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, April 26, 2014

Going Home! Or Leaving Home?

        The end of April and I see the last blog entry was January! Seems like just yesterday!! Okay, that really means I am getting old!
         Monday we move back to Massachusetts with eleven horses. I say we are going home, because really I am a New Englander at Heart, but here in Florida where it is my house and our farm, it is really home now. My dedication to bringing the wonderful horsemanship and dressage training that I have learned here and in Europe to New England is still strong. I am so lucky to have the wonderful Parlee family supporting my endeavors and making the beautiful Ashby Stock Farm available for our summer training.
           I look back on the whirl wind of the last months and I regret not having time to get my own horses into the show arena. But, I do not regret all the wonderful work we did together, students in the show ring and training at home, so many improvements, so many good tests a super successful season for everyone at Heartwood Farm. My own horses will show up North and next year I will plan my time more efficiently.
           One thing I am incredibly grateful for is that at my age............I still have such a desire to get in the ring, to train my horses and to ride better! So many people are fed up with their jobs, looking for something new, trying to find themselves. I still love, love love what I do! I realized this winter, one year after falling off, not badly, but enough for this old body! I m in better shape now than I have been in several years. Thanks to awesome chiropractors! I am older but better! You never really know how bad you feel until you feel good again! It is so nice to be back in shape and really doing right by my great horses!
            So the big job of packing up. My stress level always increases worrying about all of the horses travelling well. And this time at the end of the rainbow we have a great clinic planned and a FASHION SHOW! So I am busy and excited with a lot of plans!
                I promise to be better about noticing the time passing and keep up in a more timely manner!
         Ride well :)
                  Nancy