ENN logominor bros.

Dressage Niagara


2010 Annual General Meeting & Year End Dinner

                  victoria winter           
Sunday, October 17, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

Casa Dante Lodge Banquet Hall

34 Lincoln Street, Welland, ON

                                        Featuring Victoria Winter discussing    

The World Equestrian Games

And the Challenges of a Career and Competing at the Upper Levels

                          $30 all inclusive for members, $40 for non members,

Children under 12-$15.00.   Cash Bar

Please note there is no charge to attend the AGM

                     To RSVP Complete the form below and mail with your payment to

Dressage Niagara, PO Box 231, Fonthill, ON L0S 1E0

not later than October 4th
To register your attendance, print this form

Dressage Niagara’s Mette Rosencrantz Clinic: An Auditor’s Perspective


Photo: Catherine Daniels and her Percheron/TB cross Coal with Mette.

Where were you on Sunday, June 6th?  If you weren’t at the Dressage Niagara’s Mette Rosencrantz clinic you missed a great opportunity to ride or audit with an outstanding clinician.


Mette Rosencrantz was twice a member of the Swedish National Dressage team and head instructor at Stromsholm, Sweden’s prestigious school for instructors.  Mette also holds a degree in physical education.  She is currently based in Topanga, California.   Recently, Mette participated in clinics with Robert Dover and Kyra Kyrklund.  Mette is regularly schooled by Steffen Peters, U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Equestrian of the Year for the second year in a row.  She holds impeccable credentials.  Mette has been regularly travelling to Canada to hold clinics mostly in the London area and also at Marci Brown’s Arc Equestrian.  Marci presented Dressage Niagara with an opportunity to host Mette on her latest Canadian visit.


mette2Photo: Mette, Joanne Copeland and her TB gelding Monkey Chatter

Eleven members of Dressage Niagara arranged to ride with Mette.  Since Mette was relatively unknown in the Niagara area, the riders and auditors were uncertain about what to expect from her.  Questions about her teaching style were asked by many.  Within a few minutes Mette answered our questions.  She teaches with a very straightforward, honest style while still injecting humor in her comments and observations.  She used a wealth of analogies to try and clarify her message and this auditor has many new mantras.  Among them are “ride against your brain”, “you can’t pull it, you have to ride it”, and addressing the horse with “you come to MY party.”


Mette views the horse as a true athlete and a training session is a “workout class, not a dressage performance”.  The horse is expected to physically and mentally accept and obey the rider, hence the comments “you come to MY party”, “don’t ride them the way they want to be ridden”, and “if you ask them to work and they get grumpy, don’t stop.”  But even though the horse is expected to “get down to business,” Mette’s love and respect of the horse was apparent.  Whenever she approached a horse and rider to explain something the horse benefitted from some soothing rubs and scratches.


Horse and rider combinations from Training Level to Prix St. Georges were presented.  Mette was equally capable of providing guidance to all and pointed out the “holes” in their work.  Although she discussed the “holes” or areas for improvement, she was quick to add comments such as “it’s not your fault, it’s just the way it is, now what do we need to do to correct it.”  Mette provided many exercises to fill the holes.  She works to correct the cause rather than the symptom. 


Mette expressed an interest in returning to the Niagara area.  She prefers to work with a horse and rider combination over two consecutive days to better assess them and define their short term and long term training goals.  We hope she returns soon!


Until she returns I am going to keep reminding myself “the horse can never be better than it is ridden” and “trust your riding enough so if the horse changes under you, you keep riding him the same.”
mette 3
Photo: Joan Avis riding her Dutch Warmblood mare Sorayah.




Hello Niagara horse enthusiasts, and supporting community,

We have been talking about bringing in a top level international clinician for the past couple of years but the cost has always been prohibitive.  One of the people on our short list was California-based Mette Rosencrantz. 


You may have seen Mette featured on the cover of a recent issue of Practical Horseman.  She’s an international Grand Prix rider, who was twice a member of the Swedish dressage team and won the Open Grand Prix at the 2007 World Cup.  She is also a renowned teacher and clinician, who likes to get to the root of the problem and provide long-term solutions.  Mette is equally good teaching lower level horses as those at the FEI level – in other words, she can help all dressage riders.


