Grand Valley Dressage Society pays homage to European roots |

Grand Valley Dressage Society pays homage to European roots

Brittany Markert
A rider practices dressage riding.
Brittany Markert / | Free Press


WHAT: Grand Valley Dressage Society horse show

WHEN: Oct. 10-11

WHERE: Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 Highway 50 in Grand Junction

COST: Free


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

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User