The gorgeous Gypsy Horse! We are celebrating them as our September Breed of the Month on YourDressage!
Dressage riders who choose Gypsy Horses as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program, as both Gypsy Horse Registry of America (GHRA) & The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society are participating organizations.
Here, a trainer and Equestrian Canada Licensed Coach in Region 7 shares about a Gypsy Vanner gelding discovering his affinity for dressage.
By Faye Margés
Lexi’s Tango Two is a 12-year-old Gypsy Vanner gelding, who is bred and owned by Stephanie Flannery (Burlington), former owner of Hidden Creek Ranch in Sonoma, California. Over the years, Stephanie developed a solid breeding program, which began with the import of a lovely foundation mare from the UK, “All that Jazz”.
At the time of import, it was unknown that Jazz was in foal. She would deliver a large and healthy colt, Jazz’s Rom Tango Dansator. That colt, Tango, later sired two beautiful foals, who were bred towards use in sport, versus a stockier type which excels in driving and pulling.
Lexi’s Tango Two, or Junior as we lovingly call him in the barn (due to the fact he still lives with his dam and sire currently on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada), has proven, over the past year, that he is just that: a true sport partner. Junior is very athletic, possessing a never ending will to please.
When I started training with Junior, at the beginning of this year, my main goal was for him to be happy in his work. That meant focusing on him coming over the back, into the bridle, with a willingness to go forward and to work laterally, without bracing. During this process, we learned that Junior quite likes to work on dressage and is rather handsome doing so.
We’ve, since then, attended various clinics and started showing First Level in a couple of local shows, not without merit. Our overall scores have been above 60%, but I would like to see that improve a little bit more, before we move up to Second Level.
Junior is very strong in his transitions and has lots of power moving forward. Being a draft horse, he can sometimes get a little bit stuck in the neck and shoulder, which we address with transitions, lateral movement, and, of course, engagement from the hind end.
In addition to our training in the ring, I love to take Junior out on trails and offer pole work, which not only helps in making him lighter, but also keeps him happy and interested in his work.
Come winter, we will continue to improve ourselves under the guidance of our coach, Henk Glijn, with the goal to attend some bigger shows next year.
I truly believe that dressage is for the horse and not the horse for dressage. I could not have wished for a horse with more heart, and a will to work. Everywhere we go, Junior always draws spectators… and he knows it!!!