By Jennifer Klitzke
Three weeks after the Jennie Jackson Clinic: Dressage as Applied to the Gaited Horse, I took my Tennessee walking horse mare, Gift of Freedom (Makana), to the North Run Farm schooling dressage show held on Sunday, July 28, 2013. I was curious if the judge would notice a difference since May as I have been working on the tools Jennie gave us to improve engagement into connection, balance, bending, and increasing the depth of stride.
Although we were the only dressage en gaite entry, Makana was not the only Tennessee walking horse entered in the show. There was another Walker who has been trained to trot and what exquisite gaits this mare has! Solid round connection, beautiful smooth trot, and a to die for canter. I can’t help wondering if trot has played a major hand in improving her canter.
Makana and I rode Training Level Tests Two and Three. After our Training Two test, Judge Ginger Kawell said, “Good job! Much improvement in your contact since last time I saw you!” We scored 8’s on our center line halt, 20 meter circles, free walk on a long rein, and 7-7.5 in gaits, impulsion, submission, harmony, rider’s position, and rider’s use of aids for a total of 70.7%. Hurrah, now that we reached 70%, we’ll be moving up a test for the next show!
Training Level Test Three was solid, but not as strong as our first ride. Makana didn’t have as much gas to go as she had in the first test. However, we rode a respectable 68.2%. Areas of improvement are in showing more bend through the serpentines and more stretch in the flat walk 20-meter circle on a long rein.
The next North Run Farm schooling dressage show will be Saturday, August 17. Come on gaited dressage riders! This is one of the most friendly, organized, and low key dressage shows I’ve been to. It would be great to have some company in the dressage en gaite division!
For more information about the next North Run Farm schooling dressage show open to gaited horses, visit www.northrunfarm.org.
Video: Gaited Dressage NWHA Training Level Test Two
Video: Gaited Dressage NWHA Training Level Test Three