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Ten Minutes with Andre Dignelli

A winning equestrian



Photos by Michael Dignelli

Andre Dignelli was a working student at Bedford’s Coker Farm in the 1980s. In 1985, he won the USET Finals; in ‘91, he took the bronze medal in Cuba at the Pan American Games. In ’94, Andre and his brother, Michael, bought a Katonah property and named it Heritage Farm. Today it’s one of a handful of places in the country where you can start riding as a seven year old and go all the way to the Grand Prix. 

Your students have won top awards. In fact, you’re known for creating champions. What qualities do you look for in a young rider?
Ambition is number one. Next, work ethic. Talent is probably number three. Family support, both mentally and financially. 

You’re known for a certain sartorial style. How would you describe it? 
I love Ralph Lauren. He’s perfect for a fashionable equestrian lifestyle. We’re limited in what we can wear when we compete, so accessories are significant. Sunglasses, belts, what kind of jacket you’re wearing. Ralph Lauren’s country classics are fabulous.

Long ago, Judy Richter championed you when you were a young but hardworking nobody. How important is it to have a guardian angel/mentor? 
I think it’s everything. To have someone believe in you, recognize your talent, help you develop it—that’s what Judy did for me. Also my brother, Michael. They both believed in me. I’ve taken that role for countless children. They need to know I believe they can do it.

You live a seemingly jet set lifestyle, traveling to Europe on horse-buying trips. At horse shows, you’re frequently photographed in the winner’s circle. Is your life really glamorous? 
It appears very glamorous. I want to uphold that appearance. I feel grateful I’ve found something I truly love, and it’s afforded me this incredible life. Horses have brought me all around the world, shopping for them, competing. This sport has fortified my inner rock star. It is glamorous hard work.

It’s evident horses are your passion. If you didn’t ride and train, is there something else that would engage you so fiercely?
  I get asked that question a lot. Truthfully, there hasn’t been a day when I thought about doing something else.

The fate of unwanted horses is of growing national concern. The SPCA says 150,000 horses ship to slaughter every year. Any thoughts how to heal or fix this? 
It’s a problem even in my industry. We’re posed with the question of what becomes of these former champions. Some find homes with people who want to glance out into their backyard and see a wonderful older horse with a great story. Some go to therapeutic riding programs. Some stay at Heritage Farm and are retired there. I don’t have a good answer to the slaughter issue, but we do feel an obligation to these horses who’ve been so good to us. 

What can humans learn from horses? 
Parents often ask, “Why should Susie have a pony?” She will learn responsibility, compassion, and time management. Because interacting with animals is good for the soul. For me, it’s always been horses. I also have a dog.

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February 2017

Ridgefield Restaurant Week, February 20-26, 2017 Break up the winter doldrums with a great meal at a great price during Ridgefield Restaurant Week!  From February 20th through 26th,...

Cost: See Special Offers box on DestinationRidgefield.com

Where:
Participating Restaurants
Ridgefield, CT  06877


Sponsor: Ridgefied Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jennifer Zinzi
Website »

More information

Keeler Library is looking for submissions from local artists (Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties)  to be exhibited in a benefit for the library at Saint James church in North Salem...

Cost: $25

Where:
keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

The Katonah Museum Artist Association announces their upcoming exhibit, titled Chance.  The exhibit will feature artists chosen at random with their creations selected with...

Cost: Free

Where:
School House Library
3 lee Rd
Croton, NY  10519
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum Artist Association
Contact Name: Mary Parker

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  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
Stamford
, CT


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More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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This exhibit examines the 19th-century origins of this traditionally African-American congregation, as well as Antioch's growth, people, music, and ministries over its long and vibrant history...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bedford Hills Train Station
Depot Plaza
Bedford Hills, NY  10507
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Sponsor: Bedford Hills Historical Museum
Telephone: 914-806-2518
Contact Name: Ellen Cohen, Elin Peterson
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Keeler Library is looking for submissions from local artists (Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties)  to be exhibited in a benefit for the library at Saint James church in North Salem...

Cost: $25

Where:
keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Join us to celebrate the New Moon in Pisces, the sign of Dreams, Imagination and Enlightenment. Pisces the final sign of the zodiac reminds us that all manifestation begins in the imagination. Join...

Cost: $40 per person

Where:
SunRaven: The Home of Slow Medicine
501 Guard Hill Road
Bedford , NY  10506
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Sponsor: Slow Medicine
Telephone: 914-218-3113
Contact Name: Tanya Neiman
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More information

The Katonah Museum Artist Association announces their upcoming exhibit, titled Chance.  The exhibit will feature artists chosen at random with their creations selected with...

Cost: Free

Where:
School House Library
3 lee Rd
Croton, NY  10519
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum Artist Association
Contact Name: Mary Parker

More information

  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
Stamford
, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Keeler Library is looking for submissions from local artists (Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties)  to be exhibited in a benefit for the library at Saint James church in North Salem...

Cost: $25

Where:
keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

The Katonah Museum Artist Association announces their upcoming exhibit, titled Chance.  The exhibit will feature artists chosen at random with their creations selected with...

Cost: Free

Where:
School House Library
3 lee Rd
Croton, NY  10519
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum Artist Association
Contact Name: Mary Parker

More information

  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
Stamford
, CT


Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Keeler Library is looking for submissions from local artists (Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties)  to be exhibited in a benefit for the library at Saint James church in North Salem...

Cost: $25

Where:
keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

The Katonah Museum Artist Association announces their upcoming exhibit, titled Chance.  The exhibit will feature artists chosen at random with their creations selected with...

Cost: Free

Where:
School House Library
3 lee Rd
Croton, NY  10519
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum Artist Association
Contact Name: Mary Parker

More information

  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
Stamford
, CT


Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Katonah Museum Artist Association announces their upcoming exhibit, titled Chance.  The exhibit will feature artists chosen at random with their creations selected with...

Cost: Free

Where:
School House Library
3 lee Rd
Croton, NY  10519
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum Artist Association
Contact Name: Mary Parker

More information

  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
Stamford
, CT


Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Katonah Museum Artist Association announces their upcoming exhibit, titled Chance.  The exhibit will feature artists chosen at random with their creations selected with...

Cost: Free

Where:
School House Library
3 lee Rd
Croton, NY  10519
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum Artist Association
Contact Name: Mary Parker

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Katonah Museum Artist Association announces their upcoming exhibit, titled Chance.  The exhibit will feature artists chosen at random with their creations selected with...

Cost: Free

Where:
School House Library
3 lee Rd
Croton, NY  10519
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum Artist Association
Contact Name: Mary Parker

More information

The Bedford Hills Farmers’ Market, a project of the community group Bedford Hills LIVE, is unveiling its Second Annual Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, November 5 beginning at 10am....

Cost: Free

Where:
Bedford Hills Train Station
Depot Plaza
Bedford Hills, NY  10507
View map »


Telephone: 917.951.3588
Contact Name: Vanessa Pahucki

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Looking for something relaxing, creative and fun to do this Winter/Spring for the whole family. Take part in Clay Art Center’s Saturday Drop-In Clay Class, Saturdays from...

Cost: $25

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
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Telephone: 914-937-2047
Contact Name: Nancy Yates
Website »

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