Team USA dressage chef d’equipe Robert Dover has received the inaugural Global Dressage Visionary Award, presented on the first week of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida.
The award was presented by Carol Cohen, a Wellington, Florida dressage visionary and founding member of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
Dover, a six-time Olympic athlete, has been involved with the festival since its inception. “I thought there was an opportunity that was being missed here,” Dover said, recalling his thoughts from before this international show circuit existed. He realized that an unused polo field in the South Florida horse community would be a perfect venue to renew interest in the sport of dressage in the community — where the hunter, jumper, and polo disciples had already caught the world’s attention.
Dover’s road to the head of the US dressage team all began when his former Olympic coach, Colonel Bengt Ljungquist, urged Dover to carry forward what he had been taught.
“I had no idea what he meant by that,” Dover said. “I was 18 years old. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I reflected back on it and realized that he was saying I was going to have some role in the sport bigger than I even knew.” Now, Dover is coaching and training hopefuls for Team USA, which is planning to go for gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Cohen, an FEI-level dressage competitor herself and a sponsor of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, created the Global Visionary Dressage Award to recognise individuals who have been instrumental in the growth and promotion of classical dressage in the USA. Cohen honored Dover with an engraved glass Global Visionary Dressage Award trophy.
Rewarding dressage icons like Dover is important to Cohen, who says that dressage has made an incredible impression on her life. “This sport − I feel it,” she said. “It’s my passion. I care about it very much.”
Cohen has also been instrumental in creating the first Adequan Global Dressage Festival Leadline class, which will begin on January 29 as a kickoff to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle competition. She is sponsoring the class in an effort to bring new dressage riders into the discipline. “Our community needs to foster the future riders of the sport, and my hope is that the leadline class becomes a recognized division in the future,” she said.
Not only is Cohen a passionate advocate for the sport of dressage, she is also active in the local Wellington, Florida community as a licensed Real Estate Agent under the umbrella of Engel & Völkers real estate brokers.