Here is our interview with Camille Kusin:
1.When was the first time you saw a rider and horse performing Dressage?
I think I first saw dressage during a pony club event when I was around 8 years old.
2.When did you first start riding Dressage?
I first started riding dressage when I was 9 years old on an amazing Connemara pony, Newbridge Joe who now lives at home with my mom. Before that I rode a little western and did a lot of jumping and cross country. But I fell in love with dressage!
3.Who was your first trainer and who are you currently training with?
My first dressage trainer was Jeannette Derammelaere. I have been training with Stefan Wolff since I moved to southern California for school and have been loving it!
4.What training advice has been the most influential in your riding?
I would say that quality over quantity is the most important training advice I have been taught. Keeping the training comfortable and correct for both horse and rider is the most important thing.
5. How do you warm up your horse and why do you think it is important for warm-up?
I always try to have the most correct warm up as possible. Domino tends to curl his neck and get behind the vertical, so for my warm up I focus on allowing him to stretch forward over his back and becoming more and more active behind. Doing this allows me to develop a stable connection with Domino though his back and neck reaching forward and maintaining an uphill balance. I think the warm up time is the most important because it can set the tone for the entire ride. I always want my horse to come out ready to work but relaxed and supple.
6.Do you follow the Pyramid of Training scale?
I totally agree with the Pyramid of Training scale. It is a great tool for riders of every level to use!
7.Do you include rest breaks in your training sessions?
I do include rest breaks in my riding. I also always try to reward Domino when he responds correctly to an aid or gives a correct effort. I think its important to help the horse gain confidence in assuring them that they are responding correctly.
8.Do you watch your peers ride in lessons and what do you learn?
I always try to watch as much as possible! I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing riders at my barn and try to take advantage of that. Watching other riders overcome issues is so useful and I try to apply their techniques to my riding.
9.How often do you show?
During the show season I usually show about once a month. I like showing year round also because it keeps me motivated and working hard!
10.Who grooms for you at your shows?
I do my own grooming at shows but my mom travels from northern California for my shows and she hasn’t missed one yet! It is great having an extra set of hands and Domino loves to visit with his Grandma!
11.Do you braid your own horse?
Yes I do my own braids! I actually like doing all the grooming because I can make sure everything is set up well before my ride and allows for some quiet time for Domino and me.
12.What is your horse’s personality like and what is his/her favorite goodie?
Domino is the sweetest horse! He always tries 110% for me and never shuts down on me. I really couldn’t ask for a better characteristic in a horse! Domino loves apples! I always sneak him a few from my school cafeteria!
13.Do you trail ride and how often?
I love to trail ride! There are trails where I board Domino which is great because I take him for a nice long walk after training. It gives him a time to cool off and gives him a change of scenery.
14.What are your goals for you and your horse?
I really want to have a great 2012 show season! My horse has been doing great and I just want to continue learning and having fun!
15.What is your favorite Dressage music freestyle performed?
Every time I need inspiration I go on youtube and watch Edward Gal and Totilis’ freestyle. I sill get goosebumps!
16.Who is your favorite rider?
Its hard to pick one rider but I love how correctly and quietly Edward Gal rides!
17.What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals in dressage?
I would tell other riders to never give up on their goals. Dressage requires so much hard work and dedication but it is so rewarding. Never lose site of your dreams, take criticism in style and go for it!
18.What can you share with other riders the most important advice of learning Dressage?
Be patient and have fun! Don’t rush your training just to be doing fancy movements. Do everything slowly and correctly and you and your horse will develop a bond that you can’t find anywhere else besides in the saddle.