Barton Lee Patrick of Belfast and Northport is spending three months in Florida this winter, working with international FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) dressage rider, instructor and coach Kathy Connelly.

Owner of the Belfast Polo Club and Dressage Academy on Tufts Road in Belfast, Patrick is also manager and head instructor for the Pripet Riding Program, an equestrian educational academy that has been operating on Islesboro for the past 14 summers.

On its website, FEI describes dressage as “the ultimate expression of horse training and elegance.”

“Often compared to ballet, the intense connection between both human and equine athletes is a thing of beauty to behold,” the website states.

Patrick has been training and showing her mount, Phoenix, who is approaching the Olympic level in dressage, and together they have earned bronze and silver medals from the United Stated Dressage Federation (USDF).

Patrick hopes to earn a gold medal and successfully compete at the Grand Prix level with Phoenix this winter. Sam Bartlett, the owner of Phoenix, says of their long-time partnership, “Barton gives her whole heart in her riding and Phoenix responds in kind…Phoenix remains healthy and sound, as well as always excited to do her work. I am very pleased that Phoenix and I are a part of Barton's journey with horses.”

Of the opportunity to train with Connelly, Patrick said, “This is a dream come true and I could not have created any better opportunity than this one.” Upon her return to Maine in the spring, she said she hopes to share the knowledge she has gained “with all interested equestrians in my community.”

For the past three years, Patrick has worked with Connelly at Elysium Farm in Harvard, Mass.  A highly respected dressage trainer, rider and coach, Connelly serves on the USDF Olympic committee, and has represented the United States Equestrian Team on the world dressage stage.  Connelly and her horse, Enterprise, are World Cup and U.S. Grand Prix champions.

Connelly works with a limited number of her clients at Havensafe Farm, located in Wellington, Fla., each winter. Patrick took Phoenix and another of her FEI horses, Welthyn, to Florida to continue her training with Connelly. Welthyn is a horse that Patrick and her husband and partner, Brent Brown, a farrier and lameness expert, have worked to rehabilitate.

Patrick will be conducting a clinic upon her return in April.  For more information, email or call Patrick at 207-632-5199.