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Bontje Clinic Rider: Frolic, Farenheit & Teresa Binetruy

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 30, 2013 14:22

Teresa Binetruy started riding as a child and has been riding, taking instruction and showing in all of the three equestrian disciplines ever since.

Teresa’s riding experience began in the sport of Three Day Eventing, giving opportunity to compete at major competitions across Western Canada over the years. Arguably, the highlight of her three-day experiences was riding Ludi Mae. Ludi Mae was a thoroughbred mare that the Binetruy family purchased locally that went on to be a member of Team Canada at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Sweden. When Ludi Mae was retired from international competition in 1992, she became Teresa’s riding horse; allowing Teresa to take advantage of the vast ‘world of experience’ this horse had to offer, literally.

Being a three day event rider puts a person in the unique position of having to develop skills in all three arenas. To that end, Teresa and her horses have always attended regular dressage lessons, clinics and shows; and continued to develop skills with regular hunter/jumper lessons, clinics and shows. It has been a few years since Teresa has competed at a three day event, but she is commonly showing in the dressage ring and the hunter/jumper ring in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Most recently, Teresa has taken the opportunity to concentrate on her dressage work. Among many great clinicians, Teresa has been traveling regularly to Calgary to take lessons from Crystal Kroetch – a member of Canada’s 2011 Silver Medal Team at the Pan American Games.

Teresa lives west of Saskatoon on a farm where she previously raised beef cattle and currently runs a warmblood breeding operation.   There is an exciting line up of young horses coming up through the ranks.  Teresa feels extremely fortunate to be mounted on 2 lovely home raised horses for this edition of the Ellen Bontje Workshop.  Outside of the riding arena, Teresa has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and is the manager of the Beef Cattle Research & Teaching Unit at the University of Saskatchewan. She also plays competitive women’s hockey, traveling around Canada and the United States to hockey tournaments during the winter season.

Frolic is a 2004 Canadian Warmblood gelding sired by Frobisher (Florestan I x Diamantino) out of Brisa (Bajazzo x Arkansas). Frolic was born on Teresa’s farm and has been under her care and guidance ever since. He has shown in the hunter ring to 3’3” and in the jumper ring to 3’6”. While Frolic still competes in all disciplines the focus has turned to more serious dressage work.  Frolic is a great big, strong horse with rhythmical lofty gates, a sweet temperament and a great attitude. In 2013, Frolic and Teresa were awarded the Saskatchewan Provincial Third Level Championship and the Alberta Provincial Reserve Championship.
Farenheit is a 2008 Canadian Warmblood gelding sired by Freestyle (Florestan 1 x Parademarsch) out of Blythe Spirit (Bajazzo x Arkansas).  Frolic is sponsored by  Norm Kohle Farrier Service of Grandora, Sk. 

Farenheit was also bred, born and raised on Teresa’s farm.  2013 was Farenheit’s first show season where he got his start in the hunter ring and the dressage ring showing at Training level.  He attended 2 shows in Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Dressage Provincials, and the Alberta Dressage Provincials obtaining very good scores consistently winning show championships and reserve championships for his level.  Farenheit is a tall, elegant young man that grabs the attention of judges and spectators everywhere he goes.  Farenheit is sponsored by Brookscon Construction of Cochrane, Ab. 

For details http://horseownertoday.com/ellenbontjeworkshop.aspx

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Bontje Clinic Rider: Paso Doble 40 & Lauren Bamford

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 30, 2013 14:14

Horses have always been a passion for me, starting with the spring horse my brother had when I was 2.  I started riding lessons with the Regina Pony Club when I was a little older. After leasing horses and riding lessons I was able to get my own horse and I competed with him in dressage in Saskatchewan. Once I went to university I had to opportunity to travel to Germany to train and earn their rider performance medals. I earned my silver performance medal and also earned my Trainer B certification in dressage and jumping.  That is the equivalent of the new Coach 2 Competition Specialist designation through Equine Canada. In the past several years, I have continued to train and compete in Germany and Canada in Dressage with much success with my horse Paso Doble 40 and my other horses as well as with some horses owned by other riders.  I even had the opportunity to present a horse for a client in the Trakehner Mare Performance Test in Hessen, Germany. I competed this year with Paso at 4th Level and have seen great improvement in him throughout the season with much success.  He is a spirited horse who is very smart but easily stressed when he doesn’t understand something.  He loves attention and bananas.  We have high hopes and big dreams to one day make the Canadian Team and it is through clinics like this one that we can get the help we need to continue on the path to success.

For details http://horseownertoday.com/ellenbontjeworkshop.aspx

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Bontje Clinic Rider - Cracker Jack & Kallecia Welsh

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 30, 2013 13:53



I used to be a dancer!  At the age of eight all the makeup, hair, and costumes led my Mom to the statement “why don’t you quit this dance and take up horseback riding”.  Who can turn down an opportunity like that……… off to summer riding camp my brother Brodie and I went!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  One whole week of learning about tack, horse anatomy, what to feed them, how to care for them, and the smell of them – I was hooked!

