We had the chance to catch up with Janet Foy, author of the new book DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, between her efforts to help her neighbors in Colorado who are facing the devastating wildfires. We understand that today a change in weather has helped with the firefighting efforts—our thoughts are with everyone in the area and hope that those who have been evacuated can return home soon.
Janet is keeping people apprised of what’s happening with the fires on her new blog: CLICK HERE FOR JANET’S LATEST UPDATES.
Of course, it was only a couple weeks ago that Janet was one of a select group of judges responsible for helping to choose the US Dressage Team—those who will represent the United States in London in August. Read on to get her thoughts the team selection, as well as her new book DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, which is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.
JF: It opens up a whole new world to me. Of all the ways I am involved in dressage, I love teaching the best. To be able to reach a larger audience is wonderful and very exciting!
TSB: It’s an Olympic year and you of course had a hand in the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions at Gladstone. How did it feel to be judging this year’s field? Were there real standouts or are our top competitors riding neck and neck? What do you think of this year’s team and their chances in London?
JF: When selecting a team, it is always an honor to be asked, but the judging is of course more stressful. This year we had so many good candidates that were not separated by much when they came to Gladstone. I was especially impressed with Tina Konyot’s first Grand Prix Special. I love giving “10’s”!
As far as our chances at the Olympics, this year will be no doubt the strongest competition the world has ever seen. The Germans have come up with an amazing group of horses and riders. The Danish are also strong and Spain has two top riders. Great Britain has three horses who can all score in the 80%. I hope all our riders have a clean test and after than we will just have to wait and see! If all three of our riders ride to the top of their standard, we could medal.
TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?
JF: As far as the book I can tell you it would be a mystery book with lots of plots and twists and murder and mayhem. I don’t go much for the flowery romance books, although I wouldn’t mind being stranded with one of the cover models!
As far as the horse, the breed wouldn’t matter. I would want something about 16.1, no taller—remember, I am short and on a desert island I might not find a suitable mounting block. Since I might not have a saddle either, I think the horse’s gaits would have to be maybe a bit boring, given my age! However, the ideal horse would be black, with four white socks and a little white star. Something with a little bit of Arabian and beautiful. Also the horse would need a brain! Smart enough to know what I want and dumb enough to do it.
TSB: What’s in your refrigerator at all times?
JF: Greek Yogurt
TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
JF: Having my husband, my good friends, my dog Britta, all my wild birds I feed, and my flower and vegetable garden around me at all times. Also, no more airplanes!
TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.
JF: I was five and my grandfather took me to a dude stable for a riding lesson. It was a big horse and a Western saddle. They sat me on top and led me around for 30 minutes. I was hooked!
TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.
JF: I was riding my horse home and was still in the pasture, which was about 200 acres. I was bareback with just a halter and lead rope. Someone shot a gun off in the woods and my horse took off. We got to the road with the barbed-wire fence, and my horse turned left and I went through the fence, breaking all three strands of wire and doing some major damage to my face and arm. Required a trip to the hospital and quite a few stitches.
TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?
JF: Not being judgmental and being a good listener. Don’t give me advice unless I ask for it!
TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?
JF: The desire to please you.
TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?
JF: Ride in a Cavalia performance!
TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?
JF: Well, I love to cook and have taken classes at the Cordon Bleu in London. Organic fresh foods are what I like to cook. I prefer fish, a wonderful salad, and no dessert. I don’t have a sweet tooth.
TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?
JF: Flying to one place and staying for 10 days. I love cruises. I love beaches. My husband and I love to dive. One of our favorite trips was a visit to the Great Barrier Reef after I judged a show in Sydney. We got on a live-aboard dive boat for a week. Awesome!
TSB: If you could have a conversation with one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?
JF: This is maybe a little shallow, but since I lived in England for two years, I learned to just love the Royal Family. So I would say lunch and shopping with Princess Diana!
JF: Look at every mistake the horse makes as a training opportunity.