April 2015 - Flying Changes
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 00:31


Christine Traurig Becomes USEF Young Horse Coach

Christine Traurig, who rode for the United States on the bronze-medal team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, takes on a new role as America’s dressage Young Horse Coach. Christine, 56 years old, of Carlsbad, succeeds Scott Hassler who retires May 1 from the position he held for almost a decade as the first U.S. Young Horse Coach.

“All my life as a rider, trainer, and horsewoman, my biggest passion has been to develop horses to the best of their athletic abilities,” said Christine on her appointment by U.S. Equestrian Federation that is subject to contract negotiations. “My goal for this program is to make America a country that produces top-quality international horses to field championship teams and Junior/Young Rider Teams so that one day we can proudly say: Made In America!”

Christine joins the U.S. dressage program led by Robert Dover, Chef d’Equipe/Technical Advisor, and which includes Debbie McDonald as Developing Coach, George Williams as Youth Coach, and Charlotte Bredahl-Baker as Assistant Youth Coach.

“She brings enormous talent and years of experience with young horses and top coaching at all levels,” Robert Dover said. “Christine will build upon the last decade of great work by Scott Hassler. Our world-class machine, with adequate funding, will produce sustainable excellence, resulting in medals for America.”

Christine was born and raised on her parents’ farm near Verden, Germany–which has been the home of the World Young Horse Championships for the past several years. She began riding before she could walk. At the age of 12, she attended the National Riding School at Hoya with the trainer Otto Meyer. She rode sale horses at the Hanoverian Elite Auction and worked for the late German national trainer, Holger Schmezer, in Verden until she moved to the United States in 1982.

She returned to Germany in 1999 to train with Johann Hinnemann, competing at three consecutive Bundeschampionat in Warendorf on Limited Edition.

Christine on Etienne was selected for the U.S. team at the Sydney Games, earning a personal best score, and helping America win a third consecutive bronze medal. She was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year in 2000.

She moved back to Southern California in 2005. She has two children, Natasha and Lucas.


Farewell Grace Karazissis

Mother to Nick, Sr., and Kost Karazissis, who founded Far West Farms, Grace passed away on March 18. According to the Far West Farm website, Grace rode horses in her native Florence, Italy. She and her husband, Nicolas, left Florence to work in Peru directly after World War II and she continued to ride horses until she was five months pregnant with Nick Karazissis Sr. Nicolas Karazissis’ dream was always to live in the United States and the family ultimately moved to Los Angeles in 1955. Once settled, Grace resumed her riding with the Women’s Calvary at Pickwick, which is known today as the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

She was an elegant and admired presence on the West Coast hunter/jumper circuit throughout her life.



Farewell George Bernard


A much-loved figure in San Diego County’s Lakeside and surrounding communities, George Bernard passed away recently after sustaining severe head trauma in a fall from his horse. George was husband to Marty Bernard, owner of East County Feed, friend to many and supporter of several causes. The Olaf Weighorst Museum in El Cajon is one of many local endeavors with which George was closely involved. A Vietnam War veteran, George supported many veterans’ efforts. On a lighter note, the colorful gentleman was particularly well known for his award winning cowboy beans and Dutch oven biscuits.


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