Monthly Archives: August 2012

Arriving at Glen Willow

After 800 miles from Michigan to Avondale, Pa., we are here at Glen Willow!  After only 6 months since inception, a new event is about to be launched!  The stabling tent is going up, a lot of trimming, mowing, landscaping and painting has already taken place and tomorrow is another work day.  I’ve been catching up in the office while Richard Pringle is out with Newt Brosius’ gator starting to mark the course.

Back to School is the name of an old obstacle with a brand new look.  Tall, skinny posts painted to look like pencils, huge spools covered and painted black to mimic blackboards – it is a very time-appropriate theme.

We are celebrating the new while honoring the old.  The signage giving credit to those many sponsors who got The Laurels at  Landhope going is still on the outside of the office.  The trees that have grown to the point of offering shade have their signs in place identifying the people who sponsored them.

So, even if we get some remnants of Hurricane Isaac in a couple of days, it might just be enough to keep the dust down, but it won’t sink us this year!


Glen Willow – The Adventure Begins

Today is the original closing date for entries for Glen Willow Combined Driving Event.  I say original, because we will extend it for a week or so to encourage a few more entries.

What an adventure this has been.  After Jamie O’Rourke retired The Laurels at Landhope, it wasn’t until March that a group got together to consider whether or not to try to hold a competition at the Laurels site in 2012.  It was a little late to get started, but the group felt that taking a year off was not a good idea.

So much had to be decided.  So much needed to be done.  We didn’t even know what we had to work with.  We ‘owned’ nothing.  We had no seed money to start with.  We needed a name, a logo, a concept for what the new event would be.  It wouldn’t and couldn’t be a clone of The Laurels.

Fast forward to now. After months of concern about achieving our fundraising goals, attracting competitors, volunteers and key committee people it suddenly seems to have all come together.  The energy is intoxicating!

I’ve been involved with several events during my career, and that first year is a roller-coaster ride.  If an event can survive the ups and downs, and end on an up, then each subsequent year gets easier and easier.  What works stays, what doesn’t gets changed. But that sense of urgency, that energy is never quite the same.

Dr. Franz Vetter

A tribute by Hardy Zantke

Franz Vetter (Marie deRonde on left) judging cones at Katydid in 2011

It is with great sadness that I have to report the sudden passing of Dr. Franz Josef Vetter from Germany. He died on August 1st from a pulmonary embolism. With his passing the driving world has lost one of its best driving judges and judges’ course directors, as well as a great friend of driving.

Dr. Vetter lived close to Aachen and had competed in the German Pairs class at the highest level for over 15 years. He became a National German driving judge in 1994 and an FEI judge in 2001 and  “O” judge in 2007.  He was very actively judging at 25 or more events every year, all over Europe as well as at all of our top level events in the North America, were he was well respected for his profound knowledge, love of the sport and the horses, great sense of humor and patient, calm nature, which perhaps comes easily to a pipe smoker, as he was.

Perhaps one of the highlights of his judging career was when he was appointed President of the Ground Jury at the Four-in-Hand World Championship 2008 in Beesd, The Netherlands, followed by being President of the Ground Jury at the Singles World Championship 2010 in Pratoni, Italy and as Foreign Judge at the Pony World Championship last year in Lipica, Slovenia. Most recently he served as Head of the Appeals Committee in Aachen and was scheduled to serve in the same capacity at the upcoming Four-in-Hand World Championship in Riesenbeck, Germany.

I first met Franz when we judged together at Gladstone in 2004. Probably helped by our common German background and being house guests at the same lovely home for the competition we became good friends at that competition and have remained so since.
His command of the English language had still a few more holes in it than mine, but he became quite fluent over the course of the following years – which is especially remarkable as contrary to most other Germans, he never had any English classes in school but had taken French instead. He was a dentist by profession and all his English was completely self taught in his later years as a judge.

Not only could he teach himself, but he also used that ability to help so many others in the sport. He became one of the great FEI judges course directors to help train and educate judges but also to help promote competitions, especially also in many eastern European countries. I had the great pleasure of attending one of his FEI judges’ clinics in Vesces, Hungary in 2008 and was impressed by the way how he taught that clinic, with a clear and logical system to judging dressage based on the training scale and a similarly clear and logical approach to judging cones, both of which I had never experienced to that extent at any of the other many clinics that I had attended before.  I am happy that the ADS followed my recommendation to hire him for their followed Super Clinic, and while I was not there, I have heard positive reviews. Earlier this year he was President of the Ground Jury at the Live Oak CDE and lead an FEI judges clinic afterwards, where again he impressed us with his clear an logical presentation.

My thoughts are with his wife Carola. They did not have any children, but he leaves a stable full of horses behind. We all have lost a great friend. Farewell, dear Franz.