Mandalyn Skiles

~Reserve Champion 
Third level at Regionals junior division (Region 2) 2013-2014 
~US finals for Third level Freestyle 2014 ( competing as open rider)
~Bronze medal 2013
~Reserve Champion USDF All-Breed Award for Junior division 2014
~Indiana Dressage Society Third level Champion award 2013-2104
Mandalyn -close up CW and MKS
Our Interview with Mandalyn
1. When did you first start riding Dressage?
I started riding Dressage four and a half years ago
2. Do you ride without stirrups when schooling your horse?
Typically no 
3. What is your training regime on a daily basis with your horse or horses?
First I make sure we have the basics, if we do I move on to the things that have been working on. If we do not have the basics then all I ride that day are the basics, eve if that means only walking that day.
4. How important is the warm up and cool down of your horse(s)?
I think the warm up is the most important part of the ride. If you do not have proper warm up, your results are not going to be the same.
5. What is the importance of transitions in your schooling?
I think this is also the most important thing in your riding. I have always been taught this and i believe it, I have seen the difference. I think Transitions in your warm up are very important, even if it is transitions within the gait. If i did not do transitions on my horse i ride, he would become very behind the leg. With him, this result can end very badly (he is a very good bucker).
6. Do you follow the Scales of Training on a daily basis?
In general, yes. It takes alot of disciplining yourself to do it, but the results are worth it.
7. What is the most essential quality in the early stages of training a horse
I think to have the horse trust you from the beginning is very important. The horse is not going to want to do something for you if he does not trust you. Also, I think making the work pleasant and short is key.
8. Have you ever owned a Schoolmaster or have you done the training yourself with your horse?
No. The horse I ride now had been showed up to first level and was schooling all the second level movements. When I started riding him he was mostly out of shape. We had to take it slowly for a while considering I was learning too. He is also a very sensative horse in general, so pushing him was not the thing to do with him.
9. Do you include interval training for your horse?
No. I will so times take him on trails around the farm and slow gallop for short distances, but not on a regular basis.
10. How often do you show? 
Approximately eight shows a year, it always varies.
11. Do you braid your own horse’s mane?
Yes, I actually enjoy it. I put headphones in and think about my next ride. It also gives me time to chill.
12. Who grooms for you at your shows? 
No one. The horse’s owner ( Dixie) is normally there if I need something, but in general I do it all.
13. Do you trail ride and how often?
Sometimes, I think it is good for the horse’s brain to do different things. I like to take Cruisewood out once in a while for that purpose. I also think it is good for me to relax too.
14. What are your goals for you and your horse?
I am hoping to do NAJYRC(juniors) this year. I also hope to get my Silver medal.
15. Do you have a musical freestyle for you and your horse, and if so what type of music do you like?
Yes I do. My freestyle is Young Mozart, so it is hip-hop with a classical twist to it.
16. Name your favorite horse and rider?
I would say Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. I love and admire her and Carls training method, and as you can see it has really payed off for them.
17. What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals in dressage?
 Dedication is key. Watch lessons, just because its not your lesson does not mean you cannot benefit form it. Watch people ride, look at what you want versus what you don not want. Be confident about your goals. Don’t compare yourself to other riders, instead look how far you have come.  
18. What is your horse’s personality like and what is the funniest thing he/she does?
He is a big teddy bear. He loves people that feed him treats. The funniest thing he does is groom you while you groom him.
19. Please tell us who you would like to Thank for being your best supporters:
I would like to thank Cruisewoods owner, Dixie Pederson for giving me this wonderful opportunity to ride and show her talented equine!

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