Wellington, Florida)— Harmony between horse and rider is crucial no matter what level you’re competing at, and riders Laura Graves and Rikke Poulsen are fantastic reminders of that. Both Graves, a talented Grand Prix rider who most recently represented the U.S. in the Nation’s Cup, and Poulsen, a dressage rider and jumper dedicated to bringing along young horses, were recently rewarded for their dedication to having a great partnership with their horses through the GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award.
The award was presented to riders at the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival who demonstrated true partnership with their horses. Winning pairs had first-place rides with characteristics such as a soft expression and suppleness in the horses. As a sponsor of the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, GumBits (made by Gambit Atlanta, Inc.) presents the award to deserving riders at each CDI of the twelve-week international series. The award includes a lovely cooler and a package of GumBits— which are small, round chewable treats that horses love.
For Graves, that harmony and partnership valued by GumBits is the foundation of her training. “I honestly don’t know how you could have it any other way,” she said, commenting on the importance of having a good relationship with your horse. “If your horse isn’t happy then it’s a real struggle to get through a test.”
Graves commented that having worked with her horse, Verdades, since he was six months old has really enabled her to connect well with him and overcome any challenges – including the dressage Freestyle, which has quickly become one of their greatest strengths.
“So far, our Freestyles have been a really strong point, which is a nice change of pace,” she said. “It was such a weak spot for us last year. Obviously, we had the European Tour and we spent a lot of time working on that freestyle. So, it’s nice to come back here and have it be our strong point.”
Fellow GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award winner Poulsen also emphasized the importance of keeping her horses happy.
“If you don’t teach the horses to relax in the ring, they will carry tension throughout the levels,” she said. “You might as well do it right from the beginning and give them good rides. It’s not always about winning. It’s about keeping them relaxed in the ring— and that will show in the long run.”
To help keep her horses relaxed, like her GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award-winning Furstentanz, Poulsen utilizes GumBits. “I mostly use them on the dressage horses, because in the dressage world they have to be so quiet in the mouth. They all really like the taste of GumBits.”
GumBits promote salivation and reduce teeth grinding to help riders achieve the fantastic horse-and-rider partnerships that Laura Graves with Verdedes and Rikke Poulsen with Furstentanz have found. GumBits are sold through retailers in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and just recently Singapore. Learn more and locate a retailer near you at www.gumbits.com.