Grand Valley Dressage Society pays homage to European roots
WHAT: Grand Valley Dressage Society horse show
WHEN: Oct. 10-11
WHERE: Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 Highway 50 in Grand Junction
Grand Valley Dressage Society is a local chapter of a national society of a style of equestrian riding. It started in the 1990s and currently has around 70 members.
Each year, it hosts educational events, shows and training sessions.
The society is open to all breeds and level of riders.
Dressage is a style of training that mixes weight training, gymnastics and dance between the horse and rider.
“It teaches the horse to be obedient and dance with the partner so it looks like one being,” said Arlene Rhodes, president of GVDS. “It’s about doing things that are beautiful and it’s what dressage riders love to learn.”
Dressage riding started in the 18th and 19th century as a way to make horses ready for battle.
“It’s the most physiological way to carry a rider,” said Stephanie Soule, dressage rider and trainer. “All horses benefit from it; even the oldest horses.”
The training is a benefit to the horses due to the extension of muscles used.
“What I love the most is to communicate with the horse just by thought,” Soule said. “It has to be a parternship and not forced, or it won’t be correct.”
While traditional tack is used for most of the competitions, a new category to incorporate a western-style of riding is available.
Most members are adult amateurs, but young riders and professionals also are part of the group.
“Dressage is all about continuing to pursue an education,” Rhodes said. “It’s a life-long pursuit, partnership and obsession.”
Soule added men and women compete on an even playing field.
To see dressage in action, head over to Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 Highway 50 in Grand Junction, on Oct. 11-12 for the last competition of the season. Entrance is free to watch.
Folks are encouraged to ask questions and learn more about the sport from local experts.
For more information, visit http://www.gvds.org.
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