2013 Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame Induction of Anne Gribbons

Anne Gribbons (left) with the 2012 US dressage Olympians at the selection trials in Gladstone, NJ (Jennifer Bryant photo)

In recognition of her accomplishments and devotion to advance the sport of dressage in the US, Anne Gribbons was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in 2013. From representing the United States as a member of the silver medal team at the 1995 Pan American Games to her invaluable involvement in the creation of the American Dressage Pipeline, and her tenure as the Dressage National Coach, she has always been a strong advocate for dressage in the US. Here is the induction speech, given by then-USDF President George Williams, when she joined the ranks of the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame.

Induction Speech:

If I were to read out loud all of the committees, sub committees and task forces our next honoree has been on, we could be here all night. She has been on, by my count, at least over twenty USEF and USDF committees and two FEI Committees and this is just a start. Anne Gribbons’ commitment to everything dressage is truly legendary.

The committees she has sat on are varied and range from USDF All Breeds to the FEI Dressage Committee.

In addition, she was the representative to the Swedish Warmblood Association for seven years and a past Chairman of the American Trakehner Association Exhibition Committee. The list goes on and on. Few have been so generous with their time. She was the moving force behind the first Junior National Team Championships.

Of course, I am sure everyone in this room is aware of her most recent accomplishments as the Technical Advisor for Dressage – also known as “Coach”. More than just the medals however, she has left a legacy

In her words: “I had one great ambition. To put together a pipeline of education, a system for America. The goal was the development of horses, the training of horses and riders, and the opportunity to do something for America that the nation did not have. We succeeded. We worked closely with all of the coaches and with the U.S. Dressage Federation. The whole thing has thrilled me. The harmony and atmosphere has improved tremendously. This is the way we have to go. The pipeline is in place. The players can change but the basic system is there and that is very important.”

By all accounts Anne is a doer!

For us in this country it all started around 1968 when she came to the US. She was a journalism major at C.W. Post College in New York City. It was in her second semester that she met David Gribbons. She says with a laugh -“And that’s when all the trouble started.” His family owned a farm on Long Island, which they inherited soon after they were married. Anne had always wanted a horse or two, so that’s what they did with the former cow and vegetable farm. I think I can say that we all are grateful to David for “starting the trouble”.

At this point, I would like to introduce someone who has first-hand knowledge of those early years in Anne’s career. Please welcome, Sherri Loveland to the stage:

Wow, what an amazing ride this has been. (So far anyway, knowing my parents I am sure there is plenty more to come).

I could easily stand here and recite an unending list of achievements and accomplishments attributable to my mom……or I can tell you a couple of stories that illustrate just what it was like living at home with Anne and David, my parents. The back stories if you will. Which would you prefer?

I met my parents, Anne and David Gribbons in 1968 before they were even married and almost immediately saw in them the parents I believed I should have been born to. Profound, huh?

Well, what they saw in me was slightly different- they saw me as this scrubby, skinny little kid who, for some unknown reason, was always hanging around with big eyes and no apparent purpose in life. A pre-adolescent stalker if you will.

When I arrived on the scene at Knoll Farm it was hardly the epicenter of the equestrian world that it eventually became (at least in my eyes). All I wanted was to be there.

This was the ancestral family farm of the Gribbons family. There were lab rabbits in Barn 4, and a random assortment of other animals but not many horses.

That was remedied soon enough as we began to “collect” our stable of school horses from various horse dealers and random people’s back yards, or wherever else we could find them. As we collected horses, we collected “barn rats” as we the rag-tag group of kids who lived and breathed horses came to be known.

After a while, realizing they had been patently unsuccessful at getting rid of me, they made the best of things and, If you know Anne and David at all, you know what that means…..they put me to work.

And work I did.

