WDCTA Central WI Chapter – Memorable Moments -

January 2015

WDCTA Central WI Chapter wishes to recognize and applaud our member’s horsemanship activities and asked member’s to share clinics attended, shows competed in or judged, goals accomplished or are still working on, a new horse.... anything members did with their horse or with other’s horses in 2014. We all learn from each other and wish to encourage horsemanship sportsmanship. WDCTA Central WI Chapter is proud to introduce Kris Blacklock, Prairie du Sac and applaud her 2014 Memorable Moments. Kris is also the 2015 WDCTA Central WI Chapter Vice President.

“Winter offers opportunities of solitude to reflect on memorable moments. For both horses – Gamblers Jackpot and Good Knight Beautiful (aka ‘B’), 2014 Year of the Horse certainly offered several goal accomplishments. Of all the WDCTA activities, clinics and events, the two most memorable were our firsts -- Musical Freestyle for Gamblers Jackpot and Capital Mini-Event for Good Knight Beautiful. Just like every other competitive athlete, I make achievable goals for myself and my horses – to try something new, gain experience at a level, train to the next level, compete to uncover training holes, etc. Musical Freestyle and Eventing were our 2014 goals.

Let’s Dance Dressage – I’ve watched dressage freestyle and admired the choreographed partnership between rider, horse music and required movements. Through the encouragement of Lynne Levy, Gamblers Jackpot and I registered in the March 21-22-23, 2014 WDCTA Kettle Moraine Musical Freestyle clinic organized by Melinda DeLuca and held at Rosebury Farm LLC, Mukwonago WI. Clinician Yvonne Barteau, a FEI Trainer, competitor, instructor and USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist and author was amazing. Within two days of one hour individualized lessons, 9 horse/rider teams learned how to creatively choose music and movements to create a musical freestyle routine for various levels of USDF Dressage and USEF/WDAA Western Dressage Freestyle Tests. Based on submitted videos, Yvonne matched music to movement and assisted each rider in creating a routine tailored for the rider/horse team. In July, Gamblers Jackpot and I adjusted our routine to compete in a USEF/WDAA Western Dressage Basic Freestyle at the Kettle Moraine’s Best Little Schooling Show held at Sorensen Equestrian Park LLC, East Troy WI. In October, we created a new NAWD All-Around Freestyle for the North American Western Dressage Fall Festival Show that included trail obstacles. Also, a Six Feet on the Ground groundwork freestyle routine was created for both Gamblers Jackpot and Good Knight Beautiful; of which ‘B’ earned Freestyle Champion and Jackpot received Freestyle Reserve Champion.

K Blacklock

Whether the routine is choreographed by a pro or by you, some common themes you’ll see in freestyle are:

  • The tempo of the song must match the horse – in dressage they match the music precisely to the step – from start to finish.
  • Strong maneuvers – you are still being judged by the maneuvers performed, keep them clean and precise. The music, costume and props may be creatively fun, but if any compromises the quality of required movements, the judge will notice. Keep the maneuvers strong and clean and add something special as well.
  • Relax, ride and have FUN! Feel the music and ‘dance’ the routine with your equestrian partner.

K Blacklock

An Eventful Day - Combined training, or eventing, is an equestrian triathlon that incorporates the disciplines of dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Although Good Knight Beautiful (‘B’), a 5 yr. old Rocky Mountain Horse filly has successfully been training and competing in Western Dressage, Trail and Obstacle Trail, we had no clue as to what to expect in eventing. So what better way to learn than participate in the 2014 WDCTA Southwest Chapter Capital Mini Clinic held August 9th at The Horse First Farm in Brooklyn WI organized by Nicki Butler and with clinicians Michelle Manshardt (Dressage) and Jan Ketzler (Jumping). After clinic pre-registration check-in, unloading, and letting ‘B’ get used to the surroundings in the morning, I was able to simply observe the USEF eventing dressage tests and USEA eventing jump training sessions before our afternoon training sessions. Although the event was two days, we could only attend the first day clinic as we had a date conflict for Sunday (Gamblers Jackpot’s drill team performance).

K Blacklock

Within 90 minute sessions under a coverall arena, Michelle Manshardt, a USDF “L” judge actively involved groups of 5 riders/horses from the get-go through a demonstration of rider balance and use of communication aids, asked each group of riders to warm up using a series of dressage movements in the walk, trot and canter, then each individually rode the eventing dressage test they would be competing in the next day and each horse/rider team received verbal strength and opportunity test comments. The dressage categories and tests for eventing are different than traditional or western dressage; eventers may choose from USEF Dressage Tests in Beginner Novice (Test A or Test B), Novice (Test A, Test B, Novice Three Day), Training (Test A, Test B, Training Three Day), Preliminary (Test A, Test B, Preliminary Three Day), Intermediate (Test A, Test B), Advanced (Test A, Test B), FEI and Young Event Horse Dressage. Usually a fiat filly, ‘B’, rode the USEF Beginner Novice Level Dressage Test A relaxed and we were able to transition from the working trot (gait) to canter with the correct lead (a 2014 goal). Appreciation to Shelly Reichart, Paradigm Farm, Sharon Johnson, Tree Top Acres and Jessica Cole, Jessica Cole Training Stables for each of their inspirational riding lessons.

K Blacklock

Next, the 90 minute cross-country eventing portion with Jan Ketzler offered a variety of practice jumps; then 17 competition cross-country course fences. Although neither ‘B’ nor I jumped before, we were excitedly ready to learn. ‘B’ was definitely game on. In small groups of five rider/horse teams, Jan’s equestrian passion and humorous demeanor coached each on body posture, hands, legs and feet placement, how to approach, jump, land and prepare for each and subsequent jump and how to negotiate a cross-country course to stay within course time. Light footed and energetic ‘B’ eagerly got her groove on and successfully negotiated each jump without any refusals. It didn’t matter if the jump was a log, PVC, single, double, flowered, ‘X’d, rubber tarp, hay bale or water; ‘B’ scoped and jumped each with ease. Although gaited horses weren’t expected to attend, we had a blast and both of us are still grinning ear to ear. Special thanks to Heather McManamy at Short Horse Studios for capturing keepsake memories of our maiden attempts in eventing.

The best things in life are the people you meet, the places you’ve seen and the memories you’ve made along the way. Both Gamblers Jackpot and ‘B’ and myself eagerly await 2015 WDCTA activities, clinics, events, shows and training & riding adventures.”