Youth in Action: Dressage Star

AQHYA member Jessica Spracklin and her American Quarter Horse are making strides in dressage.

By Tara Matsler
The American Quarter Horse Journal
February 18, 2014

Jessica Spracklin and her American Quarter Horse Sir Mystic Smoke, photo courtesy of Dressage Foundation

Jessica Spracklin and her American Quarter Horse Sir Mystic Smoke compete in dressage. (Credit: courtesy of Dressage Foundation) BELOW: AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm explains the basics of dressage.

While the American Quarter Horse reigns supreme in the western sports of reining, cutting and rodeo, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the world’s most versatile horse tallies up accolades in the dressage ring, too.

Jessica Spracklin of Hamilton, Ohio, is an AQHYA member who knows a thing or two about dressage and American Quarter Horses.

The 18-year-old was recently awarded $800 by the Dressage Foundation’s Renee Isler Dressage Support Fund. Jessica’s scholarship allowed her to attend Lendon Gray’s 2014 Winter Intensive Training program with her Appendix American Quarter Horse, Sir Mystic Smoke, in Wellington, Florida. This three-month program is known for creating well-rounded elite equestrian athletes. 

“My goal for this program is to learn as much as I can as a rider, competitor and teacher,” Jessica said.  “I believe that completing the WIT program will help me gain a very solid foundation and the experience needed so I can help others improve their skills.”  

"Jessica Spracklin is a lovely girl, very serious, and I think this program is making a big difference in her life,” Lendon said. “Riding an Appendix Quarter Horse and doing very basic dressage when she arrived, Jessica is improving rapidly and her world is being broadened considerably. She is taking advantage of every opportunity for education.”

You can visit Jessica’s blog to learn more about her experience at www.jessicawit.blogspot.com.

Grants are available for young riders and professionals through the Renee Isler Dressage Support Fund. Since 2008, the fund has provided more than $40,000 in grants/scholarships to support the further education of the recipients.  For more information, go to www.dressagefoundation.org or contact Jenny Johnson at (402)434-8585 or jenny@dressagefoundation.org.

The Dressage Foundation

The Dressage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, donor-driven organization that is dedicated to supporting and advancing the sport of dressage.  The organization solicits contributions, appropriately allocates the donations, and awards grants and scholarships to dressage riders of all ages and levels. For more information, visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

Because opportunities abound for horse-interested kids, the new AQHYA blog, Youth in Action, captures those adventures. Learn more about the endless prospects for young horsemen and -women through AQHYA at www.aqha.com/youth-in-action.

Starting January 1, 2014, dressage may be offered at an AQHA show or special event and must be judged by a licensed United States Equestrian Federation/United States Dressage Federation judge. Learn more about earning AQHA points in dressage classes at www.aqha.com/dressage.