MADERA (CBS SF) — If you thought dressage was just a fancy competition for fancy horses, you are wrong. It’s a fancy competition for fancy mules, too.
Dressage trainer Laura Hermanson of Madera, has been showing mules for the last three years at local horse shows. The United States Equestrian Federation has allowed mules to compete since 2004 but no mule has ever made it to the national United States Dressage Finals… until now.
Meet Heart B Dyna, aka Dyna. Hermanson bought the ‘gaited’ mule in 2006 because she found mules really challenged her as a horse rider and improved her skills. Since then, she has trained Dyna for jumping, cutting, and yes, dressage.
In case you don’t know, a mule has a donkey for a dad and while they are smart, they also can be very stubborn — hence, the saying, “stubborn as a mule.” Dressage, like all equestrian disciplines, requires a lot of training. Hermanson told Horse Nation, “They [mules] have a piece of them that says, ‘nope, I’m not doing that today.'”
When Hermanson got word that she and Dyna had made it all the way to the US Dressage Finals, in Lexington, Kentucky this November, she started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for Dyna’s shipping, vet, and show costs. Mule enthusiasts came out of the woodwork when word got out the first mule ever was going to the US Dressage Finals. Hermanson surpassed her goal of $8000 in just two weeks.
On her GoFundMe page, Hermanson thanks Dyna’s supporters. “This experience is proof that you have to dream the impossible. I wake up every day grateful I get to live this life and learn the incredible life lessons equines have to offer. THANK YOU!!!!”
The 2014 US Dressage Finals will be held November 6-9, 2014.
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