Bridleless at the Zoetis VRH World

Bridleless at the Zoetis VRH World

Daniel Dalager and his "Lady", competitors at the 2019 Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, are most definitely partners.

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By Ranch Horse Journal editor Andrea Caudill

If you see a gentleman and a bridleless bay mare walking back to the barns – that’s Daniel and “Lady.” 

The amateur and his 12-year-old mare have been together for almost a decade now, and he says that he takes her bridle off after they work – a reward for a job well done that the daughter of Easy Otie Whiz appreciates. 

Daniel Dalager of Midland, Texas, is showing at the Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships this week in limited amateur with Smooth And Easy Lady. 

Daniel and "Lady"

One mid-week morning, they were standing out by the outdoor trail course. Daniel was studying his phone and Lady was mowing a little grass in the peaceful cool morning. 

Daniel comes from a horse family, and says he’s been riding since he was a few years old. 

“I was showing reining since I was 8, just doing little shows and show horse stuff,” he says. “I found (Versatility), and she likes it and I like it. We just took off with it.” 

He has four horses at home, where he works two jobs – one at a farm, and one as a vet tech at a veterinary clinic. 

His partnership with Lady is pretty apparent when watching them.

“She’s a real good horse,” he says. “She’s very sweet. She likes what she does. She loves the cow work.”

The mare was bred by Maraleen Erwin of Cedaredge, Colorado. She is out of the Docs Smooth Operator mare Docs One Smooth Lady. 

Last year, the pair were 16th at the VRH World. Lady has youth, amateur and open performance registers of merit, and she has earned 168 AQHA points across all divisions. 

In 2015, they were second at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in the youth contest freestyle reining – behind Daniel’s other horse, Smart Star Lena. 

“She’s just very sweet, loving and willing to work,” Daniel says of Lady.

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