Wellington, FL - Italian Grand Prix dressage star Silvia Rizzo decided to cowgirl up and try a new discipline while in Florida: reined cow horse. Rizzo and her partner, Michele Betti, the former chef d'equipe of the Italian eventing team, traded breeches and helmets for jeans and cowboy hats as they enjoyed the first-class Show by Appointment (SBA) Reined Cow Horse Experience. The day began when the two were picked up in a stretch limo and whisked away to Bynum Farms in Indiantown, FL, owned by SBA co-founder Blair Bynum. The facility plays host to SBA's popular winter series of reined cow horse shows and is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway. There, they were assigned highly trained horses. Many of the horses available for guests for the Reined Cow Horse Experience boast multiple championship titles.
Rizzo and Betti mounted up and Rick and Trevor Steed of Steed Training coached them on the basics of holding the reins (much less contact than dressage!) and steering. Then, it was time to practice those new cowgirl/cowboy skills by closely following a mechanical cow pulled by a four-wheeler. Instructors kept them on their toes with shouts of "Nose to tail! Nose to tail!"
"It was fun to try something new," Rizzo said. "I can ride dressage every day but I can't learn how to be a cowgirl every day! Besides, I am in America and I needed to try Western riding to get the whole American experience."
Next, it was time for them to learn the reining patterns that are an essential component of reined cow horse competition. They rode into the arena one at a time to learn each step of a pattern from SBA co-founder Rick Steed. Steed coached them on riding circles and flying changes and executing high-speed spins and sliding stops. Rizzo's dressage training made her geometric shapes for the reining pattern picture perfect.
"Pretty riding, pretty riding," Steed said as Rizzo practiced her pattern.
Rizzo coasted into sliding stops and Betti, who was proud of his new gold-tipped cowboy boots and cowboy hat, showed the staff that he is a true horseman with slick stops and smooth lead changes.
After lunch, the pair got back in the saddle again to work on moving some cows. Once they learned the new skill, it was time to put their knowledge into practice and move them dogies. Instructors told the riders to hold on and watch the cows as the horses knew their stuff - even if the riders didn't.
"The horses were very good," Betti said. "They knew what to do when the cow stopped and turned."
As the riders moved the cow up and down the fence, SBA staff and other cowpokes for a day whooped, hollered and practiced their "Yee haws."
"It was so much fun being a cowgirl," Rizzo said. "I am so happy I got to be a part of the American cowboy experience."
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To learn more about the SBA Reined Cow Horse Experience, contact Rick Steed at 772-263-6830 or email@example.com. Packages can be customized to fit the background, availability and budget of participants. Multi-day packages are also offered, and SBA can take the show on the road and bring the cow horses to a facility near you.