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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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September 2018

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

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Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

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Cost: Free to audition

Where:
Pleasantville Presbyterian Church
400 Bedford Rd
Pleasantville, NY  10570
View map »


Sponsor: Hudson Chorale
Telephone: 914-478-0074
Contact Name: Jeanne Wygant
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $1,000 per person

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Saint Andrew’s Golf Club
10 Old Jackson Ave
Hastings on Hudson, NY
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Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Department of Social Services
112 E Post Road
White Plains, NY  10601
View map »


Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914-997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us at Whitby Castle in Rye, honoring 5 community Rock Stars to benefit United Way. The fun starts at 6:00PM in the Castle Ballroom, spilling onto the Great Terrace under a September Sky. A 3...

Cost: $80.00

Where:
Whitby Castle
330 Boston Post Rd
Rye, NY  10580
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Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914 997 6700 X 720
Contact Name: Drew Coburn
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Cost: Free

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Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Ave.
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
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Contact Name: Erin Trostle
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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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More information

Presented in conjunction with Gilda's Club Westchester Join us for a very special event with original SNL Writer, Emmy-winner and Executive Producer of Love, Gilda, Alan Zweibel. Guests will...

Cost: $30

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Rd.
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Telephone: 914-234-6704
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Copland House at Merestead opens it's season with a glittering, intimate journey into the life of the charismatic  conductor and composer, and a sold-out smash at its Lincoln  Center...

Cost: $25

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Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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Legendary journalist Lesley Stahl will lead a special one-on-one event with former sex-crimes prosecutor turned BEST – SELLING crime novelist, Linda Fairstein. From the unsolved cases that keep...

Cost: $40

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Rd.
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Telephone: 914-234-6704
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The 58th annual Lewisboro Library Fair is Saturday, September 22 from 10 am to 4 pm at Onatru Farm Town Park (99 Elmwood Road in South Salem). The Fair features huge Book, “Attic Treasures”...

Cost: free

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99 Elmwood Road
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Sponsor: Lewisboro Library
Telephone: 914-875-9004
Contact Name: Liz Gabriele
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