Intern Update: Kat Neis

Dressage Today welcomes its 2015 Summer Intern
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Hi! My name is Kat and I am the new intern for Dressage Today. I’m originally from the west side of Michigan, but currently attend the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. I’m an English major and also ride for Wooster’s Dressage Team, so this internship feels like a perfect fit for me and I’m excited to be here.

I have been involved in the equestrian world since kindergarten when I started showing Miniature Horses through 4H. I competed in driving, showmanship, and hand-in-trail, however I eventually realized that I wanted to ride instead of always being on the ground!

I started my riding career in the hunter/jumper arena showing mainly Quarter-Horse crosses when I was 11 years old. Although I enjoyed it, after a couple of years, I found myself pulled towards the world of dressage and began to learn more about it, namely by reading Dressage Today, obsessing over top riders and their warmbloods, and watching the World Equestrian Games. At the age of 14, I transitioned to the sport of dressage and immediately loved it, specifically the emphasis on harmony within a partnership. When jumping, I had never felt the kind of connection and control that I felt in dressage, not to mention the fact that dressage saddles are much more comfortable! Throughout my high school years, I trained competitively with a coach in Michigan and found myself connecting much more to the ideologies and theories of the discipline.

When I moved to Ohio for college, I began showing on Wooster’s Dressage Team. The team competes actively through the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA). For those who may not be familiar with IDA, it features a catch riding system—riders are assigned an unknown horse and have ten minutes prior to their test to evaluate and connect to their partner before they ride the test.

My first show season with IDA was a great experience. Waking up at obscene hours of the morning and driving across Ohio to other universities can be a little painful but also a wonderful team bonding experience. One October morning, I was responsible for driving the team with a 5:30am departure time. My coach talked endlessly throughout the whole drive with the fear, I think, of me falling asleep at the wheel. But we finally made it and my first show with IDA began later that afternoon.

Due to the IDA show system, I was forced to become a stronger and more versatile rider. From the lazy Quarter-Horse stiff in the neck, to the fancy, forward-moving pony, having exactly ten minutes to analyze, evaluate, and create an action plan for a successful test is quite a challenge, but nonetheless, an enjoyable and educational one. I am looking forward to continuing to share and expand my love of the sport by working for Dressage Today this summer.

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