Here is our Interview with Rosie Simoes!
1.When did you first start riding Dressage:
My mom, Julie Julian is a dressage trainer, so I was technically riding before I was born! But I really started to work on dressage around 5 or 6 when I first started showing my pony, Spanky.
2.Who are you training with now?
My mother Julie Julian, and I clinic regularly with Christine Traurig.
3. What is a typical lesson day like for you and your horse?
I live on the same property as the barn where my horse Proteus lives, so a typical lesson day would be getting up early and going down to the barn to work. Once I know when my mom would like me to ride, I work the other horses I train, and then prepare Proteus for his ride.
He’s a funny guy and loves to be spoiled. I always bring him inside from turnout awhile before I ride him so he has time to go to the bathroom and relax. Then I spend about half an hour grooming and loving on him before I get on for my lesson.
After he is worked I cool him out by stretching him over his back in the trot, and sometimes the canter as well, then walk him out on a loose rein. If it’s a nice day, I will walk him up the grass along the driveway, and if the apples are ready I’ll have my mom loosen his noseband so he can grab a few from under the apple tree on the way.
4.How long do you warm up your horse?
Since Proteus is such a big boy standing at 18h, it takes him a little longer to warm up his body, so we usually give him 15 to 20 minute until he is through his back and ready to go to serious work.
5.Do you trail ride with your horse?
Absolutely! He loves to go out on the trail.
6.Does your horse get regular turnouts?
He goes outside everyday in his round pen.
7.Who is your biggest influence in your riding?
My mother is definitely the biggest influence in my riding. She allows me to work with fantastic horses everyday, and I love watching her ride and teach. I always find that she has something to teach me, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without her constant support!
Another big influence on my riding is Christine Traurig. I love when she comes in town for clinics and helps me with Proteus. She influences me to strive to accomplish the very best I can, and I always report back to her after competitions for advice and support.
8.What is the most important advice you can give other riders starting in Dressage?
The most important advice I would give to those starting Dressage is the basics are the most important part. Work hard in the beginning to learn proper fundamentals, and you will be on the right track! Make sure to work on having proper position and remember to have fun and not take things too seriously!
9.Tell us about your horse.
Proteus is a 10-year-old, 18 hand Danish Warmblood by Blue Hors Don Schufro and bred by Oak Hill Ranch in Louisiana. We have had him since he was just turning 3 years old. He and I have grown up together, making us attached at the hip and best friends.
I have had the honor of showing him since he was just 5 and I was 13, which says a lot about his character. He is the gentlest horse I have ever encountered and extremely sensitive to feelings. Recently he has become a little bit of a show off with his new found confidence, but I can’t blame him after all that he has done with horse shows and traveling the country!
At the barn we laugh and say that if Proteus were a person, he would be like Big Mike from the Blindside. He may be 18 hands, but he’s really just a big sensitive guy who would do anything to protect his family
Currently Proteus and I are showing at the Prix St. George level, and he is schooling the Grand Prix movements with my mom, while I am learning them along the way.
10.Who are your favorite riders and why?
My favorite rider is definitely Edward Gal. It is so refreshing to watch him ride. I have always loved Edward’s riding and training because he is so quiet and understanding, and it is apparent that his horses are more than willing to work for him! I am amazed by how effective his half halts are and how they rebalance and produce more engagement from the hind legs.
So while many people are binge-watching Netflix, I’ll be watching Edward Gal on YouTube for hours. One day I watched 8 master classes of his in a row, and I always watch him ride on my laptop the night before a show. Then when I wake up to ride the next day, I pray I can ride half as well as he does!
Tell us about your parents and how they are involved in your riding career.
My mother is a horse trainer, so we work hand-in-hand every day with the horses at our barn, Flying Dutchman in Barrington, IL. She is my biggest supporter! My father passed away a few years ago, but he was always supportive of me as well, and I know he would be proud of my riding today.
11. Is it your goal to be in the Olympics someday?
I don’t think that riding in the Olympics should be a goal; I think it should be an aspiration. The stars really have to be in alignment to make the team! There is only one shot every four years, the horse has to be stellar and in top shape… There are really so many variables! My goal is to ride internationally representing the United States. I am a very realistic person, and I would of course love to ride in the Olympics, but I would love it more to know that I am riding and training my own horses while teaching those around me how to do the same.
13. Tell us how you deal with this kind of commitment to be where you are at today.
It takes hard work and dedication to be committed in riding Dressage. I ride 5 days a week, and I ride several horses each day. But it’s not only riding that I do. I also aid in taking care of the horses at our barn, and I help monitor how they are doing. Working with my mother, I am really hands on with everything that happens with the horses, from the vet to the farrier. For me it is important to understand the horses, inside and out. I want them all to succeed and be mentally happy and physically fit. As riders we must never loose sight of their happiness and their enthusiasm to work. It is the most important thing to understand the horse and how they feel!
14.What is your favorite dressage movement and why?
I honestly do not have a favorite ‘movement’. I would say my favorite thing when I am riding is when I can accomplish a correct, forward feeling half halt. Then I feel like I have accomplished something!
15.Do you like riding to music?
I do! I like to ride different horses to different music. Proteus loves country, but I work with a quick-witted pony I ride to Ed Sheeran because I think it mellows him out a bit.
16.What can you tell riders about reaching their goals?
My biggest advice is if you want something, you have to get up and work for it! Nothing is going to be handed to you, and if it is, it won’t last forever. I love the quote, “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up” because that is how I live. I try my best and try to work hard in everything I do, and I feel that my hard work has paid off. I have been blessed with opportunities, but I always remind myself to continue to strive for something more, and to keep working hard.
- What are your goals with your horse this year?
At the beginning of the season, my goals were to be top 3 at the Festival of Champions and top 10 at the NAJYRC. However, the qualifying season was rough for Proteus and I, as he was overcoming a sore back, and we opted to stay home and not go to Festival, as the long trailer ride would not have been comfortable for him. Looking ahead however, I am looking forward to working on the more advanced movements with him this winter, and preparing for the Brentina Cup in the years ahead.