Going into the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Betsy Juliano ‘84 thought her horse Salvino and the U.S. Dressage Team were strong competitors. “Knowing where we generally sat compared to the other teams, our hope was that we could perform well enough to get a bronze,” she says. “As it turned out, we did better than that, because our horses and riders performed very, very well, and some of the other countries had difficulties that were a little bit unexpected.” In the end, the U.S. Dressage Team won silver in the competition — a feat not achieved by the U.S. since 1948.
Juliano, vice chair of Hiram College’s Board of Trustees, recalls where her road to the Olympics began. “I was raised in Cleveland Heights, and when I was a little kid — about seven years old — I was signed up for a day camp,” says Juliano. “One day a week, they put us on a bus and took us out to a stable to ride horses, and I fell in love with it then.”
It was while attending the Red Raider Camp in Novelty, Ohio that she first began a fascination with horseback riding. At the camp, she met a trainer who introduced her to the discipline of dressage, in which a rider guides a horse through a routine of intricate steps and movements. “There’s an art form to it. There’s intellectual capacity to it, but there’s also the physical capacity of riding,” she says. “I always found it really intriguing.”
Although Juliano rode horses from ages 7 to 18, she took a nearly 20-year hiatus when she entered the workforce and earned her bachelor’s in literature from Hiram. In 1984, she began her own company, Litigation Management, Inc., which provides services to clients in the legal field, including medical record reviews, software solutions and data analytics.
In the mid-90s, she found her way back to horseback riding, and her initial fascination grew into owning her own horse farm — Havensafe Farm in Mesopotamia, Ohio — as well as world-class competitive horses. Among her stable of horses is Salvino, a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion and silver-medal-winning member of the U.S. Dressage Team in Tokyo.
Juliano attributes the success of Salvino and his rider, Adrienne Lyle, to their years spent training and developing a rapport. “There’s an affection between them,” says Juliano. “Adrienne has always been fair. If Salvino doesn’t catch on to something right away, she reiterates, in the language they have together, what needs to be done.”
Before the U.S. Dressage Team’s success in Tokyo, Juliano sponsored a top American dressage rider, Laura Graves, who performed with Graves’s horse, Verdades, and won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “I’ve been lucky,” recounts Juliano. “I’ve had horses of my own in the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the World Equestrian Games, and the World Cup Finals.” And she would like to continue her success in the years to come. She hopes to qualify Salvino for the 2022 World Equestrian Games in Herning, Denmark and perhaps the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.