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Nov 02
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Lady Diana Wins Dressage Grand Prix

Lady Diana Mukpo wins first place in Grand Prix

Shambhala Times interviews Lady Diana Mukpo

Lady Diana Mukpo and her horse Pascal recently won the USDF Region 8 Championship that was held September 13 – 16 in Saugerties, New York. The competition that Lady Diana won is one of nine regional championships held throughout the United States. It is a United States Dressage Federation competition sponsored by the Great American Insurance Group. Riders compete throughout the year in order to be able to obtain the scores which make them eligible to compete in the championships for their region at the end of the competition season. Region 8 consists of New England and New York.

Also winning that day was Justin Hardin, Acharya Moh Hardin’s son. Justin won the Prix St Georges Championship, which is the first international level of competition, on the horse Wyatt Star.

Dressage is a competitive equestrian sport, defined by the International Equestrian Federation as “the highest expression of horse training,” where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.” Throughout the year competitions are held that determine the rider’s placement in culminating regional championships. Lady Diana is a professional rider and therefore competes in the open division. The classes are separated into amateur and open divisions.

The following Windhorse Dressage video shows highlights from this year’s USDF Region 8 Championships. Enjoy clips of both Diana’s Grand Prix Regional Championship win with Pascal, and Mary Bahniuk Lauritsen, who is the assistant trainer at Windhorse, riding Nicole Polaski’s horse Ansgar.

“I have won many competitions at this level but never this particular one,” shared Lady Diana. In 2008, she received the USDF Gold Medal.

The Grand Prix is the highest culmination of dressage training. The dressage tests performed at the Olympic Games Dressage competition are Grand Prix. This level of test demands the most skill and concentration from both horse and rider and it showcases over thirty movements that are done during a specified amount of time. It takes a rare horse to have the capacity to compete at this level.

When asked how she got her start with horses, Lady Diana explained, “I have always loved horses. I started riding when I was four years old, and now I do it professionally. It’s my life.” She now has quite a big stable and trains many people in the discipline of dressage. Currently, at Stonehenge Farm, the location of Windhorse Dressage, she and her assistant Mary have 14 horses in training. As it says on Windhorse Dressage’s website, “The Windhorse training program caters to a broad range of clients many of whom may have highly demanding professions but want to enjoy dressage as a serious recreation. Windhorse aims to provide a stable working environment that caters to clients with busy schedules so that the riders can focus on what is most important while at the barn.”

“We strive to create a training situation where riders can connect with their innate confidence and have the resources required for good communication with their horses. Our goal is to have relaxed willing horses who can carry their confident riders and owners.”
~ Lady Diana Mukpo

“My husband, the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche really encouraged my riding. He felt it was a good mind/body discipline and supported me tremendously in my training, encouraging me to go to Europe and develop myself further in this complete discipline. So I have pursued it for many years.” Lady Diana’s aunt and uncle were the horse enthusiasts in her family and encouraged her riding lessons from a very young age. She has had her own horse since she was 9 years old.

At Windhorse Dressage, the focus is on schooling students in the way that Lady Diana learned in Europe. Lady Diana and her assistant trainers create a program for people so there is a cohesive system in which both the horses and riders are fully supported.

Traditionally, in the U.S. people keep their horse somewhere and then take lessons. In Europe, one goes to a particular barn to train with a particular trainer and they then follow that system for the care of their horses. The difference is how students are supported. “At Windhorse Dressage, we provide a system. So many of my students are professional women with busy lives as doctors, engineers and so on, so what we do for them is we take care of every fine point for their horses so they can come in and focus on their discipline. Everyone has a system that they can rely on.”

Lady Diana elaborates saying, “The U.S. doesn’t have many schools that have programs such as ours. We are somewhat unique. This system is more the norm in Europe and has been shown to consistently produce good results. I feel very privileged with the clients I have in that they are intelligent and driven. They are successful and understand how to come to dressage as a complete discipline.”

Although her students know about her involvement in Buddhism, that is not why they flock to Windhorse Dressage. They come because they see that what is being offered is a training ground for the rich discipline of dressage. “This is a complete discipline, just as meditation is a complete discipline. If you dedicate your life to dressage, it will take you as far as you want to go. Just like meditation.”

“My success with students comes from not being afraid to create some sort of mandala around the training. It means not being afraid to present the system in a nurturing way, that gives people room to experiment, but also provides suggestions. That way people learn and they come back.” Lady Diana explained that she’s at a point with people where they understand what she is doing. They understand what the parameters of training are, and they are willing to work with her in that way.

“Riding is a tremendous discipline. It requires one to train in the synchronization of body and mind. You learn how to follow the movements of your horse and when you are synchronized both in yourself and with your horse, it’s an unbelievable experience of riding the energy. You connect with the horse’s mind and energy.”

The result of the Windhorse Dressage program for students in the Northeast is that they have tremendous competitive success. This is because everyone has worked fully with the discipline. “I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to create something that’s very powerful, supportive and free from pettiness. We encourage people to be supportive of each other, and this is bringing Shambhala out into the world.”

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To learn more about Windhorse Dressage, please visit: www.windhorsedressageacademy.com

Visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/WindhorseDressage

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2 responses to “ Lady Diana Wins Dressage Grand Prix ”
  1. Linda V. Lewis
    Nov 5, 2012
    Reply

    This video is beautiful to watch. Anyone can tell how much the rider and horse pay attention to each other. It is a magnificent dance of communication. Bravo to Lady Diana, and to Justin! And thank you for sharing!

  2. Wendy Elizabeth Langmuir Baks
    Nov 3, 2012
    Reply

    Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    CHEERS

    Pascal I watched you lately On uitjubel wowwww

    Iiiii love you both be safe And sound k……

    Dearest ms Mukpo you are My Sweet Sweet Sweet Sweet Sweet heart example. Om mani phat hum


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