Manes & Trails: Dressage and Drille equal FUN
The term is French, meaning “training,” according to the U.S. Dressage Federation, and its purpose is to develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work, making him calm, supple, and attentive to his rider.
I’ve heard the term used to describe a certain riding discipline, but that never seemed quite right to me. I mean, my horse is naturally athletic, calm, supple, and attentive, but I had never been involved in dressage as a “discipline.” As a trail rider I had never considered until recently that Dressage would be any fun or that my Mustang would be accepted in the dressage world.
I have another confession. I always thought dressage was meant for English riders in English saddles with a Thoroughbred or Warmblood but certainly not a Mustang. I have changed my mind.
After much contemplation over many months, I decided to ask someone about dressage lessons. The clinics I’d seen were really expensive to ride in at $100 for each 30 minutes. Yikes! I needed something more affordable.
As a seasoned rider I wasn’t willing to shell out a ton of dough on something that may or may not benefit me or my horse. I found out I don’t have to!
I trained my horse Cricket, and she is an amazing mount — steady, calm, balanced, and my perfect horse. I am not a trainer by any stretch of the imagination, but am handy with horses, having been around them for a very long time. I love to try new things with my horse and challenge us both physically and mentally so I called Sherie Levine and asked about dressage.
I’d done a couple of Drille Diva days with Sherie, she is close to home, has access to great facilities, I always hear nice things about her, and she teaches dressage, so I gave her a call. One of the first things Sherie asked me was if I owned an English saddle and I told her no nor would I ever.
There was no guffaw or gasp from the other end of the phone. I told her that I ride in a treeless trail saddle and to my surprise that was OK with Sherie. Sherie ended up being affordable so I signed up for some lessons. Cricket and I are having a blast! It’s a lot of work some days, but having someone help improve my relationship with my horse is so fun. Sherie is able to teach us and correct mistakes and fine-tune our skills in a fun and positive way. She is supportive and encouraging.
Some days Sherie holds her Drille Diva sessions right after our lesson, so Cricket and I stay to join in. Learning new moves is at times a challenge but mostly it’s just plain fun. If you have never tried it, I recommend you do with this group, at least once, and the perfect opportunity is coming up:
Dec. 1 is Holiday Diva Day. Join us for a day of Dancing with Horses.
This is dedicated to Equestrian Divas who deserve a special day!
(No drille experience necessary. Riders must be able to walk, trot, and steer with control -— have a desire for fun, friends, and food!)
Helmets required while mounted. You can ride English or Western. If you don’t have a helmet, borrow one for the day from a friend. It’s worth it.
Where: International Equestrian Center, 16911 Gunn Stage Road Time: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Entry fee: $60—includes two drille sessions, massage—yes a massage, potluck lunch, and a few surprises!
In addition to the regular activities, also included:
1. Every Diva deserves a professional portrait with her horse. Sherie has arranged for Claudia Butler of HorsePixs to come and take portraits of you and your horse at the Diva Day Event. Each entrant will receive a free 10 to 15 minute photo session with Equine Photographer Claudia Butler. Samples of Butler’s work are at www.HorsePixs.com. Each entrant will receive a free 5 x 7 of choice. Additional photos and sizes can be purchased.
2. Holiday Cheer Contest. Participants can win a prize for the horse/rider who decorates, showing the best holiday cheer. Creativity and whimsy for all who love glitter, sparkle, and holiday spirit!
3. Gift Exchange Game. No skill necessary — just FUN!
Participants can bring a wrapped horse-related gift worth about $10 to $15
RSVP as soon as possible. Contact Sherie at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.drillediva.com, or call 760-789-6350 or 760-522-0939.
We hope to see you there!
Karen Carlson, a Ramona resident, may be contacted at email@example.com.
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