Welcome to the dressage spot, a place for the young (or young at heart) dressage riders wanting to gain information on the sport of dressage, training tips, equine health care, maintenance and fun!

Sunday, July 27, 2014


    I haven’t written in two weeks for several reasons.  First, I have been in Europe and with the jet lag, high school Spanish use, museum tours and seriously physical treks I was tired!  Second, it seems coming up with what to write about every week sometimes gets hard and I got writer’s block.
    The trip with mom, Julie and Jessica was an amazing whirlwind.  The food along the Mediterranean as you can imagine, is mostly fish and seafood.  Luckily for me, I love nearly everything from the water.  I won the nightly dinner choice award almost every night.  I was also the most food adventurous so I tried all the local specialties.  The Gazpacho was like a tomato soup with veggies and seafood in it.  It wasn’t like any type of Gazpacho I have had before but it was ok.  The sardines were salty and I have to say I am not a fan.
    We did a bit of shopping, particularly in the markets.  The leather goods were really beautiful, and the jewelry was one of a kind. In one booth, a man even made his own metal designs that go on the leather bracelets. It was very exciting to watch the magic happen!
    I dragged everyone to the Picasso museum.  Both Julie and Mom don’t really like his work, but I do.  They both did say though that they gained a greater appreciation of him from all the quotes on the walls explaining his perception and vision of the world.  I took a sneaky photo in the museum for my childhood friend and artist, Madi Mercer. I knew she would appreciate him the way I do.
    We hiked to the top of the ruins of a fortress in Malaga.  It was quite a haul.  I am lucky my stride is so long as I made it up faster than everyone else.  At the very top of the fortress, the view was absolutely extraordinary. On one side you have cityscapes and picturesque mountains, and on the other, a great view of the ocean and the port. We were so high that we could look down on the fog rolling in from the ocean. It was so beautiful, words cannot began to describe it.
    Jessica and I hit the beach for a few hours one day. The sand was so burning hot it could give hot asphalt in Texas a run for it's money. Despite the temperature outside, the water was way chillier than what was expected!  I did find a cupful of great rocks to bring home.  I collect rocks and have boxes and boxes full of them at home. On the way back to the train, Jess and I were asked by some British boys,"Why have you got a cup of rocks there?" And our response being that we were unique individuals and we like to collect things. HAHA Aren't we the smoothest?
    We had dinner looking right over the water one night.  It was a great evening, I ate octopus!  Ok, I have had it before but it was fun to watch Jess bit into it before she guessed what it was.
    I am home now for a week. Then I am off to Portland for the Region 6 youth camp at Devonwood.  I am really excited to camp with Genay. We have so much to talk about and catch up on.  I will tell y’all when I get back because I have to tell my BFF first!   I will be sure to take lots of photos and post them on my FB.
    In closing, good luck Lendon and everyone at the Youth Festival in New York.  Sorry I couldn’t be there.  Have fun!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quick Update!

Today’s blog is a more a list of little events and comments than a story or lesson.
First, I want to say again good luck to everyone in Kentucky at NAJRYC.  I really miss being there with everyone.  
Second, the nostalgia of missing is slightly lessened as I am off on a girl’s trip to Spain with my mother, her friend Dr. Julie Harrelson-Stephens (also my frequent family photographer), and my friend Jessica Hainsworth (also my amazing sidekick and groom).  I’m packing beachwear, swanky dinner wear, and stuff with sleeves for the cathedrals and museums that I know I will get dragged into.  One great and one bad thing about going anywhere with two professors; they actually know historical stuff and art stuff and political stuff about everywhere you go and they want to see it.  That can be a bit too much like school for a teenager, but it is actually (but don’t tell them) sometimes pretty cool to get the scoop on what the crumbling rocks were once all about.  Also Julie is an amazing shopping partner.  She and I are more alike in many ways than mom and I on the whole fashion, shopping, and general awareness of anything fashion forward leaning.
Third, when I get back it is only a matter of days until I am off to the Region 6 youth camp at Devonwood.  I am really excited for so many reasons; the facility is beautiful, I get to spend three days with Genay (amazing), I get to help 70 campers in whatever way I can about dressage and we get to sleep in a tent!  Ok, I am not sure about how Genay and I are going to do with that but if our friendship survives sleeping bags, the ground and a shared shower stall I think we are in for life!
Sorry it has been such an uneventful week but Sjapoer and I have been really working on a lot this week and I hope to get to update you on that soon.
Finally, for my dad the German soccer player who left all thepretzles, bier, and lederhosen behind to come to America to follow my mom (which I am glad he did or I wouldn’t be here)……GOOOOAAAALLLLL GOTZE and Deutschland uberalles!
Congratulations and enjoy the celebrations in Texas with all your old soccer buddies dad.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


