Bluebird Lane Blog
Bluebird Lane Blog

Ontario Has Talent!

by Lori Albrough

Ashley poses with Ooruk and Lori after our lesson

This still feels like a fairy tale to me, even now! But it’s true! Today I rode in the Ontario Has Talent training symposium, primarily for FEI dressage athletes, taught by Olympic medalist Ashley Holzer together with FEI 5-star dressage judge Libby McMullen. What an amazing opportunity it was, and I am ever so grateful to the Ontario Has Talent group.

My participation was certainly a bit of a wild-card, and came about through a contest I entered. At the time I honestly thought I was putting my name in for an auditor spot at the symposium, only to be informed later that I had won an actual training ride, along with an outfit by Dapple Gray! Wow.

The format of the symposium was that each rider would present their horse in a dressage test of their choosing, with the judge scoring and commenting over the loud speaker in real-time. After that, Ashley would train the combination, focusing on the areas that she and Libby felt would most benefit. What a supremely useful approach, and a great opportunity for all participants.

The venue was the stunningly beautiful Oakcrest Farm, owned by Belinda Trussel. I arrived early to get fitted by Dapple Gray with my snazzy new outfit by the Canadian equestrian fashion designer Asmar. I had time to watch the other rides, and learned so much from watching Ashley teach the other riders, all talented young people presenting the FEI-level tests all the way up to Grand Prix, including Paralympic and Pony.

For my own ride, I elected to present my gelding Ooruk in Second Level Test 3. After my test, the judge took the time to comment on how obedient and steady our test had been. Afterwards a lot of auditors told me that they enjoyed my ride and got a lot out of it because it was at a level that the average rider could more easily relate to. In our training session, Ashley focused on getting the horse to pick himself up and carry himself more, by having me be quicker and more consequent in my aids. I could definitely feel a big difference!

I think this was the first Fjord Ashley had worked with, and she seemed quite charmed. For my part, I loved being taught by Ashley. A thousand thanks to Ashley Holzer, Libby McMullen, and the Ontario Has Talent organizers and volunteers for this opportunity!


3 Responses to “Ontario Has Talent!”

  1. CYNTHIA MADDEN wrote:

    What an awesome experience for your Ooruk (how do you pronounce his name?)

  2. Lori Albrough wrote:

    Thanks Cynthia! I don’t know if it’s right, but I say his name kind of like rhyming with Eric, with the first syllable Or (as in either/or) and the second syllable as in Look. The origin of the name is: “A seal woman who was captured by a human man gave birth to a son. Ooruk got the best of both worlds.”

  3. Caledon Silver Show wrote:

    […] off our recent clinics with Christian Garweg and Ashley Holzer, I was feeling confident and well-prepared. In our first test, Second Level Test One, Ooruk and I […]

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