The USDF Youth/Young Adult Dressage Sport Horse Breeders Seminar was held on July 1-2 at DG Bar Ranch in Hanford, California. The intent of this seminar was to provide an overview of the many aspects involved in breeding and raising top sport horses.
Taylor Saunders, Fresno CDS Communications Officer, attended this event and shares her experience with us:
“I am so glad that I took advantage of this wonderful educational program held at DG Bar Ranch this past weekend. I had no idea that this seminar was such a sought-out event because there were participants there from Canada, Nebraska, Maine, and more!
On Saturday, Willy Arts started the morning out with introducing the presenters and the DG Bar staff that would be handling and riding the horses throughout the seminar. We then moved outside for a presentation on conformation and movement done by Willy and Melissa Creswick. We looked at different breeds and different ages of horses from yearlings to 7 year olds. When it comes to conformation, Willy and Melissa showed us what to look for when looking at the muscling of the neck, the height of the wither, the line of back and loins, and the shape of the croup. We also paid close attention to the bone substance of the legs, the rectangular or square shape of the body, and the size of the horse’s eye. During this demonstration we were able to see how the handlers presented the horses as well as walked and trotted the 30 meter triangle.
The horses were then shown at liberty so we could see their movement better. At liberty we were able to see each horse’s natural movement at the walk, trot, and canter. We were surprised by the movement of some of the horses because many of them were more exuberant at liberty than in-hand which changed our initial judgments.
The next session was about how to train and show your horse in-hand with Kevin Reinig and Willy as the presenters. Kevin started out with showing us his techniques for handling foals and showing yearlings. Willy showed us how to lunge the two year olds properly and finally how to introduce the saddle to the 3 and 4 year olds on the lunge line. The last session of the day was presented by Melissa on how to evaluate gaits under saddle. Several of the horses used in the conformation and movement session were also used for this which was another great opportunity to see the same horses we evaluated in-hand and at liberty. Since these horses all ranged in age we were able to see the difference in evaluating horses at various stages in development. Saturday concluded with a tour of DG Bar Ranch and a pizza party sponsored by CDS.
Willy started the Sunday session out with a discussion on mare and stallion management and questions to consider before breeding a mare. We discussed the qualities of a good broodmare and a good stallion based on what we learned the day before. The staff at DG Bar took us through the processes they follow for artificial insemination including: collecting, shipping, and monitoring the mare in foal. They then presented several foals varying in ages so we could see how their development differs and what we can expect at the different stages. The seminar wrapped up with the participants using the skills we learned to evaluate four different horses using the given conformation judging sheet.
I would like to thank the DeGroot Family and the staff at DG Bar Ranch for hosting and providing a spotless venue and a gorgeous selection of horses (I wanted to take them all home with me!). I would also like to thank CDS for sponsoring all the delicious food and USDF for the goody bags and for providing an excellent educational opportunity for Youth and Young Adults. Finally, I would like to thank our presenters, Willy, Melissa, and Kevin, for providing their knowledge and experiences with us. As an equestrian, I am constantly trying to collect all the information and education I can because when it comes to horses, we never stop learning. If you are a young rider or a young adult, I highly suggest attending this seminar in the future.”