– Crash test dummy. Made me more afraid to disappoint her than to have a massive wreck

– Broken back – dumpster diving for school horses- flop

– Assortment of furniture trucks – ramp at shows and putting up hay at the mental hospital

– Parties with the kids all sleeping over. And dad finding them in the morning

-Anne cross country and forgetting to breathe ( picture) passing out

-The excitement and joy of our first recognized shows, first “big time” horses

-From lab rabbits in Barn 4 , broken backs, millions of horses, trips to Europe, shows, events, the Pan-am team silver in Argentina, All the way to the first Olympics in 1996-(where Robert Dover rode Metallic, the horse Anne trained but couldn’t ride due to an injury) (which, by the way, was my oldest son’s first trip anywhere), and a second Olympics London, as coach, in 2012. She has basically done it all, rider, owner, competitor, trainer, coach. I look back over these years, from where this little school horse barn started and what it ultimately became, culminating in this event, and it literally takes my breath away.

But it wasn’t enough for me to just be in the barn. Slowly but surely I set about to correct the cosmic error of my birth to a different set of parents and with diligence, Jedi mind tricks and annoying persistence, I finally got Anne and David to see it my way. I became their daughter and firmly established in their lives and their home. Once embraced their love is unconditional.

As they both worked so hard to create this incredible life in the equestrian world they never lost sight of the family we had created. Anne and David managed to give me and later Laura the very best childhood and adolescence anyone could hope to ask for. But Anne has had many other children besides me and Laura. Her other children have been her USEF and USDF programs which will be her legacy. She nurtured them they way she nurtured Laura and I and of course her horses.

I have traveled the world because Anne and David Gribbons are my parents. Been places I never would have been able to go Buenos Aires, Aachen, Paris, and some places I had never even heard of or thought I would go Chuluota, Florida ……….

Most of all, I have learned and been the beneficiary of true, unconditional and unending love and support from Anne. Her passion for family is the same passion she brings to her work. And I know you all know about that.

***My sister Laura said it better than anyone else in an email she sent me:
….Anne became a second mother to me and the only living mother I have had for most of my adult life. She has taught me…
How to be respectful and yet speak the truth whether it is pertaining to the horse world or my personal life
How to be truly loyal and loving to those who are important to me
How to learn from my mistakes and take constructive criticism and utilize it to improve.

Laura attributes her success in life, as do I , to the life we were given by a and d.

Tamra, Anne’s long time groom and friend, wrote a wonderful narrative to illustrate all of the gifts Anne has given her over the years. Tamra also attributes her success to Anne’s mentoring, support and guidance. I have heard from so many other people– similar stories that were I to go into all of them we would have to turn this dinner into a mini-series.

Our parents brought to the home we shared and the family we created the most amazing combination of love, passion, work ethic, and integrity. They were the perfect role models and all I ever wanted was to make them proud of me. They were and still are the driving force behind my personal successes and achievements.

Our mother and father, through their unending love, support and steely determination allowed me to seek heights I never dreamed I could achieve. Everything I am today, mother, wife, trial lawyer, volunteer ….and a little bit crazy ……I owe to them.

George Williams:

It is my honor to introduce Anne. But before I do, allow me to name some of the over 20 horses Anne has trained to Grand Prix:

  • Tappen Zee,
  • Amazonas,
  • Leonardo II,
  • Metallic
  • and Alazan.

Let me also mention that Anne is a frequent contributor to equestrian publications. She has been a columnist on the Chronicle of the Horse’s “Between Rounds” since 1996.

Anne has never stood still and is a fearless advocate for Dressage in the US. She is a well rounded horsewoman, interested in all aspects of our sport, who has proven time and again that she lives and breathes dressage. Anne has been a major force in the development of dressage in our country

It is my pleasure to induct the 2006 Chronicle of the Horse “Horseman of the Year”, FEI 5 star judge, international competitor, educator, coach, breeder, trainer, journalist, committee member extraordinaire, and someone I am very honored to call my friend – Anne Gribbons – into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame.

Leave a Reply