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Six Dreamcatcher Meadows riders podium at 2024 Touch of Class

Emily Burt wins First Level Championship, Ariel Girodo named Reserve Champion

A number of Sea to Sky equestrians and their steeds excelled at this year's Touch of Class dressage event in Langley, B.C. 

Emily Burt and Ariel Girodo went neck-and-neck in the First Level contest. Pemberton's Burt and her horse, Lancelot DMV, ultimately emerged with the Championship title by scoring 70.66 per cent. That made Girodo of Whistler the second-place Reserve Champion (70.56 per cent), riding Whittaker DMV and Wishingstar DMV at various points in the contest. 

Dreamcatcher Meadows co-founders John Dingle and Jill Giese were also decorated for their efforts at Thunderbird Show Park. 

Dingle, who coaches Burt and Girodo, partnered with DTrix DMV to become Third Level Reserve Champ. Giese likewise managed a runner-up effort astride Dancing DMV at the training level despite a bout with pericarditis and pneumonia. 

"I got off a breathing machine, went in the arena and that little horse danced for me," said Giese. "John had only ridden four times in the last two months because he's been helping all the kids, but he saw us through." 

Meanwhile, Kirsten Mitchell earned a Fourth Level third-place ribbon with Lady of the Dance DMV. 

The youngest Dreamcatcher athlete in the field, 11-year-old Archer Girodo, was second at Introductory Level with her pony, Rio.

"[John and Jill] are the coolest people I have ever met," said Ariel after the competition. "They both had amazing riding careers, and they have such an amazing approach to the horse world." 

Concurs Burt: "I have learned everything from John and Jill. They have had such an impact on pretty much all of Canada's equestrian world by the horses they breed, the way they train and how they just affect people's lives." 

Unfortunately, financial constraints and the high cost of participating in dressage threaten to knock Burt out of the sport prematurely. Those interested in supporting her athletic future can view her GoFundMe page here.