Georgia is Rider of the month for April at Dressageforjuniors.com Check out her interview below:
A little bit about Georgia:
My name is Georgia Wren-Russ, I live in Malibu, California and I am a FEI Young Rider. I am 19 years old and have been riding and actively competing for 14 years. I have competed not only on the dressage circuit but the hunter/jumper and western circuits as well. Along with riding horses, in high school I was on the soccer, volleyball and basketball teams. Currently I am a sophomore at UCLA, majoring in physical teaching. After college I plan on starting a personal training business, specializing in competitive equestrians.
Horses have always played a huge role in my life. I guess it all started with my grandfather and his mare, Dixie Bell, who he competed when he was a teenager in Arkansas. After passing his love down to my mother, this love and great respect was instilled into me. My mother, Clare Wren, runs a therapeutic riding program called Emotion In Motion where I volunteer on the weekends. I hope in the future to continue to share my love of horses with the people around me.
Our interview with Georgia
Q: When did you first start riding Dressage?
• I took my first dressage lesson back in 1996 at Makilani Stables in Maui, Hawaii. At that point I had no idea what dressage even was. All I knew was that I was going to the barn with my mom after her polo games and I was going to ride Diamond, an Appaloosa gelding. After we moved back to the mainland I began riding at TES in Burbank, California and I was primarily jumping. It wasn’t until 2007 that I really returned to dressage at a serious competitive level.
Q: Who are you training with?
• I am currently training at IronHorse Ranch in Malibu, California with Jane Arrasmith and her assistant Alison Burt. Jane has given me the opportunity to take the working student position.
Q: How do you warm up your horse and why do you think it is important for warm-up?
• Warming up is so important. I have an older horse so we always walk a good 15 minutes before we start a stretchy trot. Generally I do a lot of stretchy, and turning. My warm up routine changes day-to-day and horse-to-horse. I would suggest to everyone to spend time walking and allowing their horse to loosen up before going on to more difficult movements. Hey, would you go sprint a mile after just getting out of bed? I know I wouldn’t!
Q: Who is your biggest influence in your riding?
• My mother is by far the biggest influence when it comes to my riding. She made me ride all the babies and all the horses no one wanted to ride. I despised her for it at times but looking back on it now I am so grateful. Now I can sit on almost anything and I gained so much knowledge that I probably would have never gotten the opportunity to receive. She made me the rider I am today. She taught me to make the best out of what I had. Lemonade out of lemons!
Q: What is a typical day in the training for you and your horse, and what exercises do you work on more
• A typical day in training starts with getting to the barn and starting work at 7:40am. Work includes: buckets, grooming, cleaning, riding, lunging and more. When I am working my horse we work on turning and supplying a lot. I would not say there are specific exercises I do more than others, I just do exercises that I feel will make my horse feel better.
Q: What is the most important training tip you can give other riders?
• The most important training tip that anyone has ever given me is if you fall off you must get back on, even if it is only at the walk. That way the fear is lessened and you are not afraid to simply get back on after an accident. Another tip is the little things matter. Skipping steps in the long run only makes things worse.
Q: Tell us about your horse’s personality, what he/she likes and doesn’t like!
• Ha ha! My competitive horse Saphiro, a 19-year-old Württemberg gelding, is such a funny guy! I swear Saphiro is ten horses in one. He can be extremely unpredictable. We will be going around the arena perfectly and suddenly we will be bucking across the arena. We have been known to clear a few warm ups here and there. Saphiro really enjoying food, especially bananas! He is the only horse I have ever had to love bananas.
Q: Who is your favorite rider?
• My favorite rider; that is a hard one! I am not sure I actually have one. I respect Edward Gal and Gunter Zach a great deal.
Q: Is your goal to be in the Olympics someday?
• I would say the Olympics is definitely one of my goals. It would be simply an honor to represent the United States at the Olympic Games one day.
Q: What is your favorite dressage movement?
• My favorite dressage movement changes horse to horse. On Saphiro really it comes down to doing movements that move him go better. Some days its shoulder in, haunches in, and half pass. Other days it is strictly 10-meter circles. Whatever does the trick. I do love the way the extended trot feels, when it is done right.
Q: Do you like riding to music?
• I did my first freestyle last year to music from the musical Grease. I never realized how much of a process it is! I choreographed it and my friend Daniel Infuso helped mix my music. Saphiro and I qualified and competed our freestyle at DASC 2010 Championships and won with a score of 67%. I do enjoy riding with music whether it is a freestyle or simply my IPod in my ear.
Q: What can you share with other riders the most important advice of learning Dressage?
• I believe dressage helps with every form of riding. While I was on the hunter/jumper circuit I was able to adjust my horses strides easier because I understood how to use my seat. I could get him to sit and reach rather than rushing and getting flat. Dressage at the lower levels should be done with every horse. I encourage all riders to at least learn dressage through second level.
Q: What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals in dressage?
• When it comes to reaching goals I believe that having a long-term goal and a few short-term goals are every essential in moving forward. It gives the rider something to move towards. Just remember to keep your goals attainable and make choices that will propel you towards your goal. Also the horse world is so expensive and I know it can be discouraging to juniors who do not have the most expensive horse or the nicest saddle. Just remember to work hard and you never know, someone just may help you out because they see how badly you want your goal and how hard you work. Make the very best out of what you have. Go big or go home, what else to you have to lose?
Q: What are your goals with your horse for 2011?
• My goals for 2011 are to make the US Region 7 Young Rider Team on a young mare named Piaffe, a horse that I have been given the opportunity to ride and compete. With Saphiro I am hoping to qualify for CDS Jr/YR Championships, DASC Championships and USDF Championships at PSG. I have a good feeling about this ye