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  • Writer's pictureAnna Beattie

My Dare to Dance Dressage Academy Journey

Pegasus caught up with star client Victoria McCandless to find out how her coaching was going with Dare to Dance coach, Georgia Davis. Keep an eye out for the next instalment!

January 2021: Month 1 of Dare to Dance Academy

2020 was a strange year and thankfully I was able to throw myself into competing with Styles (aka Koolstyle). I had promised myself at the beginning of 2020 I was going to make 2020 our year for competing: since Styles was turning 20, I wanted to get as far as we could and aim for as many competitions as possible!

Between virtual and local shows he surpassed my expectations and we realised our ambition to try Freestyle for the first time! Fast forward a few months and we have joined the Dare to Dance academy set up by Pegasus Dressage Music - a super novel idea and so easy to participate. I couldn’t possibly pass this one by!

We sent off our first video to coach Georgia Davis, of ‘Dressage with Georgia’. What wonderful feedback we got! The feedback was broken down as if it was marked as a Freestyle test, plus comprehensive training strategies for areas we need to develop. These included visual diagrams of helpful exercises that would strengthen our weaknesses so really easy to follow and put into practice in our training sessions.

A common thread in our test sheets is lack of suppleness - 'not enough stretch' and 'needs to move round your leg/bend at the ribcage more'. Georgia picked up on all of these and gave useful tips and coaching diagrams to help me improve these areas - the exercises were really helpful. Styles is incredibly quick to learn (sometimes using his smarts to keep me on my toes!) and this means he is quick to pick up new things. He often learns to anticipate the movements and he caught on very quickly to what we were trying to achieve! It got to the stage when we were practising our exercise of trotting a 20m circle then cantering a 20m circle that all I had to do for our transition to canter was slightly shift my weight on my pelvis and he struck off into canter!

Georgia also recommended exercises moving from from medium walk to free walk and back again - this really helped differentiate between the two changes of gear. Being 20yrs old he finds it hard to stretch his neck down and low within a contact so we will continue to work at this and use the exercises Georgia has recommended to improve this. Styles tends to snatch at the reins if you give him an inch and then when you start to take up the contact he will anticipate moving up a gear and jog! Definitely making these frequent transitions between medium and free walk will teach him that he doesn't always need to get excited when going up a gear.

After practising all this, I recorded a further Freestyle for the Pegasus virtual competition and the suppleness around the corners was so much better along with our transitions so I look forward to the judge's comments! Roll on February to get the next coach’s feedback!

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