The Western Dressage Association of America is celebrating the success of its fifth annual Western Dressage World Championship Show.
More than 800 rides were held over four days, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, OK, with competitors vying for 79 world championships and 15 divisional championship belt buckles.
“Western dressage honors the partnership between horses and riders, and that was certainly on display at our World Show,” said WDAA President Ellen DiBella. “I was especially thrilled to see the riders in our Physically Challenged division.”
Three-time world champion Shawn Makepeace, who is legally blind, earned that divisional championship on her American Quarter Horse mare, Mosly A Rose. Volunteers held bright LED lights at each letter around the dressage arena, making it possible for Makepeace, of Belleville, IL, to discern the location of the letters as she rode her western dressage tests.
The show drew approximately 170 exhibitors from 29 states from coast to coast, five Canadian provinces, and New Zealand. Nearly 40 horse breeds were represented as well, making this a truly inclusive sport that is welcoming to all types of horses and both beginner and expert riders alike.
Older horses have found success in this discipline, as well – many of them on their second or third career.
“It’s so exciting to see horses in their mid-20s competing successfully,” DiBella said.
A great example was the American Quarter Horse Spindoll, who at age 25 helped her rider, Rose Ruotsalainen of Cheney, WA, earn three junior world championships, two reserve world championships, and the overall junior divisional championship at the introductory level.
The long weekend also had plenty of opportunities for fun, with exhibitor parties, festive costume freestyle competitions, and stall and golf-cart decorating contests.
The show couldn’t have happened, however, without support from generous sponsors.
“So many people stepped up at every level to sponsor classes, parties, and much more,” DiBella said. “GGT Footing has been a wonderful partner to WDAA for so many years and was our largest supporter this year. We thank GGT for the tremendous support.”
WDAA’s mission is to build an equine community that combines the traditions of the American West with classical dressage. We honor the horse, and we value the partnership between horse and rider.
WDAA is a 501(c)(3) educational not-for-profit organization, focusing on educating riders and promoting the ethics and values inherent in western dressage. The United States Federation has recognized WDAA as the sole affiliate representing the discipline of western dressage. To learn more, go to http://www.westerndressageassociation.org.