My first horse was a rental pony from Madison Wilkening.  A pinto pony with an attitude named “Bandit”.  He was boarded at High Country Quarters in Drayton Valley where I took my initial riding instruction with Sabrina Bablitz.  Bandit and I were together for two years doing flatwork and jumping.  His quirky little attitude always made going to the barn interesting.  In May 2007, my parents bought me Cracker Jack from Henri and Laurie DeGroot.  He was a 7 year old 16.2 HH Hanoverian Thoroughbred and it was love at first sight.  He had incredible ground manners but only 10 rides on his back (not the best parental decision!)  So began the adventure of Cracker and Kallecia.

My first riding instructor took an immediate disliking to Cracker and his hissy fits – not the horses fault I now realize.  Ute Miller from Bashaw then started coming to the barn every three-four weeks or when her Paramedic career allowed her to give lessons.  We were riding casually just for fun, but as I progressed and Cracker progressed I became more interested in Dressage so we started with the basics.  Cracker and I did not progress a lot during the first while together, but we had a great bond.     

During the summer of 2010 I decided I was going to become an Eventer and went to a riding camp with Sandra Donelly in Canmore, AB.  We had a great week of arena jumping, dressage work and cross country jumping.  Three weeks later we went to Amberlea Meadows in Red Deer for our first event.  We had a blast.  Cracker and I both loved the cross-country run, our stadium jumping needed some work but we excelled in the Dressage with a score of 81.  I was always intrigued by all the different movements of Dressage since I watched the Olympics and like every little girl I dream of someday being there!

The summer of 2011 my family moved from Drayton Valley to Olds Alberta and we were introduced to Jack and Linda Johnson at Peaceful Valley Stables.  Linda was helping me with my riding and suggested that I might be interested in trying some lessons with Gordon Dalshaug.  The spring of 2012, training was going great and I was entertaining entering some dressage shows when all those thoughts came to a screeching halt – Cracker coliced!

Dr. Mike Scott from Moore & Company Vet Clinic in Balzac Alberta put his survival chances at about 20% but donned his lucky operating cap and thank goodness for small miracles.  Three weeks of nothing but school and sitting in the stall at the vet clinic and Cracker was moved back to Peace Valley Stables where he was treated like a Prince and the spring/ summer of 2012 to recover.  We started back with some slow trail rides and have gradually worked our way back to good conditioning.  Our skills have grown immensely working with Gordon.  Together, we have been able to get Cracker to a place where I was once told would be impossible.  Our goal is to make the 2014 Canadian Dressage Team and compete at the 2014 North American Junior/Young Rider Championships.

Cracker is my best friend and we trust each other which I believe makes a good team.  When we’re together I’m “On Cloud Nine”!


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HorseOwnerToday and Elaine Ward of Western Dressage in Canada

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 11, 2012 16:05



1.  Tell HorseOwnerToday about your journey to developing Western Dressage in Canada to where it is today.
I've been involved with Western Style dressage for the past 30 years. I was a successful youth rider, and did the 4H, Paint and Quarter Horse Shows. I was learning dressage at the time also. My first dressage lesson was back in 1973! When I started teaching professionally, I would have students that would come to me with their Western horses.  I would work on really basic dressage exercises to improve the gaits and suppleness of their horses, and work on the rider's  position. It's really no different for me. Good training is good training. I teach the horse to use his hind end, and teach the rider how to achieve it.  Ideally we want the horse to carry it's self. My best analogy to riders is to imagine the horse is like a motor boat. Without the power of the engine (the horses' hind end) to lift the bow (the horses' front end), you will never have a horse that is light and can carry it's self.
Western Style dressage as a discipline is so new, that our job right now is to educate riders to the benefits of it. To develop a better level of communication, and a higher level of learning. What's really cool about Western Style dressage is that it is a progressive training, and the levels of tests increase in difficulty to reflect that. Even if someone has no interest in showing, the tests are just that, the ability to ride patterns of increased difficulty and to ride to a standard.

2.  What changes have you seen in the the Dressage in Canada market in the past 5 years?

I think the market has really not changed. You have two types of riders out there. The competitive and the recreational rider. It has always stayed that way. But on the other hand, the generations are getting older. What I have discovered from talking to people is that the older riders no longer wish to sit in a dressage saddle. They find the Western Style of riding much more relaxed and less restrictive. Those riders have also gone out and purchased a more average moving horse with a good mind. They still want to learn dressage, but not on a big moving, active minded horse. They love the camaraderie of riding with friends, and still want to go out there and learn, but not with the big warmblood or hot Thoroughbred types anymore. I'm not saying that Western Style Dressage is for the older riders, but from looking at several studies, the demographics point to the over 45 rider. I have discovered the same thing from talking to people interested in Western Style Dressage.  WSD also is important to the youth out there too. We would like those riders to develop a good foundation for training, no matter which discipline they choose to ride. Dressage is the French word for Training. Training done correctly.

3.   What changes do you predict for the future of Western Dressage in Canada in the next 5 years? 

The goal of the Western Style Dressage Association is to get WSD out there to every corner of Canada, through demos, displays, clinics, etc. Our long term vision is to have Equine Canada except WSD as an actual discipline with a section in the rule book. In the mean time, it's all about education!  We would like to see WSD included in regular dressage competitions. We would like to have an affiliate in every Province!  http://westernstyledressage.ca/