During the Western Dressage World Championship Show, put on by the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA), there was camaraderie between fellow exhibitors, amongst the cadre of volunteers who showed up to make things happen, and most especially between horses and their riders—the most important beneficiaries of this sport that fosters that essential partnership.
Competitors were vying for 77 world championships, more than 30 breed high-score awards and 20 divisional championship belt buckles. World Show judges were Ronald Bartholomew of Martville, N.Y.; Donna Longacre of Longview, Wash.; Fatima Pawlenko-Kranz of Algonquin, Ill.; and Charlotte Trentelman of Anthony, Fla..
Thanks to sponsors, the show was live-streamed for free, allowing a much wider worldwide audience to tune in and see some of the best examples of western dressage. Class videos are archived at http://totalhorsechannel.com/wdaa. Additional thanks go to all individuals and companies who stepped up to sponsor the show at a variety of levels.
It’s important, too, to recognize the multitude of volunteers. 2018 marked the first year that a concerted effort was undertaken to recruit volunteers and place them in key positions, and the World Show was much better for it.
The World of Western Dressage
The Western Dressage World Show also featured a full day of rail classes, amazing freestyle competitions, exhibitor parties and the debut of therapeutic riding exhibition classes, illustrating the full benefits of western dressage and the partnership it can create with a horse. USEF CEO Bill Moroney was on hand at the Western Dressage World Championship Show to visit with competitors and bear witness to the growth of the discipline.
WDAA President Cindy Butler enjoyed watching the senior horses who have found second (or more) careers in western dressage, as well as the wide variety of equines. “We have horses who were rescued from kill pens and became successful in western dressage, and riders who came from other disciplines and found new life in western dressage,” Butler said.
“The atmosphere at our show is like no other,” she continued. “Western dressage is a refreshing new way to compete against your own best performance as you and your horse learn. You set your own pace, move forward a step at a time, and accomplish what you never dreamed you could.
Overall World Champions
Open Champion – Laurie Hedlund on Lyka – 80.8%
Open Reserve Champion Tim Christensen on Shari Gemini – 78.095%
Amateur Champion – Julie Cain on Larks Best Bett – 83%
Amateur Reserve Champion – Jay Cain on Happyhoursat3 – 79.75%
Junior Champion – Korbin Eckert on Paddys Irish Starlet – 79.524%
Junior Reserve Champion – Corbin Eckert on Spindoll – 76.5%
Eckert also won the World Show Sportsmanship Award.