Thanks to the stronger Canadian $ and a reduced “Ontario Tour” price, we have been able to secure Mette Rosencrantz for a clinic on Sunday, June 6th at Briarwood Stables in Niagara Falls. 


The Clinic is open to both riders and auditors. The attached pdf file contains the Clinic flyer and registration form (auditors must also register in advance).  Please consider attending and help us spread the word – we are hoping for a great turn out! 


Your Board of Directors

Thank you,
Louise Kennedy on behalf of Dressage Niagara -
 www.dressageniagara.com is our Website for more information and registration forms.
 dressageniagara@live.ca to Email our club.

Dressage Niagara

Spring Trail Ride @ Queenston Quarry


An excellent opportunity to get your horse exposed to being away from home prior to show season & a great way to connect with fellow horse people after such a long winter!!!


When: April 24th, rain date April 25th 

Time: Ride starts @ 1:00 pm ***please arrive by 12:15 to ensure we’re ready to go by 1:00!

Where: Queenston Quarry Niagara-on-the-Lake

Directions: The vehicle access entrance is located at the interchange exit from HWY 405 (General Brock Parkway) and Stanley Ave.  Please see the Quarry web-site for comprehensive directions (www.queenstonquarry.com)


-this ride is open to both Dressage Niagara members and non-members.  There is a $5 fee for each horse/rider combination.

-proper trail etiquette is expected at all times, expectations will be posted at the site.

-proof of OEF membership is required (photocopy)

-proper footwear (boot with heel) & helmet must be worn by all riders

-attached waiver must be signed prior to the ride

-footing at the quarry is a gravel/sand mix, it is recommended that horses with sensitive feet wear shoes

-ride is limited to 20 riders

To register/waiver document: click here

Learn to Ride a Freestyle Clinic - April 11th - click here to find out more

John  MacPherson/Dressage Niagara Clinicjohn macpherson and rider

Over twenty dressage enthusiasts spent a very informative day on Saturday, February 20th at the outstanding new facilities at 3 Gaits Equestrian Centre in Fenwick, hosted by Dressage Niagara.  

The clinician, John MacPherson has represented Canada internationally for over twenty-five years.  John has twice won the Bronze Medal at the CDI-W Dressage at Devon.  He is also a certified Level Three Dressage Coach and an M Level Judge.  We were very fortunate to observe his teaching and training methods and philosophies.

Two riders, Cora Lee Cardinale and Sarah Smith each rode twice for John.  The other riders were Monica Kotkavy and Andrew Lowry.

All participants were at about the same level, training to 1st Level, so it was interesting to see how John approached each rider/horse combination’s specific training issues with different techniques and exercises.

Although each combination had different challenges, John’s underlying goal was to have each horse improve in their rhythm and tempo and bend.  John obviously kept the dressage training scale in mind with the horses presented to him on this day.  Rhythm, relaxation, and straightness became the foundations of the schooling sessions.

With a tense, reactive horse John began with trot/halt transitions to improve the horse’s focus on his rider.  They then moved onto leg yielding.  The rider was told to “feel every stride as if it was your first stride.”

To begin developing a pirouette, the horse was walked in a six metre circle with hindquarters moved into the circle.  Then a half-pirouette was requested.

Another exercise used to relax a different horse was to trot the long side of the arena, walk transition and change direction, turning towards the wall and immediately transition to trot.

The turn on the forehand was used to improve the horse’s lateral flexion and therefore their bend.  Counter flexion was also used to improve the bend.  Counter canter was utilized to improve balance and straightness.

John emphasized the rider sets the tempo and used the mantra, “Ride the Rhythm.”  He also explained how to use your balance subtly backwards and forwards to improve upward and downward transitions. He challenged the rider to have the horse learn her body language to improve the responsiveness of their transitions.

Other directives from John were to “ride the hindquarters and balance the forehand” and to keep a metronome in your head.  Precision in transitions was paramount.

There was noticeable improvement in each participant and everyone left with renewed enthusiasm, new exercises to work on in their own riding, and some catch phrases to remind them what the key foundations of good riding are.



The first Dressage Niagara riding clinic for 2010 is scheduled for Saturday, February 20 with John MacPherson, FEI Competitor, Trainer, Level III Dressage Coach

& M Level Judge.  The location is 3 Gaits Equestrian Centre, 935 Farr Rd, Fenwick.  


