Here is our interview with Rebecca:
My name is Rebecca Cohen, I live in Wellington, Florida and I am an FEI Junior Rider. I am 15 years old and started riding when I was two years old. I am a freshman in High School and I am homeschooled. When I finish high school I would like to go to collage, and then graduate with a degree in Equine Science. After college I would like to be a professional dressage rider and trainer.
I got my first pony when I was two years old and have been addicted to riding and horses in general ever since. In 2010 I made the Region 3 Junior Team and helped my team win a bronze medal. I also made the top 12 in the country to go to the Festival of Champions (Nationals). At Regionals, I won the FEI Junior and 3rd level division. My three horses are the best friends I could ever ask for and I could not even imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t ride or have my amazing horses.
Q: When did you first start riding Dressage?
I started riding dressage when I was about 7 years old on my pony Sally Be Good, which was an A-rated hunter pony. I competed in Introductory and Training levels with her, she is currently 35 years old and in retirement.
Q: Who are you training with?
I train with llse Schwarz
Q: How do you warm up your horse and why do you think it is important for warm-up?
I warm up all my horses differently, but all of them are started in the walk for at least ten minutes. Downtown is a little harder off my leg, and doesn’t like to keep forward, so his warm up consists of tons of leg-yeilds and just making sure he is infront of my leg and going forward into the bridle. Optimus is extremely forward so I spend the majority of my warm up half halting and doing transitions. The most important thing about warming up a horse is making sure that they are supple and forward before asking to collect.
Q: Who is your biggest influence in your riding?
When I was three years old, I could not get enough of watching Anky Van Grunsven and Isabell Werth on video tapes. I just thought everything was so cool and I wanted to try it. Anyone who has helped me with my riding by just watching or helping me is someone who influences me.
Q: Who is your favorite rider?
My favorite dressage rider is Steffen Peters. I have been able to watch him when Ravel has been at my barn and it is always all about the horse. He never forces anything.
Q: Is your goal to be in the Olympics someday?
I would say that the Olympics is something that I would love to do. Even representing my country at the NAJYRC Is such an honor, and the Olympics is a whole other level so I would love to represent USA at the Olympics, it has been my dream ever since I have started riding dressage.
Q: What is your favorite dressage movement?
My favorite movement is the canter pirouette. The movement is so beautiful and I have only tried it a few times on my horse but I love the feeling that you get when you do it correctly.
Q: Do you like riding to music?
Freestyles are fun and I enjoy choreographing and “putting the pieces together”. I do find it very distracting sometimes though, even just riding to music in general. Once I started getting really serious with dressage I didn’t like riding to my iPod anymore.
Q: What can you share with other riders the most important advice of learning Dressage?
Keeping a happy and healthy horse and building a relationship with your horse outside of the arena. I spend a ton of time just hanging out by my horse’s stall and spending time with them is something I love doing. Horses come before everything and I love my horses unconditionally. Another thing is that I feel that dressage really focuses on learning new things. A jumper has a limit of how high it can jump, but a dressage horse can always keep improving and there is no limit. That’s why I love dressage over any other equestrian sport.
Q: What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals in dressage?
The most important thing to me, is setting your goals and achieving them. I set goals because it always gives me something to look forward to and it helps me along the way to achieving my dream. Also, doing the FEI Pony division and starting right from scratch helped me so much with the transition to the Juniors. Never giving up on your dream is something else that I believe in. Even if you may not have the nicest horse, nothing can stop you from following your dreams!
Q: What are your goals with your horse for 2011?
My goals for 2011 is to make the Region 3 Junior Team and go to The Festival of Champions. I really also want to be able to make the top 15 to do my freestyle at NAJYRC. My main goal is to represent my Region to my best ability and to make the top six Individually.