A dressage horse and rider’s competition season culminates in a regional championship competition, where the best horse/rider pairs, having earned the right through an entire year of achieving stiff qualifying requirements, battle head-to-head for Regional Championship honors.
William Woods University dressage horses and riders proved they could step up and compete with the best in the Midwest at this year’s USDF/ABIG Region 4 Championships and St. Louis Dressage Society open competition, Oct. 12-14.
Holly Fisher, a senior from Kentwood, Mich., rode the WWU-owned An Honest Request (Paul) to a sixth-place win in the large and hotly-contested First Level Junior/Young Rider division. In addition, in the open show Fisher and Paul took the blue in Second Level Test 1, and a second place in a large First Level Test 4 class.
Mallory Bradbury, a junior from Olathe, Kan., rode WWU’s Dutch Warmblood Kaletto to a sixth in their championship class at Training Level Junior/Young Rider. In the open show, Bradbury and Kaletto were second in a very large Training Level Test 4 class.
In an open-show First Level Test 1 class, they achieved the highest percentage score of the entire show (both open and championship classes). Their score of 76.333 percent (with a nearly unheard of score of a perfect 10 on a stretch circle) earned Bradbury a beautiful silver loving-cup trophy.
WWU senior Morgan Williams of Cape Girardeau showed two of her own horses to good placings in their championship classes. Williams showed her mare Sahara’s Starr to a third place in the Second Level Amateur Adult Championship, and rode Starr’s home-bred son Sahara’s Raja to a fourth place in the Training Level Amateur Adult Division.
Dressage, as defined by the United States Dressage Federation (www.usdf.org) is a method of training that teaches a horse to be obedient, willing, supple and responsive. The horse freely submits to the rider’s lightest “aids” or body signals, while remaining balanced and energetic. The object of dressage is the harmonious development of the horse in both mind and body, and every horse, regardless of its type or use, can benefit from this training.
“The word dressage sounds like massage—and comes from the French word dresser, to train,” Karen Pautz, dressage instructor at WWU, said. “To the untrained eye it looks easy, but like many equestrian sports, it serves the needs of a diverse range of horse lovers. It’s an Olympic equestrian sport; yet a basic training discipline for the backyard horse.”