Photo courtesy of Olivia Lagoy-Weltz.
The author on her Grand Prix mount Rassing’s Lonoir (“Lono”).
Step 6: The Final, Final Phase
of small tweaks, slight changes, and sometimes
Horses go differently at shows then they do at
even partial revamps. Again, this is why having an
home. Until you start showing with the freestyle,
excellent professional choreographer to work with
you really won’t know exactly how it will ride. Many
is important, because they will continue to work
times there are more small adjustments to make
with you through all the evolutions of the freestyle.
after the first few goes. Once you smooth out those
Developing a top international Grand Prix
edges, I suppose you could call it “done,” but every
Freestyle is an involved process. It can be lots of
show is different, every ride is a little different, and
fun, but it can be very tedious as well. Having said
every day can be a bit different.
that, nothing beats the thrill of pulling off a brilliant
Freestyles are often evolving things. Horses
ride under the lights to amazing music. Dressage
change and mature. You may love a move in
is a very controlled sport where the personality of
practice and then discover that, under the lights
the horse and rider are carefully managed, and as
at night, it doesn’t ride as well. The choreography
a spectator you are given a withering look if you
can evolve over time, particularly if you designed
so much as sneeze in the stands. Freestyles are our
the freestyle for a young grand prix horse. A horse’s
sport’s chance to draw people in, have some fun,
tempos can change as they learn to cover more
and become more relatable to just about anyone
ground or become more collected. Chances are
walking by. Horses dancing to music are a spectacle
you may go through a round or two (or three…)
everyone can appreciate!