The Cal Poly
Dressage Team

A Day at the Cal Poly Equine Center

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.

February 3, 2017 at the Equestrian Arena.  On a sunny day, Eastman is able to spend time with the horses, developing a bond that takes the 6-man dressage team far in competition.  She believes this relationship is what took herself and her teammates to nationals this past year. February 6, 2017 at the Equine Center. The freshly rained on horses graze in the fields, unable to e ridden in this weather.  The dressage team often visits the horse corrals, even those not used for sport, simply because they believe a human relationship is important for a horse to develop. With this bond, the rider can more easily connect with their horse and in competition tey both feel familiar with each other, resulting in the Dressage team's recent successes. February 3, 2017 at the Cal Poly Equestrian Arena. Kelsey Hooper, a fourth year animal science major (middle), practices under the instruction of coach and third year animal science major, Meghan Slaughter (right).  Because this is a student run club, Slaughter has been elected the role of coach by her peers, and she takes the time to work daily with each member and help them grow as a rider. February 3, 2017 at the Cal Poly Equestrian Arena. Kelsey Hooper, a fourth year animal science major (middle), practices under the instruction of coach and third year animal science major, Meghan Slaughter (right).  Because this is a student run club, Slaughter has been elected the role of coach by her peers, and she takes the time to work daily with each member and help them grow as a rider. February 3, 2017 at the Cal Poly Equestrian Arena. Kelsey Hooper, a fourth year animal science major (middle), practices under the instruction of coach and third year animal science major, Meghan Slaughter (right).  Because this is a student run club, Slaughter has been elected the role of coach by her peers, and she takes the time to work daily with each member and help them grow as a rider. February 6, 2017 at the Equine Center.  Hooper agrees with Eastman that the time and effort that goes into riding, as well as establishing a healthy relationship with the horses, is extremely rewarding both in competition and in building a strong team base. February 6, 2017 at the Equine Center. Eastman, Hooper and Slaughter express extreme gratitude for the conditions in which they are able to ride.  With a daily sight like this one, of Bishop Peak and fresh green grass, riding becomes even more desirable. February 3, 2017 at the Cal Poly Equestrian Arena. Trotting below Bishop’s Peak, Eastman sees an opportunity to build trust with her horse.  “Riding out here is so serene.  Not only can I grow closer to my horse but to myself as well,” she states. February 6, 2017 at the Equine Cnit.  At the end of the day, rain or shine, these girls always appreciate their “unique riding experience,” as Eastman put it.  Though it might be hard to walk away from their loyal steed’s longing glare, they know they’ll be back soon.

Co-president's Thoughts

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.

Sophomore Experiences

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.

Saddle Types

Can you tell these two apart?

A dressage rider can.

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More about the Equine Center

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.

Giddyup!

You took care of your horse
and your horse took care of you - Elton Gallegly