Introducing our Supported Riders!

It seems a long time ago that our Supported Rider search was concluded, and our three Supported Riders for the 2021 season were chosen.

We did a brief introduction to them on the main Demi Dressage Facebook page as well as the Supported Riders page of the website here Supported Riders | Demi Dressage and as promised now that we're into the 2021 cycle of events, here is a first introductory blog from them all. We hope to hear from them again very soon to see how their training for the Christmas Stocking Dressage is going.

Ioan and Blaze ( @babyblazeandherboy )

Ioan has been competing with Demi Dressage since last spring, initially with Blue and more recently with Blaze. He’s 8 years old, and has been riding for about 3 years, but It was during lockdown #1 that he really found his feet and started to get the competition bug thanks to Demi Dressage. He’s had to overcome some big challenges in 2020, not least the semi-retirement of his best friend, Blue, and the arrival of a very different character altogether in Blaze. He's taken some real knocks and tumbles, battled crippling nerves, gone right back to the start doing walk-only work, gone back on the lead rein, come off again, and is now working his way back across, and up, the levels. He’s hoping to be at Yellow Plus by the end of 2021, and is determined to put in what is needed to achieve this.

Blaze is a very cheeky, 4-year-old Welsh Section C, a slightly unconventional choice for a relatively novice rider, but she’s an old head on young shoulders (usually!), and he fell in love the first time he rode her. They’ve both been working really hard to build a good foundation for their partnership and can’t wait to see what 2021 will bring for them as they continue to grow together.

Ioan is so excited to be one of the 2021 supported riders; he loves the themed competitions, the tests written in “his” language, the excitement of waiting for results, and the thrill of the orange packages arriving in the post!

We're delighted to have Ioan and the adorable Blaze on board as one of our Supported Riders, and wish him all the best for getting to his 2021 Yellow-Plus goal. I know he's certainly put the work in at the lower levels <3

Lily and Simba ( @lily_and_simba_pony )

My name is Lily and I am 8 years old. My pony’s name is Simba, he is a palomino and we think he is a Welsh Section C. I live in Warwickshire with my mommy and lots of pets!

I got Simba on 31st of May this year as a surprise. I hadn’t really ridden before but always wanted my own pony! I go to Atherstone Pony Club. I like doing Mounted Games. I save up my pocket money off my Grandad each month for Simba’s shoes and I’m saving up for the dentist for him.

I have been nervous while riding as I have had a few falls and scary moments and I am trying to get over that by riding Simba whenever I can. I get up early to do him before Mommy starts work at 8am and before school.

Simba used to be a show jumping pony and so when I get a jump out he gets very excited and gallops off, I want to be able to do dressage with him. He thinks he is 3 when he is actually 23 years old!! My goal is to be able to get to a pretty good level at dressage.

I am proud of being a supported rider because I try my best with my riding, and I want to inspire other people with my riding as I haven’t been riding for long but I try my best.

We were so inspired by Lily's dedication to her pony, and hope you will be too! Lily is completely new to Demi Dressage so we're looking forward to supporting her through her first year with us, wherever that may take her :)

Arley and Boo ( @equineadventuresofarleyandboo )

Arley and Barney have been together since July 2019. Barney has had a very colourful life; he’s been a top class show pony with previous riders, and even competing at the Royal International Horse Show. Showing, however, has never really been on our agenda, and so since being with us, Barney has been enjoying more of a Pony Club /allrounder experience - and loving every minute.

This year has seen such a change in this little partnership. At the beginning of the year, Arley was very much still on the lead rein, and only just learning to properly rise to the trot. Then came lock down, during which we decided not to ride at all. Once lockdown eased, Arley was full of enthusiasm to learn as much as he possibly could - so he started having lessons and attending regular Pony Club rallies.

He and Barney are now able to walk, trot, canter and pop over small jumps without assistance. Barney isn’t the easiest of ponies; he can be very lazy, but also occasionally mischievous. However, this has really helped Arley learn to find his seat and use his legs effectively. Together, they have achieved many firsts this year - first off-lead showing class, first dressage test, first hunter trial, first show jumping round. When asked what he would like to achieve in the next year, Arley says that he would like to get better at jumping cross poles, and improving his accuracy in terms of carrying out movements in the right places in a dressage test. He would also like to be able to do a test without having it called.

As it will be his first time competing with Demi Dressage, Arley will be starting out with a Yellow test initially. The movement he thinks will be most tricky is guiding Barney with one hand, as he has to hold both reins in his outside hand. Barney is very cheeky and may take advantage - and Arley has very short legs so can’t always squeeze him back to where he should be!

Arley is another newcomer to Demi Dressage, but doesn't he have a great list of goals lined up already? We can't wait to see how he gets on with them.

Alongside our very own MiniD ( #minidandtangle / #minidandmaisie ) we'll be keeping you up to date with these lovely young riders over the coming year and I hope you'll enjoy following all four of them. They are all representative of what Demi Dressage is about - ordinary kids on much-loved ponies, getting started in dressage and (hopefully!) seeing the benefits that schooling in a fun way can bring to all aspects of their riding.

You can follow them all individually on their Instagram pages as well as the tag #demidressageriders across our Demi Dressage Facebook and Instagram, and our blog here on the website.

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