Elena Richart Escoda Speaks on the Sport of Dressage Riding

Elena Richart Escoda is a Grand Prix professional horse rider with experience in riding in both Europe and Mexico. She is originally from Barcelona, where she has a business of buying, training, and selling horses through a stable that she works for. Next month, the next Grand Prix competitions will be starting, and we thought we would take this opportunity to ask her a few questions about her passions.

Q. Elena, how did you first get into the world of horses?

Another thing that I would like to see is that the sport becomes more accessible to people. It is a fantastic sport and one that most people can become good at. However, for many it is inaccessible due to lack of location and the expense.

Elena Richart Escoda, Elena Richart Escoda

Elena: Believe it or not, through reading. I was obsessed with The Black Stallion by Walter Farley as a child and wanted nothing more than to be that little boy, riding that beautiful horse. From there, I continued. I read Black Beauty, War Horse, and many more, and just knew I had to turn this into my work. Luckily, in Barcelona, there is a lot of interest in equestrian sports and my parents were very supportive, so I was able to become involved in horses from an early age.

Q. When did you decide to start training?

Elena: When I had been going to the stables for some time, and had a little bit of riding experience, someone visited us with an Andalusian horse and demonstrated a dance. I was mesmerized! Quite cocky about my own abilities, I asked if I could try and the owner obliged. Unsurprisingly, I wasn't able to get the horse to do anything I wanted it to. That's when I knew this was my next challenge - to train horses at dressage, rather than just ride them.

Q. Why dressage and not other forms of riding?

Elena: I love all forms of riding. But in my heart, I am still that little girl who stepped on the Andalusian and managed to do absolutely nothing. Dressage, to me, is the ultimate in horse riding. You really fuse with your horse, becoming almost like one mind. Plus, if you have ever seen an Andalusian horse dance, you will know it is the most beautiful thing in the world.

Q. The competition season will soon start. How do you prepare for your events?

Elena: I meditate and spend a lot of time with my horses, often doing both at the same time. We practice, practice, and practice again, but I also take the time to have some fun with my horses. We'll go on outdoor rides to just enjoy nature, and even have picnics. Just a few little things to keep the stress at bay. At the end of the day, winning may be important, but spending time with my horses and becoming the best we can be is even more important.

Q. Do you have a favorite breed of horses to work with?

Elena: My personal favorite is, of course, the Andalusian. I also enjoy riding warmbloods, because they tend to score very well at competitions. However, it is important to always remember that the horse is only one half of the equation. In order to win a competition, you need a good horse and an equally good rider. That is why I don't just train horses, I train riders as well.

Q. How can people learn to train their horses in the way you have?

Elena: While I still take part in competitions, my main job is to be a trainer. I train all the horses that come to our stables, and I also run clinics every once in a while. This is particularly targeted at younger riders. Overall, I just encourage people to contact me (please - outside of competition season!) to see what I can do with them. Training a horse takes skills, dedication, and a lot of intuition and patience, but it can be done.

Q. You are truly an accomplished horsewoman. Is there anything you would like to be different within the world of show performances and dressage?

Elena: What I feel is lacking is that some people don't seem to be having fun with their horses anymore. They forget that a horse who has fun is a horse that will perform so much better for its rider. The show and training routine is really important, but horses need to have fun as well. They're horses, after all!

Another thing that I would like to see is that the sport becomes more accessible to people. It is a fantastic sport and one that most people can become good at. However, for many it is inaccessible due to lack of location and the expense.

Source: Elena Richart Escoda

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