Cathy Lloyd and Majestic
This past week I visited friends at Willow Tree Farm in Riverhead, LI, where I was able to get a sneak peek at Team South Africa's Cathy Lloyd as she prepares for next weeks World Equestrian Games where she will compete in the sport of Para Dressage.
For the first time, Para Dressage is being included at this exciting event, giving it a worldwide audience that will increase awareness for those not yet familiar with it.
Imagine riding a complex dressage test with your own horse. Now, imagine doing it without full control of one or more limbs or limited sensation in some area. If that isn't enough, how about riding a NEW horse you have only had one month to get to know? And in a new environment, with the whole equestrian WORLD watching. It is amazing to consider the different ways this affects training cues and methods of working with the horse, and yet horses can communicate and respond with their riders so well, a spectator is often not even aware of anything different until the rider dismounts and gets into a wheelchair or an impairment becomes visible in some other way.
When speaking with Cathy, she mentioned feeling humbled riding with some of the other competitors who have more complex situations than hers. She herself is spending one month with a borrowed horse who, though wonderful, is quite different than her own. This requires making adjustments to things as detailed as choosing music to suit his rhythm and tempo, changing her previous freestyle routine. Watching her ride and attempting to conceive of coping with even one or two of those things, which I would never have guessed when seeing her, is an inspiration, to be sure.
To keep an eye on Cathy, look up Team South Africa Para Dressage on the WEG website, Majestic's Nom de Show is "United We Stand".
Here is a link to only one of many good articles on Para Dressage, please add to the list.
Who are you excited to watch at WEG? Post away!