At Shannondale Farm, dressage training and instruction is available for beginners through advanced and enhanced through special learning opportunities. “We promote a well-rounded riding education by hosting symposiums and events regularly to advance the knowledge of our local equestrians,” Julie Shannon notes. “We have an extensive clinic roster bringing in notable talent such as Debbie McDonald, George Williams, Scott Hassler, Gary Rockwell and others. Our resident students get the benefit of attending all of these wonderful educational events, which stimulate the dressage community throughout our area.”
Shannondale Farm provides quality education to students of all levels. The clientele ranges from Moms, to young riders, to business professionals. Some clients show and others ride for pleasure, focusing on training and their sheer love of the sport, but all are serious about their horses and education. “Shannondale Farm is very team oriented,” Julie says. “We all support each other in pursuit of our riding goals.”
Shannondale's Training and Instruction Program focuses on important qualities for both horse and rider. For the horse, the focus is on purity of the basic gaits, lightness and steadiness in the bridle, softness and attentiveness to the rider’s aids, and flexibility in the body for bending, extension, and collection within the stride. For the rider, the focus is on confidence and safety, overall balance and comfort, proper use of the seat, legs, and hands as aids in communication to the horse, accuracy in execution of dressage movements, and ability to communicate with the horse effectively to collect and extend its stride.
Julie offers Partial Training, which includes schooling rides/lessons twice per week, or Full Training including 20 rides/lessons per month. Instruction is also available on talented dressage schoolmasters, and trailer-ins are welcome and scheduled often.
“No matter what the discipline, balance and ability to concentrate on work are the goals we strive to achieve with the horse as an assistant to the rider,” Julie explains.
Riders who compete enjoy Shannondale Farm’s show schedules, which consist of a regular calendar of shows in the Southeast as well as a local schooling show set for its novice riders. Many students at Shannondale Farm have competed successfully in ‘A’ circuit shows such as the historic Washington International Horse Show and the prestigious Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. They have won awards at USDF and USEF national, regional, and local events. Proper flatwork improves jumping training – and Shannondale’s clients have the results to prove it. The farm’s hunter/jumper riders have won Hunter Horse of the Year awards and achieved Adult Amateur Jumper USEF awards.