DELTA COUNTY, Mich. (WZMQ) – Horse riders are preparing for a show at the U.P. State Fairgrounds this weekend.
Amateur rider Trisha Lind has been working with her horse, 18-year-old Willy, since she was a child. She purchased Willy in 2020, when the two started seriously training in dressage, which Lind describes as “ballet for horses.”
“The goal of dressage is to make the moves we’re doing look effortless,” she said.
On Saturday, June 17, Lind and Willy will compete in the U.P. Cadence Schooling Show. They have been practicing for months to perfect different actions, including walking, trotting, and cantering.
“What you like to see in dressage is a nice hollow frame coming over the top,” explained Lind. “You want him to lift his belly and use less of his neck muscles, so that way he’s kind of carrying himself up to float with over what we call the top line, making our work up here a little easier.”
Both child and adult riders will be given scores by rated judges on their performances. However, show organizer Kristen Mikula says the Schooling Show is primarily designed to be a learning experience.
“A schooling show is less pressure than a rated show,” Mikula said. “It’s just about learning to be a better rider and teaching your horse new skills.”
Lind is looking forward to getting feedback that will help her improve.
“I am more or less going for this weekend to figure out what the judge thinks I need to work on with [Willy],” she said. “I’m hoping to kind of over the year work on that and then work my way up into the next level.”
While she would like to place second or third this weekend, Lind’s true goal is to do her best. She also strives to continue having fun and developing her bond with Willy.
“We’ve gotten to the point over the last three years that he’s like my big baby,” she said. “To be able to say he’s mine and call his name and he nickers for me and we can lay in the grass and he just melts into your hands and he’ll look forward to you. You can’t put words to it.”
Mikula and other show organizers are encouraging more young people to get involved in dressage and compete in future shows.
“You’re working with your horse and learning skills,” she said. “Even though you’re competing, you’re really competing against yourself.”
Lind also encourages kids who have an interest in horses to pursue riding and dressage.
“Yes, horses can sometimes be scary and unpredictable,” she said, “but if you’ve got an ounce of, ‘I want to try that,’ do it. Do it once and you’ll never get out of the hobby. It’s so much fun!”
The public is invited to attend the U.P. Cadence Schooling Show at the fairgrounds. The show will begin at 9:00 a.m.
Visit the U.P. Cadence Schooling Show Facebook page to learn more about the show and future dressage events.