Christy Geist prepares Lorano, previously owned by George Bloor, to go through its paces at the Horsemen’s Grounds on Sunday.

Horse ballet’ highlights mental and physical discipline

Horse Association of Central Kootenay honours former member with Memorial Dressage Show

To the casual observer, it looks like horses and riders just going in circles in a corral.

But to Heidi Scott, it’s a ballet that’s captivated her for 30 years.

“It’s about precision and accuracy, and your relationship with your horse,” she says. “It’s an addiction, for some of us it’s a really integral part of who we are.

“It’s what makes me happy.”

Scott was one of about 20 riders from the southern interior taking part in the Horse Association of Central Kootenay’s George Bloor Memorial Dressage Show at the Horseman’s Grounds on the Old Waneta Road on the weekend.

In a dressage competition, or test, the horse and rider are put though a series of routines that highlight the animal’s grace and natural abilities. The rider should seem relaxed and appear to effortlessly move the animal through its paces.

The routine is performed in front of a judge who determines how well the rider and horse work together.

The weekend event brought committed Equestrian and Western dressage riders from as far away as Cranbrook, Grand Forks, and the Slocan Valley. Many of the riders had something in common — they learned about dressage from the man the weekend’s event was named after, George Bloor.

Bloor and his wife Fran were instrumental in building a community of horse enthusiasts in the West Kootenay. The couple are credited with helping bring facilities like the Grounds to the region, and introducing people like Scott to the sport as youths.

“They started dressage in this area,” says Scott. “They taught many of us to ride, they gave many of us riding opportunities to ride as children and supported us through our lifetimes of riding. And I really appreciate that.”

George Bloor passed away last fall, prompting the Horse Association to hold this event.

“George made me promise him I would keep up with dressage,” says organizer Pam Malekow. “This is our first memorial event, we’ll try to keep it up and keep it going because that’s what George would have wanted.”

“I’m sure George is looking down on us right now,” Malekow says, wiping away a tear. “He’s thanking us for doing it, and loving every minute of it.”

“We miss George.”