2021 Evie Tumlin Grant Recipient Megan Riley
My Clinic with Jeremy Steinberg
Before I get into writing about my experience with the clinic, I wanted to take a moment and thank The Dressage Foundation for this experience. As we all know, there were a lot of applicants and to be selected is such surreal reality for me.
I grew up in Central Texas but spent most of my summers in New Hampshire as my aunt’s groom. I have been riding before I could walk. Now, I work full time for the State and am the mom to three dogs, two cats, and two mares. I would like to give credit for my riding to all my former trainers and especially my mom. You can follow me on Instagram @megcassidyriley to watch my journey!
Lady “Bug” Alisa DMF
Lady has been in my life since she was three years old. I still recall the road trip with my mom from Texas to pick her up. She was this shy sweet mare, who didn’t have the best start to life. She went on to become our broodmare and my mom did combined driving with her up to Intermediate.
My mom sent her down to me about a year and a half ago. She came with barely any dressage under saddle and couldn’t canter to save her life.
The reason I am giving you a background on sweet Bug is that our ride with Jeremy was about learning that cantering isn’t a reason to panic. I am sure many riders have experienced, the use of their horse’s head to pull them into the canter. Jeremy gave me some awesome tips to help combat that. By the end of our ride with Jeremy, Bug was really learning that she can use her hind end to push her into the canter.
Lady and I have competed at Training Level and have earned our scores for USDF Region 9 Regionals in October. The future is bright for my spunky little girl, and I am so excited to continue this journey with her.
My sweet mare Cleo has been in my life for over seven years. She was a lesson horse when I decided very quickly as an adult that I missed riding. When I pulled up to my lesson barn and I saw her in the pasture, I fell in love. My first horse that I learned dressage on was a Quarter Horse named Scratch Man. He was so awesome and would do anything I asked of him. After learning about Cleo and her background, I had a gut feeling that one day she would be mine. The only reason she ended up as mine is that she chose me. She is my heart horse and everyone at my barn would tell you nothing different.
Cleo is like most mares and will tell you where to go and how to get there very quickly! She has learned that dressage is fun and has been great for her.
When I started dressage with Cleo, it was a mess. She was supposed to do barrels and her canter was so FLAT! She has moved up over the levels to Second and now onto schooling Third.
Jeremy and I have worked together before with Cleo. So, he totally understands what I am dealing with daily. He himself has a mare and gets the idea of asking and not telling your mare what to do.
Cleo and I have worked on walk to canter transitions for about two-three years now. Cleo's natural reaction is to yank on the reins even after a smooth transition. Jeremy told me to not react, as in getting emotional or even yanking on the reins. He wanted me to just sit still and lean back. So, I used my balance and my bodyweight to be the anchor to the "yank."
Towards the end of the ride, we were able to halt, canter, walk and just simply half halt without that ugly last word from Cleo.
Cleo and I are currently showing our First Level Freestyle and plan on Third Level bootcamp this summer. We hope to go to Regionals with our Freestyle and maybe get that bronze medal.
I have learned that anything is possible when you work hard for it. Even on the hard days, keep pushing, it always pays off.
Photographs by Claire Holly and Angie Krylo