Featuring Ciara Myers
Our SDCTA Q&A's feature horse lovers from all walks of life.
This installment focuses on Ciara Myers an adult amateur just beginning her dressage journey.
Q - How long have you been doing dressage?
A - I have been doing dressage since August when I brought my first horse, Kylo, home. Before that I rode hunter jumpers at my college for about 4 months.
Q - What first got you interested in dressage?
A- I had a very interesting path to dressage! I grew up as a competitive figure skater, starting at 8 years old. I competed in all the disciplines but found the most enjoyment out of ice dancing. In ice dancing you have no jumps, but all of your focus is on the detailed “footwork” and staying on the correct patterns. You also have to be well matched to your music choices and stay consistent with the beat of the music – which is very similar to the focus of dressage! Combining things like patterns and musicality with my immense love of horses only made sense!
Q - What has been the most challenging aspect of dressage for you so far?
A - The most challenging aspect of dressage has been learning to ride the horse, not just go for a ride. I actually only started riding ‘seriously’ in April of 2018, before that most of my riding experience came from trail riding, so I wasn’t used to have to be constantly communicating with the horse before I started doing dressage. I also used to, and sometimes still struggle with, being a timid rider – I wasn’t necessarily afraid of the horse, but I would rarely be assertive. Owning an 8 year old, that was gelded only a few weeks before we purchased him changed that very quickly! The first few weeks of me riding Kylo was a bit of a circus as he tried to figure out what he could get away with. I’ve had to learn to be much more assertive both in the saddle and on the ground.
Q - What has been the most enjoyable aspect of dressage so far?
A - The challenge of it! I love how there is a certain infinity to the progression – meaning that there seems to always be something to improve on! I love how you can never take improvement for granted because there usually, if not always, something you can do to make it even just a little better!
Q - How long have you had Kylo?
A - I have had him since July 26th, so almost 6 months!
Q - What is Kylo favorite treat?
A - Whatever you’re offering! He’s not picky at all, but if I had to pick one favorite I would have to say Orange flavored Lifesavers!
Q - When you aren’t riding dressage, what other hobbies to you enjoy?
A - I enjoy shooting and editing photography, cooking, and playing with my dogs! I also am having a blast starting up a small business, Sparkle at X Designs, where I design and create custom Swarovski Crystal covered riding gloves and browbands!
Q - What advice would you give to other newcomers in the sport?
A - If you are able to, find a horse that challenges you, but also gives you confidence. Schoolmasters are a phenomenal learning tool, but I think challenging or uneducated horses can provide a great canvas for learning things that a schoolmaster might not. One of the things that I think has seriously helped me learn and improve quickly has been having a horse that doesn’t give you anything for free. There are definitely some days that I find myself wishing that Kylo wouldn’t break from the canter, or try to cut corners – but in the end I wouldn’t trade him for the world, because I know that when we do something correctly, it’s because I asked for it properly. I think a horse that makes you work for success is worth it’s weight in gold!
Q - What are your dressage plans for 2019?
A - Being a full-time student means that this year I won’t be showing a lot, but I am planning to get my feet wet! My first ever horse show will be the schooling show in January, so I’m thrilled for that. Beyond that, my two big goals for the year are two get my scores to be able to do a training level freestyle, and improve enough to be able to show at level one at a rated show by the end of the year!