several books on horses, including the The Centaur, which was one of the first books on horsemanship written by an Indian author.
Mourning the loss of Tom Petty — a fellow poet, artist and rebel who was a great inspiration to me in my own craft. His music, particularly in the 1990s, was the inspiration that re-inspired my art after Oliveira passed away. Among his music that most touched me were “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Falling.”
Jean-Marie Donard, former dressage rider, trainer and head stable manager with France’s Cadre Noir, passed away in August at the age of 69 from a heart attack. Donard was with the Cadre Noir for 25 years. During those many years he held numerous positions including that of being responsible for training many of the Cadre Noir dressage horses. Donard also represented France in international competition in both eventing and dressage. He retired from the Cadre Noir in 1995 and spent part of his retirement years working on his book, “Le Guide de Dressage,” which was published in 2013.
Says Bettina Drummond – “He’s coming along so well. He’s a credit to Mark Russell’s skills in bringing him up. It’s so funny that Sola is a chestnut gelding Hanoverian – a cross of everything I don’t normally choose – but I love him dearly!”
Bettina rode the shoulder-in one handed so she could provide a photo view from up top!
It is sadness that my friend Dominique Barbier reports the loss of his stallion Larapio. All true horsemen share the joy of how special is our connection and how tragic is our art that the short and fragile lifespan of our partners puts an end to that joy and creativity.
I recently decided to refresh my rider’s mind with a visit to certain écuyers in France during my May clinic run.
It had been a long while since I had been able to travel long distances and therefore had not been able to dialogue with any practicing Baucheristes, who like me, made a career in the current horse world whilst keeping true with our private pursuit of this methodology. It was lovely to be invited to watch the contact each rider had with their personal horse and reminded me in this swing career year for me of the particular pleasure it is to be at home with your horse, your conviction and your love for it all. I began my trip with a visit to my oldest student based in Rennes and got to ride my friend Ann Klrmenrz’s lovely young horse (I apologized for passaging and bouncing on his back but I was still in rehab from my February accident). Also, I pushed on a young horse of Brigitte Moreau who was overdue an upgrade to third level-ish movements (She insists that she will not push on if she has not had my guidance, a most charming kind of blackmail!) I had the pleasure of teaching a young professional – M. Ydris who had put some really nice touches on his horses and was open to the idea that lightness was not an extra. His client and owner of a tricky Dutch horse (are there any that are not??!!!) Cyril allowed me to have ground work half-school feel of this elegant grey and I particularly loved the loft of his flying change. All this in all a lovely group and all concerned with not harming the horses in a psychological level as much as a biomechanical one. That is the reason for my longevity as a teacher really! I walk away from teaching when the ambitions of the rider take away that integrity and honesty. This group always gets a return visit as they never let that ideal down.
It is with much sadness that Bettina Drummond reports the passing of Jean Peigne. He passed away peacefully after a long fight with Alzheimer’s disease. Peigne was well known, not only for his horsemanship, but also for the quality of the horses he bred.
“He was a sensitive, sparse man. I am honored that he often said I was a spiritual daughter to him,” Bettina said. “I first me Jean Peigne when he came to see my tribute for Maitre Oliveira on the famous stallion Levante. Retired in France, I performed one last time the demonstration ride I had always presented for special guests in Portugal and Jean and his son were spectators. Jean was moved to tears and invited me to visit his stud farm in Le Cellier close to the Loire. At the time, I had not replaced my defunct Lusitanos and only had my Thoroughbred Fidelio and one PRE to ride.”
Horseman John Craven came into my life through Donna Coughlin and her horse Oberon aka “Obi.” Donna had sought out my help with Obi and that connected me to John, who, as you’ll note in his bio below, had a deep respect for Nuno Oliveira. I enjoyed the times I spent with John sharing and comparing riding techniques and styles of teaching. He was part of a spontaneous network and one of the many threads that inspired me to weave them all together into the idea that has become APAHA.