Each winter, dressage enthusiasts from around the world have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a part of the prestigious equestrian community in Wellington. As the epicenter of international horse sports, Wellington offers support and networking events to riders of all levels, especially during the winter months.
However, those who are fortunate enough to stay in the area after the final salute of the last show have access to many other events and experiences that can give them a competitive advantage.
Show Chic Dressage, an equestrian fashion boutique located in Wellington, provides some of those experiences throughout the year through Shop Talks, which feature intimate talks with question-and-answer sessions featuring some of the best dressage riders and sponsors in the country.
This spring, N2 Saddlery treated dressage lovers in Wellington to two Shop Talks, giving a glimpse into the hearts and minds of world-class dressage with N2 Saddlery-sponsored riders Adrienne Lyle and Kelly Layne.
“From the first time I sat in an N2 saddle, it was a feeling of instantly being able to find my comfortable, centered position in the saddle,” said Lyle, a 2012 Olympic and 2014 World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage squad rider. “They accommodate all different leg lengths and seat preferences for the rider, and the saddles are amazing for the horse’s back comfort and shoulder freedom.”
Having just returned from competing in the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lyle shared stories about what it’s like to compete internationally on a world stage. Lyle answered many questions in the elegant surroundings of the Show Chic boutique showroom, which covered everything from freestyle music selection, to her horse having jet lag.
“This is absolutely all I ever wanted to do,” Lyle said. “I never had a Plan B. I didn’t care how I worked with horses. I just knew I wanted to. It’s still at times very challenging. It’s a very hard lifestyle, but I love it, and I enjoy doing it very much.”
Lyle described the experience at her first ever World Cup Finals as being fabulous. She was thrilled with her horse Salvino, who is owned by Betsy Juliano, and how well he did in his first time showing in an indoor arena. “During the freestyle, he was handling it all really well,” she said. “I was able to look out and see the crowd. It was sold out and packed. It was fun to enjoy it in the moment.”
Australian FEI trainer, Olympian and N2 Saddlery-sponsored dressage rider Layne also provided a rare opportunity for enthusiasts to learn about the finer points of showing and preparing for a test at her shop talk.
Layne covered topics including how she spends her time in the training arena in the weeks leading up to a show and how she prepares herself, mentally, for a test.
“I’d like to say to everyone who goes down that centerline, you have to have a pretty thick skin to put yourself out there,” Layne said. “When you’re preparing your test, you have to remember that you can only do the best you can with the horse that shows up on that day. The horse you had last week might not be the same horse that shows up on the day of the test.”
She went on to say that preparing is a big part of the sport.
“Some people prefer to be left alone, while others prefer to interact with other people,” Layne said. “Getting in your own headspace in the warmup is really important.”
N2 Saddles are made with fine quality leathers including buffalo hides, calf hides, high end hides, as well as exotic leathers. For a secure ride the seats are roughed-out buffalo topside grain Makela leather that creates a “grippy” seat when conditioned. For a more comfortable ride, N2 Saddles come with extra foam. Learn more at www.n2saddlery.com.