Get To Know: Trainer & Judge, Gwen Ka’awaloa, Dressage Expert
Gwen says she was predisposed to horse riding, and especially dressage. Her grandfather was a cavalry officer in the German army, so when Gwen was ready to learn to ride, she learned from her mother. The regimented, formal style just makes sense to her, and she has embraced the formal, dressage world for years now. She originally started in hunter jumper and then eventing as a teenager. As an adult, dressage has been her main focus for training and for judging.
Gwen’s passion is to help both the rider and the horse enjoy the journey. She’s a big believer in positive reinforcement and clear attainable goals. One of her greatest joys is when the rider and horse find harmony. Of course, achieving an award is extremely exciting as well!
She is the owner and main trainer for Kaimana Equestrian. She trains and boards around 5 to 10 horses at one time out of her facility. She is a USDF Certified Instructor for Training through Fourth Level and has earned her USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Rider Medals. Gwen also has her AHSA Hunt Seat Medal.
Gwen is also a USEF Licensed “r” Dressage and “r” Dressage Sport Horse Judge. She currently judges approximately 4-5 main shows a year, which comes out to about 12 days a year. About half of these shows are in state, and the other half are out of state. She is also currently the president of the Rocky Mountain Dressage Society.
The best part of dressage according to Gwen?
It’s easy to determine your levels and gauge your growth! The nice thing about dressage, compared to other horse disciplines, is that you have a clear measuring stick to measure your growth and success in the sport.
Gwen’s Tips For Dressage Riding
- Invest Early. For competitive riders, the biggest struggle is often finances. Therefore, if you can spend more money early on for riding lessons and training, you’ll see more success long-term.
- Watch and Learn. The best advice Gwen has for dressage riders (of all levels) is to go to dressage shows, clinics and symposiums to watch. Observe what other riders are doing, especially in movementsA that you or your horse struggle with.
- Research The Background Of Your Trainer. Take some time to research your trainers. Take lessons with someone who has a good background and well-rounded experience.
Learn more about Gwen and Kaimana Equestrian: