(Photo: Quatessa HW)
Dressage Elegance & Eventing by Vitosh formally began in 2014 upon my return from working at various facilities around the country, although it has its roots many years ago when I asked my mom at age six if I could ride horses.
I actually began at a local barn where I rode for about nine months, and when my trainer moved, I decided to --- EEEK --- stop riding. I was a dancer, and enjoyed the training, camaraderie of friends and performance aspects of our ensemble group. The skills I learned through dance helped lay an integral foundation to my riding career: Discipline, goal setting, managing multiple tasks, muscle specificity, muscle memory and theories and methods to progress in strength and level.
Then a few of my friends began taking hunter/jumper lessons at a local barn and I thought it would be fun to join them in a weekly lesson group. I was eight years old.
By age ten the possibility of having my own horse began to become clear and with the guidance of my new friend Christine, we found my first horse, Alec, aka Visible Force, a four-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred, who we still have at home, now 24. The base of my eventing knowledge stems from my time with Al, who changed my whole family's life trajectory.
Alec and I attempted to trudge up the ladder of eventing, guided mostly by 5 star eventer and Olympic long-listed trainer, Eric Dierks, of Union Grove, WI. During my young eventing years I also had the pleasure of taking clinics with Ian Stark and Kim Severson.
When I was a young teenager I had the opportunity to watch a clinic with a dressage master, and that is where I became hooked on the art of dressage, for I understood the refined muscle movements and training theories from my days in ballet class. It all made sense ... AND I could do it on a horse!
Throughout my dressage career I have been very diligent about studying the craft. While I am aware that having a show record is vitally important, I know as a professional having an expansive toolbox is required. I have been highly influenced by students of Walter Zettl and Carol Lavell. I have directly worked with Jessica Jo Tate for many years now and she has been instrumental in improving my riding and my theories. I have also had the pleasure of riding with Charles de Kunffy on several occassions, and other notable names such as Scott Hassler, Herwig Rattinger, Felicitas Von Neumann-Cosel, and Hans Heinrich.
During my dressage career I have accomplished my Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals.
Throughout my time as a professional I have taken advantage of some wonderful and unique opportunities. In 2016 I spent time in Wellington, Florida getting to work and train for part of the winter season. In 2017 I was selected to participate in the Hannovaner Verband's exchange student program, where I lived in Germany for three months being an active part of the Auction team.
In 2017 I began teaching at Normantown Equestrian Center, getting back to the art of teaching the ins and outs of horsemanship to kids and young adults, which I find very rewarding, because I was that kid who couldn't wait to get out of school to go to my lesson, wondered which lesson horse I would be riding, what we would learn.
After being so immersed in dressage for many years, it was refreshing to get back to my jumping roots. We have expanded Normantown to include eventing into the program and so I jumped head first back into the sport as well as continuing my dressage career. In the last few years I have started taking jumping lessons to perfect my technique and expand my knowledge in this area. I look forward to partnering back up with Eric, my eventing mentor. Just as with my dressage, however, I have also enjoyed taking advantage of clinics hosted in the area with Allison Springer and Clark Montgomery.
In the upcoming season, Team DEV will be attending schooling and recognized shows in hunter/jumpers, eventing and dressage, and I plan on competing my own horses, Tessa, Jia and Kimber, in the dressage and eventing venues as well. 2020, let's do this!
United States Dressage Federation
Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist
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