Our Interview with Kelli
1.When was the first time you saw a rider and horse performing Dressage?
The first time I ever watched dressage was watching my mother ride when I was about 6 years old.
2.When did you first start riding Dressage? I first started riding dressage when I was 8 years old.
3.Who was your first trainer and who are you currently training with? I have trained with Karen Ball for 12 years, since I was 8 years old.
4.What training advice has been the most influential in your riding? “Inside leg to outside rein”
5.How do you warm up your horse and why do you think it is important for warm-up? With my young rider horse we always had a long warm up. It mostly consisted of a forward walk for most of my warm up. I then warmed up in the long and low in the canter. He is a big horse and is getting older so it takes some time getting his engine going, but once he’s going he’s awesome. I can tell if its going to be a good ride based on a horses warm up. You can tell whe a horse is “on” and is ready to compete.
6.Do you follow the Pyramid of Training scale? Of course! The training scale is there to help every rider, and horses successfully compete through the levels.
7.Do you include rest breaks in your training sessions? Hardly ever. When we train for a competition we train, there are no rest breaks. The only time we both rest is after our lesson when we walk around the training facility or on trail.
8.Do you watch your peers ride in lessons and what do you learn? I really enjoy watching lessons, I like learning the different teaching strategies for each individual rider, because not every rider learns the same. And not just the rider but each horse is different. I want to be a trainer one day and give lessons to all different ages. I learn a lot by watching others ride, it affects how I ride and what I can do differently.
9.How often do you show? (Only answer if you show, not a required question) The last show season I tried out for Region 7’s Young Rider team so we were at every CDI and every young rider qualifier.
10.Who grooms for you at your shows?(Only answer if you show, not a required question) We get our own horses ready. We game ready, and use the magnetic blanket after every ride. Of course, we help our fellow riders get on their horses too or we take care of their horse after a class, or a ride.
12.What is your horse’s personality like and what is his/her favorite goodie? I have a couple horses who all have their own, fun personalities. But the horse I competed on last year for Young Riders was named Luciano (AKA Laddie). Laddie is a 17.3 hand Holsteiner dark bay gelding. Laddie has so much personality! He is so funny, he loves apples, bread and sugar. It takes a while for you to get to know him because he is very cranky and sassy, but at the same time he is so sweet! He loves being taken out for grass so that he can have a snack and roll (especially after a long bath.) Luciano loves to show! I love riding a horse who loves to show off. He is a one of a kind horse.
13.Do you trail ride and how often? I LOVE trail riding! I take all of my horses on trail rides. I think it’s very important for any horse to go out on trail, especially show horses.
14.What are your goals for you and your horse? I am currently at Baylor University in Texas. I am on Baylor’s equestrian team, and I also play Polo.
15.What is your favorite Dressage music freestyle performed? My favorite freestyle music would definitely be Michael Jackson or Journey, maybe even some Earth, Wind, and Fire would be great. My young rider freestyle music that I used in Kentucky was Chicago music, which I LOVED!
16.Who is your favorite rider? Steffen Peters!
17.What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals in dressage? Dressage is a very unique equestrian sport, and also a very hard sport. Every rider can reach his or hers own goals, you just have to work hard at it. If you love horses and are competitive then this is the sport for you. Horseshows are always fun to go to! Waking up at 5 Am is hard, training is hard, but in the end it is all worth it. Just keep working at it.
18.What can you share with other riders the most important advice of learning Dressage? Stay humble. Always be willing to learn something new. Be patient as well, sometimes Dressage will get hard and tricky, and the most important thing is to not give up. One of my most memorable dressage memories is making the 2011 Region 7 Young Rider Team, and walking down the ramp into the dressage arena in the Rolex Stadium at the Lexington Kentucky Horse Park. Having friends and family there to support me was one of my most memorable highlights. Horses are such a big part of my life, I love riding Dressage and playing Polo at the Orange County Polo Club in Coto de Caza, California. I am so blessed to have such amazing parents that have made all of my dreams possible.
Kelli was Rider of the Month for August of 2013.