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Haley Madden

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Winter — and William Fox-Pitt — Are Coming!

William Fox-Pitt teaching a clinic at Great Meadow. Photo by Jenni Autry.

I can’t say this too loudly … but I’m getting excited for winter. No, this is not a Game of Thrones reference. This is an actual, honest-to-God truth. Even though I live in a place they literally call the Frozen Tundra, winter is going to be pretty freaking cool. Well, at least the part of winter that coincides with November 4 and 5. After that, things might go downhill pretty quick.
I’m excited for winter because, for the very first time, we are bringing William Fox-Pitt to Wisconsin for a symposium. THE William Fox-Pitt. Hold onto your bell boots, folks. Eventing is going to have its day in Madison, Wisconsin.
Our chapter of the local USDF Group Member Organization, the Wisconsin Dressage and Combined Training Association, has had symposia like this before, but never with an eventer. In the past, it was difficult to find a venue or secure a high-profile rider. But in the past few years, a couple things changed. First, the Alliant Energy Center created beautiful new climate-controlled pavilions that can house horses, a giant arena, and still
have space leftover for a huge trade fair.
Second, I learned that William Fox-Pitt will answer emails you send him. OK, well maybe not personally, but one of his staff will, and that’s almost the same thing. Hence – the 2017 William Fox-Pitt Symposium was born.
If you haven’t been to a symposium before, it’s very similar to a clinic – and way better at the same time, because everything is geared for both the riders and the auditors. The riders do have to apply to ride, which is a little different from your average clinic (this helps us make sure we can put together suitable groups so the auditors can learn as much as possible). There is also space for more auditors, so that as many people as possible can get the WFP experience. And we will have an amazing trade fair showcasing our vendors and sponsors so we can shop to our heart’s content. Better yet, Maximus, the equine simulator, will be there, so that you, too, can experience the thrill of a 4* cross country round!
Did I mention that through the process of planning this symposium, I got to talk to William on the phone? I have never been so nervous for anything in my life, and that’s saying something, considering that a) I am an eventer and regularly jump ponies over things that are taller than practically their whole bodies and b) I just defended my doctoral dissertation this month. Talking to William was basically like talking to God, and let me tell you, God has an amazing accent and a wicked sense of humor.
So if you’re in the Midwest, or really, just in the continental United States (it’s William Fox-Pitt, people!), we hope you can join us. Our website, www.wdcta.org, has all the information you could want. Rider applications are accepted through September 1, and we are looking for riders of all levels! Early bird auditing rates are good through October 6 – spots are filling fast, so sign up soon! Business owners – we’d love for you to join
our growing list of sponsors and vendors, too!
People, winter is coming – and it’s going to be awesome.