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Tanya Strasser Shostak
July 6, 2013
Young Rider Notes
By Tanya Strasser Shostak
Saturday, July 6, 2013 :: Posted 09:54:59 PM UTC


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© courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak: Tanya Strasser Shostak.  Photo courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak.

My name is Tanya Strasser Shostak and I’m the daughter of Canadian Olympian Evi Strasser. I have spent my whole life surrounded by horses. Needless to say, I have been bitten by the horse bug! The first thing I would like to mention is how thrilled I am to be a columnist for PSdressage.com. I have always loved writing, so I couldn’t ask for anything more than to be able to combine that with my passion for horses.

I can’t remember the first time I got on a horse, but I can tell you that I’ve always been hooked. My first competition was when I was 6 years old at York Equestrian Center on a little gray pony. Let’s just say I took my walk-trot test very seriously for a little kid!

I have been competing in dressage ever since. Shortly after York, my mom leased and then purchased my pony English Muffin. She was a dream pony who had competed in the Pony Hunter division at the Royal Winter Fair 12 times in her life and I believe had won it quite a few times as well. Next came Toby Tyme, who was also one of the best little ponies a girl could ask for! He was so honest. I got much braver as I rode him and even got to try some jumping.


© courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak: Tanya Strasser Shostak.  Photo courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak.

One winter, he came down to Florida with us. Ashley Holzer’s daughter also had a little white pony called Bo Bo and so we ended up stabling together. It was one of the best winters ever! Toby and I competed for a few years at Training Level and I must say we were a very successful pair.

When I was 11 years old, my mother purchased Nemo Tyme, a 5-year-old Westphalian riding pony from Europe. He was like a big horse in a pony’s body. He taught me so much and we were very successful at the FEI pony division with big wins at Dressage at Devon, CDI Blainville and CDI HITS on the Hudson, just to name a few. After 4 1/2 years together it was time for us to move on and he was purchased by a future pony rider in Ontario. It was the first horse of mine that we sold and so that was very difficult for me, but he could not have gone to a better place.

  © courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak: Tanya Strasser Shostak.  Photo courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak.

Cappuccino Tyme was a German riding pony stallion that we purchased when I was 13 and he was 3 – great idea, right? I ended up competing him in the Young Horse classes (and won quite a few of them against the horses!) until he was old enough to do the FEI Pony Tests. In his first year at this level, he was Dressage at Devon FEI Pony Champion. He is now based in France and Holland with French pony team rider Clarissa Stickland, who has been doing a wonderful job competing him in Europe.

The horses came next, and I competed in Juniors aboard Dancing Tyme. We made the Quebec Junior team. The following year, I moved up to Young Riders with him while also competing Ruby Tyme in the FEI Junior division. It was a quick jump into Young Riders – I was only 16 years old, the minimum age – but I felt that it was the right move for me at the time.

I qualified both horses and chose to take Dancing Tyme to the 2012 championships in the Young Rider Division. It was a bit of a risk but it was definitely well worth it. We ended up placing third in the team competition and eighth individually.


© Mary Adelaide Brakenridge: Tanya Strasser-Shostak and Deluxe TymeTanya Strasser-Shostak and Deluxe Tyme. Photo by Mary Adelaide Brakenridge.

I am now campaigning three different horses in the Young Rider division: Dancing Tyme, Deluxe Tyme and Action Tyme. They are all completely different horses so they have all been able to teach me so much. I have qualified all three of them once again for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Kentucky this year. Ultimately, I will have to choose the one I would like to take with me this year.

Being a Young Rider is really great. I absolutely love the experience. The Championships are wonderful because they allow you to meet new people whom you may know your whole life. There is also a huge emphasis on teamwork and support, which I feel is very important. Even though everyone wants success of their own, it is important to know that you can’t “make it” without a team. Since I started competing at this level, my teammates have been nothing but supportive, and I feel like the friendships I have made will last a lifetime.


© courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak: Tanya Strasser Shostak.  Photo courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak.

My main focus at the moment is the upcoming NAJYRC in Kentucky. I have similar goals to many other Young Riders. I would love to compete in the Young Rider World Cup (based in Germany). The Young Rider Grand Prix also intrigues me very much, although I do not know when I will be ready for that.  

In the long term, I would love to have a chance to compete in the Pan American Games, World Equestrian Games and Olympic Games. These are all dreams of mine, but I realize there are many things that I need to achieve before I can even begin to focus on anything that monumental.
© Mary Adelaide Brakenridge: Tanya Strasser-Shostak and Deluxe TymeTanya Strasser-Shostak and Deluxe Tyme. Photo by Mary Adelaide Brakenridge.

One thing that I have come to understand is that goals are funny things. I feel that opportunities arise that slowly help you towards your goals, and it is not until you are close to achieving them that you realize the steps you took to get there.

I don’t believe there is a specific way that you can achieve success in this sport. There is no foolproof system. All you can do is work hard, stay humble and believe in yourself. I am trying my best to do just that.

Keep an eye out for my next post, in which I hope to fill you in on how my preparations are going for the Championships. Bye for now!

© Courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak: Tanya Strasser Shostak.  Photo courtesy of Tanya Strasser Shostak.


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