(Sun)danc to Bronze

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Arabians are our YourDressage Breed of the Month for July!  One of the oldest horse breeds on earth, and the influence for many other breeds, these elegant horses are easily recognizable with their delicate faces and high tail carriage.  They excel in many sports, particularly endurance riding.

Dressage enthusiasts who ride Arabians have the opportunity to earn special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards as Arabian Horse Association, North American Shagya-Arabian Society, and Performance Shagya-Arabian Registry are all Participating Organizations.

We recently asked our social media followers to share stories about what makes these horses so special.  Here, a Region 7 rider shares about how switching disciplines to dressage brought out joy in herself and her Arabian, who danced their way to their USDF Bronze Medal.

By Kaitlyn Bonis

“What would you say to trying a little dressage for fun?” asked my instructor on a cold November day four years ago.

Sundanc (aka Sunny) and I had all winter to play around and practice, and she thought dressage was the perfect thing to improve my little chestnut Arabian’s movement for the next hunter show season. My mother made dressage cones from dollar store trash cans, and the adventure began!

A somewhat jaded main ring hunter, Sunny turned out to have been born for dressage, and I loved the challenge of the discipline equally. We have never looked back. At our first rated competition in the spring at Training Level, he not only placed first in every test but got overall high point champion out of 85 riders on all levels on the first day, and overall high point champion out of 54 the next.

Since then, he’s taken me through the levels, moving up every year, and performing dependably, consistently, and obediently at every show. The judges always notice our harmony (“elegant pair,” “lovely pair,” and “well-matched pair” are the usual comments). As our special bond has gotten even stronger over the years, our hearts beat as one at practice and in the show ring.

The little horse we bought for $3,500 when I was only 11 has proven to be a horse of a lifetime, excelling in dressage, earning me my USDF Bronze Medal, four regional championships at Second and Third Level on the Arabian circuit, and reserve national champion at Second Level last year. At 23, he may be too old to tackle Fourth Level, but he loves his job and shows few signs of slowing down so we may try a freestyle next!

Kaitlyn with OFW Koffee Royal and Sundanc

Related Links:

Information about the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards

Bob, the Accidental Dressage Horse

Small But Mighty: Calabash

Breed of the Month – Arabians! Part 1

A Love Story

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