Jane Savoie (http://www.janesavoie.com/) is a name that could bring up an image of a competitor, coach, instructor, clinician, speaker or author.Â Well versed in the equine industry, she kindly took the time to answer some questions regarding competing in dressage at a high level.
Have you always been interested in horses and when did you start out competing in dressage?
I’ve had a love affair with horses since I was a child. I started inÂ dressage in my mid-20’s. I was eventing before then, and the onlyÂ horse I could afford was a broken down racehorse with a bowed tendon.Â Because of his injury, he couldn’t jump, so I focused on dressage. IÂ was hooked.
How much of your day/week is hands on with horses?
In this field is it possible for someone to be a full time professional, earning a livable income?
It’s definitely possible, but perhaps not as easy as some other professions. I always tell horse crazy kids to go to college or get some kind of education beyond high school so they have something to fall back on.
What are the general steps taken to be able to compete at a high level?
1. Get on the longe line and develop an independent seat. Aids given from a poor riding position aren’t as effective as aids given from an independent seat.
2. Learn the BASICS. Everything goes back to the basics. I house build on a poor foundation will topple in a storm.
3. Apprentice yourself to a top rider/trainer.
4. Ride as many different types of horses as you can.
Any advice for those interested in pursuing this discipline?
As I said above, apprentice yourself to a top trainer. Then later, if you’re really serious, you need to spend time training and competing in Europe.
Is there anything else with horses youâ€™d love to learn about or try?
I use an energy therapy called the Emotional freedom Technique (EFT) to help riders deal with emotional issues like fear, tension, and lack of confidence as well as to manage pain. I am working on using the same therapy to help animals.
Favourite horse memory?
The first time I earned the right to wear the US flag on my saddle pad as I cantered down the centerline. That was in Rotterdam, Holland in 1990.
I’ve just finished a huge home study course called a Happy Horse. The goal of the course is to help riders who live in areas without good trainers as well as clarify the steps that allow you to train a horse that is happy and comfortable in his work. I’m thinking about following up this course with some sort of interactive on line “University” course.
Riding goals: My Friesian, Menno PM had his debut at Prix St Georges this winter. My goal is to compete him at Grand Prix in the not to distant future.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
I learn something every single day–both from the horses and from my students.
“Ten ways to get in shape to own a horse… marry money!”