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Best of Both Worlds: dressage in all its forms with Michelle Williams-Lightcap

Online Dressage International are delighted to have amateur rider Michelle on board as our Western Dressage Class Ambassador. She perfectly encapsulates what dressage is all about: harmony with your horse as the emphasis and also having fun along the way. If any of our European riders would like to find out about Western Dressage, then keep an eye out for an upcoming interview with Michelle when we'll chat all things dressage: English and Western. In the meantime, over to Michelle for an introduction to her and the versatile 'Casey'.

"My name is Michelle Williams-Lightcap. I am a 52 year old rider from Atlanta, Georgia and. Even though I rode as a youth, I only started competing in my mid 20s. I rode hunt seat for many years. But then I had a bit of a revelation.

When the Olympics were held in Atlanta in 1996, I attended the dressage competition. I was fascinated! I started taking dressage lessons and at the time my best horse was an American Quarter Horse named 'A Cash Vantage', aka 'Casey'. Even though he wasn't really built for dressage, he showed quite a bit of talent. We began to move him up the levels and he made it all the way to FEI. In 2013, he made history by becoming the first quarter horse to earn AQHA dressage points at the FEI level. He was brilliant! I earned my USDF bronze and silver medal riding him.

Then in 2020, when COVID hit and shut the world down, I found western dressage. WDAA started allowing online shows to count for points and even had their World Championships Online in 2020. I gave it a try and now I am hooked! I earned my gold medal with Casey in 2020 who is now 24 years old and still going strong! Western dressage is based on the same principles as classical dressage with a heavy emphasis on harmony between horse and rider. The clothing is fun and expressive. The number one thing I love about Western Dressage is the community of people in this discipline. I have interacted with riders from all over the world because of this sport and they are without a doubt the kindest and most supportive group you will ever have the pleasure of knowing. There is no need to totally change the way you ride to compete in Western Dressage. My horses compete in classical as well as western and we love both. WDAA gives out really great prizes and awards too! Give it a try!"

Online Dressage International are proud to have both Casey and Michelle on board. We encourage any of our European riders to give Western Dressage a whirl. If you have any questions at all about the WDAA tests, drop us a message. We have a fab WDAA judge on hand to answer any questions. Dressage should be about harmony with your horse, supportive community and personal achievement - reflecting what online dressage competing is all about.

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