Training a young prospect Shoulder In.
About The Owner Gina Benson Cook

Gina Benson Cook has been riding for the past forty years and training her own horses and competing dressage for twenty nine of those years. Gina was born and raised in Brevard County Florida. She started out riding hunters and jumpers as a youngster and then on the Florida A circuit as a 16 year old until she switched over to Horse Trials. In 1977, Gina turned to dressage where she got her start under the tutelage of Kaye Smarslic. She has shown and trained successfully through F.E.I levels.

Gina earned her USDF Bronze and Silver Medals on her first horse "Caesar" that she brought through the levels. She started Caesar under saddle and brought him through the levels to Intermediare 1. She has trained many horses at all levels  and has the knowledge and experience to work though difficult training issues. Gina is one score from her Gold medal and refuses to follow other footsteps of leasing or buying an already made GP horse.  She has made 4 Grand Prix horses that unfortunetly do to certain obstacles where unable to fulfill the last score for her Gold Medal. One horse includes the Dutch Warmblood stallion "Guardian" in 2002 and brought him from 4th level to to working all the Grand Prix movements along with winning USDF and national awards on him. In 2004, Gina planned on taking the Dutch Warmblood stallion "Fine Art" out at Intermediate 2 and Grand Prix and hoping to achieve her last score towards her Gold medal at Grand Prix but he passed away from a tragic accident before she could get her score.

In 2005, she brought Friesian Stallions "Bente D" and "Romeo De Roza" out on the dressage scene with great success. Both Stallions competed and qualified for the USDF and IFSHA Championships. Unfortunetly, due to an accident Gina was unable to compete at the championships.  

Gina is now bringing along her homebred gelding Don De Ablo by her stallion Don De Marco up the levels in dressage.  

Gina has had the honor of working with some of the most respected trainers in Dressage today. She was a working student for international trainer Hubert Rohrer of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria for 8 years. Being a native Floridian and living very close to the best dressage shows in the United States, Gina had the opportunity to show and train with many brilliant trainers like Ann Gribbons, Jessica Ransehousen, Michael Poulin, Sue Blinks, Tom Poulin, Pferdermeister,Juergen Hoefler of Germany, and most recently Ron Smeets of Holland among others. Gina believes in continuous education so that she can produce the best in competition and towards her students. An accomplished competitor, Gina has won numerous awards in the dressage arena. She has competed successfully in USDF regional championships and has won numerous GMO year end and USDF awards.

Gina’s philosophy is that "Dressage is more besides the basic strengthening and suppling exercises of the muscles of the horse. It is the mind developing, whereby the horse and rider learn to think as one. She believes dressage is a natural process for the horse, because all the movements, with an exception of a few, are pure natural movements of the horse.

I have a strong passion for breeding quality warmblood sporthorses.  I have owned and managed a Stallion and Mare station for 15 years.  I specialize in Shipping semen, Artificial insemenation, Frozen Semen,  Training the stallion to the mount and full service mare management from breeding to foaling out.  

Gina and Caesar in warm up
Gina and current mount Voyt

Continous Education

I am a firm believer that education is the key to success.  Therefore, I am always looking for new ways to become a better rider and trainer through the education of other great riders and trainers. As my aunt use to say “You can never learn to much.” I try to take advantage of all the education there is to offer with an open mind. If something doesn’t work for one horse or rider it might work for another.  The following is the wonderful educational programs that I was honored to be a part of.

2012 Training through Clinics

February with Heather Bender

April 26 with Tom Poulin

May with 18-20 with Juergen Hoefler of Germany

June 2-3 with Tom Poulin

2010 - 2011

Continous training through Clinics with Ron Smeets of Holland during each visit to the US every 3 months and with Tom Poulin every 3 months.

