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Horse and Carriage

Long is history’s romance with horses, especially in Texas, with many in the equestrian set now flirting with dressage, a form of cavalry training turned Olympic sport with blueblood backing.

Cindy Franchek on her champion horse, Wyatchi

In Dallas, the doyenne of dressage is undoubtedly Cindy Franchek, owner and instructor of Franchek Dressage (franchekdressage.com). The accomplished equestrienne brings to the ring a vast list of bona fides, including standing as a U.S. Dressage Foundation silver medalist and associate instructor.

Credit ongoing expert instruction—yes, this trainer still has a trainer—from the likes of the late Franz Rochowansky, who, in addition to helping Gen. Patton rescue the world-famous Lipizzaner stallions from the Nazis, headed the Spanish Riding School and was Olympic team trainer for the Netherlands, the USA and Great Britain.

And it was Rochowansky’s tutelage that emphasized to Franchek the importance of adhering to the Pyramid ofTraining, which stresses physical development through progressive conditioning. “Dressage is designed to be good for the horse, promoting longevity, healthy living and healthy joints,” she explains. “[It] is supposed to make the horse better and is so much fun.”Riding high, indeed.