On this Memorial Day, USDF is taking the opportunity to commemorate some members of our dressage community that we have lost recently. These people and horses were not only respected and admired in our sport, but also so deeply loved by those who knew them best. We remember each of them, mourn their loss, and celebrate their lasting impact on the sport. USDF can speak for the entire dressage community when we say, “You will all be greatly missed and your legacy is sure to live on!”
John F. Boomer
John F. Boomer, of Lincoln, Nebraska, passed away on Sunday, March 21, 2021, at the age of 92. As the son of USDF’s founding father Lowell Boomer (also founder of The Dressage Foundation), John’s entire life was entwined with the growth of dressage in the United States. He and his wife, Lynn, spent a dozen of their “retirement years” at the helm of The Dressage Foundation, tirelessly working to ensure the success of our sport. Countless USDF members and programs have benefitted from the grants and programs that John helped to establish and grow. It is safe to say that USDF and dressage in the US would not be what it is today without the contributions of John and the entire Boomer family.
KWPN stallion Totilas (Gribaldi – Lominka, Glendale) passed away December 14, 2020, at the age of 20. The partnership between Totilas and Dutch rider Edward Gal truly captured the hearts of the dressage world in 2010 when the pair won the FEI World Cup Dressage Final, and then went on to sweep triple dressage gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), in Kentucky. Totilas was the first horse to break the 90% barrier in Grand Prix dressage competition, and he won the Grand Prix Freestyle WEG Gold Medal with a score of 91.800%.
Anne Barlow Ramsay
As a longtime USDF member, Anne Barlow Ramsay served in many capacities within the organization including her time on the USDF Historical Committee, serving as a delegate to the Board of Governors, and of course, the success of her horses in the sport. Over the years, Anne’s horses have earned 20 USDF Year-End Awards across almost every level, as well as multiple USDF All-Breeds Awards from the International Sport Horse Registry, KWPN of North America, and Oldenburg Registry of North America. She died on May 7, 2021, at the age of 96.
In addition to her contributions to USDF and her achievements in competition, Anne’s mission has always been to advance equestrian sport in the US. As part of this mission, along with The Dressage Foundation, the Anne L. Barlow Ramsay $25,000 Grant was established. This grant is designed to showcase talented American-bred horses ridden by United States citizens, by providing funds to train and compete in Wellington, Florida or in Europe.
USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medalist and Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame Inductee Jane Savoie passed away January 4, 2021, near her home in Berlin, Vermont, at the age of 72. Jane was a renowned clinician, having headlined previous USDF Adult Clinic Series, and an international competitor, serving as reserve for the 1992 Bronze Medal Olympic US Dressage Team. She was also an accomplished author, publishing six books on sports psychology, dressage, and jumping, and having them translated into eight languages. Jane also served as a coach at both the Atlanta and Sydney Olympic Games. Additionally, she produced two video series, “Train with Jane” and “Happy Horse”, both of which have enjoyed worldwide success. Much of what Jane accomplished outside of the competition ring was driven by her long-time passion for helping adult amateur riders progress in dressage.
Sue Curry Shaffer
Sue Curry Shaffer passed away unexpectedly on April 25, 2021 at the age of 67. Sue wore many hats in the dressage world. In addition to her role as a USEF ‘S’ Dressage Judge and an FEI 3* Para-Dressage Judge, Sue was also a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist and served on the USDF L Program Committee for many years. Beyond her prolific career as a licensed official, Sue will also be remembered as a wonderful, caring individual and horsewoman. For over 20 years, she competed at the FEI levels and has had multiple horses in the top ten nationally. Over the years, Sue’s horses earned fifteen USDF Year-End Awards. Through Sue’s many roles within our sport, her loss, as well as her impact, will not be forgotten.
Debbie McDonald’s beloved Grand Prix partner and Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame Inductee Brentina (Brentano II—Lieselotte, Lungau) died in April 2021 at In The Irons Farm in Santa Barbara, California, at the age of 31. Not only was Brentina a USDF Horse of the Year Champion at both Intermediate I and Grand Prix, multiple times, but in 2003, she and Debbie were the first Americans to win the FEI World Cup Dressage Final. She earned double gold at the 1999 Winnipeg Pan-American Games, a team silver and bronze at the 2002 and 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games (as well as individual fourth in 2002), and a team bronze and individual fourth-place finish in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Brentina famously won the audience’s hearts and got them on their feet in the 2005 Las Vegas FEI World Cup Final when she performed her now infamous freestyle. The moment became Debbie’s memory of a lifetime and earned her a third-placed finish. The love for Brentina went far beyond just Debbie and her team, and her loss will be felt for years to come. The dressage world will forever say her name with “Respect”!