Dressage Introduced as a Unique Learning Method at the Tommie Barfield Elementary School on Marco Island, Florida

On the outfield of the baseball area at Tommie Barfield Elementary School on Marco Island, Florida a dressage musical kuer,a pas de deux, was performed to an audience of over 700 schoolchildren, educators, and community guests using Dressage to teach communication, teamwork, training methods, physiology, biomechanics, and nutrition. "You could hear a pin drop, the children and guests were toally enganged, as many of the standards were covered by this performance." said Elizabeth Braren wife of dressage trainer Bob Braren who was the event's master of ceremonies. They saw how the riders guided their horses to interpret the music, and how the horses’ gaits match the beat. Perhaps even more importantly, the school’s PBS (Positive Behavior Support) goals of being “Respectful, Responsible, Role Models,” as well as the school’s motto of showing “Excellence Every Day in Every Way,” (the 3-Es) was illustrated in this innovative way with dressage as the messenger. Mona Raux, of Naples, and her equine partner, an American Quarter Horse named Miss Ace of Spades, along with Doris Suenkel, of Ft. Myers, and her equine partner, a Thoroughbred named Lujean danced a carefully scripted precise pattern together.


Mona Raux – bio:
I started riding when I was eleven years old. My neighbor owned a horse, and I would go there begging to ride. My persistence paid off as he finally let me ride his Pinto. This all took place in Quebec, Canada. I enjoyed my childhood in Canada – we lived on a farm. Of course, I begged my parents for a horse too, and they finally gave in and purchased one for me. As time went on, I started riding horses with issues and working on correcting their problems – making them into happier animals that were more pleasant to ride. The winters were so cold that when I turned twenty three, I moved to Florida. Here, again, I rode other people’s horses correcting problems. These horses needed a friend who understood them, and I managed to communicate with them to educate them. I saved to buy my own horse, and eventually tried dressage as it provides a firm educational foundation for any riding discipline. I love to ride to music because it is such a wonderful feeling to have a horse follow the rhythm of the music. What more can you ask for as you are in harmony with your horse. It gets even more challenging when you add another horse and rider and becomes extremely special.

Doris Suenkel – bio:
I began riding at the age of five in Germany – which is where I am from. I never got rid of the “horse bug” – and have loved horses and riding ever since. My passion for dressage began about three years ago, and now I am a huge fan of musical rides – both freestyles, where it is only one horse and rider performing to music, and, of course, the pas de deux. I own and operate my own stable in the beautiful Buckingham area of Ft. Myers, called Horse Academy South. We offer lessons, boarding, and training. I am fortunate to own several horses - a few that are my own competition horses, and several safe and well educated geldings that I use for riding lessons as I enjoy sharing my passion with others.
NOTE: - Mrs. Suenkel has generously donated three gift certificates for a free riding lesson for three deserving TBE student who have demonstrated exceptional PBS skills!

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