Here is Dressageforjuniors Rider of the month for March, Audrey Jones:
I started riding when I was 9 on my 14.3hh quarter horse and there was a lady who rode dressage at my first barn and she let me ride her huge dressage horse, which of course convinced me that dressage was the way to go. I have been riding dressage since age 11.
Q: What is your warm-up routine?
I do a lot of walk work to stretch my horse, Rondo, and to make sure he’s listening to my aids and is supple. We then go to trot work, like shoulder-ins and leg yields, and a ton of connection work because that is what we have the most difficulty with, and then we go on to the canter work to help with connection since he’s better with connection in the canter.
Q: How often do you train?
I ride 5-6 days a week depending on what my schedule is like. 2 of those days are for lessons and the rest are schooling days except for Mondays, which are Rondo’s days off.
Q: Tell us about your horse’s personality.
Rondo has a funny personality. He is very hot and is ultra-sensitive when I ride him, but he has his moments of laziness. He is not a spooky horse but the one thing he does get a little wide-eyed at is the cows in the pasture next to the indoor arena. He absolutely loves his treats and he is very opinionated. You can definitely tell what he’s thinking at all times.
Q: Do you go trail riding?
Yes, I love to trail ride. I board at Canaan Ranch in Fulshear and the barn is on a huge plot of land, so after my rides, especially on a nice day, I take Rondo out around the lake and fields. It’s definitely a nice change of scenery from the indoor arena.
Q: What are your goals with your horse?
When we bought Rondo, he was originally just going to be my Young Rider horse, but we absolutely fell in love with him and couldn’t imagine selling him. Right now we are trying to make the Junior team for the 2010 NAJYRC and hopefully we will have the opportunity to represent Region 9 for Young Riders in the future. I also plan on training him to Grand Prix and competing in the international ring.
Q: Who is your mentor and why?
My trainer, Susan Shiba, has been wonderful and is the main reason for my success in my dressage career. I clinic with Janet Brown Foy, Tom Noone, and Jan Ebeling too, which has improved my riding tremendously, but without my trainer I would not have been able to make it this far.
Q: What can you tell other riders about reaching their goals in riding dressage?
I must admit that the journey one takes to reach their goal is not easy. There are the good days and there are definitely the bad days, but if you persevere, you will eventually achieve your aspirations. This past year for me was one of those years that really tested me and my horse. At the very beginning of the show season, my horse became sick and had to have a long period off and he lost all of his strength. When we started showing again, our scores were a great deal lower than I had expected, but it was the wake-up call we needed because we worked really hard that year, took what the judges had to say to improve and we absolutely never gave up. When we went to championships, we won the Junior Team Test class with almost a 65%. I wanted to give up so many times because it seemed like that light at the end of the tunnel would never come, but it didn’t come by giving up or complaining, it came by working harder and persevering.
Q:† What other hobbies do you do?
I go to Tae Kwon Do with my dad and little brother and I love to hang out with my friends.