15 FACTS ABOUT THIS OLYMPIC HOPE­FUL

Fif­teen things you didn’t know about Ali Brock and Ro­sevelt

Dressage Today - - Front Page - By Sue Weak­ley

Al­li­son “Ali” Brock and Ro­sevelt are poised to take it to the top. She and the 14-year-old dark bay Hanove­rian stal­lion (Rost­pon-Lore, Lau­ries Cru­sador XX), owned by Clau­dine and Fritz Kun­drun, are ranked in the top 50 in the world and are cur­rently sit­ting at No. 34. They fin­ished a suc­cess­ful 2016 win­ter show se­ries in Welling­ton, Florida, with three first-place fin­ishes at the end of the Ad­e­quan Global Dres­sage Fes­ti­val se­ries, in­clud­ing 74.333 per­cent in the Grand Prix Special, 73.700 per­cent in the Grand Prix at the CDI3* in April and 74.255 per­cent in the Grand Prix Special at the CDI4* in March. The duo were mem­bers of USA’s gold-medal-win­ning Na­tions Cup “girl-power” team, made up of Ali, Shelly Fran­cis, Laura Graves and Kasey Perry-Glass, at the CDIO5* in Compi•gne, France, in May. The two may be a pow­er­house duo, but the 36-year-old rider calls Ro­sevelt “Rosie”—hardly a ma­cho name for a stal­lion. “I know it’s a girl’s name, but he’s so sweet and it suits him,” she said.

Here are 15 things Dres­sage To­day found out about the pair: 1. Ali said if Rosie were hu­man, he would be that good-look­ing jock in high school who didn’t know he was Mr. Won­der­ful. “He’d be that guy who is good in sports and smart and plays in the band and gets along with ev­ery­body,” she said. “He doesn’t brag about him­self, he just knows he’s good. He’d be that guy.” 2. Rosie oc­cu­pies what Ali calls “the pen­t­house stall” at the Kun­drun’s DeerMeadow Farms in Florida. The cor­ner suite with two win­dows was the for­mer home of Sue Blinks’ horse, Flim Flam. Ali groomed for Blinks on her jour­ney to the 2002

World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, where the U.S. cap­tured the sil­ver medal. She said the ex­pe­ri­ence shaped her as a pro­fes­sional. “I learned an aw­ful lot work­ing for that lady,” she said. “To be a part of that sil­ver-medal team was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for a 22-year-old kid.” 3. Rosie hates to be brushed. “Be­ing dirty is his pre­ferred state,” Ali said. “It’s a good thing he’s dark. We have to curry him with the soft­est rub­ber curry, and he still protests. Then we have to brush him with the soft­est brushes we have to try not to of­fend him. He’s a guy—one who knows how to clean up when nec­es­sary but one who also knows how to re­lax on the couch while drink­ing beer and watch­ing football in his dirt­i­est shirt.” 4. He loves to stick out his tongue. “He’ll stick it out and put it on you,” Ali said. “Or he’ll push on you. He’s done this as long as I’ve known him, and he be­haves the same way with other horses.” 5. Ali be­lieves that horses should have time to be horses. Rosie gets two to five hours of turnout a day. The first thing he does is head straight to his self-dug sand pit and roll. He also loves to nap in the sun­shine. “If he thinks you are coming for him too early, he’ll see you, bel­low and then run up to his pit and throw him­self down in it,” Ali said. “Then he’ll come to you and let you catch him.” Their weekly work sched­ule also in­cludes time to chill out. Rosie gets two days of arena work fol­lowed by a hack day, then two more work days, an­other day to hack out and then a day off to en­joy his sand pit. 6. Although Rosie has been a breed­ing stal­lion in the past, he is tak­ing a tem­po­rary hia­tus from that part of his life. He has foals on the ground in Swe­den, and Ali gets photos of his off­spring from time to time. “He puts a very good walk and great char­ac­ter on his ba­bies,” she said. He was last used for breed­ing in 2010, and Ali asked if that part of his life could be put on hold un­til Rosie’s Grand Prix ca­reer is over. He knows if he’s wrapped above his knees, he’s go-

