The future is bright for Kasey Perry-Glass and her 16-year-old bay gelding Dublet. Three years ago, the pair won their first major dressage competition at a Nations Cup in Compiegne, France, and consequently earned a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, which captured the bronze medal. They continued their ascent and were a member of the World Equestrian Games silver medal squad last fall in Tryon, N.C.
Now, after breaking into the world’s Top 10 for the first time in January, Perry-Glass and Dublet have their sights set on qualifying for the World Cup in April and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“My plans for March and April will vary depending on how my last two World Cup qualifying shows go,” said Perry-Glass, who grew up in northern California. “If I qualify for the World Cup, I will be spending March as a training/preparation month. In addition, I have two other horses that I would like to focus on in the competition ring in Wellington while Dublet prepares for, hopefully, the World Cup. In addition to the World Cup, my goal is to compete at Aachen [Germany] for one summer show in Europe before giving Dublet a nice rest for the big push for 2020.”
Perry-Glass has been training with Olympian Debbie McDonald for almost four years.
“There are many things that make a rider good, but it is something special for a rider to be great,” said McDonald, who splits time between her farms in Wellington and Idaho. “She is great. She is beautiful on a horse to start with. Her effortless look as they go through the test is just a pleasure to watch. But she also has that something special that you can’t describe — it just is in a champion. The partnership her and Dublet have is so inspiring.”
The 31-year-old Perry-Glass, who has a degree in business entrepreneurship from Cal State-Sacramento, said the key to her success is being patient.
“I have had some major setbacks that have taught me to take this sport and passion one day at a time,” said Perry-Glass, the youngest of six sisters. “You can’t rush your training and relationship with your horse. The one thing you can do is believe. Believe in yourself, believe in your horse and believe in your team.”
That’s a mantra that Perry-Glass and her family have carried from childhood.
“We are a family of believing in yourself and fighting for and reaching for your goals,” Perry-Glass stressed. “The name ‘Team Believe’ came from when my mom was running triathlons and got us girls to start running with her. We eventually started entering into races, 5Ks, half-marathons and marathons, and formed our group name as ‘Team Believe.’ The name stuck with us through my Olympic journey and reminded me to keep believing in myself even when things got hard.”
Perry-Glass believes in many things, but she doesn’t have any special routines before shows. She does believe in trying to make things as organized and put together as possible in her life to reduce her stress level.
“The more cluttered or messy my schedule, or home, or barn is, the more overwhelmed I get and can’t focus correctly on my training and show,” said Perry-Glass, who has a special unicorn rubber duckie that comes to all the shows. “It was a gift from my sisters and mom prior to a major event in Rotterdam and has turned into my lucky charm.”
Perry-Glass spends a lot of time at the barn, where it is serious business, but she also believes in having some fun, too.
“Kasey is the most thoughtful and real person you would ever want to meet, genuine through and through,” McDonald said. “She wants everyone to be happy. She always manages to make us all laugh. She has a true friendship with all her teammates.”
One of those teammates is U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle, who also earned a spot on the 2018 WEG team. They became friends before becoming teammates, getting to know each other when Perry-Glass joined her in Idaho to train with McDonald.
“Kasey is probably the most compassionate person I know, second only to maybe my own mother,” Lyle said. “She cares deeply about everyone around her and always wants everyone to feel appreciated, included and happy. She also has a great sense of humor about life, and we have shared many a laugh to get us through some of the more stressful team situations we have been in.”
Perry-Glass and Lyle share the same zest for life and adventure and the outdoors.
“We spent our days at the barn, but we took many excursions up into the Idaho wilderness as well,” Lyle recalled. “I think having friends as teammates is incredibly helpful when you get down to the wire in important competitions and are under a lot of stress. You can always count on your friends and teammates to get you through the most stressful times. They understand the pressure you are under and know when you need to be surrounded by support and when you just need some alone time. Unless you’ve been under that kind of pressure, it is hard for people to understand. I think that creates a bond between high-performance riders.”
Perry-Glass created another bond when she married Dana Glass in 2015 at her parents’ ranch in Orangevale, Calif. Together, they have 16 nieces and nephews. “I would consider me and my husband as the fun aunt and uncle,” Perry-Glass said. “Unfortunately, with our travel schedules, we don’t get to see our families [enough], especially Dana’s family. So, when we do, we try to have as much fun with them as possible. I hope I am that adult my nieces and nephews can talk to.”
In Wellington, Perry-Glass lives on the same property as her horses and always seems to make her way to the barn to check in on things.
“I try to give myself one day off a week,” she said. “The key word is try. I am very involved and keep a close eye on them. When I am not in the barn, I try to do something that helps me relax. Lately, that consists of either a mani/pedi or just lying on the couch with my husband and puppies. During the week, I am busy and active, so when I get the chance to do nothing, I have to take it.”
Those chances have become rare as she and Dublet continue their rise as one of the top dressage pairs in the world.