Gina S mith started riding with the Saskatoon Pony Club in 1969 at the age of twelve, achieving her “A” level in 1976. Even as a pony clubber, Smith dreamed of competing internationally in dressage. She began riding dressage seriously in Vancouver as a working student for Dietrich von Hopfgarten after taking several of his clinics in Saskatoon. Gina and her friend Nancy MacLachlan traveled east with their horses in 1981, and Gina started working for Cindy Neale (now Ishoy). Gina groomed for Cindy at the 1982 World Championships, in Lausanne, Switzerland. During their stay in Europe, Gina was carded for six months.
Gina decided to stay in Germany and continue training with the Canadian Team coach Johann Hinnemann. It was at this time that, in lieu of a university education, Smith’s parents purchased the seven-year-old Westfalen gelding Malte. Gina continued to spend the next eight years training in Germany.
Gina was named to the Canadian Equestrian Team in 1984. That same year she was named reserve rider for the 1984 Olympic Team in Los Angeles. In 1986, when the World Championships were held in Cedar Valley, Ontario, Gina was a member of the fifth placed home team with Malte. Gina was now training in Germany with Siegfried (Bimbo) Peilicke, and in 1988 she and Malte were members of the Olympic Team in Seoul, Korea that brought home the team bronze medal. Gina and Malte also finished twelfth individually.
Gina returned from Germany in the summer of 1990 and has trained at Franklands Farm in Brockville, Ontario ever since. At the 1991 Pan-American Games in Havana, Cuba, she was a member of the gold medal winning team riding Franklands Farm-owned Dutch Treat.
One of Canada’s most accomplished dressage riders, Gina had the highest score in the 1996 Olympic selection trials. She was partnered with Faust, owned by The Dressage Collection Inc. Faust and Gina represented Canada at the Atlanta Olympics as part of the tenth placed team. In 1997, they were named Grand Prix champion at every show entered, including the Canadian National Dressage Championships where she captured the title for the first time ever in her extensive career. Gina also placed third with Fledermaus, whom she began training as a three-year-old.
At the 1997 North American Dressage Championships in Maryland, Gina was a member of the bronze medal team with Fledermaus, owned by Franklands Farm. The pair won the Swarovski Canadian League World Cup Final at the Royal Horse Show in 1999 and represented Canada at the World Cup Final in Holland in 2000.
Gina has won several awards, including the Saskatchewan Horse Federation President’s Award in 1985, and the 1986 German Bereiter Award for competence and teaching skill in all equestrian disciplines. In 1989, she was named the Saskatchewan Athlete of the Year and was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. In 1991, she achieved the Level 3 Coaching status in Dressage and is a Level 3 Course Conductor.
Shelley M cArthur grew up in the small agricultural town of Howick, Quebec just south of Montreal. Horses were not originally part of the family, but thanks to horsey friends and neighbours Shelley got bitten by the horse bug at an early age. Soon there were horses in the back field and from the age of 13 on Shelley could be found at the local riding barns working in exchange for lessons and board for her chestnut mare Urielle. In 2002, after finishing CEGEP, Shelley came to Franklands as a working student under Gina Smith. What started as a one year break from school turned into a long-term collaboration with Gina and Franklands in pursuit of her passion. Shelley did return to school in 2007 and graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in 2009 and a Master of Science in 2011, both specializing in Chemistry. Horses, however, were not put on the backburner during this time. Shelley continued to work with Gina through the summers and holidays and with Gina’s help began to build a small business of freelance instruction in the Kingston area. Upon graduation, Shelley returned to Franklands full-time to continue her dressage education and has stayed ever since. She continues to do some freelance instruction in the Kingston area.