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Horse and rider capture dressage titles
By Larry Griffin | February 2014

Williston native Bobbi Bingeman has won several equestrian awards in the last few months. Although she does deserve the awards, the real reason she has them is her horse, Paq. Bobbi and Paq have competed in 24 different dressage shows and have been recognized by the American Quarter Horse Association. In 2013, their work paid off. They earned an Adequan/United States Dressage Foundation All-Breeds First Level Reserve Champion Medal and the prestigious AHQA Superior Event Award in dressage. In addition, Paq is now the top ranked horse in 2nd Level Dressage and the number two ranked horse in 1st Level Dressage in the country. Dressage is a competitive equestrian sport designed to develop a horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work. Through various pre-determined movements and feats, a horse is supposed to become stronger and more hard-working through the sport. In the past, when horses were used for war, dressage was a military sport that tested which horses would be fit for the kings to use. A horse that passed every level would be given to a king or other high ranking official. Now, Bingeman likens dressage to sports such as dance or ice skating, in which performers have to perform similar maneuvers in patterns and are scored based on each individual’s performance. “Some people shoot guns,” she said. “Others like the technical skill, and the challenge to work toward a technical excellence. It’s not a speed rush, it’s just an adrenaline rush of something different.” When Bingeman was growing up in Williston, she had a mentor in town who taught her everything she knew about riding horses. His name was John Houde. “I don’t know if I would be able to do this if he hadn’t been there,” Bingeman said.

While the prestige of the awards is a great honor to Bingeman, she stressed that it was not just for show and that there were other benefits to the dressage awards. For one, she said, the awards will allow Paq to be more recognized on the genetic market. “Her offspring will be worth more,” Bingeman said. But mostly Bingeman is just happy to have achieved so much doing something she loves. She said she is “proud to see her horse do so well at something she is good at.”