Dressage Training in Andalucia Video - Part 1

TV Host and Equestrian Darley Newman tries dressage training at a historic hacienda in Southern Spain

by Equitrekking host Darley Newman

As I watched Napoleon, a beautiful white Andalusian, neighing and pawing the ground and prancing around, agitated at having to stand for a minute, I felt sure that this was not the horse that I would be riding for my dressage lesson at Epona, a riding center outside of Seville that specializes in dressage training. With my hunter jumper training, I have learned a little about dressage training, but nothing that would prepare me to ride a highly trained, highly sensitive horse and actually cue him to do something.

Vivi, the daughter of Fernando and Jane, who own Epona, was riding Napoleon, practicing the Spanish walk, piaffe and passage and looking fantastic. Vivi has been studying dressage her entire life, including four years at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez, studying under Olympic medalist Rafael Soto. She’s what I would call a near expert in dressage. I say “near” because with dressage, as with other types of riding, there is always something to learn. One can study dressage for a lifetime. Also, you may be riding or training different horses, which takes years as well.

Vivi rode over to me on Napoleon and asked if I wanted to try the piaffe and passage, two upper-level dressage movements. I kind of didn’t, as I wasn’t sure that I could handle Napoleon. He is quite a horse with a lot of energy and strength, but when else would I have the chance to ride a horse like Napoleon, who is so well trained, under the guidance of his trainer? After expressing my concerns to Vivi, I decided to give it a try.

Watch Part 2 of this series.

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