Approaching Silver Tail Farm in Creswell on a fine day, the installation looks like an abstract representation of the horses bred, bred and trained there: the equine ideal, deconstructed and then reconstructed in the form of bay-colored buildings and a covenant conscientious between structure and landscape.
Westphalians are Silver Tail Farm’s horse breed of choice. He comes from a lineage remarkably accomplished for his athleticism in Olympic show jumping and dressage competitions. Descended from a line originating in Westphalia, Germany, these horses are the result of a state-run equine breeding program founded in 1788 by the King of Prussia.
Laura Frederiksen-Park is the owner of Creswell Horse Farm. “I grew up in Minnesota first,” she said, “My dad was a big animal vet, so I’ve been good with horses all my life.”
Laura shared that she worked in the medical field as an obstetrician-gynecologist, which later led her to learn about IVF. [in-vitro fertilization]. Today Laura said she uses her knowledge of IVF to breed her horses.
Admiring the view from the Silver Tail Farm property will see the resident stable as well as the visiting stable (which has 24/7 access to the pasture), a hay barn, a machine shop and of course – the crown jewel of the farm – the dressage arena. Sometimes referred to as tongue-in-cheek “equestrian ballet,” the International Equestrian Federation describes it as “the highest expression of horse training… [where] the horse and rider are supposed to perform a series of predetermined movements from memory.
Dressage is an Olympic sport, in which statuesque horses carry riders dressed in beautiful costumes as they perform to the sound of a pre-selected piece of music. Hearing the changing tempo of the music, the horse gallops, dodges, pirouettes, walks in place, hops and pivots, the movements being synchronized with the rhythm.
The jumper’s job is to make the whole display look like effortless choreography. Making only minimal movements to communicate with their mount, to an untrained viewer it appears the horse is leading. Although beautiful to look at, some aspects of dressage date back to the techniques soldiers of ancient Greece used to train their war horses.
As for the Creswell Arena on Howe Lane, it is also more than the place where the horses compete. Resembling a giant sandbox, the arena floor is made of a loose mix of sand and soft fibers. While Emily’s instructors were explaining how working on such a surface helps keep horses “dancing” on it healthy, her four-year-old dressage student was busy marveling at the strange substance, spending a good few minutes to allow him to run. between her fingers and jumping up and down to see how deep she could sink footprints into the sandy substance.
Prior to 2018, 20 years had passed since Lane County had seen an official dressage competition. With the help of her daughter, Emily Park, however, Laura helped revive the county tradition. From this effort was born the Twin Rivers Classic (TRC), a dressage event which since its inception has been held annually at Silver Tail Farm in Creswell. Organized by the Twin Rivers Chapter of the Oregon Dressage Society, the 2022 TRC, which will be held this Saturday and Sunday August 20-21, will mark the fourth year of the event.
At 15, Emily said she moved to California to become a dressage student and learn from equestrian professionals. For the 2014 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, the incredible happened: Emily was able to ride the magazine cover horse that inspired her. Pretty Lady was her competitive teammate and companion in Creswell when Emily was ready to go home, representing the beginning and end of a chapter and the start of something new.
As President of TRC, Emily addressed the athletes in the upcoming competition on the 2022 show schedule, saying, “We are so grateful to have [TRC] to be so well received. We are excited to see new faces and welcome back runners again! With [August 20 and 21] being the end of our series of shows, we will be congratulating the new winners of the High Point series on Sunday, [August 21] and see who wins our special prizes!
Ribbons are to be awarded to the top six riders in each of the TRC divisions. Runners who competed in both the Twin Rivers Solstice I & II event on June 18-19 and the Twin Rivers Classic I & II on August 20-21 are eligible (depending on their age) to receive High Point which include an all-expense trip paid prize to attend the Purina Pro Riders Conference in St Louis, Missouri (includes a tour of the Budweiser Brewery and Stables) and a weekend clinic of their choice at Silver Tail Farm with overnight accommodation included.
Those interested in attending the Twin Rivers Classic this weekend can visit the Silver Tail Farm Facebook page, @SilverTailFarm or visit iflvertailfarm.com/event/twin-rivers-classic-i-ii-2022/.