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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cold Already

I cannot believe another summer is gone by so quickly. Next week we will be leaving for Florida. Freestyle Serious Fun was great! Girli was beautiful and although not as brave as some of the other competitors she took the atmosphere in stride and showed off for the crowd. The weather was perfect and I am happy to say that I think the spectators were given a wonderful afternoon of horse entertainment. This is all to benefit the Bear Spot Foundation and their therapy with horses program. All of us who work with horses everyday cannot dispute the harmony they create in our lives and the stories that we hear from Jane's farm about the children and the horses are amazing. Please put next years Freestyle afternoon on your calendar now so you can enjoy the demonstrations and support their cause! For more information about the Bear Spot Foundation go to their website

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