Horse Council BC’s 2014 Dressage Through the Levels Symposium a Hit!

Jan 21, 2014


“We had some really Top Quality horses and riders in the Symposium this weekend.  I always enjoy coming to Vancouver to train horses and riders.”
– Ellen Bontje on her experience at the 2014 HCBC Dressage Through the Levels Symposium

Horse Council BC brought their annual Dressage Through the Levels Symposium back to Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC on February 1st & 2nd to an eager crowd of dressage enthusiasts.  The annual Dressage Symposium has proved to be incredibly popular bringing people from across British Columbia and even across the border from the USA to attend. Throughout the weekend over 300 people braved the cold temperatures to learn from and watch Ellen Bontje, Olympic Silver Medalist, and Lorraine Macdonald, FEI 4* International Dressage Judge, put local BC riders through their paces. Lorraine Macdonald certainly enjoyed her experience this year saying, “Had a super time – always good riding and wonderful horses in BC.”

The Dressage Through the Levels Symposium is unique in that, as the name implies, each level of Dressage is shown and worked on. Riders and horses competing at training level all the way to grand prix participated throughout the two days of the symposium.  Each horse and rider team went through a warm-up, test, and then worked on improving their test marks.  While the test was being ridden, Lorraine Macdonald judged out loud over the speaker and explained the marks she was giving.  After the test was over for a particular rider, Ellen Bontje would then work with the rider and horse teams over the loud speaker to help correct the errors that appeared on the test.  Results happened in real time as the audience was able to see riders and horses improve and correct errors right before their eyes.

Kim Spencer rode in the 2014 Symposium for the first time with her horse Bounce and had this to say, “This was the very first time that Bounce and I have ever participated in a symposium, not to mention the [second] outing we have had and WOW, what an honour it was!! Lorraine and Ellen are a wonderful team. This concept of openly breaking down the warm-up, then ride the test and finally working on the ‘problem’ areas proves to be an amazing teaching experience. Bounce and I learned so much.
Along with the tools I need to keep in my back pocket so to speak, I also gained a confidence that will help carry me through the tough times.  So, I would like to send out a HUGE Thank-You to all who were involved. I look forward to hopefully being a part of future symposiums.”

The audience definitely appreciated the symposium format and audience-member Jane McLeod made a point of congratulating all the riders on their efforts by commenting, “…Congratulations to all the horses and riders for putting themselves out there so the rest of us can learn from your rides. You are all very brave and deserve a lot of credit.”

Horse Council BC would like to thank Thunderbird Show Park for hosting and sponsoring the 3rd Annual Dressage Through the Levels Symposium!

Save the Date for Next Year!

January 31st & February 1st, 2015