Filtered by category: The Show Pen Clear Filter

Pinto, It’s not Just a Color!

The Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA) has been one of Western Dressage Association of America’s (WDAA) most cherished partners from the time our association started.  PtHA hosted the first few WDAA World Shows in conjunction with it’s Colorbreed Congress.  Many exhibitors may know that Western Dressage is still offered at Pinto shows.  However, you may not know that almost any horse can be registered as a Pinto. 

Pinto has evolved to become a horse show registry, not a color registry.  Therefore many breeds, colors and types of equines are eligible for registration and subsequently showing at Pinto shows.  To find out if your horse is eligible, you can follow this link:

Read More

Justin's Journey from Danny Sal Da Na

For Justin Byrom Cummins, entering the WDAA World Champion Show in Guthrie, OK was for him and us a unique and wonderous time filled with great moments, we and he will remember for a long time. 

I can't tell you how much or enough what this positive experience did for him.  Justin, is Savant Autistic. He came to Andrew James and I,  as a homeless 25 yo. man in distress 3 years ago by happen chance or divine intervention. Andrew & I took him in. He required a lot of mental health care which we were able to get for him. Over time he proved himself an invaluable asset with our 12 show horses. He and they bonded well with each other. He took on their care and maintenance for us. His connection with the horses, his fondness and how they work so well for him is wonderfully beautiful. 

Read More

Meet the 2022 Top Hands

The Whittaker family of Massachusetts is making a difference in WDAA.

By Holly Clanahan

Read More

Paying Tribute

Two freestyle riders dedicate their rides to those who gave them their start. 
By Holly Clanahan
Owner, exhibitor, breeder, trainer, groom – these are the visible roles at a horse show, and they’re all essential. But there are other people who are equally important, if not more so – and those are the ones who gave us our start in horses. Realizing this, two exhibitors in the costume freestyle at the Western Dressage World Championship Show, held Sept. 27-Oct. 1, dedicated their rides to beloved family members and mentors. 
For Dayna Alanna Cocca of Aracanum, Ohio, it was her grandparents. Her grandpa, Wayne Campbell, especially supported her love for horses, and he bought her first pony, with the expectation that she would learn responsibility by paying for all his expenses. 
“He showed me what it meant to be both hardworking, successful and generous, as well as passionate about something you love,” Dayna wrote in a Facebook post. 
Wayne and his wife, Jayne, paid for Dayna’s riding lessons, which her single mother didn’t have the means to do. And today, she is a lovely rider, taking her mare, Rebellious Miss, into not only Western Dressage, but also a drill team and endurance riding. 
Their costume freestyle was to the theme of “Top Gun,” a nod to Wayne’s love of military aviation and the Tom Cruise movie. 
Sadly, neither of Dayna’s grandparents got to see her freestyle. “My grandma passed away in January of this year from a long battle with heart problems and COVID, and my grandpa is in a long-term care facility with late-stage Alzheimer’s,” she wrote. But she knew they’d be happy to see her having fun, putting herself out there at her first Western Dressage World Championship Show and her first in-person freestyle competition.  
Wayne would always ask her, “Are you having fun, kiddo?” And Dayna, wearing a flight suit with patches from a local refueling unit and riding the treasured 14-year-old mare she’s had since she was 3, was able to answer with an emphatic “yes.” 
“Elton John,” aka Michelle Frank of Cypress, Texas, rode into the costume freestyle ring immediately after Dayna, and she also had a higher purpose. She rode to honor her horse-show “mom” and mentor, Martha Pirnie, who died four months ago. 
“We sponsored a class in her honor because she loved this, and she loved the theatrics of the freestyle and the costumes,” Michelle said. “She has made me so many costumes, and we just wanted to do this in her honor.”  
Michelle’s mount in the costume freestyle was Aka Tango, a Paint gelding who had been owned by Martha before her health declined and she signed him over to Michelle. 
Martha had known about the Elton John-themed freestyle, and suggested that perhaps Michelle could ride to “The Yellow Rose of Texas” instead, since Elton John was “a little dramatic.” “It sure is (dramatic),” Michelle said she answered. “Your horse is a little dramatic. It’s a black-and-white Paint with a mohawk!” 
So even though Martha’s choice of music didn’t make it into the freestyle, Michelle and her friends are wearing yellow rose pendants in honor of Martha. “That way, we know she’s here with us,” Michelle said. “That was her favorite thing to do every year, was to come up here (to the Lazy E in Guthrie, Oklahoma, for the World Show.)” 
Michelle did ride another freestyle (not in costume) at the World Show on another horse, to music that had been selected by Martha. 
“She is the only reason why I’m doing (western dressage,)” said Michelle, who brought five horses and several riders with her to the World Show. Michelle’s background was in classical dressage, but Martha told her, “‘You have to try this.’ We did, and I fell in love, and now I have a little program.” 

