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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Young dressage camp offers innovative learning opportunities

ABOVE: Jo Gilshenan of Canowindra and Royale being coached by Alison Soster. Picture: AMBA McGOLDRICK

THE Young Dressage Association has held its first ever dressage camp, with registrations filling within 24 hours of them opening.

Fifty riders of all standards made their way to Bendick Murrell, between Young and Cowra, for the weekend, with their experience ranging from those who have had a break from riding or only recently returned to competition, through to those competing at FEI level.

Ages ranged from riders in their twenties to their seventies.

The coaching team of Megan Bryant, Susan Elekessy, Jana Pope, Alison Soster and Sue Walker conducted individual lessons, while Sarah Venamore coached groups of riders on navigating the warm up.

On the first day of the camp, riders had an individual lesson with their preferred coach plus a group lesson.

They also had the chance to attend five educational sessions on mindset, rider nutrition, horse stretches/warm up, saddle fit and presentation.

They were also able to book in for a massage (the riders, not the horses).

ABOVE: Sarah Venamore giving Darryl Bossley some warm up exercises. Picture: AMBA McGOLDRICK

A protocol event was run on the second day, where riders had the opportunity to ride two dressage tests of choice, with two different judges, and then work through the feedback from the judge to improve their scores over a 20-minute session.

Riders appreciated the informal opportunity to practise riding a test under no pressure.

The concept was formulated by club committee member Amba McGoldrick, who wants to bring a higher level of equestrian education to regional NSW.

"Training weekends shouldn't be limited to high performance squads and those in metropolitan catchments," she said.

Amba believes equestrian clubs should aim to serve their membership by providing riders of all levels with affordable opportunities to improve their knowledge and to ride in an environment that is safe, encouraging and provides the support to take their first steps into the dressage arena.

"Knowledge shouldn't be available to only those that can afford it," she said.

"As an equestrian community we should try for inclusivity that works for all levels, from the elite to novice."

ABOVE: Nicole Godber receiving instruction from Jana Poppe. Picture: AMBA McGOLDRICK

The Young Dressage Club was established in 1974 and has gone from strength to strength over the years.

The committee and members have worked very hard to establish a permanent ground at Bendick Murrell and purposely developed the grounds for dressage.

There are six sand arenas complete with sand tracks around each, a large sand warm-up arena, large parking area, plenty of shade, wash bays, lunging areas, a dedicated spectator’s area, permanent yards, stables and camping facilities.

New members are always welcome at the club, with more information available from their website.


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