Tag Archives: running walk

Gaited Dressage [and Jumping] at Northwoods

Gaited dressage and jumping at Northwoods

By Jennifer Klitzke

Thanks to the familiar faces, I felt like I was showing among friends at the Northwoods schooling show instead of me, Makana, and tripod.

Northwoods offered their first annual schooling dressage [and hunter] show on May 30, 2015. I took my naturally gaited Walking horse Makana—the only gaited horse/rider entry among 29 trotting horse tests ridden, Intro through First Level.

Nearing the arena I heard someone say my name. I turned to look and a woman introduced herself. We came to know each other through NaturallyGaited.com. I was delighted to connect with her face-to-face.

Then another woman I had met through the Western Dressage Association rode her Norwegian Fjord at her mare’s first dressage show. These women, among the other friendly spectators and competitors, made it feel like I was riding with friends instead of showing solo—me, Makana, and tripod.

Since Makana seems to run out of gas so quickly, I’ve been making a point to do more conditioning with her during our rides at home. It really paid off. We rode both First Level Tests One and Three back-to-back and Makana had enough energy to spare. The tests were held in Northwood’s spacious mirror-lined indoor arena with dust-free rubberized footing.

This show marked the first time Makana and I had ever ridden First Level Test Three which is filled with lots of new challenges: leg yield zig zag at a flatwalk, 10-meter flatwalk circles, counter canter, and simple changes of lead at X through the flatwalk, in addition to the running walk, canter lengthenings, and 15-meter canter circles.

To my amazement Makana scored 70.294% on First Level Test Three and received a respectable score of 65.926% on First Level Test One.

After our rides, Judge Colleen Holden remarked, “That was really fun to watch how you orchestrated all those variations of walk.” She said that we received an “OMG” on our free walk and medium walk because they were the best she had seen all day, and she was very impressed with our transitions, and the quality of our canter. Areas she encouraged us to work on are developing better bend which will improve the overall elegance of our tests.

After the dressage tests were completed, the outdoor arena was set for the hunter course. While I continue to school Makana over ground rails and small jumps at home to improve her canter, it had been a couple years since we entered a hunter course.

The last time we rode a course of ground rails, Makana spooked, refused, and hesitated getting near the strangely colored poles. The Northwoods schooling show promised to be a fun and beginner-friendly event, so I entered Makana in the hunter course over ground rails.

What a terrific course—eleven poles with lots of turns and canter stretches made it feel more like a cross country course. I was so proud of my girl. She confidently cantered the entire course of rails without a spook, refusal, or hesitation! In fact, I was tempted to enter her in the 18″ cross rail course.

Video: Naturally gaited (and barefoot) Walking horse over a hunter course of ground rails

Special thanks to Northwoods Stables for hosting their first annual dressage and hunter schooling show and for accommodating gaited dressage.


Gaited Dressage featured at Western Dressage Clinic

gaited western dressage

By Jennifer Klitzke

Driving to the Western Dressage Clinic on Saturday, May 24, reminded me of our Annual B.L.E.S.S. Your Horse Clinics in Proctor, MN because the dense fog gave me a viewing distance of two car lengths. Thankfully I had a passenger who knew where we were headed, otherwise I think my GPS would have made me more lost than ever!

Over fifty fun and friendly horse people came together for a wonderful clinic hosted by Enchanted Hollow Farm in Buffalo, MN and organized by Judy Conger and Gene Hacket which focused on the up-and-coming equine sport of Western Dressage.

Speakers included AnnMarie Brockhouse with the Western Dressage Association of Minnesota and Western Dressage Association of America, Judy Conger, Jan Halter and me.

After a morning of lively conversations, education, an informational overview about the WDAA, door prizes and lunch, we headed to the barn for an afternoon of riding demonstrations. Jan Halter showed her Second Level dressage gelding and how dressage has improved their partnership. I rode my TWH mare, Gift of Freedom through the NWHA First Level, Test One gaited dressage test after demonstrating first level gaits, lateral exercises, the power of “long and low,” and relaxation in bringing a gaited horse into a frame to begin four-beat gaited movements.

Afterwards, Jan rode her quarter horse through a western dressage test, and then dressage instructor Judy Conger coached two brave volunteers through the basics of western dressage on their horses. The “before’s” and “after’s” were inspiring. Both horses were jogging in a relaxed and round frame.

Photo Gallery>

NWHA First Level, Test One gaits

NWHA First Level, Test One