California Riding Magazine • April, 2014

A Musical Freestyle Insight
Ongoing education focuses on artistic elements of dressage's most popular performances.

March 1, on the rainiest weekend of the year, the Temecula Valley Chapter of the California Dressage Society hosted a Musical Freestyle Insight, indoors at the prestigious California Club in downtown Los Angeles. Sipping tea and staying warm and dry, attendees enjoyed the one-day power-point clinic featuring Terry Ciotti Gallo, of Klassic Kur (custom Musical Freestyles), and Trenna Atkins, a USEF "S" Dressage Judge and "L" faculty member. Co-organizers, Regina Antonioli and David Schmutz felt this was both an educational and exciting program to bring to Southern California. Sponsor, Mrs. Richard Brown, a long time member of the California Club and dedicated supporter of dressage, pulled out all her party skills to help assure a first class event.

Attendees enjoyed coffee, tea and pastries during registration, before a bell invited them in for the program. Though open to anyone, the material covered was prepared in conjunction with the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Continuing Education Program. Dressage judges and those in the USDF "L" Program received credit in continuing education.

"It was a real eye opener that clearly gave me a system to judge freestyles," noted Ulf Wadeborn, a USEF "R" judge.


Terry and Trenna alternated at the podium as they outlined item by item the components that make up a good freestyle. As they outlined the individual elements of the artistic categories including, harmony, choreography, degree of difficulty, music and interpretation, they presented video examples on the screen. The methodology for analysis of each of these freestyle elements and how the judge should interpret was incorporated into the presentation of each.

"It was such a fabulous program," exclaimed CDS Treasurer, Diana Muravez. "Terry Gallo is an engaging speaker with an enormous depth and width of knowledge about freestyle. Trenna Atkins, of course, always knows her judging and rules and was very effective."

The finale of the program was a video of Debbie McDonald and Brentina at the World Cup Finals, created by Gallo. After all the information presented, to watch a beloved American champion perform with near perfection - every footfall of the mare being in exact sync to the music, gave goose bumps to more than one watching. "I think there were even some tears," said Regina.

Press release provided by Equestrian Concepts.