The Road to 2023 US Dressage Finals, as told by Notre Dame Z


 By Candice Christopher; Photos by Lexi Christopher

I jump the sticks. I jump the 1.25m sticks.  And … I win.

I had a successful career in Europe as a jumper, and then I came across the pond to meet my special girl, Candice. We jumped in the US, too. And … we won.

We upped our game, and began a second career in dressage.

My girl used the essence of dressage movements in our previous jumping training, so the movements were not new to me.

For my girl and I, it all began with preparation. Like jumping, there is a beginning, middle, and end of each dressage movement. Preparation is key to this sequence. I have learned about the approach, takeoff, in the air, landing, and getaway in jumping. There is a cadence, similar to the bounce of a basketball, before the jump with a powerful hind-end burst at the base of the jump, and then the bascule of going over the jump.

This jump sequence is like the preparation of the dressage movement. It begins with readiness, then power coming from behind while lifting the thoracic sling, and finishing with balance – repeated again and again in a beautiful dance.

We made our dressage debut together in June.  I’m proud to say, I have not jumped out of one dressage arena – the fences are too small for me.

US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, here we come!

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