The Best Stories You May Have Missed

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Photo by Emma Kane

2020 has been a wild year, and in all the craziness, you may have missed some great content on YourDressage.  Here are a few stories, videos, and photo galleries that may have flown under your radar the last few months.  Which is your favorite?  Let us know in the comments below!

Connectivity: Tendon and Ligament Injuries in the Horse Series

The experts at Platinum Performance shared this 3-part series with us at the beginning of the summer.  Dressage riders know the importance of keeping our equine partners healthy and sound, so these horse-health articles are of special interest to most of our readers.  Veterinarians Dr. Lisa Fortier, Dr. Carter Judy, Dr. Jackie Hill, and Dr. Santiago Demierre share how science is advancing for sport horses, from injury prediction and prevention, to treatment and rehabilitation.  Part 1 explores different diagnostic imaging available, including MRIs, ultrasounds, and shear wave elastography, as well as surgical advancements from the last few years.  In Part 2, read about regenerative medicines that can help your horse, like stem cell treatments, PRP, IRAP, and Pro-Stride, and different types of rehab for horses recovering from injuries.  In the final part of the series, Part 3, the veterinarians emphasize ways to prevent injuries, and discuss what the future looks like in terms of research and treatment for our horses. 

Get the Horse Cookies

Like many equestrians this year, Region 1 rider Nancy Stone had to take a break from showing, as most competitions close to her were closed during the early surges of COVID-19.  As things gradually started to reopen, the USDF Silver Medalist was excited to return to the show ring, along with her daughter, who also competes in dressage.  From excitedly discussing prizes, to preparing her horse, Nancy writes about how good it felt to be back on the showgrounds after the break.  With a newfound appreciation for the little things, she reminds readers that, among other things, don’t forget to grab some cookies for your beloved equine partner! Read her heartwarming story here.

Riding and Recovery

Earlier this year, YourDressage launched our new series “Clear Eyes, Sound Mind, Halt, Salute.”  Designed to shine a light on equestrian mental health, the series features articles from riders across the country sharing their stories, tips, and advice on everything from overcoming show nerves to how horses have helped them make it through their personal battles.  In Riding and Recovery, recovering addict Elyse Hart gives us a very candid look into the struggles she faced while addicted, and how reconnecting with horses (a lifelong love of hers) has helped her stay sober.  As a new mother, she is excited to share her love of horses with her son, who has a Shetland pony named after her childhood horse who recently passed away.  If you enjoyed Elyse’s story, stay tuned on YourDressage, as she has another article scheduled to be published in the coming weeks.

The Princess and the Bison

With action, adventure, intrigue, and a diva-like dressage horse becoming an unlikely hero, this story really has everything! Stacy Sullivan calls Montana home, and lives on a bison ranch. Unlike cattle or other livestock, the bison aren’t domesticated. Stacy’s dressage mount is RF Latten, who despite being a gelding, is often referred to as a princess, due to his tendency “to be a bit like The Princess and the Pea,” according to Stacy’s daughter. Most times when frightened, his reaction is to buck and try to run off.  However, his dressage training came in handy one day when he and Stacy were out hacking, and happened upon a herd of bison. Rather than pulling any of his usual hijinks, Princess Lathan saved the day by staying calm, cool, and collected. This is a can’t miss story for the dressage lover who wants to see how training your horse to be your perfect partner can help in, quite literally, the most unexpected situations. Read it here.

Five Ways to Win in Dressage Competitions

Winning motivates us to strive to improve.  But oftentimes, the pressure we put upon ourselves to win winds up causing us tremendous stress, discouragement, and sometimes even a loss of joy while in the saddle. We all love bringing ribbons home after a competition – but aside from having the best score, what other ways can you win in dressage?  Adult amateur Sally O’Dwyer shares her list of ways to win every time – regardless of the ribbons!  This article is an especially good read for any rider who may be feeling discouraged, and can help you change to a winner’s mindset.  Read it here.  If you enjoy Sally O’Dwyer’s story, check out some of her other articles on YourDressage.

Traditional, Trendy, or Too Far?

Throughout time, styles in the dressage arena have changed.  Certain colors that were once rare in the showring are now in fashion.  But how do you know what’s fun, what’s fashionable, and what is not wise when it comes to your ring attire?  In this video from the 2019 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention, Gwen Ka’awaloa, Michelle King, and Donna Meyer present lots of information about clothing that is traditional, trendy, or too far.  The presentation, which contains lots of helpful pictures to assist you when making your showring attire choices, was created by USDF President Lisa Gorretta and steward Jean Kraus.  Watch it here.

Tip Tuesday – Piaffe and Passage: Graf George and Sharon Poulin

Talk about a dream team!  In this video, Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame inductees Lilo Fore and Michael Poulin work with a horse and rider on piaffe and passage work.  The horse and rider aren’t any ordinary duo – it’s another Hall of Famer, the 10-year-old Hanoverian Graf George, with Sharon Poulin aboard.  This clip from the 1993 USDF National Symposium is just as relevant today as the day it was filmed.  Watch it here.

Horses Living Their Best Lives – Photo Galleries

We asked and our social media followers delivered!  USDF requested photos of your dressage partners living their best lives, and from horses out grazing, going for hacks, celebrating birthdays, enjoying treats, and getting body work done, our followers shared enough pictures for us to create three photo galleries.  For a much needed happy-horse endorphin boost, browse the galleries: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Friends Forever

Moments like these!!  They say a picture says a thousand words – this one conveys all the hope, excitement, and celebration of an equestrian and one of her team members.  This photo, which was a submission in the 2015 USDF Arts Contest, was taken by LoriAnn Thwing, and was featured as our Photo of the Week in mid-June.  Did you know your photo could be published as a future Photo of the Week on YourDressage?  E-mail us at yourdressage@gmail.com for your chance to be featured!

Get Involved! If you have a story you’d like to share with the dressage community, they can be submitted for consideration to yourdressage@usdf.org. We look forward to reading your experiences!

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