Dallas Van Stratton

Our Interview with Dallas:

When did you first start riding dressage?

I first started showing around the age of 6, but had been riding since I was 3. My dad would put me up on our old western horses until the day I said, “Dad, this is embarrassing”. From that day on I have been taking dressage lessons.

Who are you training with?

I currently train with Jami Kment at Providence Farm in Palmyra, Nebraska.

Who is your biggest influence in your riding?

My biggest influence is my horse. Sometimes when I’m feeling blue, all it takes is one look from my big guy and everything’s fine again.

What is a typical day in training for you and your horse, and what exercises do you work on more than others?

My horse is built a little on the long side, so we work on getting him balanced and under himself. Right now though, we focus on learning movements, and making me more independent with training when my coach is not around.

Tell us about your horses personality, what he/she likes and doesn’t like?

My horse’s name is Vainqueur E which is French for “Victor” or “Winner”, but we call him Vee for short. He is almost 9 years old, yet still seems to maintain the mindset of a 3 year old. He has more personality that any horse I’ve ever met. If you ever get
the chance to meet Vee in person, you might notice he has very long, furry ear hair.
This just happens to be because he is deathly afraid of clippers. One might ask why we haven’t tried using scissors. Well, he also just happens to be afraid of those too.
While those might be his two downsides, he has a secret quality. When we get in the ring, he all of a sudden likes to show off. He comes to life and gets really flashy and hot. He may have a hard warm up, but still will go in the ring and surprise everyone.

Who is your favorite rider?

I will always be a Stephen Peters fan. Ever since I saw him at the Dressage Masters show in Wellington, Florida, in 2009.

Is it your goal to be in the Olympics someday?

I feel like every little girls dream would have to be going to the Olympics! So, yes!

What is your favorite Dressage movement?

My personal favorite would have to be flying changes, just because Vee likes them too.

Do you like riding to music?

Not necessarily. I really “get in the zone” when I ride.

What can you share with other riders the most important part of learning dressage?

I would have to say it would be to never get yourself down about a bad score, because there will always be another ride and another chance. On the flip side of that, I would say never to be cocky when a good score is thrown your way. For me, going from a
year where I never scored above a 60, to a year where I was scoring 70’s, I’ve seen both sides of that advice come into play.

What can you tell other juniors about reaching their goals in dressage?

Stick to it. That’s what everyone always says. But whose job is it to dictate that you should do dressage and nothing else? Only do it while it’s fun. My mom always told me that if it’s not fun, it’s a job. I’ve always been one to encourage trying other disciplines of riding just for fun.

What are your goals with your horse in
2011?

Vee and I are trying to finish up our bronze medal, and make to the NAJYR team in 2012.

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