Dressage Trainer, Judge, Clinician
Arlene Rigdon began her riding and training career competing in the jumper and hunter divisions under the tutelage of Show Jumping Hall of Fame inductee Carol Hagerman Durand. Arlene migrated to dressage during its infancy in the United States. She earned USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold rider medals and was long listed for 7 years for the USET Dressage Team.
Arlene trained with the USET under team coach Colonel Bengt Ljungquist at Gladstone and continued working with him after he left the Olympic team until his death. She was selected to compete in the inaugural Olympic Sports Festival and qualified and competed in all the Insilco National Dressage Championships, reserved for the top ten horses at each level in the United States. In the mid-1970s, Arlene founded the Kansas City Dressage Society and later was a founding member of the United States Dressage Federation.
Over the course of her career Arlene trained USDF Horse of the Year winners in all levels from training through Grand Prix and earned numerous national and regional awards from the USEF and USDF.
Arlene has trained and coached many horses and successful students in jumping, combined training and dressage from her Freedom Hill facility near Kansas City. As a dressage clinician, she is highly sought after. Besides dressage, Arlene lectures and gives clinics on biomechanics, selection of breeding stock, philosophies of breeding, exhibiting the sport horse and conformation of the sport horse. She has had many articles on training and riding published in national magazines and has served as an expert columnist in several publications.
If the horse is correctly on the bit, the movements easily unfold and the horse is a joy to ride and beautiful to watch.
Arlene was a pioneer in the breeding of Holsteiner horses joining the fledgling American Association of Breeders of Holsteiner Horses in 1978. At that time she purchased the young stallion Calme’ (Calypso 1-Urioso-Marlon) who sired Con Brio ( Calme’-Fasolt-*Moontrip) the first American born stallion to be approved in the United States. Later the stallion Caesar (Caletto II-Toledo-Rhadames) was added to her very successful breeding operation. Over the years Freedom Hill has produced many successful sport horses in jumping, dressage combined training and combined driving, with several chosen for USET teams in international competition.
Arlene holds a “S” Dressage license. The requirements for this level of judging includes extensive, ongoing training throughout the United States and Europe. Throughout her 35-year career, she has judged all over the United States, Canada and Mexico.