From Broodmare to Dressage Horse

Our First Ride 1-28-2023

The powerful Lusitano! We are celebrating them as our February Breed of the Month on#YourDressage!

Dressage riders who choose Lusitanos as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program, as the US Lusitano Association Inc and the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association are both participating organizations.

Here, a rider shares how she met her future dance partner in a Lusitano broodmare and is in the process of transforming her into a dressage mount.

By Emily Long

I met Lizeria ASM, aka Lizzie, a 2015 Lusitano mare bred by Sharon Mohr of Ashmor Farms, in May 2022, but I didn’t buy her until seven months later, in December. She was listed for sale and a friend of mine had connected me to her. I had been looking for a new horse for dressage and trails since Spring 2021, after taking time off riding due to grad school and work. However, Lizzie was very much in foal at the time, so I moved on but decided in the back of my mind that if Lizzie was still available when her foal was weaned, I would buy her. She is such a sweet horse and really impressed me with her good brain. She marched right into a scary new indoor without even flinching and handled loud lawn mowers just outside like they weren’t there. In November, I heard that Lizzie was weaned and still available. I went to see her and fell in love again with her sweet personality and her level head. I had a pre-purchase exam (PPE) and X-rays done and she did extremely well. The vet kept saying how, “This mare has such a good brain,” as we poked and prodded her. Even my “new-to-horses” dad fell in love with her.

Lizzie with her 2022 foal, Sampson MVLF

Lizzie had two beautiful buckskin Lusitano colts by Ikarus, owned by Lisa Adams of Mi Vida Loca Farms, before I purchased her. She was briefly started before becoming a mom, but is otherwise a blank slate in terms of training. I left Lizzie in training with Lori Shoemake of Evonly Equestrian, a very good friend of mine who is a dressage trainer in Pennsylvania. I make the two hour drive from Maryland to visit when I can. She’s been making great progress since getting back into work, especially in building her topline. I’ve been learning so much about in-hand work and how to build a topline from the ground. I hopped on for the first time on January 28, and she felt amazing!

Her topline developing

This is my first experience with a Lusitano. Most of my riding history had been with my Belgian/TB cross mare, Mandy, who I showed at First Level when I was a teenager. But I have been so impressed with Lizzie’s personality and athleticism. I’m in love with the breed and will probably make my next horse a Lusitano. Someday, I might even breed Lizzie.

As of now, Lizzie is still in Pennsylvania, but I am anxious for her to come home this spring. She’ll be coming home to my parents’ farm in Westminster, MD, where she will join my family’s two other former broodmares. When Lizzie gets home, we’ll continue the in-hand work, but we’ll also be adding hacking and hill work. We have a nice nine acre hay field with, gentle sloping hills that are perfect for building muscle in both of us. When we’re ready, we’ll start trailering her over to my trainer’s, Glenda Player, facility for lessons. In the meantime, I’ve also been working on getting myself in shape. I take lessons focusing on my position with my trainer and I’ve been working on strengthening my core and improving my balance with yoga, pilates, and Feldenkrais.

Pretty pony in the mirror

We still have a long way to go with our journey, but we’re already planning and dreaming of great things. It is my lifetime dream to compete at Dressage at Devon and the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, and I’m already dreaming of musical freestyles that we will do together. But for this year, my goals are just to bring her home, build up her strength, go on some nice trail rides with my family, and maybe go to a schooling show or two in the fall. This is just the first chapter in our story, and I look forward to writing about Chapter 2 and beyond.

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