October 2015 - Dressage Day
Written by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 20:53
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Fun and educational event a big hit at Nellie Gail.

by Kim F. Miller / photos by Nancy Albright, www.nancyalbrightphotography.com

This summer’s national Young Rider dressage champion Catherine Chamberlain was the “mane” attraction at the third annual Dressage Day, Aug. 30, at Nellie Gail Ranch in Orange County.

Organizer Nicole Bhathal, left, and fellow presenters Catherine Chamberlain, Christine Stephensen, Megan Tie and Lisa Rathfelder.

Co-organizer Steve Pollack, a polo player and South Orange County Pony Club dad.

Organized by the California Dressage Society-San Juan Capistrano chapter and the South Orange County Pony Club, the event is designed to pique young riders’ interest in dressage and it did exactly that.

Equestrians from a variety of riding backgrounds went in small groups to various stations throughout the morning.

Catherine spoke about the steps to success in dressage and shared some of her own diverse riding experiences, including jumping and team penning, before settling into dressage. She emphasized that any horse can do and benefit from dressage and advised all against getting discouraged by setbacks. Instead, they should be used as motivation to get better. She praised Pony Club as a great foundation and encouraged all to continue their education.

Volunteering at dressage shows and attending any kind of horse competition to watch top riders and horses are good ways to keep learning.

At another station, hunter/jumper trainer and professional braider and groom Lisa Rathfelder shared many terrific tips.

Our favorite was the notion that horses of any color can have dappled coats. Not from expensive grooming tools or supplements, but from good old-fashioned elbow grease, as in 45 minutes a day of vigorous curry combing.“It stimulates natural oils in the skin and blood flow, along with getting the dander out and helping to warm-up the horse’s muscles before a ride,” she explained of her “#1 health tip.”

Organizer Nicole Bhathal reviewed Training Level tests with attendees and demo riders. And Nellie Gail-based dressage trainer Christine Stephenson, of Creekside Equestrian, and youth ambassador Megan

Tie oversaw fun riding exercises in the arena. A BBQ followed to conclude the fun and informative event.