From inspiring stories of underdog horse-and-rider duos finding success in the dressage arena, to informative horse and rider health features, articles highlighting unique and interesting breeds, and galleries showing off the expressions of self as a result of some updated rules, readers flocked to YourDressage to get their daily dose of dressage! Here are the top 20 most popular stories from 2022.
20. Lovely Lipizzans – Part Two
The lovely Lipizzan! We celebrated them as our September Breed of the Month on YourDressage! We asked our social media followers to send us photos of their favorite Lipizzans, & we were excited to share our second gallery of their photos.
Dressage riders who choose Lipizzans as their mounts are also eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program, as the United States Lipizzan Federation is a participating organization. See the full gallery here.
19. 2022 World Championships
The FEI World Championships Herning2022 were held this year, and we were lucky enough to have Jennifer Bryant on the ground sending us daily updates of the event. This landing page allowed us to post links to all of our updates in one place, and it was highly used by readers to navigate the updates. Re-live the action here.
18. In Memoriam, 2021
As we began 2022, USDF took the opportunity to commemorate some of the members of our dressage community that we lost during 2021. These people and horses were not only respected and admired in our sport, but also so deeply loved by those who knew them best. We remember each of them, mourn their loss, and celebrate their lasting impact on the sport. Read our In Memoriam here.
17. Giraffe Friesian Cross
By Alyssa Pilkington
In this Throwback Thursday during Friesian month, we reshared one of our earliest published stories on YourDressage about a Friesian cross! Alyssa P. shared how she worked with her then-four-year-old to overcome his “conformational stumbling block” on the journey to become a dressage horse. Read Giraffe Friesian Cross here.
16. Dressage Dominoes
By Ginny Weber
Spotted & special! February was Appaloosa Month on YourDressage! In this touching story, a rider from USDF Region 1 shares about falling instantly in love with an Appaloosa mare named Domino, their adventures down centerline together, and the untimely end to their show career. Read it here.
15. Fantom, The Golden Boy
By Jess Idol
In this YourDressage exclusive story, trainer Jess shares how a tense and crooked horse, and his very special owner, changed her life forever. This story was part of our Splash of Color month, featuring horses with unique coats and markings! Read it here.
14. What to Know About Consecutive Levels and How They Relate to Competition & Awards
When it comes to preparing for dressage competition and vying for standing in award and championship programs, competitors and owners have more than their fair share of rules and regulations to be aware of and remember. One area that seems to cause some continued confusion is the definition of ‘consecutive levels’ and how that applies to both competition and Adequan®/USDF Year-End Award standings.
Check out this YourDressage exclusive for a quick rundown on USEF DR119.2 (Consecutive Levels), and how this can impact your award standings.
13. Flying Close To The Sun – A Relentless Journey of Disability, Life, and Soul
By Holly Lovejoy
“I can absolutely say that the first happy memories I have happened on the back of a plucky pony. For a child who couldn’t stand unaided, there was an indescribable feeling of freedom and joy in being able to make a horse take a step from the sound of your voice.”
2022 saw USDF launch a new section of YourDressage highlighting para equestrians! In our first story, Holly Lovejoy – Para Equestrian shares about growing up with spastic cerebral palsy, how horses played a vital role in her upbringing, and her relentless pursuit of gold in the future with her golden pony. Read this inspiring story here.
12. Tips for Competitors from Competition Management – Preparing for Show Season
Show season is right around the corner! Make sure you and your horse are ready to compete with these tips from competition management. This checklist ensures you have your veterinary records and memberships in order before you head to the first show of the season, and that you check the rulebook so you don’t fall victim to elimination by illegal tack or equipment!
11. Life Before and Life After
By Kate Ramseur
Fear and anxiety. Sometimes when you mount up. Sometimes it stops you before you even get to the barn. Is this something you have ever encountered as an equestrian? In this YourDressage exclusive story, a rider shares how her therapist tried Brainspotting with her, with amazing results in her life and in the saddle. This story is part of our equestrian mental health series Clear Eyes, Sound Mind, Halt, Salute.
10. Spotted: A Great Horse Story
By L.A. Sokolowski
There are only about 475 “old line” Knabstrupper horses worldwide today. The breed is known for its distinctive leopard coat pattern. If you’re not that familiar with the breed or the efforts to preserve it, you’re not alone. Neither was Danish indie filmmaker Irene Scholten before she made The Knabstrupper Horse: Hunting for the Old Genes, the first-ever Dane-produced documentary on the Danish native breed, which has since won multiple awards at festivals on two continents. This YourDressage exclusive discusses the easily-recognizable spotted breed, and the film that celebrates it. Read this popular story here.
9. Centerline Styles
In August, we shared the article Fashion Forward from USDF Connection and got an overwhelming response from competitors sharing their newly permitted colorful competition outfits. We put together a look-book of drool-worthy outfits from the responses we got, and it quickly became one of our most popular posts of the year! Which outfit will you draw inspiration from to wear down centerline?
8. A Fairytale Called Mason
By Veronica Gogan
In January we featured the series “Splash of Color”, where we highlighted stories about horses with unique and beautiful coat colors. In this YourDressage exclusive story, a para dressage rider with dreams of competing internationally shares how she is now dancing her way down centerline with her Prince Charming, while being cheered on by her fairy godmother.
7. Baby Steps
By Silvia do Valle
It was supposed to be a special day on vacation, but it turned into a nightmare when a terrible accident completely changed one equestrian’s life. In this YourDressage exclusive, read the inspiring story of Silvia do Valle as she rehabbed from her injury, set new goals, and learned to navigate the world of para dressage.
6. World Championships Day 2 – First day of Grand Prix: Update
By Jennifer O. Bryant
Day 1 of dressage ended with disappointment for Team USA as Ashley Holzer’s Valentine reared during her second piaffe and struggled with crowd noise near the end of her test. Read about what happened, and what this means for Team USA in the medal standings, in our exclusive YourDressage coverage of the Ecco FEI World Dressage Championships Herning 2022.
5. A Headshaker of a Problem
By Heather Smith Thomas
Research has uncovered clues to the mystery of headshaking, but for some horse owners, the condition remains frustratingly difficult to manage. In this reprint from USDF Connection magazine, read more about this disorder and the latest ways to help your horse find relief.
4. Pilates is for Both Horse and Rider
By Patricia McVary
Pilates creates a stronger, more flexible, and balanced rider, and it benefits your horse in the same way. In this piece on YourDressage, Patricia McVary shares helpful rider-oriented exercises (including videos) to show how Pilates can help you and your horse reach your goals.
3. What Makes a Good Para-Dressage Horse?
By Elizabeth Moyer
Para-dressage runs parallel to “able-bodied” dressage in almost every aspect. When it comes to selecting a horse, is there any difference between the two disciplines? In this reprint from USDF Connection magazine, Elizabeth Moyer discusses what makes a good para dressage horse.
2. Fashion Forward
By Jennifer O. Bryant.
With the attire rules busted wide open, we wondered what dressage competitors are doing with their newfound freedom. Enjoy this “look book” and get inspired in this reprint from the May/June 2022 issue of USDF Connection magazine.
And our most popular story of 2022 was…
A Grey Cloud’s Silver Lining
By Liz Hill