The Webinar hosted by Equestrian Canada ran into some techincal difficulties and had a later than planned start. Once it got under way, Ron King ,who was the moderator told us there were 78 attendees logged in. He then introduced the panelists. Brittany Fraser Beaulieu, Megan Lane and Lindsay Kellock. All three are stars of Canadian Dressage. The topic for the evening was “make it a ten please.” In dressage if a movement is awarded a 10 by the judge is means it is excellent. Very few tens are given.
After Ron had introduced the panelists they also spoke about their history with horses and some of their competition history. Then Ron asked questions of the riders. Questions had been submitted by attendees.
? What advice do you have for young riders?
Lindsay: “Find someone who has experience with dressage. Sit in the arena, do the stalls, go online and watch videos of top riders.
Megan: “There are a lot of people who are a passionate about horses. But hard work is essential. Knowledge comes from true dedication and time out of the saddle as well as in the saddle. The influences and the coaches you have in your life are important.”
Brittany: “Juniors and young riders often forget that it is a long road with lots of ups and downs and it gets tough at times. Keep pushing through. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
? Are tens real or is it just a dream.? And when did you get your first ten?
Brittany: “They are real but very rare …for me at least. Any time you get one at any level celebrate.”
Megan: “The first one I got was for the halt salute”
Lindsay: “I haven’t got one yet!”
? What do you look for when buying a horse for dressage with Grand Prix in mind?
Lindsay: “A good walk, trot also important but you can make the trot. Strong hind leg, confirmation is very important. And you need a willing horse. Character is very important. Do your research, look up the show record. When trying a horse ride outside and in different rings.”
Megan:“The character is one of the most important things. For me it is the feeling that they are thinking about you. Being able to build their trust and work with them in the long run. Gaits are important. I look for the mechanics of the gaits more than the fancy movement. Walk is the biggest naturally gifted gait they have.”
Brittany: “They (the other panelists) have said everything. It is hard. You have to be patient. A lot of people are looking for the same thing; a beautiful horse with a great mind and great gaits. They are all expensive and we all want that horse to work out.”
? Many top equestrians have a string of horses. Where is the next one?
Brittany. “I’m in a shopping phase looking for younger horses.”
Lindsay: “I have 3 at the moment. The eldest is showing talent for the GP. Next one is doing Prix St.George. He is a big horse and it has been a struggle to get him up the levels. He is 18 hh and you have to be patient. But he has the talent. I also have a 7 year old. I’m looking forward to bringing her up.”
Megan: “I am very fortunate to have DeerRidge supporting me. Denver who is 11 is closest to GP. I’ve worked with him for 5 years. I have an 8 year old and we are playing with GP stuff. He is also big so I’m taking my time with him. I have a 6 year old who is great fun to work with and a 5 year old who I hope to do some of the young horse classes with when things open up.
? What are your horses strengths, weaknesses and character?
Brittany: “All In. His size can be a challenge. When he is fresh he can be a bit of challenge. He has an incredible character and he tries and tries and tries and he always wants to please me. His extended trot is fun. He can be a bit quirky. He used to be terrified of music. Even now at the Freestyle it’s like he says: “Are you ready for this? You better hold on.” We have a special bond and have traveled the world together. I almost feel like he is my first child. It is a very special bond.”
Lindsay: “Sebastian. I’ve ridden him for 3 years. I put the Grand Prix on him which is exciting. He is very, very smart and has a lot of his own opinions. He is very honest with me and when he doesn’t like something, he tells me right away. In the ring he wants to put on a show. It is really important to know your horse. Is he feeling OK? Noticing any tiny swellings on their legs. You have to notice all these things. It takes years of practice with the horse. “
Megan: “You hit the GP and you have a whole new horse to learn. Making sure the performance is there. Staying humble is important. Zodiac is very sensitive and it is important to know him inside and out. My job is to help him maintain his confidence. He can shut down if he loses confidence.”
? What techniques do you use to deal with nerves when showing?
Megan: “I sit down and get into the zone and ride without riding.”
Lindsay: “Working well with your groom. Being well prepared. That will give you confidence. I have to sit at the ring and run the test in my mind at least 3 times before the show. I do this an hour to two hours before competition.”
Brittany: “Similar to Lindsay. I have to be at the ring going over my test. I go back over my videos of very good tests and see what I did best. I take an hour before to spend time with All in and get in the zone.”
? What motivates you?
Brittany: “Watching videos and seeing what the best in the world are doing. This year I had a new baby and that was a new stress. I am fortunate to have my mother, and mother in law to take a lot of that stress off me.”
Lindsay “ Watching the top riders. Watching in Wellington the top riders. We work so hard at home, so many hours, all of those struggles and then you go in the ring and do well. That is a motivation. “
Megan “Same for me. At home you can see how things are going and how proud the horses are of how well they are doing. I also watch the top riders. But my main motivation is the horses at home and watching them develop.”
? Tokyo postponed and shows on hold for this summer.How do you handle that?
Megan: “As athletes we have to be adaptable and for me I value the training and I’m enjoying focusing on the training for now.”
Lindsay: “ At first I thought how am I going to keep my horse fit? When does he have to be top fit again? Maybe I can do more hill work or cavaletti. Olympics are still the goal. So, keeping fit is important but now I can work with my other horses that have been on the back burner.”
Brittany “ It is nice to be able to stay home and fix or improve things and not just put a band aid on it to get to the next horse show.”
Since there had been a later start I was not able to stay longer. As you can see in this photo our little Schnauzer is looking out the window( that is her black silhouette behind the chair.) and that means she would like to be out there!But video of the entire Webinar will be posted on Equestrian Canada.