3721 Tom Starnes Rd
Waxhaw, NC 28173
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Photo by Rick Johnson

A little history about 3D?
3D Horsemanship has a special meaning – we didn’t call it 3D Dressage or 3D Stables – we called it 3D – for 3-Dimentional, our training focuses on your discipline, plus several other “dimensions”. We want to make sure that each horse is well rounded. We called it “Horsemanship” because as far as we are concerned, good riding is good riding, no matter what your discipline and that is the definition of “Horsemanship”. It is about the Horse, to help make the horse the best he can be in whatever discipline you choose. We offer training from start to finish. Doug focuses on starting them with Lisa. Lisa takes them into the desired discipline and Kris takes the horses and riders that want to excel in the upper levels of Dressage.

What makes Waxhaw area an ideal location for your barn?IMG_0806-w500-h500
Waxhaw is the best place we could ask for! We are close enough to Charlotte for it to be a reasonable commute and yet far enough out to have plenty of space, fields and land to help expose our horses to everything!

What are english dressage and western dressage? Differences, similarities?
The definition of “dressage” is training. Dressage is a training scale, although it is famous for its competition side. Dressage originated from the training required for military horses. It requires a bond between horse and rider to perform movements where an onlooker can’t even see the cues. English dressage, right now, has much more presence in the competition arenas than western dressage, but Cowboys need as much of a bond with their horses while using a rope or moving cattle as any early cavalry man did. A main similarity is the “thoroughness” that both English and Western must show in their gaits, they both use “working” gaits. A difference would be that turns on the haunches can be ridden differently in Western dressage, as it honors the Western horse and many are trained to use a back foot to pivot on.

IMG_0805-w500-h500A little history about Lisa?
I grew up on a farm in Maine. I actually rode her cow Mocha, when her father would not let her have her own horse. Once you have learned to train a cow to go Walk-Trot-Canter and jump, you can train and APPRECIATE any horse! I have ridden everything from Saddleseat to doing my first nationally recognized 3-Phase event at 14 at Summers Mist Farm. I am a firm believer that every horse wants to do well, but that we must find the discipline best suited for the horse and train the horse as an individual. Although one technique may work for many horses, no one technique works on every horse. And horses need variety to be the most successful horse they can be. Becoming a great horseman isn’t about showing, but it is about developing the horsemanship skills to ride your horse where ever you want successfully. I am currently focusing on achieving all of my Dressage Medals.


A little history about Doug?

Photo by Equestrian Images

Doug is currently a successful Veterinarian that grew up in Illinois on a grain and livestock farm. He spent 10 years in the mountain west working ranches and breaking colts. Doug also did his thesis and advanced research in breeding genetics and trainability. He brings a wealth of knowledge, not just years of actual experience on horses, but through hours of documented research. Doug is a firm believer that you need to be the leader that your horse needs. A horse that has belief in his rider can be successful anywhere. He just enjoys seeing a horse and rider bond. He was also a rough stock and saddle bronc rider so he is okay with all that hoppy-bucky stuff- LOL!

You both have done a little bit of everything – thoughts on your pasts and riding experiences?
Doug and I consider ourselves to be very lucky to have had a wide variety of horse experience and that we both grew up with our horses at home. We learned about horses in our early years – from horses that still had to “work” for a living, both of us learned how to drive horses and spent time with logging and working ranch horses very early in our lives. We truly appreciate why a horse needs to remain physically and mentally sound to have a long working career. When you learn on driving and working horses you learn a different level of horsemanship, you have to be safer as you are not just in an arena. You have to be much more attentive because you are not always physically connected to your horse. Once you have learned how your horse learns – you can do anything from rope cows to upper level dressage.

IMG_0802-w500-h500Some fond pony/horse memories?
Lisa – Getting to work on the race tracks with my event horse, Hobbs, when I was in high school is one of my best memories. We worked all day together getting young harness horses on, around and off the track. It gave us an incredible bond and got him super fit for Cross Country!

Doug’s best memory comes with his now 14 year old gelding, Pete, that he has had since was 2. Doug and Pete used to go elk hunting the mountains of Colorado – just him, Pete and their pack horse Chip (Chip, by the way is now retired as a therapy horse at Horse-N-Around in Waxhaw).

If you could offer one piece of advice to a young rider, what would it be?
Be open minded towards your horse, remember that he needs to respect you and that respect comes from leadership and, in order to be a real leader, you have to be fair. Part of being fair is being consistent, make sure you spend as much time as possible with your horse. You won’t make progress if you are not consistent.

Secondly, don’t down grade other types of riding just because it isn’t what you like to do. IMG_0803-w500-h500Make sure that you get yourself well versed in understanding how each type of horse has been trained. How can you retrain a ranch horse to do dressage if you don’t know what his original cues are? How can you train a horse to jump that has been taught to run around barrels if you don’t know the language that horse has been taught? You are a translator, not a dictator.

When a rider starts to show, is there any advice you would offer?
Showing is tricky, there is virtually no type of horse competition that I haven’t done. I have jogged in Western Pleasure classes, I have galloped Cross Country courses, I have driven combined driving courses, I have done plenty of H/J in younger years, I have sorted cows, (I can’t throw a rope at all though!), I have shown half Arabs under evening lights with lots of make-up and I enjoy trotting down a centerline towards C! But, you do not have to show, and you are no less of a horseman if you don’t. If you do decide to show be fair to your horse, make sure he is well prepared. Doug, Kris and I all feel that is best to show a level below what you are schooling at home to make sure that the horse is “overly prepared” and the show is as easy as it can be.

FullSizeRender-w500-h500What are some ideal traits you look for in your horses?
What traits I look for when shopping for a horse for a rider is very rider and discipline specific. If you are planning to do a specific discipline, then choose a horse that is designed for that discipline, don’t try to make a horse be something that it isn’t. If I am looking for a horse for myself, I look for a horse that has “happiness”. It is a hard trait to describe – I want a horse that wants to work, I like one with more energy than most people do, I need energy to channel. Yes, in the younger years it may be hard to direct, but once you do – Wow! I look for a horse that is conformationally built to do the job I want. My Cutting horse, Gunner, is nothing like my 17.2H Dutch mare that I use for Dressage and Show jumping and neither of them are like my new German Riding pony, Carews, but each one has been bred to do a job.

What makes 3D horses special?
3D horses are well prepared for life – we have taken them places and exposed them to as much as we can. They are worked consistently and they are very clear about what their job is, which makes it easier for them to do. We want to help each horse and rider go as far as they can!