John is a multi-year "listed" rider who has represented Canada internationally for more than 25 years, and has twice won the Bronze Medal at the CDI-W Dressage at Devon.  He is one of an elite number of certified Level III Dressage Coaches in Canada and John’s students range from grassroots riders to Grand Prix competitors.


The clinic can accommodate nine riders, each of whom will receive personal attention from John during an individual 45-minute session.   The ride fee is $100 for Dressage Niagara members and  $120 for non-members.   Ride times start at 9:00 am.


Spectators – “auditors” – may attend for a fee of $20 for Dressage Niagara members and $30 for non-members, which covers the whole day.  Food services will be available on site.


For more information or to register, contact Clinic Chair Janet Henderson at 905-228-3091.   Registration forms are also be available at www.dressageniagara.com.


 Submitted by Janet Henderson

















Photo by Roy Norgrove


The City of Port Colborne, situated on the north shore of Lake Erie at the south end of the Welland Canal, is huge with enthusiasm and well known for many annual festivals and celebrations.


A once in a lifetime opportunity presented itself when the Olympic Torch Committee announced the torch would be coming through our town, and our Mayor and his staff immediately went to work.  They contacted every type of sports organization, including Rivendell Arabian Sport Horses, requesting their involvement.  The day’s activities would spotlight many Olympic sports and strive to allow hands on participation for the local school aged children.


Response from local groups was amazing, including the Para-Olympic association.  Janet Henderson from Rivendell Arabian Sport Horses volunteered to bring a horse to the market square for the torch arrival, and offered to host an open house at the barn in the afternoon. 


The day was a wonderful success with 2,500 people turning out to watch the torch arrive.  The main streets were lined with flag waving supporters and the market square activities offered children participation in five different sports.


Janet and her daughter Bri trailered “Rivendell Brego”, a 4 year old purebred gelding (out of the pure Crabbet mare Seffers Amber Rose) to the market square to promote the breed and Dressage Niagara.  Brego is a very typey dark bay gelding and was stellar in how he handled the crowds of people.  There were times when he had twenty or more people around him.  He dropped his head to allow the children to touch his face, standing with a hip tipped.  It took Brego all of ten minutes to figure out why he was there and was a wonderful ambassador for the breed for the two hour party.  Janet and Bri handed out CAHR and AHA promotional material as well as invitations to the barn open house.  


The barn was beautifully decorated for Christmas.  Janet and her army of friends and family had a table set with hot drinks, candy canes and the obligatory Timbits.  Also set up was a table with more promotional material as well as a few of the national and regional awards won by the Henderson family members and their horses. 


Trudy Tattersall and her lovely Canadian gelding, Phoenix, gave the crowd a lovely demonstration of what dressage can be.  Phoenix is a 5 year old and was quite composed and relaxed.  The pair were beautifully turned out and showed everyone the talent that made them one of Dressage Niagara’s 2009 champions.


Bri Henderson and Sarah Smith did demonstration rides on Rivendell Arwen and Rivendell Elanna.   Trudy Tattersall rode her Canadian horse, “Phoenix”.   Janet provided commentary for the crowd of nearly 50 people, explaining the basics of dressage and the history of the Arabian breed. 


Rivendell Arwen is a 7 year old Arabian/Hannoverian cross mare.  She started her show career in 2009, competing in breed and open dressage, as well as long distance.  She earned three Regional Top Five awards in dressage and sport horse and is the year end Reserve Champion for Training Level dressage with Dressage Niagara.  She successfully completed two limited distance rides. 


Rivendell Elanna is a 4 year old purebred mare who was started under saddle in March 2009.  She competed in limited distance rides and is in training for FEI pony dressage. 


Many of our visitors were children.  We had all ten horses in the barn and with the half doors open.  The horses were happy to greet the many visitors, especially Rivendell Elessar (aka Stryder - *Ecaho x Seffers Amber Rose).  He is a two year old colt who was more than pleased to be adored and was an absolute gentleman.


The Olympic Torch Run was a wonderful reason to be involved with such a great day.  Smiling faces, happy kids and beautiful horses – it doesn’t get any better! 


On Monday, December 21, there will be a once in a lifetime event in the City of Port Colborne as the Olympic Torch will make an appearance in the Market Square.  To celebrate this occasion the City of Port Colborne is planning numerous special activities to celebrate the Olympic sports.

