Young Riders Learn From An Olympian

Courtesy of Community News Editor, Elaine Allen-Emrich and the Englewood Sun, Pony Club has an interesting article about members from Sea Fox Pony Club in the Sunshine Region getting to ride with Olympic Dressage riders. Enjoy!

SUN PHOTO BY  Tatumn Edge, 13, and her horse Goodman, who she has owned for two years.
Tatumn Edge, 13, and her horse Goodman, who she has owned for two years.
At 13, Tatumn Edge (C-1 HM, D-3 Trad, C-1 Dr) has a goal to train with an Olympic coach in Germany. Last week, she inched closer to her dream while working with Olympian competitor Kathleen Wightman-Raine and her husband David, both accomplished dressage riders.

Dressage riding is the systematic development of horse and rider, resulting in a balanced, harmonious team. Dressage helps the horse and rider communicate with each other and develop balance, strength, flexibility and accuracy. “One day I hope to be at their level,” said Edge, an eighth-grader at the Student Leadership Academy in Venice, Fl who has owned her horse Goodman for the past two years. “I was invited to go to train with Kathleen’s coach in Germany next year. It’s so exciting. David worked with my horse and rode him. Now he’s a totally different horse. I see the changes.”

SUN PHOTO  Madison Schilling, 8, receives help from Olympian Kathleen Wightman-Raine.
Madison Schilling, 8, receives help from Olympian Kathleen Wightman-Raine.

Edge joined several other riders Saturday at Englewood Farm Acres, where the Sea Fox Pony Club met and was taught by Kathleen and David. Kathleen placed eighth at the 1994 World Equestrian Games in The Hague, Netherlands. She placed fifth in the 1994 World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden. She placed eighth in 1995 in Los Angeles World Cup finals, and was an alternate on Avontuur for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She and her mare Fidelia were named alternates for the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. “I grew up riding,” said Kathleen, who, with her mare Breanna, is ranked fourth in the nation. She is hoping to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “I competed in my first world championship at 27, and in the Olympics two years later.”

David competed in the Pan American Games on the horse Garein in 2003. He competed on Brigadier, a six-year-champion horse, in 2006. In 2012, his horse Partous was named the Grand Prix Horse of the Year. David also coached Catherine Chamberlain the 2014-15 North American Young Riders Championship, where she earned four gold and one silver medal. “The pair had to take off to go to Germany on Saturday after they worked with the riders in Englewood,” said Jessica Edge, a pony club board member who helped to organize Saturday’s event. “What a fantastic opportunity for the riders to receive help from these professionals.” Kathleen said she will be at the dressage shows in Europe. “Some of the top dressage riders of the world are there in Europe,” she said. “It heightens the competition. Being competitive internationally is an achievement in itself. It helps you know how well your training is against the other top competitors.”

SUN PHOTO  Audrey Rosen, 14,  with David Wightman.
Audrey Rosen, 14, with David Wightman.

Meghan Degilio, 12, liked learning more about how professionals handle horses. “I’ve had my horse Sasha for a year,” the seventh-grader said. “I love getting the knowledge and learning how to do things correctly.” Sophie Fedder, 12, came to the Sea Fox Pony Club event to see what the group does. “I like learning from the best,” said Fedder, who has had her horse Foxie for three years. For 8-year-old Madison Schilling, seeing the dressage riding and meeting fellow riders was her first time with the club. “I’m more of a western barrel rider on my horse Jetta,” she said. “It was fun to see another riding style. I had fun today.”

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