Dressage club comes to West Shore

Combining focus and grace, dressage, a form of horse-riding competition, gives horse lovers a chance to showcase their skill. West Shore’s own dressage club, founded in December 2014, competes at the Wickham Park Equestrian facility. The next event will be held on May 17. The team consists of seventh-graders Kaitlyn H. and Lauren S., eighth-grader Smriti S., freshmen Hannah Duncan and Megan Lee, and junior Addison Duncan.

Lee’s parent, Kathleen Lee, heads the club along with sponsor Spero Tshontikidis. According to Kathleen, dressage tests the relationship between the horse and its rider.

“The purpose of a dressage test is to demonstrate and reward the training the horse and rider have achieved in order to perform each movement with precision, balance and suppleness,” she said. “It should look as if the horse is performing the test movements of its own accord and carrying the rider in complete harmony.”

Kathleen added that the dressage club was not limited to riders.

“Non-riders may also belong to the club to learn more about the sport, as well as provide support for club members who compete,” she said.

Kaitlyn said she appreciates the formation of the club.

“I got into dressage when I was volunteering at Wickham Park for Dancing Horse Dressage. I’ve been doing it for 3 years,” Hagopian said. “I love that West Shore has a dressage club. That was one thing that I really wanted West Shore to have, and now they do.”

The club itself does not focus on actual practices, according to Kathleen.

“Equestrian athletes train and participate in competitions with their own horses and equestrian equipment,” Kathleen said. “They practice at their at their own facilities on their own schedules.”

For Scherer, the club provides another opportunity to practice her hobby.

“I ride horses normally, and I saw the posters for the dressage club and my friend and I thought ‘we should join them.’ I like it,” Lauren said.

By Bonnie Rice