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Beachem excels in dressage
by Chase Wallace
cwallace@neighbornewspapers.com
July 11, 2012 12:56 PM | 1366 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More than three years have passed since Heather Beachem was shown how to put her horse “on the bit” and compete in the Olympic sport of dressage.

She’s been fascinated with the art ever since.

“It was something that I always wanted to try when I was a kid and competing as a Hunter-and- Jumper,” said Beachem, a 23-year old rider from Johns Creek. “Once I was shown how to do it I fell in love with how intellectual and intricate the sport was.”

Beachem, a 2007 graduate of St. Francis, began riding at the age of four and was a completive jumper by the age of 11. She helped St. Francis’ equestrian team advance to the national level twice before giving up the jumping events for dressage — a classical form of equestrian that focuses on the rider’s ability to guide a horse through a set pattern of maneuvers ranging from a simple trot to more technical piaffes and passages.

“[Dressage] is really a beautiful sport, but it is also very hard and a sport where you have to be on your game and in control at all times,” Beachem said.

To get on top of her game, Beachem and her Hanoverian horse ‘Puff‘ began training five days a week under her trainer Karen Lipp at a barn in Canton.

In quick time, Beachem has found her place as one of the premier Young Adult (ages 18 to 25) riders in the United States.

In June she was one of 12 riders invited to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Dressage Festival of Champions in Gladstone, N.J.

Performing in her top-hat and coattails against the other top young equestrians in the country, Beachem delivered the best ride of her young career the Young Rider’s Grand Prix — grading out at 67.65 percent to the judges and claiming a reserve championship (second place) in her age group.

“It’s always an honor just to be invited [to the Festival of Champions] and it was a truly amazing experience this year,” said Beachem after returning from New Jersey. “I have to give Karen so much credit for helping me get where I am in dressage, at this point I could care less if I ever jump again.”
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