Liz Searle passes away

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January 7, 2012

Liz Searle passes away


Elizabeth Searle, co-founder of the North American Department of the KWPN, passed away on Saturday, January 7, 2012.

Elizabeth Searle and J. Ashton Moore, together with the KWPN’s Gert van der Veen were the three driving forces behind the conception of the KWPN in North America. Liz judged the National Mare show in Holland and served on the North American KWPN jury from 1985 through 1998.

Elizabeth Searle has played a major role in the worlds of dressage and vaulting in the United States. She was instrumental in the introduction of vaulting to the United States, co-founding the American Vaulting Association in 1968. She has served as an officer for the AVA, the United States Dressage Federation, United States Equestrian Federation, and the United States Pony Club. She herself competed in Hunters, Jumpers, 3-day event, and Dressage (National Champion).

She and J. Ashton Moore were co-owners of Osierlea, a private dressage training establishment in north-central California, dedicated to the correct training of horses and riders through understanding of the biomechanics of the horse, biomechanics of the rider, and the nature and learning processes of the horse.

Liz’s judging credentials include: FEI International Dressage Judge (Ret), AHSA dressage Senior Judge (Ret), USEF Sporthorse Breeding Judge (Ret) and FEI Vaulting Judge (Ret). She judged Olympic, Pan American, World Championships and World Cup Selection Trials as well as serving on the Canadian Selection Panel for the Olympics.

Liz served as USDF Vice President from 1989 to 1996. She was chairman of the Judges Committee from 1983 to 2001, and introduced freestyle, quadrille, and pas de deux into dressage competition in the U.S. She was prominent on the West Coast as an organizer of dressage shows, clinics and seminars. She served as a member of the USDF “L” program faculty and holds the USEF “S” and FEI “I” judge licenses as well as the USDF sport horse breeding judge license. Liz was also instrumental in the formation of California Dressage Society (CDS), USDF’s largest Group Member Organization.

Liz was a recipient of the 2003 USA Equestrian Pegasus Medal of Honor. The Pegasus Medal of Honor was
created as an annual award to recognize individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to horses and the sport. Liz also received the prestigious US Dressage Federation Lifetime Achievement Award and is the author of “Vaulting – Gymnastics on Horseback”.

Our sincerest condolences go out to Jeff Moore, Laurel Bruun (Osierlea’s Head Trainer for 25 years) and others intimately involved with Liz, as they – and we – begin the rest of their lives without Liz’s infectious laugh, her ever present crossword puzzles and her love of cocker spaniels.

(Sources, USDF, Faith Fessenden and KWPN-NA)