Grand Prix dreams: inside story with Lyndsey Ware

Grand Prix,  the "piste de resistance" of the dressage world, and the single level most aspiring dressage riders dream of over and over as they ride. The Grand Prix tests, when ridden well, feature awe-inspiring athletes turn one of most difficult sports to a dance, and an effortless one at that.
So what does it take to perform at the top? Is it training everyday, twice a day, to perfect every movement? We were thrilled to interview Lindsey Ware, a 20 year old Grand Prix dressage rider who has shaken the dressage world with top class performances at such a young age. Read on to hear what Lindsey had to say about those aiming for the top, and the routine of a top Grand Prix horse that may just surprise you...

The demand at Grand Prix level is high, with riders and horses required to showcase piaffe, passage, one time changes and some of the most polished pirouettes. It would be easy to assume that at such a perfected level of performance, a Grand Prix horse would have to be worked every day, but we soon learnt that high performance actually looks quite different. 

"You'd think Astro was getting worked every day, but it is actually the complete opposite!" Lindsey jokes.

"He actually gets worked a maximum of five times per week. And most of those rides are pretty easy for him".

Astro, who has been competing at Grand Prix for some time now, is well established to the demands required at this level.

"A week for Astro will consist of two, more intensive, Grand Prix rides, in which we will go over a range of the movements featured in the test".

Lindsey explained that the rest of the week for Astro is quite relaxed. When needed, they will work on specific movements, or have 'stretch' rides. They also implement cross training and can be found hacking on property.

"I will take him on a walk around the property, although he is really not very good on hacks, we don't make it very far!"

Bursting in to the FEI U-25 Grand Prix scene with Astro in 2019, and posting a 73% Grand Prix score (plus winning all of their classes of course), we were eager to learn Lindsey's best advice to moving up a level. 

"Make sure your horse is established in everything the test requires of them".

"I always think that I want to go out there and do the best we can possibly do, and if you have holes in your training, it is really difficult. It sounds a bit brutal, but it is definitely important." explained Lindsey.

Lindsey went on to explain that a Grand Prix test on Astro is almost just thinking the word before he is doing it. This is completely due to the work and preparation that they do at home.

"He will not make simple mistakes unless I ride it poorly, and that's what it should be like at the end of the day. At Grand Prix, you should definitely have a horse that knows what it's doing!"

You can follow Lindsey journal at her instagram (HERE).

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