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The rise of Western Dressage

Since a formal launch of Western Dressage with the WDAA in 2010, it has flourished

From Horsetrader staff reports - February 18th, 2016

1602BcoverAs an Olympic year revs up interest in Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 as a U.S. Gold Medal hope in dressage this summer in Brazil, there is another force revving up in California, too, with a lower profile.
Western Dressage.

Western trainers have long been using dressage techniques that enhance communication with their horses, but since 2010, the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) has provided a structure and consistency that that has spawned growth. And, since the California Western Dressage Association (CAWDA) started in 2012, interest and participation has grown widely in the Golden State.

Ready for Scottsdale

SCHAA Show moves to LAEC and new calendar spot

From Horsetrader staff reports - February 18th, 2016
Bridget Vice shows Serenity ER in a costume class during the Jan. XX-XX SCHAA Show held at the L.A. Equestrian Center.

Bridget Vice shows Serenity ER in a costume class during the Jan. SCHAA Show held at the L.A. Equestrian Center.

Laurie Taylor/TMA photo

BURBANK — While Southern California weather took a desert-like reprieve from mid-winter storms, the Southern California Half-Arabian Association had its own desert-like rehearsal as its new show slot in late January gave participants a chance to warm-up for February’s Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

The 2016 SCHAA Arabian and Half-Arabian Horse Show had changes both to its venue and its calendar, moving to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on Jan. 22-24. Previously, the competition was held at Galway Downs in Temecula in May, on the weekend prior to the Region 1 Championship Show in Del Mar.

“When these dates came open for us, we really scrambled quickly and pulled this show together,” said Kay Kelley, who is in her fourth year as Show Manager of this event. “It worked out great for us. It filled a spot for people to get ready for Scottsdale, and to get ready for the show season. It’s a great facility and the people are exceptionally nice to work with.”

Connecting with Western Dressage

Passionate professionals like these are go-to sources for those looking to learn about this popular sport

- February 18th, 2016

California Western Dressage Association
Western Dressage discipline is a melding of training methods. Classical Dressage brings the techniques of master European horsemen, techniques that are hundreds of years old and based upon principles which encourage cadence, balance, and carriage. It is technical and it is precise, a rigorous discipline for horse and rider. It is also an art. Western Horsemanship has been practiced on the ranches of the American West since the 1700s and even earlier through the traditions of the Spanish vaqueros. The subsequent advances in Western Horsemanship begun by the Dorrance Brothers and practiced by a new generation of horsemen and women opened the door to the mind of the horse, encouraging patience and understanding. The concept of “lightness” and subtle cues grew from its acceptance. They found that the result was good for both horse and rider.

Wild Win

Chris Pratt outduels Will Simpson in $350,000 HITS Thermal Grand Prix

Special to the Horsetrader - February 18th, 2016
With a split-second $350,000 HITS Grand Prix win at Thermal Feb. 7, Chris Platt and Edesa’s Basantos wrapped up a week of wealthy winnings.

With a split-second $350,000 HITS Grand Prix win at Thermal Feb. 7, Chris Platt and Edesa’s Basantos wrapped up a week of wealthy winnings.

ESI photo

THERMAL — The crowd that gathered to witness the $350,000 HITS Thermal Grand Prix on Sunday of Desert Circuit Week III was in store for a spectacular display of equestrian sport. An electric atmosphere combined with supremely talented exhibitors, made for an excellent day for this top-dollar class with an exceptional ending.
Thirty talented riders descended upon HITS Desert Horse Park’s Grand Prix Stadium to test the 16-jumping effort course set by Portugal course designer Bernardo Cabral, which included tight, rollback turns, challenging bending lines and combinations that tested the navigational skill of both horse and rider.

Many big names filled the Order of Go, including Olympic Gold Medalist and five-time World Cup finalist, Will Simpson of Westlake Village and Olympian and World Cup Finals champion Rich Fellers and Flexible, owned by Harry and Mollie Champion. It would be Los Angeles equestrian Chris Pratt, who has won over $150,000 in Week III of the HITS Desert Circuit alone, and owner Eddy Sepul’s stunning Dutch Warmblood gelding, Edesa’s Basantos, who would take home the well-deserved victory.

Fiesta Charity combines the spectacular with the heartfelt

From the Horsetrader Sales Staff - February 18th, 2016

InGate graphicFiesta Charity Horse Show and Spectacular is dedicated to raising awareness and much needed funds for cancer research in order to help find a cure for this disease and give people long lives, as well as to honor our nation’s military families. Many local and national organizations have benefitted from funds raised through Fiesta, including the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Fiesta brings together the special healing power of horses and people.

Maintaining Softness in the Neck

33rd in a series

by Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - February 18th, 2016

More with LesAgain, the first place that resistance is going to show up is in your horse’s neck. You’re going to ask him to do something, and rather than softly responding he’s going to stiffen his neck and brace against your hand. You simply have got to train yourself to not let this happen. You have to insist that he be soft in the poll at all times. Why will a horse resist? Because he doesn’t like what you’re doing or he doesn’t like what you want him to do. Where did he get these opinions?

First, he could be bracing because at some point you were too quick or harsh with your hands. You want to always to use light pressure, and then lightly bump if you get resistance, giving the horse slack as soon as he yields.

Taking on the training issues, Part II

“With each ride, we increase time in the saddle and speed. Good training takes time. As long as I get one percent improvement with each ride, in 100 days, I will have 100 percent improvement.”

By Sheryl Lynde / Horsetrader columnist - February 18th, 2016

Trainer TipsLast issue, I introduced Bella, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred that came to me from Horse Nation, a horse rescue operated by Dr. Carole Harris in Huntington Beach. Bella was extremely fearful and exhibited dangerous behavior, like rearing and bolting when led.

Regardless of Bella’s past, we didn’t train around her issues. Instead, we met them head-on, and she progressed more quickly than anticipated. I used the appropriate pressure — if her resistance was a level 5, then my pressure was a level 6 — and I released only when she showed signs of being calm. She has been saddled, ponied, bridled and ground driven and, at the end of each lesson, she is calm. Her behavioral symptoms have subsided, and she is handling her emotions successfully. Now, it is time to ride.

How to get the most from your driving lesson

By Patricia M. Demers / Horsetrader columnist - February 18th, 2016

About DrivingWhen you are first starting out in any sport or pursuit, you have an interest.  That interest turns into a quest for knowledge.  Somehow you have to be taught how to do the new thing.  You learn from watching videos, reading books, or taking instruction.  When you learn, you are the STUDENT, learning from someone who has KNOWLEDGE of that subject to pass along.  Being a good student is a process that hopefully you learned in school.  For many of us, it’s been a very long time since we’ve gone to school, so we may have forgotten some of the protocols of good behavior.

As a trainer, instructor, clinician, judge, I’m there to help you learn.  I’m going to try to teach you in a systematic, building block fashion that is easy to understand according to your skill level.  You are the one paying for the instruction, and you have your own motives and goals.  Together, we have to agree on the steps to learning.  We BOTH also have to maintain a safe environment at all times.  That means, having a controlled environment, such as a fenced area to work in, free from hazardous, objects, areas and poor footing.