A lot of my friends are headed off to Kentucky this week.  I feel a little off not getting packed myself.  I am going to miss the US vs Canada water balloon fight we started at our house! I am going to miss the parties, the meetings and most of all making friends.  Reese, summer just isn’t summer without a visit to Maplecrest Farm. The grass in Kentucky is so green an rich, even the horses dream about this trip every year.  By the way, everyone be careful about grazing too much!  The NAJYRC vets told me last year that the cell walls of the grass in Kentucky is thicker than most types in other regions.  
The last three years we drove from DFW to Lexington and I think I know the route by heart.  Like my Canadian friend Colby mentioned on FB yesterday be sure to check out Cracker Barrel!  I think I know all the Cracker Barrels between DFW and Lexington!  We used to stop at them with the Bauers all the time because Courtney loved them.  Anyway I thought I would take some time to say good luck to everyone and I wish I could be there to cheer for you.
I also wanted to give a little advice to all the first time attendees (and maybe some returning competitors).  Get some sleep.  I don’t just mean the night before you ride.  I mean from now until then be eating right, sleeping and drinking lots of water before you go as well as when you are there.  Sometimes when we stress in preparation we take short cuts.  My mom says that at the university, students cram, don’t sleep, and eat like crap the week before finals so finals week they are all sick and run down!  You don’t want Lexington to be your finals week when the time before catches up with you.
I have talked about visualizing before on several blogs.  For more details review those or check out some of Dr. Susser’sarticles online.  Every night for months before big competitions when I go to bed I lay there and visualize my test.  I think about every half-halt.  This is easier for those of you that have been to Lexington because you can see the arena, you can smell the sweet Kentucky grass and you can feel the heat.  Even if you haven’t been doing this for months start now.  It is a great relaxation exercise right before bed too.  On the day of competition I always like to zone and focus.  I put on head phones and try to keep all the ‘helpers’ out of the barn until they are really needed so Sjapoer and I get a lot of bonding time.  With the music in your ears it is easier to not get distracted and it gives you time to review the test and just connect to your horse.
In Kentucky be sure to stay hydrated and out of the heat as much as possible! And don't forget about the people around you, look out for each other! Several riders every year end up in the med tent or back at their rooms from the heat.  
Be sure to thank all the volunteers and the USEF and USDF teams.  Give Hallye a big hug for me and take advantage of all the wonderful information and events they have planned.  They are there to help you do not be afraid to ask any question you have and get help.  
Finally, have fun and good luck!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lendon's Youth Dressage Festival

    This weekend has been truly a blessing.  As you all know I have been a product of and a committed devotee of Lendon Gray’s dressage4kids and all of her amazing programs.  I have tried over the years to get as many people involved as I could in any way I could in her many great ideas.  This weekend I flew to Muskegon, Michigan to help out at the Midwest Dressage Youth Festival and Lendon’s EDAP clinic.  It was my first visit to Michigan which is really ironic because my mother is from Alpena, Michigan.  Most of her family still lives there and I think I even have like second or third cousins in Muskegon.  Anyway, I arrived late Thursday night and got whisked off to Kim Boyer’s house for a late night meal and bed.  OMG!  I have eaten Kim’s husband’s cooking before at the Robert Dover clinic and I know he is a chef but what amazing food.  The kitchen has got to be some sort of chef’s fantasy.  I have some cousins and a great Aunt if Florida who are all chefs and bakers who would kill to cook here.
    Friday I watched Lendon’s lessons to the participants from inside the viewing area.  I was kind of stuck inside a bit while my allergies got under control.  At lunch I spoke to the girls about what we learn from our horses and what I have learned from my former horses.  It was a really informal discussion and I had a great time getting to know all the riders.  After the afternoon lessons we had another amazing dinner and I gave a speech to the group of youths, parents and volunteers.  I sort of told a brief story about my life.  Ok I’m only 19 so the story isn’t that long.  But I threw in some fun facts about some benefits of the horse life.  One of the dads gave out a big whoop when I said it helps teenage girls to focus on horses instead of boys!  I had a really fun time and I think I may be getting better at speaking.  I have to thank Lendon for giving me the opportunities to continue to grow as a speaker.  Just like training horses or riders, it takes time and experience to develop these skills and I really thank her for giving me a chance to do so.  I got to ride a bit after dinner!  Ok it was only a tiny pony that in fact was so short that with my long legs my feet actually dragged the ground like some sort of lurch when I rode.  It was funny, it made the little kids laugh hysterically at me, but you have to learn to laugh at yourself too!  I got to give a little back to Lendon and the youth when I presented everyone with a gift from Nike!  They are really supportive of youth camp development and were happy to send the swoosh for all the participants. Later that evening Chealsea and I had an amazing ice cream as I told the kid behind the counter to surprise me at the flavor.  I think it was the biggest mound of stuff I have ever eaten.  We all got sticky when it melted and I really had an amazing time.
   Saturday I got to experience my first youth festival.  Wow!  This is a lot of work and such a great experience.  I got to help out by watching rides and giving a little advice and motivation where needed.  Again, I have to thank Lendon because this is an opportunity for me to learn how to give training advice in a clinic type situation where I don’t know the horse and rider well.  I think this is an unexpected benefit for me of wanting to help out.  I wanted to help Lendon to make her program grow and to give her what support I could, but in the end her youth programs not only develop the youth and give them opportunities as riders, but when we come back to help we get opportunities to grow as future trainers.  Maybe there should be a D4K graduate program.  What do you think Lendon?  Didn’t Genay and I volunteer that idea before?  Hint Hint!
    Saturday night I got to go with Kerrigan, Chelsea, and Katrina out for dinner and a walk on the pier.  There is an amazing light house and a beautiful lake.  I never imagined Michigan as quite so beautiful.  It was a really long walk (particularly in high heels) but it was fun.    Come visit me soon girls!  Sunday after breakfast I said my goodbyes then it was back to the airport to catch a flight back to the west coast.
    It was the most rewarding weekend.  I enjoyed every minute and I want to volunteer right now to help any time Lendon!  I also have to say the biggest thank you to Kim Boyer and Hampton Green Farms.  Your facility is amazing, your home and family were beautiful and welcoming.  I was blessed to get to spend some time with you and hope to do so again soon!
    Well I have to board my plane out of Chicago now.  I think my mom gets me long layovers on purpose so I get writing done while it is fresh in my mind.  Home and up in the morning to go see my love Sjapoer at the barn.  Thanks again Lendon and Kim, miss you already and everyone check out their websites below.  Great information.