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Ivan Bezugloff
From Russia with Love
(for Natasha, Dressage & Kolya)

With his new bride in tow and a passport from the League of Nations, 27-year-old Ivan I. Bezugloff, Jr. came into the United States in December 1952. (The "I" stands for Ivan. It is a Russian tradition to use the father's name for both sons and daughters as a middle name).

Born in Slovakia, Ivan was not Slovakian. His father was a Russian émigré, who came to study in the then Czecho-Slovakia, and his mother was Czech. As a result, Ivan was "a man without country" - that is stateless. This ended only in 1958, when he became a citizen of the United States.

Ivan was an electronic engineer by profession. He studied at the Munich (Germany) UNRRA University, where he met his wife, Natasha. In 1947 he received scholarship to study at the Technical University of Delft, in the Netherlands.

Natasha immigrated, with her parents and sister to the United States in February 1948. Upon graduation, Ivan returned to Munich, where he worked first as a translator for the US Army, and later he became an engineer for Radio Free Europe.

Natasha, who graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1951, became a language specialist for the US Government, and was sent to Germany in November of that year, and in February 1952 they were married.

As Natasha was US government personnel, they had to undergo first a civil service similar to that for US military, so, in essence, Ivan became a "male war bride." In December they came to Connecticut.

Natasha and Ivan Bezugloff

Natasha and Ivan Bezugloff

In early 1953 Ivan started to work as an engineer for a measuring instrument manufacturer in New London, Connecticut. His first job there was to edit reports that other engineers in the company wrote on their work for the government, and put them into a language that anyone could understand.

But in a mere eighteen months he started his own company, Metronix, Inc. One of its products was a precision frequency standard for the radar network protecting the United States, as well as miniaturized electronic voltmeters used for test stands in the production of rockets.

In 1958 Ivan sold his company to Assembly Products, Inc. of Chesterland Ohio, and came to Cleveland area to run the company for them. He did this for four years and then started yet another company of his own, IB Instruments, Inc.

Once again he developed and manufactured various electronic measuring instruments. As a small business, it was necessary that Ivan would perform not only as an engineer, but also as an author of instruction manuals and application notes. This brought him in contact with publishing techniques. This was how he made his living, but his passion was something else all together.

Ivan's paternal relations back in Russia were horse breeders and as a little boy he rode as often and as much as he could. He became quite adept at riding and thoroughly loved the sport.

Even after the war in Germany, Ivan continued to ride. When he came to the United States he found that people mainly rode "Western" style, and this did not interest him.

Eventually one of his employees told him about an equestrian program at Lake Erie College in Painesville, run by Laddie Andaházy. They became good friends and Ivan rode with him for many years. But soon he noticed that most riders were basically hunter/jumpers who lacked basic equestrian education.

As a result of his training Ivan began looking into literature in the field and found that nobody was publishing materials on principles of riding. After complaining to his friend Laddy over and over, his friend finally suggested that he do something about it. And he did.

Ivan Bezugloff and his lucky horseshoe

In July 1971 Ivan started a magazine, "Dressage" which was the first English language magazine on this subject. (Dressage is a style of riding and performing on flat ground - no jumping).

The magazine started small with only about a thousand copies, but it eventually increased to over ten thousand. His final issue was printed in February 1996, when he retired and sold the magazine. (It was eventually resold in 1998 and those owners merged it with another magazine and closed it down.)

Ivan's old training writing manuals came in handy when it came to the magazine. The 1st 6 issues were created on an IBM typewriter, ahead of its time because it allowed the copy to be justified. Technology improved and Ivan stayed on top of it, and continued to learn about computers and printing programs as he went along.

In 1973 Ivan was one of the founders of the U.S. Dressage Federation, which united many of the local and regional dressage organizations. Some years ago it established a "Dressage Hall of Fame" into which Ivan will be inducted in December, during this year's USDF Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Ivan also published books (and continues to do so to this day) on horses and horsemanship. His books include "Horse's Health" by a French veterinarian and many translations of classical works.

There have been many changes in Equestrian sports since Ivan first began to ride. Back surgery has kept him from getting back on the horse, but nothing will stop his love for horses and the sport

Ivan and Natasha Bezugloff's dog Kolya

Ivan and Natasha Bezugloff's dog Kolya

Ivan and Natasha are great dog lovers. They have a new dog they rescued from a center in Sidney, Ohio, a beautiful mixed breed by the name of Kolya (a nick name for Nicholas).

Both are fluent in many languages. In addition to English, Ivan speaks German, Slovak, Russian, Czech, Ukrainian and Polish and Natasha shares five of those languages with him. They often speak around the house in Russian but they have their lovers quarrels in Czech because "there are so many delightful ways to insult someone in Czech."

You can tell by the twinkle in their eyes these events are few and far between. They say they make up in the "language of kisses" - even more delightful!

Because of the magazine and Ivan's interest in horses they have also traveled to several Olympic games, including 1972 in Munich and 1976 in Montreal as well as the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm and Holland.

Ivan is also a very supportive husband. His willingness to cook and clean and take over the household chores allowed Natasha the opportunity to receive her Master's Degree in Library Science.

Today he still loves to cook, but could not share a recipe because "nothing ever comes out the same. I like to go to restaurants and analyze what I think is in the recipes. Then I come home and try to make it. Sometimes it is even better. Sometimes it is not."

Ivan and Natasha Bezugloff at the piano

The very first meal they shared together was one Ivan cooked, Szekely Goulash (pork goulash with sauerkraut). You can often find Ivan at the Chinese Supermarket looking for new and exotic vegetables and spices.

He is a man of many talents and many passions. He is a highly intelligent man with a never-ending thirst for knowledge. He is sharing his life with a wonderful woman, who he obviously adores and a delightful dog, grateful to have a home.

Ivan is a good example of what can be accomplished, with the will to do it. He has never let anything get in his way, and he is a happy successful man today as a result.

Profiled by Debbie Hanson

Update: On January 7, 2011, Ivan "passed away at home as he wished." He will be missed.

Feedback item - 9-20-2011.

I was interested to find your online article about Ivan Bezugloff; just this past Saturday I bought (at an Amateur Radio "swap meet" in Adrian, MI) a voltmeter his second firm -- IB Instruments -- had made. Interestingly, it is the world of dressage that remembers him, not electronics, there having been thousands of small companies that existed only a few years in the 1960's - 1970's. But your article was a memory passed on.

The voltmeter still works.

With best regards,
Cortland Richmond
Ada, MI

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