In this issue, beginning on page 49, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED makes some points about dressage, the study and practice of the finer points of riding, which has been defined as the art of improving one's horse beyond the stage of plain usefulness.
For Staff Writer Alice Higgins the story involved a three-day visit to the beautiful and spacious Virginia farm of Arthur Godfrey, who has become an outstanding exponent in our country of this complicated and skilled form of horsemanship, which reached its highest development in Europe. Out of love for the sport, Godfrey, during the past few years, has put on numerous exhibitions at horse shows; and the current increased interest here in dressage is due in some measure to people who have come to see Godfrey and learned to admire his remarkably trained horse, Goldie.
At his farm Godfrey has, in addition to Goldie, another horse, Golden Trumpeter, in training for dressage showing. Both spend their well-ordered lives stabled with a contented assortment of hunters, Thoroughbred race horses and Arabians. This was a friendly world for Writer Higgins, who won a blue ribbon in her first horse show at 16, was a riding instructor at 17, showed three- and five-gaited horses while in college and became a recognized figure on the circuit in Illinois and Missouri. As a senior at Maryville College in St. Louis she won the Intercollegiate Horsemanship Championship in 1946. From there she went on to occasional judging. There her hardest day occurred, not with horses but people, when once a young man said, "My brother's riding in this show. If you don't give him something, I'll throw rocks at you." Unstoned to this day, Alice says, "At least I can say this for my judging—I never found out whose brother he was."
Preoccupation with the dressage horses naturally filled most of the three-day visit to Godfrey's farm. But the farm, as Writer Higgins had a chance to observe during several tours in a golf cart with Godfrey, is filled not only with horses, orchards, pastures and hayfields but also with almost endless opportunities to pursue other sports close to the Godfrey heart-hunting, fishing, swimming, water skiing, flying and ice skating (refrigeration can turn the riding ring into a rink).
Reporting the fine and delicate art of dressage calls for just the kind of lifelong interest and professional training which Alice Higgins brings to this story.