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As a trainer, what trends do you see for 2014?

From the eArena - January 16th, 2014 - eArena
Susan Hutchison, Temecula

Susan Hutchison, Temecula


For the big players in the jumper equestrian world, the goal will be to qualify for the World Equestrian Games, held in Normandy. I believe the riders will be chosen from the computer ranking list instead of any Trials. This will allow riders who are stationed in Europe to be eligible to be qualify to be on the team.

Generally speaking, horse-and-rider combinations that are planning on trying to qualify for the WEG will not be going or trying to qualify for the World Cup Finals this year. It will be very exciting to have the World Cup Finals back in Las Vegas in 2015. Riders like Reed Kessler, Richard Spooner and Laura Kraut are showing in Europe most of the time. Europe seem to be the trend.

Anne Speck, San Marcos

Anne Speck, San Marcos

San Marcos

I see the Academy Division growing at the Morgan and Saddlebred Horse Shows in 2014. There are several people giving Saddle Seat lessons in the San Diego County area. This provides an avenue for the young and/or green riders to become familiar with our the Morgan and Saddlebred Show Horse industry by showing Academy/Lesson Horses.


I believe that the year 2014 will show a rise in the popularity of the Gaited breeds such as the Missouri Fox Trotters, Tennessee Walkers, Rocky Mountain horses, etc. Serious trail riders love them, as do the recreational riders also – they are easy to ride and smooth, which makes it easy on the body, and they are moderately priced. What more could you ask for?!

Holly Hugo-Vidal, Del Mar

Holly Hugo-Vidal, Del Mar

Del Mar

I am a traditionalist. I feel that riders and teachers are returning to a more traditional way of riding and training. The basics are always in and not a trend, so they don’t go out of fashion.

Agua Dulce

One of the biggest trends I see barreling into 2014 is Cowboy Dressage. It has been taking America and many other countries by storm. I believe in many ways it’s breathing new life into the Western discipline and giving options to many people whose horses may not have fit well into other categories. I think the idea of blending classical dressage and western horsemanship is attracting a big following because it is open to all breeds and types of horses. We are seeing Western Dressage classes at the Morgan shows along with some open shows. It’s a great new style of riding that benefits both horse and rider, and one that’s going to continue gaining momentum and acceptance inside and outside of the show ring.

Claudia Roberts, Lake View Terrace

Claudia Roberts, Lake View Terrace

Lake View Terrace

I believe we will see more western dressage classes at rated and schooling shows since the USEF has made Western Dressage a whole new discipline which includes USEF rules and tests. In fact, Pacific Dressage and Robele Farms will be offering these classes as well as classes in Gaited Dressage and Prix Caprilli in their dressage schooling show series in 2014 at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center.

Another trend we can expect is to see more show attire and tack with color and bling! Grey, red and maroon coats are beginning to pop up at our rated shows along with sparkling helmets and brow bands. This is a big leap from the traditional black and dark blue jackets. Frankly, I welcome the variety as long as it is not too distracting from a competitor’s performance in a class.

I’m sure many more trends will appear as we celebrate the “Year of the Horse”!

Suzi Vlietstra, Chino Hills

Suzi Vlietstra, Chino Hills

Chino Hills

I have my feet in two horse businesses- my boarding stable, Rancho de Felicidad in Chino Hills, and my other business, Hobby Horse Clothing Co. in Chino. Both are looking healthier than at this point last year. I think the economy is loosening up a little bit, and I see people at the ranch upgrading and investing in new (or younger) horses, and we seem to be getting a steady increase in inquiries from people moving into showing with Hobby Horse as well.

Dressage is going to keep growing, because it appeals to an aging baby-boomer rider,who may no longer be comfortable jumping or reining, but still loves to ride and loves competing and loves their barn buddies. The London Olympics were good for dressage and I think Western Dressage is going to grow, evolve, and become successful for all the reasons that “regular” dressage has grown over the last generation: skill levels for everyone, objective scoring, and a chance to focus on each horse and rider’s particular talents. It’s not an all-or-nothing sport, like some horse events.

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