Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship and CPEDI3*



Thats’ a wrap from the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship and CPEDI3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center! Sometimes things go exactly as planned at a show, and sometimes shows are learning experiences. This was one of the biggest competitions with riders from the USA, Canada, Mexico, and South Africa. It was an extremely hot and humid week. The first day of schooling, I was so proud of how Taco handled the big stadium with many riders and people all over the place. He felt really relaxed and it put me at ease for the competition days ahead.


Our first ride went pretty well and we ended up in third out of a big class. Sara and I talked about things to work on to improve my ride for the second day. We had a good warm up the second day and my ride felt great. I was getting scores to put me around 70. Then, during my stretch walk, the loop on my rein on the left side came off. I’ve never had a problem with my reins, but of course it had to happen in the middle of a competition. Taco was super and continued the half 20m circle on his own, but I didn’t have reins for over 1min total. He stayed still for me to try and maneuver to get my loop connected somehow since I was determined to finish my test! I got it on somewhat, but not in the right place. I was only able to get it connected on hole 1 which is all the way up by his mouth. Normally I ride on the sixth hole. So, my right hand was on six and my left on one. This put me and him in a very unbalanced position, but he trekked through the rest of the trot work and made sure I was safe. I was happy to finish my test, and thrilled that I remained calm under pressure. I also was very happy with how Taco handled the situation.


The next day was our freestyle. I was excited to ride through our new freestyle created by Debbie Marriott. At home, I’ve had to push myself to keep up with the timing of the music. During our warm up I was pushing him into some of the biggest and most relaxed gaits that we’ve ever had. After our initial halt I was already way ahead of my music. Since this was the first time riding through it in competition, I’m still learning the music and timing. I had to do a lot of improvising and adding in extra movements. This really pushed me out of my comfort zone (again) since I couldn’t just ride through the test from memory. I had to think on the fly and connect with Taco in the ring in a different, much more relaxed way. The great thing about the freestyle is that as long as you’re on time with your music and get in your required movements, the judges really don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing! 


As I said, things didn’t go as I planned, but I really learned a lot about riding in the competition ring and my relationship with Taco. We also got tons of great feedback about how far we’ve come since our last show. Sara has really helped Taco develop and helped me progress in my comfort level and abilities as a rider. She helped me this weekend figure out a good game plan for Taco, and I may have stressed her out a little by not having any reins in the ring! haha 


Caelyn also came along as our fantastic groom. It’s nice to have someone who’s familiar with both mine and Taco’s needs and has been with us at the CPEDI’s before. She’s attentive and goes the extra mile. 


We also had Janice along for this crazy trip! She came down to show G Man. It was fun to watch her rides and have her help and support along the way! 


Extra special— my parents flew in from Los Angeles to see my competition. They haven’t seen me ride for a couple years now so there have been some big changes. It was great to know that I had family in the stands cheering me on! 




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© 2016 by Alanna Flax-Clark 

Califon, NJ, USA

Contact: aflaxclark@gmail.com 

U.S. ParaEquestrian