WDAGA Partners with Georgia 4-H at State Show!

For the first time, The Georgia State 4-H Horse show offered a Western Dressage opportunity to their young riders. During the week long show, riders were introduced to the discipline through an informative talk and demonstration ride given by WDAGA President Kim Stayton and her daughter Sydney with their horses Iron Avenger and Von Mystic. They demonstrated the various gaits and movements that would be asked of the young riders and entertained lots of great questions! The classes were judged by Sally Crews “L” who had good familiarity with Western Dressage and was very encouraging in her feedback comments to all the participants. Overall, there were 5 Junior division riders who completed Intro Test 3 and 7 Senior Division riders who completed Basic Test 3. All but one of these young ladies were new to Western Dressage. One Senior rider, Olivia Tierce and her mare Freckles Badger were already in their comfort zone as they are the reigning Youth High Point team in Georgia. All of the girls had a great time learning and trying something new. Many asked for a show calendar and how to join as members. “Getting more youth involved is vital to the growth of our discipline”, stated WDAGA President Kim Stayton. Huge thank you to UGA Cooperative Extension Service Equine Specialist Dr. Julia McCann, who was open minded and excited about adding another discipline. The sweetest part of the show was at the awards ceremony when the Junior division champ was named, she burst into tears and was so overjoyed! Alexandra Smith and her gelding, Rulers Skipa Cajun, had not done well in other classes because he was too forward for the traditional stock seat classes. However, his tempo and impulsion carried them to first place in Western Dressage! All of the horses and riders had a great time and we are confident many of these girls will continue doing western dressage because of their positive experience. Talk to your State extension agents and see if your state will offer Western Dressage next year. We need to encourage more youth participation if this discipline is to have a strong future.

Submitted by Kim Stayton on 06/16/2018

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