Elaina Roeder

– Elegance In Motion –

Elaina Roeder of Springfield, Missouri, started her season in style at the Scottsdale show. She and her partner, Danse All Night+, swept the Saddle Seat Equitation competition, earning first place in her qualifier and going on to become Unanimous Scottsdale Champion Saddle Seat Equitation 15-18. They were also unanimously first in the AHA Saddle Seat Medal.

Elaina has been riding Arabians since she was 3. Now 17, she has had years to develop the elegant and subtle style she displays in the ring today. Her older sister started taking riding lessons first. “By watching her, I was hooked,” says Elaina.

At age 6, Elaina showed at her first Youth Nationals in Walk-and-Trot Equitation. “I was so ecstatic to have made my cut and earn a pink qualifying ribbon,” she recalls. “I then went on to earn a Top Ten, and I was so happy I cried. I knew from that point on Equitation was something I wanted to keep doing.”

Elaina and “Dan” share a special bond; he is the only horse she has ridden for more than one season, and it shows in their seamless partnership. “Dan always does what is asked of him,” says Elaina of her horse. “He is versatile and can show performance and Equitation. He loves attention, especially when there are treats involved.”

Elaina rides with the very talented team at Vicki Humphrey Training Center. She knew the competition would be stiff going into Scottsdale, but she was well prepared. Equitation requires commitment, and Elaina doesn’t back down from the time and focus required to rise to the top. “I knew the classes would be competitive, with a lot of good riders that would be prepared,” she says. “I tried to focus on making my patterns as sharp as possible by executing straight lines, even circles and smooth transitions.”

“I love the teamwork involved in Equitation,” Elaina continues. “The skill of the rider and the horse need to combine to create that perfect picture. It is challenging, and I love the attention to detail. The Equitation riders I compete against are both great friends and some of the best competitors.”

Sitting in the lineup in the Championship, Elaina knew she had given everything she had, and so had Dan. She remembers feeling a sense of relief, knowing that they had done their best, and the rest was up to the judges. Strong rail work and a precise pattern put the pair on top of all three cards. Elaina is still savoring the wins, but she is also looking forward. “My goal in Equitation this year is to improve every show,” Elaina concludes. “I hope to show at Youth Nationals knowing I did my absolute best to prepare and to know I gave it my all.”