2008 -2009

Oct 1-4, 09   Ron Smeets of Holland

July 10-12, 09   Ron Smeets of Holland
May 1-4
, 09     Ron Smeets of Holland
Feb  20-23, 09   Ron Smeets of Holland
Nov 7-9, 2008 Ron Smeets of Holland

2007 Season

November 18-19 2006 - USDF Region 3 Adult Clinic demonstration rider with Jan Ebeling on Bente D

December 1-4      Clinic with Pferdermeister, Juergen Hoefler of Munster Germany  with Bente D

November 3-4 2007 Clinic with Ron Smeets of Holland
November 9-10  - Clinic with Pferdermeister, Juergen Hoefler of Munster Germany  with Bente D
Dec 8-9 2007- Clinic with Lisa Wilcox

Previous Education 2000 - 2006

June 17 & 18 2006 - Clinic with Pferdermeister, Juergen Hoefler of Munster Germany  with Bente D

Oct 2006 - Clinic with Pferdermeister, Juergen Hoefler of Munster Germany  with Bente D

April 30-May1 2005  -Clinic with Pferdermeister, Juergen Hoefler of Munster Germany  with Bente D and Romeo

Oct 20-23 2005 - Clinic with Pferdermeister, Juergen Hoefler of Munster, Germany with Bente D and Klaske

January 12-13  2004 Sue Blinks Symposium

Sue is a great all around person with a lot of great ideas. Sue interacted with the audiance well and explained the levels and what is expected out of the levels.  She was very willing to answer questions from the audiance throughout the symposium. I had a fantastic experience being a Prix St George demonstrator rider with Guardian in this symposium.

April 6-7 Michael Poulin Symposium

Michael really focuses on each rider and does a great job of explaining to the audience of what is correct in the movement. We started our first piaffe work in this symposium as a demonstrator rider at Intemediare 1 with Guardian.  The audience really appreciate seeing a demo of a horse starting piaffe for the first time. 

April 20-21 Michael Poulin Clinic

Michael continued to work piaffe and passage with us. We also worked on getting the canter pirouette tighter and more through. He sent us home with new homework assignments and great strengthening exercises.

Oct 4-7 Dressage Clinic with Jurgen Hofler

What a breath of fresh air from this talented German trainer. Jurgen really worked on getting our piaffe more collected and defined. Guardian really moved into a new spectrum with his piaffe. His great passage got even more spectacular as the days went by. We also concentrated on the canter piroutte and started our one tempis.

Oct. 19-20 USDF Lendon Gray Symposium, “Back to the Basics” sponsored by Crossroads Dressage Society.

What a wonderful well run symposium. Lendon did a wonderful job interacting with the audience and focusing on each horse and rider having the basics down at their level before moving on. As a demonstrator rider with Guardian at Intermediare 1, she focused on lightness and quickness of the aids and reminded us that the neck should be able to flex in any position and the horse should still do the movement. The horse's vertebrae of the neck is flexible but the vertebrae of his back is not so if you are asking for a right canter departure you should be able to flex the horses neck to the “left” and he should still pick up the right canter. We demonstrated this counter flex in the tempis and the canter pirouettes. This was a great exercise and really made you realize that the straightness of the movement is not focusing on the straightness of the neck but of the back and hindquarters.

Fine Art , Grand Prix Dutch Warmblood Stallion by Samber

Fine Art Dutch Warmblood Grand Prix Stallion by Samber. Approved ISR/OLD

I had the privilege of first meeting Fine Art a.k.a. as "Fred" when he came to Centaur Farms to stand at stud. Fred was an exceptionally smart stallion with wonderful movement and more class then any stallion that I have handled. He had previously competed at Grand Prix Dressage with his previous owner Jim Koford and due to suspensory surgery he had been out of work for 2 years. I was given the opportunity to bring him back to the show ring. This was a great honor since I have been struggling to get my last score towards my USDF Gold medal. Retiring my Dutch gelding "Caesar" at I-1 and my Dutch Warmblood stallion Guardian due to an injury when he was ready to compete at Grand Prix was heartbreaking. When I was approached with the opportunity to ride and compete this wonderful stallion and get the chance to get that final score towards my Gold medal, I was very excited. Fine Art was a joy to ride. He focused on his work and looked forward to his daily tacking up sessions for that one on one attention that he so much enjoyed. We made a wonderful team and had our goals set to get back into the show arena in the fall at I-2 and Grand Prix in hopes of achieving that final score. Unfortunately, all our dreams came to an end on Saturday, July 24, 2004 at 2:30 am when Fine Art tragically passed away. I have truly lost a great friend and partner. With his eloquence and class his name Fine Art describes him so well. There will always be a part of my heart that is reserved only for him. Fine Art was a very special friend and partner and I am very thankful that I had my time with him. This wonderful stallion has sired many sons and daughters that are competing successfully in the dressage and jumper arenas across the United States.

My Beloved "Caesar" 1984 - 2004