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Dressage Demo, Dollanstown, July 2008

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Leinster Dressage held their first fund-raising demonstration in many years on Wednesday 2 July at Dollanstown Stud, Kilcock, courtesy of Ulla and Rolf Seidel and Caroline and Lars Bjöerk, stalwart supporters of the Region.

Dollanstown’s wonderful facilities, and in particular the indoor arena, were very much appreciated by spectators who battled through rush hour traffic, against wind and downpours, to arrive at the venue. Then, with just a half an hour to go before the start, skies miraculously cleared and the weather remained fine for the rest of the evening.

The demonstration had originally been suggested by dressage trainer Maureen Dwyer, who volunteered her time and expertise to support Leinster Region. Maureen was assisted by her daughter, international rider Kate Dwyer, who rode all three demonstration horses, as well as providing pertinent asides to her mother’s commentary. The Dwyers were ably supported by ‘grooms for the night’ Andrea O’ Brien and Karen Munnelly.

The theme for the evening was the ‘Scales of Training’ which Maureen and Kate demonstrated with the cheerful assistance of three four-legged stars:

  • Galax Z, a 5 year old coloured gelding by Aldatus Z, bought by Maureen as a four year old, schooled on and sold a few months ago to Michael Kennedy, returned to his former trainer for the night to demonstrate the proper lungeing and training of the young horse. Maureen emphasised the importance of rhythm, relaxation and suppleness for the young horse at the early stages of training.
  • Witto, Maeve Butterly’s 7 year old Oldenburg chestnut gelding, currently competed at advanced medium level by Kate, demonstrated the more advanced work, with the introduction of lateral movements and flying changes. The need to ensure straightness and the challenge of achieving this, especially in the flying changes, was stressed.
  • Rêve D’Or, the 10 year old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Flemmingh, demonstrated work at advanced level, showing canter pirouettes, one time changes, piaffe and passage. Maureen pointed out the willing and trainable temperament of the stallion and his rideability, stressing that the latter is the ultimate goal of correct training.

Maureen spoke also of the responsibility of the rider to ‘be the best’ they could for their level of training. In particular she encouraged everyone to work continuously on developing an independent seat and sympathetic contact, without which horses can not be expected to perform to their full potential.

The organisers were delighted by the turnout - with standing room only at the back, the spectators demonstrated that interest in dressage is continuing to grow apace. The funds raised will be used to organise dressage training for adults within Leinster Region.

The Leinster Region Committee would like to express their sincere gratitude to Maureen and Kate Dwyer, Caroline and Lars Bjöerk and Ulla and Rolf Seidel, without whom the evening would not have been possible.