Dressage Clinic in Charleston, Chew on That!

Dressage in Charleston, SC
Field trip! We took our dressage studies to Charleston for a change of scenery.
Field trip! We took our dressage studies to Charleston for a change of scenery.

Part 1 of our Charleston, SC road trip adventure!

To say “thank you” to some of her most dedicated clients and students, my trainer, Halliea Milner, organized a horsey-vacation trip to Charleston, SC! We loaded 16 horses into 4 trailers in the pouring rain, and set out for several days of fun.

Our temporary home-base for the long weekend was the perfectly picturesque Middleton Riding Academy in Charleston, SC. Our host and former Go With It Farm rider, Meg Bowers, helped us settle the horses into their vacation pastures once we arrived, and we settled in for several days of riding.

One of the primary activities of the trip was a dressage mini-clinic with Horse Engineer Jamie Stevenson. We were separated into small groups of three or four riders, and had a session with Jamie. She strongly believes in the importance of bio-mechanics when it comes to riding effectively, and she definitely made a believer out of me.

While most of the clinic was spent conceptualizing and discussing, rather than riding, Jamie took time to work with each of us individually and fine-tuned our positions through some enlightening hands-on demonstrations.

Jamie discovered that I tend to put too much weight on the outsides of my stirrups, and helped me work through that. She also found that, due to the fact I fractured several vertebrae in a freak riding accident when I was 14 and cannot easily move my lower back, I have a very strong natural “neutral seat” position, which is actually great for dressage! Awesome! My accident, which is a hindrance for equitation riding, is actually very helpful for dressage!

We ended the lesson by testing out our new skills and putting the new concepts to work, and I saw an immediate improvement in JJ’s movements and gaits – all as a result of me improving my own body!


What you may view as a problem might actually work to your advantage – you just have to find the right place to let your situation shine.