Dreamcatcher Meadows, Pemberton's professional horse centre that specializes in training, competing and breeding world-class Hanoverians for dressage, has been racking up the awards in the last two months.
Owners Jill Giese and John Dingle returned from the American Hanoverian Society's 2011 awards in West Palm Beach, Florida, last week with two of them and four in San Diego in December.
Three went to their eight-year-old homebred stallion Dreammaster DMV: FEI Horse of the Year; Dressage Horse of the Year; and Horse of the Year Prix St. George (just below Grand Prix) — awarded in San Diego — along with medals from Equine Canada awarded on Tuesday (Jan. 31).
All awards were based on the entire season of competition. While "Master," as the stallion is known, is too young for consideration for competition in the 2012 London Games, he is a prospect for international dressage competition that will eventually lead to Grand Prix competitions and future Olympics. Master is currently training with American Olympic bronze medalList from the Barcelona Games, Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Dreammaster DMV's mother, Dreamcatcher DMV, was given the society's lifetime achievement award in Florida, the Leistungfftute Dressur, a prize that is not annual and only occasionally handed out to the best of the breed worldwide.
In December, Giese and Dingle's three-year-old mare Ballerina DMV was presented with Materiale Horse of the Year award in San Diego, an award open to all breeds of young horses in the three-, four-, and five-year-old range, having gained a score of 87.5 per cent, the combined results for the entire 2011 season.
"If you score 70 per cent you're doing well," said Giese.
As well, homebred horses Lady of the Dance DMV (two years old) and Lordsley DMV were also recognized for placing in the top 10 in their respective age classes.
The Hanoverians are judged over a season of competitive performance with their rider in the dressage ring.
Giese and Dingle are now placed in the top 10 for North American breeders.
"(These awards are) a real honour in horsey terms," said Giese. "What's very satisfying is producing so many horses that win on different levels. It reinforces that you are on the right track."
The couple bought and transformed a former cattle ranch into Dreamcatcher Meadows in 2004. It is currently home to 25 Hanoverians and 12 rescue horses, mostly former racetrack thoroughbreds. The centre also trains riders and stables horses for their owners. Giese said most of their riders come from Whistler and include children and adults of all abilities.
The Hanoverian breed, so named through its German heritage, has been developed since the 1700s as a work and sports horse. Dressage developed from local competitions to see how well the horse handled different movements with their riders.
"It's a bit like horse gymnastics," said Giese.