John Fitzgerald of Hakalau was inducted into a special group of senior dressage riders and horses in February at a horse show in Hilo. The ages of Fitzgerald and his horse, Smoke, qualify them to become members of The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club.
The Century Club recognizes dressage riders and horses whose combined ages total 100 years or more. John is 72, and Smoke is 32. In addition to having ages totaling 100 or more, horse and rider perform a dressage test of any level at a dressage show and are scored by a dressage judge. The Dressage Foundation provides a Century Club ribbon and wall plaque to each horse and rider team. Local dressage clubs, family and friends help to make the ride into a celebratory event.
The Century Club was formed at The Dressage Foundation in 1996, at the suggestion of noted dressage judge and instructor Dr. Max Gahwyler. The intent was to encourage older dressage riders to remain active in the sport. Since that time, the Century Club has grown into a meaningful and popular endeavor and has more than 150 members.
Riders from across the country are members of the Century Club, but Fitzgerald is only the third member from Hawaii.
Dressage is a word drawn from the French verb for “to train.” Dressage is both a method of training horses and a competitive sport, and is designed to develop correct movement in the horse.
For more information about The Dressage Foundation or the Century Club, contact Jenny Johnson, administrative director, at (402) 434-8585 or visit www.dressagefoundation.org.