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Megan, Davero, and her german shepherd Ace
This week I’m chatting with Canadian dressage rider, trainer and coach Megan Shea. Megan is working towards Grand Prix with her own main horse and has previously competed very successfully at U25 Grand prix. Now based in Wellington, Florida, she runs her own business training horses and riders as well as developing horses for sale. Read on to learn more about Megan, her ambitions, and top tips for success


Tell us about you and your horses

Megan, Davero, and her german shepherd Ace
Megan, Davero, and her german shepherd Ace at Wellington North Ranch
I grew up in Toronto, Canada and have been living in Florida for the last 5 ½ years. For the last 2 ½ years I have been running my own business, Megan Shea Dressage, where I work with wonderful clients and fabulous horses across all skill levels – youngsters to Grand Prix. I have one horse of my own at the moment, Blueberry Hill. Blueberry is 12 years old and is schooling all of the Grand Prix. She is a really special mare, and I am so excited to see what the future has in store for us. I just love her – if I could find 4 more just like her, I would buy every single one without a second thought.


How did your horses come into your life?

Megan Shea dressage rider and horse
Megan and Vamos, a sale horse that she competed in the Developing Prix St. Georges and qualified for the Lovsta Future Challenge finishing 9th
My first horse K2 taught me an incredible amount; we started together when he was 6 years old, and I was sixteen. Together, we worked our way through the levels from the very beginning to Young Riders and finally the U25 Grand Prix. He had been imported to Canada to be a hunter, and I had only ever ridden a few lower-level tests, so we really did conquer all the ‘firsts’ together. I learned so much from K2 about what it takes to ride and train a Grand Prix horse, and even more about the care and management of a horse at that level. My second horse, Davero, was a green 4-year-old when I got him, and I just sold him as a small tour schoolmaster earlier this year. He is such a kind soul and I really miss having him in the stable. When I was looking for a young horse Davero was my second choice, but he was the horse that ended up coming home with me from Europe.

My third and current horse is my beautiful chestnut mare Blueberry Hill. I have owned Blueberry for about a year now and met her first when she was 4 years old (she was my first choice when I purchased Davero). I saw a video on Instagram last summer and recognized her pretty face. Blueberry had been imported to the US and was at a farm just a few minutes away from me. I wasn’t really in the market for a horse, but sometimes the stars just align and, well, you buy the horse.


When and where do you ride?

Megan with Blueberry Hill at Mikala Munter's Bell Tower Farm
Megan with Blueberry Hill at Mikala Munter’s Bell Tower Farm before training
I am based full time in Wellington, Florida and I primarily work out of Wellington North Ranch. I also travel to some of my clients’ farms each day to ride and teach. I used to go back and forth between Ontario and Florida but am enjoying staying in one place at the moment.


How did you start riding?

When I was nine years old, my dad took me to see the horse show at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. I was completely in awe of the horses and their riders. My little heart was aching to be able to learn how to ride, and I was so embarrassed when I started to cry watching the horse show, because I wanted to be riding horses too. About a month later, one of my school friends told me that her parents had signed her up for horseback riding summer camp. I went home and begged my parents to sign me up too and, 20 years later, the rest is history.

What you and your horses currently working on?

Megan Shea grand prix dressage rider
Megan and K2 in the prize ceremony at the Global Dressage Festival in the Medium Tour
Blueberry and I are working towards the Grand Prix. She is such a talented and hard-working mare, and now we’re just working to make the piaffe and passage tour stronger. We showed in the PSG/I1 earlier this year, and it was a great opportunity to get to know each other better in the ring and learn what each of our strengths are and what we needed to work on together as a team.

What do you love about riding?

Megan and Davero as a young horse at the Global Dressage Festival
Megan and Davero as a young horse at the Global Dressage Festival
I love the connection to the horse and the freedom that working with them gives me. We know that horses feel our energy and react to us, whether that works in our favour or not. It teaches us to manage our emotions, relax, and let go, even when life outside of the ring is stressful. When I’m riding my horses, I don’t worry about any of the other things I have to do, or anything else at all for that matter. I love that it gives me a space where I feel completely present in what I am doing – no phone or other distractions – just 100% focus on my horse, the moment we are in, and the work we are doing together.


What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?

Megan Shea and K2 at the North American Young Rider Championships in 2015.
Megan and K2 at the North American Young Rider Championships in 2015.
My big competition goal is to represent Canada on Senior teams – the Olympics, World Championships, World Cup. Riding in any of these competitions would be a dream come true. Aside from competition, I want to continue this career for a very long time, and I want to be the best I can be. The day-to-day training is more important to me than competition, and as long as I can continue training and helping horses, the rest is just a bonus.


Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?  

Megan Shea and Blueberry Hill horse
Megan and Blueberry Hill in the grass field at Wellington North Ranch
I do get nervous before competitions, which is in part self-inflicted because I have made silly mistakes in the past (like forgetting to bring my boots). However, as soon as I get on my horse, all my nerves fade away, and I am totally focused on preparing for and riding the test.  

How did you deal with them?

I find that being prepared in advance helps me manage my stress and my nerves. I make packing lists and detailed schedules for what I need and where I need to be so that I get to the ring on time and with everything necessary.


Your Top Tip

Megan Shea dressage
Megan and Blueberry Hill at Wellington North Ranch
Have patience with your horse and enjoy the journey. This sport is hard, and each horse will challenge you. Listen to them and learn from them. And when you don’t know what to do next, find a trainer you trust to help you.


What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

My dad always tells me, do the very best you can do today. And at the end of the day put your head on your pillow knowing you’ve done all that you can, and that tomorrow is a new day.



Down the Centre Line


Who would be your dream horse to ride?

I don’t think I can pick just one! Jovian’s trot looks like it would be incredible to ride, and of course I daydream about Glamourdale’s canter.


Who is your equestrian hero?

I love watching Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour ride. You can see that her horses are relaxed and really love to work.


If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?

Five of my longest and closest friends are in Canada/the Northern US, so I would be thrilled to have them all together at the same time.


Favourite colour horse?

Any horse is beautiful with a sparkling, healthy coat. But I especially love the look of a dark chestnut with bold dapples.


Favourite horse event?

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The Royal’s dressage show is not huge, but it has always been such a special place as I have grown up. It’s fun to see all the different disciplines compete (from driving horses, to jumping, indoor eventing and a rodeo) and see all the 4-H kids showing their cows, sheep, goats, etc. in the same venue. I love being able to spend time with friends from all over the province who come as spectators, competitors, and exhibitors.


Favourite food?

Any combination of red meat and green vegetables. And chocolate cake.


Favourite way to relax?

I love to bake. Breads, cakes, pastry, sweets. If I’ve only got a little bit of time, I keep it simple with my go-to favourite recipes. But when I have a bit more time, I love taking on more involved and delicate recipes too.

Favourite film?

My two favourites are Avatar and the Italian Job.

Do you any good luck rituals before competing?

I don’t have lucky socks or anything like that, but the one thing that I am very aware of leading up to a show is that I don’t tell my horse that we’re going. My first horse K2 seemed to only ever get hurt the week before the horse show, so now I just don’t talk about any imminent show plans in front of my horses.

Want More?

If you enjoyed meeting Megan you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here    You can keep up with Megan’s progress and check out her instagram page here      

Sharon Howe

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Hi! I am Sharon Howe

Country & Equestrian Blogger

Hello My name is Sharon Howe and I am horse mad. This site is my place to scribble away my…


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