ing to be bred. If not, he’s all busi­ness. “He’s been promised that when he’s done be­ing my fancy-schmancy Grand Prix horse, he can go back to his other ca­reer,” Ali said. “That’s the deal.” 7. Rosie is cold-backed and re­quires a rou­tine to get him loose and ready to go. “I walk him out to the arena and then back him up. That’s just to check where he is men­tally and loosen his back up,” Ali said. “At home, he walks a min­i­mum of 20 min­utes on the buckle be­fore he ever does any­thing and then I pick up the reins and I walk him an­other five to 10 min­utes just do­ing lat­eral work so I know he’s re­ally loose and ready. At the horse show, we’re to this place now where he is do­ing a 25-minute warm-up, which is very short. He just goes in there and I’ll let him saunter around, and if he gets wor­ried, I’ll put him on the bit and maybe move him around a lit­tle side­ways just to make sure he’s OK. He’s trained and he’s older and he’s ex­pe­ri­enced and I have to trust him. I have a pretty spe­cific warm-up but it’s evolv­ing be­cause he’s evolv­ing. Mostly it’s ‘Are you on the aids? Are you in front of my leg? Are you re­spond­ing to the half halt? If I put my leg on, what kind of re­ac­tion do I get? If I pull on the reins, what kind of re­ac­tion do I get?’ Then I tune up what­ever I need to be­fore I go in.” 8. Rosie may be cold-backed but he’s hot. “He used to buck in the can­ter tour,” Ali said. “He’d just get hot, hot, hot in the trot tour and then he’d come to the can­ter tour and be like, ‘Whooo hooo!’ I used to call it ‘sprong­ing.’ He’d just kind of por­poise. It took him awhile to learn how to deal with his ex­cite­ment. Thank God the Kun­drun’s were re­ally pa­tient with both of us dur­ing this time pe­riod be­cause it was a real process.

“As a Small Tour horse, he was very re­li­able and suc­cess­ful, but when he started re­ally pi­affing, he ac­cessed a place of in­ner heat that awak­ened a sleep­ing gi­ant,” Ali con­tin­ued. “It took him a long time to get comfortable in that place, and it took me know­ing that I had to keep tak­ing him out and test rid­ing in na­tional classes un­til he was set­tled. Horses ar­rive when they are meant to ar­rive and we can­not force the issue. All we can do is keep ex­pos­ing them to the sit­u­a­tion and build com­fort and con­fi­dence in the new en­vi­ron­ments. If I have a horse who is se­cure at home in all of the move­ments, I don’t worry about tak­ing a low mark at a show when they are first learn­ing how to cope in that kind of en­vi­ron­ment. Horses need the ex­pe­ri­ence. Rosie took two years to re­ally tran­si­tion into a se­cure Grand Prix horse, then an­other year to re­ally get solid in the show ring. He had a very hard time learn­ing his one tem­pis, yet they are so straight and so se­cure now that if I didn’t tell you that you would never know. He just needed time and pa­tience.” 9. She may be a su­per­star, but Ali is also star-struck. She has a hel­met signed by U.S. show jumper Kent Far­ring­ton, who lives down the road from her in Welling­ton. The sig­na­ture reads “To Ali, Best of luck, Kent Far­ring­ton.” She jok­ingly calls the hel­met “My Pre­cious.” “Talk about be­ing a nerd,” she laughed.

Right after the 2014 Dres­sage at Devon when she won the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special, Olympian Will Cole­man, whom she coaches for his dres­sage phase, asked her to ride a cou­ple of horses for him at the end of the day. “I was pretty sweaty from work­ing all day and had on an old pair of boots that were full of holes and needed to be re­tired.” Will texted her ask­ing if it was OK if David was there. “I thought David who? I pulled into the farm and it’s THE DAVID. David who needs no last name, in­di­vid­ual Olympic Gold Medal­ist O’Con­nor. I was mor­ti­fied! Had I known, I would have shown up more pre­sentable. I have so much re­spect for him!” 10. Ali said the Ge­orge Mor­ris talk­ing ac­tion fig­ure she has in her tack room keeps her in line as he ad­mon­ishes, “Prac­tice, my dears, doesn’t make per­fect. Per­fect prac­tice makes per­fect,” and “You are very beau­ti­ful ... I hope you have a brain.”

Al­li­son “Ali” Brock and the 14-yearold Hanove­rian stal­lion, Ro­sevelt, who, ac­cord­ing to Ali, prefers to be dirty

Ali and Ro­sevelt com­pet­ing at the CDIO5* in Compi•gne, France this past May

Two of Ali’s prized pos­ses­sions: her Ge­orge Mor­ris doll (left) and her hel­met signed by U.S. show jumper Kent Far­ring­ton (be­low).

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