Baldwin grad rides high at dressage nationals
A 2007 Baldwin High School graduate helped make history for her horse-riding team earlier this summer.
Tessa Dick, who lives in San Diego, and her trio of team members placed third at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Lexington, Ky. Dick was a member of the Region 4/8 team that took home the bronze in the USDF Dressage Championship Team Test.
It marked the first time Dick had ever medaled at the competition. It was a proud moment for her.
“It was exciting,” she said. “It’s the best I’ve ever finished. It was a great honor to earn the bronze. I was so excited to do that well as a team.”
Her mother, Becky Dick, who still lives in Baldwin City, was also thrilled for her daughter, because she knew how much time and effort her daughter contributes to becoming a better rider. Becky traveled with the team and helped members at the event.
“It worked that way with the draw,” Becky Dick said of her daughter competing first. “It worked out best for her because her horse was used to the cooler temperatures and it was a warm day, so going first worked out well for her.
“It was a really nice ride,” she said. “She did a really nice job. Her score wasn’t as high as we thought she should have, but we aren’t the judges. It was still a very good score.”
Tessa Dick has been competing in the dressage competition since middle school. Once she learned the art of dressage, an equestrian competition in which horse and rider are judged on a prescribed series of movements in a standard arena, it became her calling card.
On the day of the championships, Tessa aboard her mount, Lord Chalk Hill, was the first entry to compete.
“I didn’t know how the judges were going to score me, because I was the first rider,” she said.
Despite going first, Dick still posted one of the two best scores on her team. Her score of 65.158 was the ninth best out of the 34 competitors.
At the North American Championships, Dick was one of two riders from Region 4, which consists of riders from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Hans Baertsch was the other qualifying rider from the region.
Dick and Baertsch were partnered with two riders from Region 8 for the North American Championships. Meagan Davis and Mary Bahniuk Lauritsen were the Region 4 riders. Region 4 is consisted of riders from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Since second grade, Tessa has been riding horses. She started competing in other events, but tried dressage in junior high school. It was perfect for Tessa and her older sister, Jenna.
“If they hadn’t discovered dressage, I don’t know if they would have continued riding through high school,” Becky Dick said. “Once they discovered dressage, they loved it.”
Tessa currently trains at Arroyo Del Mar in San Diego. She moved to California in December 2008 with her trainer, Rebecca Rigdon, who is originally from Freedom Hill Farm in De Soto.
“I’m doing the same thing out here that I was doing in Kansas,” Tessa said. “I’m working and grooming for my dressage trainer. She was in Kansas, but moved her business out to California. She asked me to come with here, and I’ve been here ever since.”
She has loved her nearly two years on the West Coast. Her immediate plans are to continue training and competing in dressage, with the goal of competing as a professional. Her mother said several of the Young Riders eventually compete in the Olympics.
“I’m really enjoying it,” Tessa said. “It’s really great. The horse world is much more prominent and there is a lot more out here than there was in Kansas. I’m loving it.”