A Journey into Dressage Riding
In the enchanting world of dressage riding, where grace, precision, and partnership between horse and rider are paramount, Merel Groen found her passion. At 41 years old, Merel leads a dual life, working in HR for the airforce while pursuing her passion for dressage riding with unwavering dedication. Her journey into this demanding discipline is nothing short of inspiring, and her story is a testament to the enduring bond between humans and horses.
Merel's connection with horses began at an astonishingly young age. Just one year old, she found herself atop a horse for the first time. Her parents, recognizing her fascination with these majestic creatures, introduced her to the equestrian world. However, her initial interactions with ponies were far from smooth sailing. At the age of 4 or 5, Merel took her first rides on a pony that seemed to have a penchant for sending her tumbling to the ground. Despite the tumbles and challenges, Merel's early equestrian experiences were marked by sheer joy and a profound love for being around horses.
As Merel grew older, her passion for riding deepened. At the age of 12, she embarked on a new chapter in her equestrian journey by transitioning from ponies to Friesian Horses. This shift brought its own set of challenges, as Friesian Horses are known for their unique personalities and characteristics that set them apart from the more commonly used warmbloods in dressage. Merel soon discovered that finding the right Friesian horse, one with a compatible personality and collaborative spirit, was of utmost importance.
The Collaborative Bond
Merel's quest to find the perfect equine partner led her on a remarkable journey of discovery. She learned that it wasn't just about the horse's physical attributes but also about their willingness to work together as a team. Dressage is a discipline that demands harmony and communication between horse and rider, and Merel found this elusive partnership with her Friesian horse at the time.
The Road to Excellence
Merel's journey into the world of dressage riding was not without its challenges. It required many hours of training and commitment. Dressage is often referred to as the "ballet of equestrian sports" due to its emphasis on precise movements and impeccable coordination between horse and rider. The rigorous training and countless hours spent in the saddle required unwavering commitment. Merel honed her skills and deepened her understanding of the discipline with each passing day.
The Road to Excellence - Mastering Dressage
The journey to mastering dressage is an arduous one, requiring unwavering commitment, discipline, and skill. Dressage is often referred to as the "ballet of equestrian sports" due to its emphasis on precise movements and impeccable coordination between horse and rider. Here are some key aspects of what it takes to excel in this art:
Dressage riders like Merel undergo years of rigorous training to develop the physical and mental strength required for the discipline. This includes hours of riding, strength conditioning, and flexibility exercises.
Understanding of Aids:
Dressage riders must have an intimate understanding of the aids – the subtle cues given to the horse through the rider's seat, legs, and hands. These aids are used to communicate with the horse and achieve the desired movements.
Patience and Persistence:
Achieving perfection in dressage takes time. Riders must be patient and persistent, continually refining their skills and those of their horses.
Dressage riders must execute a series of intricate movements with precision. These include movements like piaffe, passage, and flying changes, which require impeccable timing and balance.
Merel Groen's journey into the world of dressage riding is a testament to the power of passion and determination. From her earliest memories of being on a horse to her dedicated pursuit of excellence in the discipline of dressage, Merel's story is an inspiration to equestrians and enthusiasts alike. Her ability to forge a collaborative bond with her Friesian horse and her unwavering commitment to the art of dressage have created the style she has today.