Our Interview with Regan:
- When did you first start riding Dressage?
I started Dressage officially my freshman year of high school. I had been riding since I was in Kindergarten, but it wasn’t really anything serious. I had done probably a few training level tests before, but I was really just riding through the movements. I had never thought about things such the training scale until I officially started.
- Do you ride without stirrups when schooling your horse?
Not usually. I did a while back when I need to work on my seat and balance, but now that I’m confident with those I don’t really find it necessary.
- What is your training regime on a daily basis with your horse or horses?
Well, as a college student I unfortunately only have time to ride my horse. I do a pretty basic warmup for an FEI horse. I do a lot of long and low trotting and really focus on getting his hind legs moving and his back swinging. I do a couple long-diagonal leg yields at the trot as well. Then I’ll go to canter where similarly to the trot I focus on long-and-low and getting his hind legs moving. I’ll do a working pirouette, a medium canter, and a flying change each way before I take a break. Once I’m done with a break, I’ll put Karat in a FEI frame, start to work collection and refine my movements.
- How important is the warm up and cool down of your horse(s)?
Warm-up is essential. Just like us, a horse needs to get their muscles moving before they really start to stress them. I know that if I don’t properly warmup my horse the quality of my work will suffer. Even going beyond that, this is the time to really adjust your communication with your horse. If your horse is ignoring one of you aids, it is better to tackle it during a simple warmup rather than a sophisticated movement. Cool down is also just as important. Although the process is simpler, it yields a similar result. A proper cool down will allow the horse to return to work the next day with looser muscles.
- What is the importance of transitions in your schooling?
Transitions are just as important as a movement, in some tests they are even judged as a movement. At this point in Karat’s training it’s not usually something I have to drill into him about, but smooth transitions are required in a smooth presentation.
- Do you follow the Scales of Training on a daily basis?
The Training scale is something that just makes sense in the process of riding. It’s not something I consciously think about, but I do follow it.
- What is the most essential quality in the early stages of training a horse?
I have never dealt with the early stages of training a horse myself. But I have spent enough time watching young horses that the two most prominent quality that is encouraged is forwardness. In Dressage, it is so much easier to deal with a horse that is too forward than one who is behind you. Forwardness is also a element of the first level of the training scale, rhythm.
- Have you ever owned a Schoolmaster or have you done the training yourself with your horse?
My first horse, Braveheart was a schoolmaster. This was really awesome for me since I got to learn all the basics without compromising the horse. He taught me all the way up to Fourth Level movements. I got my current horse, Karat after Braveheart. He knew all the movements, but he was still a young horse and wasn’t as confirmed in them as Braveheart was. With Karat I’ve always had a trainer help me to bring him to where he is now, but I’ve been the primary rider.
- How often do you show?
I show pretty often, depending on the time of the year. In the spring, I am trying to qualify for NAJYRC and USEF Nationals, so I’ll usually do up to two shows a month for three months. Then In the summer I attend those competitions depending whether or not I qualified for them. After the championship shows, I’ll attend a couple in the fall that is usually more for fun.
- Do you braid your own horse’s mane?
Not as of right now, but ask me in a month or so and this answer will change!
- Who grooms for you at your shows? If I attend the show with a big group there is usually a groom to help. But if it’s a smaller group I usually groom myself with a lot of help from my trainer.
- Do you trail ride and how often?
I sometimes do in the summer, but usually only once every three weeks or so. Now when I have time to ride it’s most important to me to focus on training for young riders.
- What are your goals for you and your horse?
I want to qualify for NAJYRC and USEF nationals in the Young Rider division ultimately, but since this is our first year at young riders I ‘m not stressing this too hard. I would also be happy with a couple of good, solid Young Rider tests.
- Do you have a musical freestyle for you and your horse, and if so what type of music do you like?
I currently do not. I’m working on it in the next couple of months. My junior freestyle from last year had some pretty current music, such as Kanye West and Rihanna. I’d like to stick to current and popular music for my Young Rider freestyle. I feel that the audience enjoys it more when they can recognize the songs.
- Name your favorite horse and rider?
This is such a hard question, there are so many combinations that I consistently watch. I think the one that inspired me the most when I first started dressage was Totilas and Edward Gal. I hope to see Totilas out at competition again.
- What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals in dressage?
The best piece of advice I can give is to focus, and work hard. I come to the barn ready to focus all my attention into my riding. Listen to the resources around you, especially your trainer and your horse. Although riding is technically a individual sport, it really takes a team.
- What is your horse’s personality like and what is the funniest thing he/she does?
Karat’s personality ranges from puppy to spoiled brat. He can be so incredibly sweet that he literally melts my heart. Then, there are other times when he really wants a treat, and he’ll be a little pushy about it. Usually he’s more sweet than bratty so I don’t mind. The funniest thing he does is steal baseball caps with his mouth. He discovered this talent a couple of years ago and now he will sneak up on any innocent person wearing a hat.
- Please tell us who you would like to Thank for being your best supporters:
I’d love to thank mostly my parents. I would not have gotten to where I am now without their help and support. I also want to thank Mary Bahniuk Lauritsen and Joy Bahniuk, my trainers from Massachusetts who I still stay in constant touch with, they are awesome and lifelong friends. And I owe a lot of thank you to Heidi Gaian, Pam Nelson, and Kristine Howe of Villa Rosa Dressage, where I train in California. It’s hard to deal with a busy college student as a client, but they are just the best and have helped me so much.
- What is your favorite quote that you love and want to share with others?
“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” – Tina Fey.
I’m working on getting pictures for you. What type of medium am I ordering them for- I just want to make sure we don’t break any copyright laws 🙂
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