Deep appreciation

Oh Dorothy, I have thought of her so often and I have missed her over the years.  In the 1980’s had a wonderful riding group in Ringoes and Dor was at the center of it; I’ve never found its equal to this day.  Susan Reichlin, Lorna Mack, Dorothy and I converged at the sand dressage arena behind Terry Harrison’s airfield at the Weeden’s lovely Meadowberry farm.  We rode rain or shine and somehow did without a covered arena. I’ll never forget how Dorothy came and braided my horse, Devil, put her in the trailer along with Susan’s horse Steppin’ and packed us off to my first dressage show held at Dorothy’s mother’s farm and judged by I forget who (Linda Zang, maybe?), but she became famous in the dressage world.  No one has done that for me since. One of my most poignant early dressage memories is of Dorothy dragging me to go watch the US Dressage  warm-up rides at Gladstone, some visiting German named Reiner Klinke. Even  a newbie like me could see how he transformed every horse on the team.  That sunny morning was a seminal moment for me. I’ve been pursuing the dressage trail ever since. I have often wondered what my life would be like, if I hadn’t met Dorothy Maxfield.

Also I recall vividly trail riding Devil over to  the Kingsford’s farm for a lesson, then meeting and watching Hilda Gurney give Dorothy a lesson on Judy K’s Mr. B. Dorothy, her students, Debbie and the other members of the Amwell Valley Hounds Pony Cub felt like the center of the dressage/eventing world.  I remember trail riding on an autumn morning around the corn and soy fields of the Sourland Mountains with  Dor and Lorna.  Dorothy rode her  mother’s new young horse, a handsome black gelding, I think named Voltaire.  Didn’t all of us go to the Hunt Ball together one year at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan?  It felt as if time stopped and the world was not rushing towards a new millennium. After I moved to the foothills northeast of Seattle and had my own farm, Dorothy came to visited me on her way to or from judging a show on the coast.  She rode my lovely gray Dutch mare, Vera,  a schoolmaster that I had lucked into formerly owned by my new riding instructor, Nancy Cleveland Thacher.  Nancy, when she lived in Virginia, had been a judge at one of Dorothy’s mother’s schooling shows.  While Dorothy was out west,  sje  gave me lessons on Vera and encouraged me to show her at the higher levels. When Dorothy  left it never occurred to me that I would never see her again. After Vera, I was fortunate enough to go to Germany and luck into a Donnerhall horse, Don Leon, another gem.  I’ve owned him fourteen years and just retired him.   Today I ride Vera’s stellar grandson, Kabaret, a complicated hot tempered beast by Windfall/Weltmeyer; he’s has cowed many trainers but wouldn’t have put Dorothy off in the slightest.  As was often said, Dorothy got a lot out of a horse and I often wished that she’d judged another show in the Pacific Northwest so that she could  have visited me again.  I’ll never forget her happy laugh, her eye from a talented horse, and her encouragement; I will miss her more than I can say.    –Jana Harris

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