Two Different Worlds

He’s a good ranch horse competitor, but Smart Dual Olena took home a top honor at the Western Dressage World Championship Show. 
By Holly Clanahan
Smart Dual Olena was just at the Lazy E Area in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in June, on high alert, looking for cattle. After competing at the American Quarter Horse Association’s Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships and scoring some top-10 finishes, “Brewster” returned to his old stomping grounds in late September to compete at another world championship show, in another discipline altogether. 
And apparently the Western Dressage World Championship Show was a good fit, as Brewster and his owner/rider Jan Halter left with a world championship, earning a score of 76.96 in Basic Test 3 Amateur.
Jan, who is from Leonard, Texas, bought her 18-year-old sorrel gelding about a year and a half ago, sight unseen.  
“I saw him in a sale catalog the night before a sale in Billings, Montana,” she said. “I really loved his look. I loved his breeding. (He is by cutting superstar Smart Little Lena, out of a daughter of Dual Pep). I called the guy in the morning and wound up buying him on a phone bid.” True to his breeding, Brewster had competed in cutting, as well as working cow horse, and had lately been used as a turnback horse for other cutters. 
Jan herself had ridden classical dressage for most of her 20s, 30s and 40s on warmbloods, Arabians and crosses. Then she decided a change was in order, so she moved to western performance horses and loves to compete these days in ranch riding and Versatility Ranch Horse cattle classes. 
“We don't work on this really,” Jan said of Western Dressage. “I work on basics just to get him soft.” But dressage basics – working on suppleness, responsiveness and maneuverability – help in any discipline. Just two weekends before the Western Dressage World Championship Show, Jan and Brewster won their division at a Versatility Ranch Horse show in southern Oklahoma. “OK, now we’re going to slow it down,” Jan said of their preparations for Guthrie. In suitability, their first class at the Western Dressage World Show, Brewster was a little watchy, Jan said, “because the last time he was in that pen was in June for the Versatility Ranch World, and he was 11th in the cutting.”
So while they’ve both drawn on their varied backgrounds as they came together for their Western Dressage World Show debut, Jan and Brewster have also been strengthening their relationship. 
The equine chiropractor who helps keep Brewster in top shape commented to Jan, “He’s never had his own human, has he?” Since the gelding was owned for most of his life by a trainer, Jan agreed that was probably the case. She set about to rectify the matter. 
After she bought him, she was told that he can be standoffish. He’d do his job but didn’t really want to be in anyone’s pocket. “But, you know, I carry carrots,” Jan said. “When he does something good, he gets a carrot. We couldn’t catch him at first, and now he’s like ‘Oh! Take me!’”
Reflecting on their journey, Jan said, “I try not to get real emotional about it, but it’s just really hard not to. I just love him.” 
Photos used with permission of the photographers. Cutting photo is by Walk This Way Photography and Western Dressage photo is by Caitlin Demura Photography. 

Racing Into Western Dressage

An ex-racehorse finds a home in a different discipline.

By Holly Clanahan

Read More

True Versatility

By Andrea Caudill

The versatility of the American Quarter Horse is certainly a bragging point for the breed – the horse that is willing and able to do whatever task asked of it. While that is quite common, it is rare when performed on the breed’s biggest stage, a place where specialists typically have the advantage. But at the 2020 Farnam AQHA and Adequan® World Championship Shows, Colorado resident Renee Anderson and her mare, Hi Risk, were successful in two wildly different events: The duo placed ninth in the Select barrel racing and, a few days later, were finalists in the brand-new western dressage stakes class.

Read More

Western Dressage Therapeutic Riding Division Debut at Preston Horse Farm PVDA Show

On April 15th 2018 PVDA hosted a Dressage Schooling Show at Preston Horse Farm (owned by Becky Langwost-Barlow). At this show we (Courageous Hearts Horsemanship) were able to debut an idea, passion, and dream of ours to have a division for riders with special needs and abilities to be able to show in dressage. It has taken a long time to develop a program that would meet the dressage standards, as well as meet the needs of therapeutic riding and horsemanship. We are so excited that PVDA has supported our passion and helped us make this a reality for our riders and their families and hopefully more riders to come!

Read More