The girls of the Cal Poly Dressage team spend 4 out of 5 days of the week training at the Equine Center; practicing for competition with the horses provided. Last spring, the team went to nationals, where they were extremely victorious. This year the team has been back at it working up to show potential.
However, with an unfortunate turn in the weather conditions, the girls, and the horses, were unable to spend their winter quarter practicing the way they wished. Instead, there were many restless days spent waiting for the arena under Bishop Peak to dry up enough to ride on. With hearts full of hope, the team is taking on spring quarter with full force and an eagerness to get back into a nationals mindset.
Co-president and second year animal science major Keiko Eastman talks about her relationship with Galloway, a Cal Poly dressage team horse, and the relationship that develops between a rider and their horse. Unfortunately, she was not able to reveal her talents due to the less than ideal weather, but Eastman demonstrated her authority over Galloway as he was less than enthusiastic to be interviewed. She quickly transformed his restless manor turn into a playful one.
This is important for riders to have a strong positive relationship with multiple horses because it gives the horse an understanding of social situations with people they otherwise might not be used to. In the dressage teams case, Eastman explained to me that the shows provide the horses for them, so although they might master practicing on a Cal Poly horse, they must be able to compete with an unfamiliar show horse.
Though there are only 6 girls allowed to compete, anyone with a passion for horses is allowed to join the team, even if they've never played before. I asked a few sophomores who are on the dressage team, but do not compete, about their most rewarding expereinces throughout their horsebackriding careers.
Here's what they had to say.
Scroll over each girl and click the green circle to see what type of rewarding experiences they've had as riders.
Can you tell these two apart?
A dressage rider can.
Cal Poly's Equine Center is used for so much more than riding horses. From Competing to breeding, the students that are fully active here gain a lot from building relationships with each other and the horses provided by campus.
Along with the riding arena and breeding lab, the Equine Center is home to the foaling stall, stallion barn, student horse boarding, and many pastures. All students are welcome, and encouraged even, to visit and experience socializing with the horses, especially the foals out in the pastures.