By: Dianne Olds Rossi
The golden stallion explodes into the arena… as free as he was born… hooves pounding against the ground as the music begins to play… sparkles of light glittering around him, the spotlights surrounding him as he stands up on his hind legs… his front legs striking the air. Then he gracefully lowers to the ground to stand quietly.
He shakes his head, his mane flowing over his forehead then lowers his head for acceptance from his handler. This dancing, prancing and magical equine star is classically trained. Hard work and practice have paid off – he is just one of the magical 4-legged stars you will see in this unique night of entertainment called The Magical World of Dancing Horses.
Surprisingly this production is produced by a woman 78 years young and a craftsman in her chosen profession of horse training. Horse training is a simple word for the creative and imaginative presenter Dianne Olds Rossi, who never tires of the thrill of the spotlights, music and show casing the final result of years of training. The horses are her life. Each and every one is a special piece of art. She is recognized for her expertise of these astounding dancing horses, a life long achievement in the world of horses.
Dianne was an American girl growing up in Southern California watching the visions of television escapades of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy. This was the era of good versus bad and the cowboy in the white hat always won. Through the magic of horses, Dianne has traveled the world, shown across the United States, Netherlands, Egypt, Mexico and Canada. Her career has run for decades and continues to expand even into her senior years.
The introduction into the world of Hollywood came to life and became quite personal when she met Rex Rossi in 1980. Rossi was a World Champion trick rider and trick roper as well as a stunt man in Hollywood westerns. Although Rex was 20 years her senior, Dianne was introduced and personally met the hero stars of her childhood. Rex doubled for Roy Rogers, Gene Kelly, Tyrone Power and was a personal friend of Gene Autry. (Rex’s white saddle still displays in the Gene Autry Museum). An incredible horseman with a wealth of knowledge on our heros of the American west, and being raised by the famous movie star Tom Mix, Rex introduced Dianne into the world of Hollywood movies and their stars. Dianne met Robert Taylor while he was taking lessons for the movie, The Miracle of the White Stallions, the Disney Movie about the Lipizzan horses. She did many appearances for commercials and doubling riding for stars, but her love of training took her elsewhere.
A very proud moment was the handshake from Dr Reiner Klimke, the 1984 Olympic Dressage Champion, after a performance on her Friesian stallion. Dianne is well known for her expertise for Piaffe and Passage, “the goal to strive for”, in Classical Dressage.
America’s romance with the horse invokes both European classical foundations and a Western mythology unique to this country. As heiress to both, Dianne Olds Rossi rides and performs in a spotlight reserved for few others in today’s world. She calls her passion for this training, “The Magical World of Dancing Horses”.
Still at the age of 78 Dianne rides and trains 5 horses a day. She instructs those that are riding and handles all the production of the show. Her partner, Pam Buterbaugh is a 52 year old rider/trainer at the home farm of Beaver Run in Punxsutawney, PA. It is definitely a senior achievement. Once a year the farm indoor arena is transformed into the Beaver Run Equine Dance Theater, complete with curtains covering the wooden walls, twinkling lights on the ceiling, spotlights and a sound system mounted upstairs that changes the arena into a magical event.. This is the backbone of an entertainment dinner theater that opens it’s doors to a sell out crowd for two days a year.
Dianne holds special riding clinics to help support the senior citizen riding community. She spreads her belief in all the clinics:
“I am a senior citizen and understand the needs and concerns of an older rider. Having horses demands that I get off the couch every day and work. That has never varied for me throughout the years. Most people are surprised that I am still riding, instructing, traveling, training and not retired at this stage of my life. For me that is not an option. My drive to succeed is as strong as it ever was. It has just taken on a different path. I think smarter. I no longer think I can ride any horse that crosses my path and I respect the intelligence and kindness of the large animal between my legs. I am continuing to be amazed at the respect I have gained for the equine species. It has taught me so much about myself. Now that I am a senior citizen I find that I conduct myself more carefully around the horses, I think more about what I am doing, safely or easier. It is self preservation. My feet don’t move as fast as they used to, but I have found that with more gentle training I do not need that feeling of “feet don’t fail me now.”
I have, like a lot of older people, had my setbacks. Although given the genes of long lived parents, I have always been healthy and a happy, easy going individual. I have had a shattered wrist from a stumble and a hip replacement, because I wore the old one out. I couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle, even when the therapist suggested I take on a different line of work. I rode with my right hand up in the air until such time as I could use my wrist again. I hopped on my horse 5 weeks after hip surgery using a three tied mounting block. That mounting block is my best friend now.
So I say to you, nothing is impossible if you have the willingness to try. Now that this time your life is quieter, carry on that dream of riding that magnificent horse and having fun. It matters to no one but you, and the achievement you will find. Soon you will be riding for fun and enjoying your new found freedom in the wonderful world of horses.. “
I have not yet ridden “The Last Dance….The Last Waltz ……”
There is much for us to learn from those horsewomen and horsemen who carry the knowledge and wisdom of the American past through experiences rarely offered in today’s world of horses. This combination of classical training, show competition, performance exhibition, and her unique perspective on the mythology of the American West give to Dianne Olds Rossi a revered place in American equestrian history.
From: Dianne Olds Rossi <firstname.lastname@example.org>