Update: Forgot to mention that Laura owns the local tack store so I met her once before! She is a really nice women. Also she and Dyna earned 67% at the Finals!
The U.S. Dressage Finals are coming up this weekend, and competing in it is a very unique competitor: a 16 hand high, 12-year-old mule named Heart B Dyna and her owner, Laura Hermanson. She is the first mule to ever compete in the U.S. Dressage Finals, so this is really special. Mules have only been allowed to compete in dressage since 2004, but even though they are allowed the are not commonly found in the show ring, and up until no one has ever competed in the U.S. Dressage Finals.
Laura herself has been showing mules for several years, yet has known Dyna since 2006. While working in a pack station in the Sierras, Laura observed mules and grew to love them, deciding to compete with them.
“It’s hard to pinpoint what makes them so special,” Laura said. “Everything with them is like a horse, just amplified. Their power of retention is amazing, so the biggest trouble is reiterating something too much. You just have to be very accurate and fair… and you need a sense of humor because their dads are donkeys! They just have a piece of them that says, ‘nope, I’m not doing that today.’”
At first, Laura didn't think of doing dressage with Dyna. She tried everything from jumping to cutting, but finally decided to compete in dressage since she has be riding dressage for a long time and Dyna seemed to have lovely gaits for dressage. Amazingly, despite the doubts of others, Dyna and Laura's client's mule began doing very well, and Dyna qualified for the regional finals in California, earning scores up to 75% in Training Level.
Laura and Dyna have been long-listed for the Finals, but one day she got and email saying she had qualified. It was dream come true! Laura created a GoFundMe page soon after, and in less than two weeks, she earned well over the $8,000 needed to transport her mule across the country from California to Lexington, Kentucky. I'll be rooting for this amazing pair this weekend!