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Western Dressage – Canadian Junior competes at the Western Dressage World Show in Oklahoma. By Lisa Wieben and Birgit Stutz

December 22, 2016

The Western Dressage Association of America held its World Championship Show at the Lazy E Ranch in Guthrie, Oklahoma, from September 29 to October 2, 2016.

Competitors from three Canadian provinces and 28 states brought 176 horses of 31 breeds and crossbreds for 786 rides in tests and rail classes (info from From Alberta: Julie Moorcroft showing Backtrax Grace in Gold in Introductory Open and All About Bling in Basic Open; Sharon Crawford showing Tango Del Diablo in Level 3 Amateur and Freestyle Open; Sandra Oxtoby showing Wrangler Do in Level 3 Open; Jacklyn Hegberg showing Chip N At Midnite in Basic Level Junior and Level 1 Junior. From Saskatchewan: Kelly Adams showing Meagan in Introductory Open and Basic Open and Hotrodder Mike in Level 2 and 3 Open. From Ontario: Walter Mantler showing Liberachi SS in Level 2 and 3 Open; Sherry Beaudry showing I Forgot the Pie in Introductory Amateur. For full results of the show visit


Jacklyn and Maverick at the Western Dressage World Show. Photo by Onetulsa Photography

We interviewed 18-year-old Jacklyn Hegberg of Olds, AB, the only Canadian junior competitor and a student of Lisa Wieben’s, about her first-time experience at the Western Dressage World Championship Show.

Jacklyn, her mom Joanne Hegberg and Lisa Wieben travelled to Oklahoma in one vehicle following Sandra Oxtoby, who hauled her own horse, Sharon Crawford’s horse, as well as Hegberg’s horse.

Wieben said it was great having travelling companions, and the horses all travelled well. At each stop the horses were watered and the hay was checked. Their trip led them through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, and finally into Oklahoma to Guthrie.

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Jacklyn watering Maverick during the trip. Photo by Lisa Wieben

Jacklyn, how long have you been riding? I started at age 8, so 10 years.

When did you start showing horses? In 2012, I competed in Showmanship in 4H with a borrowed horse. In the fall of 2012 I bought my other horse, Cash, for 4H.

What else have you competed in? 4H Equitation, 4H English and Western pleasure, 4H Horsemanship and 4H Trail.

How did you become interested in Western Dressage? In the fall of 2012 I started boarding at Lisa Wieben’s Mountain View Training Stables near Bowden, AB. I started taking lessons from her and was in the 4H club she teaches. She started teaching Western dressage clinics at her facility and I participated with my horse Cash. In 2014, I started riding Lisa’s horse Maverick, and in 2015 I competed with him in 4H and in Western dressage. In the middle of that summer I purchased Maverick.

Tell us more about your horse. Maverick, or Chip N At Midnite, is a double registered six-year-old Quarter Horse/solid Paint.

Why did you decide to compete at the Western Dressage World Show? This year is my last year as a junior competitor and our show season has gone really well. Lisa encouraged me to go.

What was the experience like? It was exciting!! I learned a lot of lessons.


Will someone brush my hair please? Photo by Lisa Wieben

Anything in particular that stands out? The 30-hour drive to Guthrie! We took three days to go down. The warm weather was great and the facility was really nice. Having my coach there was a definite plus, and Maverick handling the trip and everything new so well was a big plus! It was fun having more competition in my classes. In Alberta, I’ve only had one or two other juniors to compete against. At Worlds I had nine to 14 riders to compete with, and there were many different breeds.

What were the lessons you learned? 1) Never stop showing – no matter the situation you can’t lose focus. For example Maverick spooked in our Equitation class and I thought I blew it, but little did I know other riders were having issues too. We finished Reserve Champion. 2) Ride an accurate test. 3) Remember that you are competing against yourself and your goal is to ride better than you did the day before. You can’t compare yourself to others or your horse to other breeds. 4) Believe in yourself and trust your horse! 5) Look for the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. When you are feeling down you have to look at what you did well and then look at what you can improve.

How did you and your horse do?

We got Reserve Champion Equitation. Basic Level Junior day 1 fifth, day 2 first, day 3 fourth, Overall Reserve World Champion Basic Level Junior. Level 1 Junior day 1 first, day 2 fifth, day 3 first, Overall World Grand Champion Level 1 Junior. For this show each day the first place winners received World Champion jackets and then at the end of the show they gave out belt buckles for the overall winners. I got three jackets and a belt buckle as well as two halters as well as a trophy for High Point Canadian Junior.

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Jacklyn and Maverick and their wins. On the left Lisa Wieben. Photo by Allen Hicks

Did you have any strategies that you used to prepare for the competition?

Breathing kept both me and Mavi relaxed. Not worrying about yourself. Staying in your own bubble, especially in the warm-up ring. Reviewing tests at the end of each day and going through each component that we had difficulties with. Walking the tests the night before and visualizing how I wanted to ride each part.

Having a properly fitted saddle has made a big difference to both Mavi and I. Maverick is very sensitive and my first Western show saddle didn’t fit. We now have an Easyfit saddle which fits him way better and gives him better movement and more lift. In Level 1 we do leg yields and lengthenings in the jog. He would do them in my old saddle, but he wasn’t as free. It is also adjustable for me. I can change the seat so I am sitting more balanced.

Thank you for the interview and congratulations on your wins Jacklyn!

This article is the eleventh in a series of articles on Western dressage and is a collaboration between Lisa Wieben (see biography below) and Birgit Stutz. The articles appear in the horse magazine SaddleUp on a monthly basis.

Lisa Wieben is a Level 2 Centered Riding Instructor, Chris Irwin Platinum Certified Trainer, and Equine Canada Western Competition Coach. She works with youth, adult amateurs and professionals as well as teaching a local 4H club at her facility near Bowden, AB. Western and English dressage has become her main focus, but many of her students compete in open competitions as well as obstacle challenges. Lisa has also added Somatics to help her students maintain and create further body awareness as it works to release muscle patterns in the body brought on by stress, injuries, surgeries, and repetitive movements that can be work related. Getting riders in correct balance helps horses develop correct balance.

Birgit Stutz is an Irwin Insights Level 4 Master Certified Trainer and offers horse training, riding lessons in the English and Western disciplines, horsemanship clinics, workshops, short courses and demos on various topics, mentorship programs, as well as student programs at Falling Star Ranch in Dunster, BC. Birgit’s passion is to help humans have a better relationship with their horses through understanding of equine psychology and body language as well as fundamental riding skills based on classical dressage.

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