Cazenovia equestrian to join Century Club – Eagle News Online

July 12, 2019 - Comment

Jul 11, 2019 Kate Hill Cazenovia Republican, Milestones, News, Seniors, Sports On Aug. 4, Cazenovia resident Dr. Wendy McCord and her horse Festivo will be inducted into The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club — an elite group of senior dressage riders and horses — at the Tanglewood Riding Center dressage show. (Submitted) By Kate Hill Staff



Jul 11, 2019
Cazenovia Republican, Milestones, News, Seniors, Sports


On Aug. 4, Cazenovia resident Dr. Wendy McCord and her horse Festivo will be inducted into The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club — an elite group of senior dressage riders and horses — at the Tanglewood Riding Center dressage show. (Submitted)


By Kate Hill

Staff Writer

On Aug. 4, Cazenovia resident Dr. Wendy McCord and her horse Festivo will be inducted into The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club — an elite group of senior dressage riders and horses — at the Tanglewood Riding Center dressage show.

Derived from the French term meaning “training,” dressage refers to a sport in which the horse and rider are expected to perform a series of carefully controlled movements from memory.

The Century Club recognizes dressage riders and horses whose combined ages total 100 years or more.

In addition to meeting the age requirement, each horse and rider team must perform a dressage test of any level in front of a judge.

During the induction ceremony, McCord, 74, and Festivo, 26, will be presented with a Century Club ribbon and wall plaque. Family, friends and members of local dressage clubs will be in attendance.

“As a little girl I knew I loved horses,” McCord said. “I would draw them, cut out their pictures and read every [horse] book in my school library. Even before I owned [one], I dreamt about a close magical relationship with my future horse.”

McCord started taking riding lessons as a child at the Saddle and Bridle Club in Buffalo.

Her dream of owning a horse, however, was not realized until 1995, when she purchased a Spanish Andalusian named Faceta.

Faceta, according to McCord, was no dream horse; she had serious behavioral issues. To better understand her horse’s disposition, McCord began studying natural horsemanship — a philosophy of working with horses based on the animal’s natural instincts and methods of communication.

“Faceta had been mistreated and I needed to learn about the horse/human relationship and how to speak to her in her language,” McCord said.

It was through her efforts to connect to Faceta that McCord discovered dressage. Her first teacher was Arizona-based dressage trainer and judge Dorie VLatten Schmitz.

Faceta died in 1996. A year later, while visiting an Andalusian horse ranch in Durango, Colorado, McCord came across a 4-year-old horse for sale. To her shock, his papers revealed the young horse to be Faceta’s grandson.

“Then and there, Festivo became mine,” McCord recalled. “Armed with all of my horsemanship education, we began our journey together.”

McCord and Festivo trained in both the western and English riding styles. She rode him all over Arizona and used him as a therapy horse in her psychology practice.

In 2004, McCord and Festivo were featured in a video titled “Between Humans and Horses: Eight Parenting Lessons from the Horse’s Mouth” that centered on horsemanship as a guide for good parenting.

The horse and rider team moved to Cazenovia from Prescott, Arizona in 2018 following the death of McCord’s husband.

Upon arrival in what she described as “the most wonderful horse town,” McCord became connected to the local dressage chapter. When she learned about the Century Club, she and Festivo began “dusting off” their dressage skills.

“Twenty-two years together and the love and respect for my partner only grows deeper,” McCord said. “Thank you to The Dressage Foundation for recognizing our long partnership.”

The Dressage Foundation is a Nebraska-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing the sport of dressage.

The foundation started the Century Club in 1996 at the recommendation of noted dressage judge and instructor Dr. Max Gahwyler. The goal of the club is to encourage older dressage riders to remain active in the sport. Since the club’s founding, it has grown to include 370 national members.

For more information on The Dressage Foundation or the Century Club, contact Jenny Johnson, Executive Director at 402-434-8585 or visit dressagefoundation.org.

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