Dressage event attracts riders from across the country

Jill Fowler
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SALMON RIVER - After a disappointing year for horse and pony owners, parents and riders from across Nova Scotia decided that it was time the province stepped up to the plate.
The result? A Canadian Pony Club National Dressage Championship held in Salmon River on the weekend. The event was not held last year in large part due to a lack of volunteer commitment anywhere in the country.
"We were concerned that it wouldn't be held again, and we wanted to make sure all the riders had the opportunity to participate," explained Heather Ongo, a Canadian Pony Club volunteer. "So that's why we applied to the national board for a chance to host the competition here."
A total of 51 riders from across the country competed, including 15-year-old Folly Mountain resident Chantal Paupin, who rode in the pre-training level of competition.
"The first day was really rough," explained Paupin. "We pretty much just coasted through. But we really stepped it up (Sunday) and did a lot better."
Paupin, who has been riding since she
was eight-years-old, loved every minute of competition.
"There are lots of lovely people here and you make lots of friends," she said. "Its just so much fun if anybody has the opportunity to come they should definitely take it."
Paupin plans to continue her training and hopes to advance to the next level of competition within the next year.
Ongo was extremely pleased with how well the weekend went.
"It was great," added Ongo. "We had a lot of help from many of the parents and things went very smoothly."
Central Nova Horse and Pony Grounds was chosen as the host site because of the facility's close proximity to the airport.
"Also, it's one of the few places in the province that is able to host that many horses in stalls and it is big enough to have multiple dressage courses in one ring," added Ongo.
As a mother of a rider herself, Ongo knows first hand just how technical the sport can be.
"Anything can happen. The riders only spend about 10 to 15 minutes getting to know their horse before they have to compete so it's very difficult," she explained.
"If there is coordination between the rider and the horse in the ring and you have the technical abilities it can be a wonderful thing to watch."
Ongo compared the sport to ballet, but for horses.
"The goal for the rider is to make it look effortless. If they can do that then they've got it," she added.


Organizations: Canadian Pony Club

Geographic location: SALMON RIVER, Nova Scotia, Folly Mountain Nova Horse

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