Dressage


Dressage (a French term meaning "training") is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics. Its fundamental purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse's natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse. At the peak of a dressage horse's gymnastic development, it can smoothly respond to a skilled rider's minimal aids by performing the requested movement while remaining relaxed and appearing effortless. Dressage is occasionally referred to as "Horse Ballet." Although the discipline has its roots in classical Greek horsemanship, mainly through the influence of Xenophon, dressage was first recognized as an important equestrian pursuit during the Renaissance in Western Europe. The great European riding masters of that period developed a sequential training system that has changed little since then and classical dressage is still considered the basis of trained modern dressage.

Early European aristocrats displayed their horses' training in equestrian pageants, but in modern dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of "tests," or prescribed series of movements within a standard arena. Judges evaluate each movement on the basis of an objective standard appropriate to the level of the test and assign each movement a score from zero to ten - zero being "not executed" and ten being "excellent." A score of nine (or "very good") is considered a particularly high mark, while a competitor achieving all sixes (or 60% overall) should be considering moving on to the next level.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rainy Day in Florida

Here we are with the remnants of Rina bearing down on us. We are very happy it is not Rina! This gives me a day inside to do paperwork and reflect on the last week of training.
The horses are great. Glorious is just improving day to day making huge progress. He is such a pleasure to work with. He is learning how to put his body in the right shape and put the power in the right direction and it is so much fun!
Taylor and Cookie are also improving day to day. If Cookie is longing for his cross country fences he is keeping it to himself! He is concentrating hard to make his tempi changes and power his extensions. Taylor is a quick study and there goal of Prix St Georges is definitly with in reach.
Ariel and Evita are moving to the next level, balance and more expression. Evita is an extravagant mover and as Ariel is learning to keep all of the energy going in the right direction it is an amazing picture.
When I was a kid all I wanted to do was ride horses, at that time I did not care what kind or how talented they were. Now here I am working with such talented girls and a barn full of athletic horses. This life is better then I imagined!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Elements of Dressage Col. Albrecht Von Zeigner

Relaxation:
The fundamental basis of the form, relaxation is the absence of tension in the horses body and mind.
Regularity:
The correctness of the gait, including evenness and levelness
Freedom:
The desire of the horse to move forward with natural ease
Contact:
The horses comfort with the bit and reins
On the Aids:
The horse responds instantly to legs and seat while maintaining a steady contact with the hands, thus allowing the energy to circulate.
Straightness:
The ability of a well trained horse to move forward in a perfectly lineal fashion
Balance:
Established through systematic work in straightness
Durchlassigkeit:
often translated as "suppleness", it is the quality in a horse that lets the reins influence not just the head and neck, but also the hind legs.
Schwung:
"swinging of the back", maintaining tempo and regularity of the gaits
Collection:
horse takes more weight on the hind quarters, becoming more elevated in the forehand; longitudinally balanced, shows more cadence, and engagement becomes more marked.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Glorious

Fun show today at Jim Brandon, Glorious was so good! Natalie Lamping gave us 72% on our 1 st level test. I was so proud of him, he is really growing up! 9 on his lengthening in the canter! He is so good at the shows, even though everything is new and sometimes scarey he tries his hardest to focus on his work and be a good boy.
Noah was also good, but his pilot got carried away and was not patient in the canter work........62 in his 4 th level, but much more in front of me and swinging in the trot! We will do alot more shows this winter and really get it going! He was so much fun today!
Sorry to say it but Florida weather is great!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Florida

So nice to be home. I loved Ashby and the Farm is great in Massachusetts. But, there's no place like home! The horses have all settled in so nicely. And thanks to Ariel, Taylor and Bundi the farm is looking great as well as the horses.
Show already this weekend! Because of the rain we had to run over to Tuny's with Glorious so we could actually ride a bit. Thank you! He was wonderful after two days off and not even turn out. He is getting so grown up!
Noah got to work around the arena in the afternoon and the footing was really pretty good. Tomorrow we will be back in business.
PW I have only ridden once since our return but she was perfect! I am so proud of her. She is also growing up. her balance is so good and she just loves to work, so much fun.
We are so lucky to spend our days with horses!