Longtime dressage enthusiast and competitor Lisa Rasmuson shares her excitement over AQHA approving dressage classes.
By Tiffany Mead, AQHA marketing intern
With the announcement of new AQHA-approved dressage classes, many members are happy to have the chance to earn year-end points in their favorite equestrian discipline. Dressage and American Quarter Horse enthusiast Lisa Rasmuson hopes to earn points and awards through dressage.
Lisa became familiar with American Quarter Horses in the 1980s when she purchased Mr Go Bailey and used him in local schooling shows in New Jersey. Lisa showed “Bailey” until he died of colic. She attended college and left horses and showing behind for a few years.
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However, in 1999, Lisa became reacquainted with riding and purchased an off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding named “Bobbie.” Bobbie helped Lisa earn her first score toward her United States Dressage Federation Training Level rider performance award in 2005. Bobbie ended up developing Cushing’s disease and although Lisa still wanted to ride, she decided it was best not to compete on the gelding.
Lisa was taking lessons at a nearby barn when the owner pulled out a “cute little chestnut” and told Lisa to “ride him … I think you’ll like him.” Upon first inspection, the gelding looked like a furry, chubby “Thelwell Pony” and had a “bit of the devil in his eyes.” But despite that, Lisa really liked him. Today that chubby chestnut is her current mount: JDH Prestige, or as she and all the local 4-H’ers know him, “Preston.” Lisa started riding Preston in spring 2007 while he was still being used by local 4-H’ers to compete in western pleasure, showmanship and dressage.
At the time, she still had Bobbie and an Arabian gelding and couldn’t justify purchasing another horse right away. Instead, Lisa continued to ride Preston and did well in the local show circuit, especially in the summer of 2008 where she and Preston won many ribbons and medals and were honored with Reserve Champion Open Training Level year-end award from the Meadow Dressage Schooling Show series.
In September 2008, Lisa had an empty spot in her barn after her older Arabian gelding died. After some grieving, she decided to purchase Preston.
When Preston was all hers, she decided to try something a little bit more competitive for the 2009 show season in the form of recognized dressage shows. The formerly opinionated and stubborn chestnut performed wonderfully, and Lisa finished her qualifying scores for the USDF Training Level rider performance award. A few of the judges commented to Lisa that Preston seemed to have a desire to work and that the two had a nice relationship together.
Lisa isn’t sure how much competing she and Preston are going to be doing this year, but she has thought about working toward the AQHA all-breeds award through USDF.
“I think the Quarter Horse is a great dressage option for us adult amateurs. Quarter Horses are, generally speaking, easy keepers, not expensive to buy and nicely built,” Lisa says. “I think it’s great to see the Quarter Horse recognized in dressage.”
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