For Holly Bergay, It Was Dressage From the Start
While most young riders come to dressage from other equestrian disciplines, Holly Bergay took a more direct route. Although she did a bit of jumping with Pony Club, her start in dressage was very early in life. And she can thank her mother, Mary, for that Mary Bergay had a life-long love for horses and mistakenly believed she’d have time for one while she was home caring for her young children.
“I always wanted a horse and about 11 years ago, we bought a horse for me. Holly was four at the time and my youngest child was 2. I didn’t really have the time I thought I would,” Mary Bergay said with a laugh. “I couldn’t ride him anyway because he just didn’t like me very much. Every time I got on him, he’d just buck me off. I was just a backyard rider and he knew it.” That horse, named Ambition, is still alive and at 22 is happily giving dressage lessons to young girls. He even does a few low-level shows. “I’ll never sell that horse, ever,” Mary Bergay said. “Holly still rides him and keeps him schooled and the little kids love him. He takes such good care of them.”
So what did Holly’s mother do about this bucking bronc? She put four-year-old Holly on the horse. “And he just loved her,” Mary Bergay said. “He was an Arabian and we thought he’d take off on her or something, but he didn’t. She’d ride him bareback and take him on trail rides.” Thus, the next step was riding lessons and Holly’s mother had a friend who was a dressage instructor and that’s where Holly began her lessons.
And since she started riding with only one hand Holly said she has never known any other way. “People ask me, ‘is it harder with one hand?’ and I say, ‘I don’t know because I’ve never tried it the other way.’ I kind of think that’s a silly question, actually. Growing up I did everything this way so it’s what I know.