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Janet Foy to judge at forthcoming Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships

Her first love was western riding on a horse named ‘Snakes’, then on ‘Popeyed Chief’, a blue roan appaloosa. 

Young Janet from Colorado Springs reined, roped and barrel raced - dressage was the furthest thing from her mind. 
She travelled to shows, was part of ‘The Rangerettes’ -  an all-girl drill team - and in 1971 was chosen as “Girl of the West” for the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo – it was the highlight of her western career.
Janet Foy, Girl of the West, courtesy of Janet Foy
Janet Foy, Girl of the West (photo courtesy of Janet Foy)
It was only when she went to live in England that she developed an interest in dressage. Ken Brown, her husband at the time, was a Rhodes Scholar studying at Oxford. 
“So of course I joined the Oxford Riding Club,” she wrote in her first book, Dressage For The Not-So-Perfect Horse. “I met Virginia, the wife of another Rhodes Scholar, who’d been a hunter rider in Georgia.”
For about a month they learnt in a group but wanted to know more so they went to the Talland School of Equitation in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, for semi-private lessons.
“After a few months we still had no idea what the instructor really meant,” she wrote. “He didn’t seem to want to enlighten us, so we bought Lockie Richards’ DressageBegin the Right Way, which had pictures to show us what we were supposed to be doing.”
She must have got the hang of it eventually because over time, Janet passed her BHSA instructor exams. She returned to the US, got a job as a public relations director with a motivational film production company, and she bought a horse.
She studied the art of dressage, rode, won medals, bred horses and developed into a successful trainer. She states in her first book that her major influences have been, among many others, Robert Dover, Kyra Kyrklund and Jo Hinneman.
Janet Foy © Trafalgar Square Books
Photo credit © Trafalgar Square Books
Her second book, Dressage Solutions, has just been released.
Janet also became an international dressage judge – which is why we will be seeing her at the upcoming Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships at SIEC.
Judging with her will be Alban Tissot (4*, France), Sue Hobson (4*, New Zealand) and a 5* judge from Germany, Peter Holler, who has recently been selected on to the Ground Jury for next year’s Games in Rio.
Janet Foy © Suzy Jarratt
Janet Foy
It will be Janet’s third visit to Australia. Her first was when she judged the test event for the Sydney Olympics, and she then came out for National and CDI-W events.
“The last time I was in your country I was impressed with many of the Australian-bred horses,” said Janet, who after finishing judging spent a week diving off the Great Barrier Reef.
“Unfortunately this October I just won’t have any spare time.”
Before arriving for the Nationals Janet would have been teaching in Charlotte, North Carolina, judging in Korea and then in Central Park. Her home is in Colorado Springs, which she shares with her husband, Dr Michael Foy, a retired orthodontist.
“He loves the people involved but is afraid of horses and thinks they cost too much – sigh!”
Does she have any misgivings about some of the people involved in international dressage? There has been some controversy recently about Totilas, about the use of rollkur, and about unfair biased judging. 
“I think it’s sad that everyone feels it’s OK to criticise our top riders and judges. Everyone I know works on their skills and tries to be the best and most honest judge they can. Social media and the press are a bit out of control. We’re losing respect in our sport for our trainers, judges and horses - this armchair bashing annoys me.”
What she is happy about, because of her early days, is the inclusion of reining in the World Equestrian Games.  
“But right now I don’t feel the same way about the inclusion of endurance riding.”
All she’ll be seeing in Sydney will be dressage… and more dressage, where she says she’ll be looking for ‘harmony and a lovely partnership’.
The Saddleworld Australian Championships run from Wednesday 21st to Sunday 25 October at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre, Horsley Park.
For further information:
Cathie Drury-Klein cathiedk@bigpond.com tel: 0417 224 432;
Deb MacNicol dmacnicol@bigpond.com tel: 0411 855 187
Written by Suzy Jarratt
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