Dressage, the art of training a horse, is one of the original Olympic competitions. In honor of this centuries old tradition, Janet Henderson, Port Colborne resident and accomplished rider, trainer and judge, will be bringing a horse to the Market Square celebration.  Dressage Niagara members will be available to answer questions and provide information about the non-profit riding club and its activities.  The public is also invited to the Henderson’s farm Rivendell at 2199 Babion Road, Port Colborne from 1-3:00 pm for an Open House and refreshments.  Trudy Tattersall, Dressage Niagara member and a 2009 Adult Amateur Champion, will provide a dressage demonstration.

The Board of Dressage Niagara is now busy planning 2010 activities including clinics and other educational events for the winter and next year’s show series.  New members are welcome and membership forms are on the Dressage Niagara website (www.dressageniagara.com). Annual membership is $25 for Seniors and $20 for Juniors. Visit the website for more information and announcements of upcoming Club events.  The Club can also be reached by email at dressageniagara@live.ca.

Susan Pennell-Sebekos

ANNUAL General Meeting and Awards Banquet

 Dressage Niagara recently held their AGM and Awards Banquet at the Casa Dante Lodge Banquet Hall in Welland at which time the 2010 Board of Directors were confirmed.  Several board members are staying in the positions they held this year: Jane Langdon (President), Kait Whittle (Vice President), Linda Warrell (Treasurer), Belinda Daniel (Webmaster), Janet Henderson (Clinics), and Michelle Waldron (Show Secretary).  Changing portfolios are Louise Kennedy (On-site Show Manager) and Kelly Dolinski (Membership).  New to the Board are Jen Goul (Secretary), Sue Wyrcimaga (Communications), and Sherry Visser-Fleming (Member At Large).

High point ribbons and prizes were presented to club members who competed at Dressage Niagara shows during the 2009 season. Bronze and Silver competitions, run under Equine Canada regulations, were held at The Niagara Regional Exhibition Fairgrounds in Welland, Three Gaits Equestrian Centre in Fenwick, and  two shows at Golden Horseshoe Stables in Fenwick. 

Below are the yearend standings:

BRONZE AWARDS                 CHAMPION                               RESERVE CHAMPION

Walk Trot Junior                      Cassandra Mills                         N/A

Walk Trot Adult Amateur          Karen Martens                           Sue Wyrcimaga

Pre Training Junior                   Renee Egan                              N/A

Pre Training Adult Amateur       Karen Martens                           N/A

Training Level Junior                Linsey Henry                             Megan Lukic

Training Level Adult Amateur    Amber Ripa                               Monica Koktavy

Training Level Open                 Kait Whittle                               Brianne Henderson

First Level Adult Amateur         Crystal Ripa                              Monica Koktavy

FEI Junior                               Jennifer Horr                             N/A

SILVER AWARDS                   Champion                                Reserve Champion

Training Level Junior                Mai-Lan Johnston                      N/A

Training Level Adult Amateur    Trudy Tattersall              Charmaine Lok                         

First Level Adult Amateur         Linda Warrell                 N/A

Second Level Adult Amateur    Kim Moore                    Joan Avis

Third Level Open                     Janet Henderson

There were two co-winners of the Dressage Niagara trophy for Excellence showing at Equine Canada sanctioned Gold level shows: Cora-Lee Cardinal and Stefanie Krysiak.

Awards were also presented for the high test scores.   The high point adult rider was Kait Whittle riding Winchester, scoring 71.79 for Training Level, Test 2.  The high point junior rider was Mai-Lan Johnston who scored 69.57 for Training Level, Test 1 riding Michelangelo.

One of the highlights of the evening was an equestrian fashion show presented by Reign Equestrian and Athletics in Fonthill.  The latest equestrian fashions were modeled by some members of Dressage Niagara; even “doggie” fashions were modeled by Phoebe, the Jack Russell handled by Burke.

The Dressage Niagara board is now busy planning 2010 activities including clinics and other educational events for the winter and next year’s show series.  New members are welcome and membership forms are on the Dressage Niagara website.  Annual membership is $25 for Seniors and $20 for Juniors. Please visit the website at www.dressageniagara.com for more information and announcements of upcoming Club events.  The Club can also be reached by email at dressageniagara@live.ca.




| ©2009 YDV/Equine Niagara News