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, November 13, 2010


Since we lost Latamanda it has been a slow climb back up the hill for me. Going to the barn everyday and seeing her empty stall just leaves such a hole in my heart. Even when you know ÿou did everything" and ït was the right decision" it does not make it any easier.
I love riding and training and having my own stable where I can nurture my horses in the best way possible. But I have to say this tragedy and my birthday, marking my increasing age, started making me ask myself what is it all about? Maybe I should not being doing this anymore............
So it takes a clinic in Texas with a group of fantastic Dressage ladies to get my mind back on my job, and it takes being able to still ride and enjoy Alexis everyday to make me love riding again, and it takes being able to ride a piaffe passage transition and control the hind legs going out and remind myself "thank you Latte for letting me learn that!"and it takes the support of my husband and Barbara and Ariel and Raymundo to help me realize that I still love riding and I cannot stop riding even if I tried.
We are so lucky to have horses in our lives.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry Nancy....and so well said. I can feel your heavy heart but you are surrounded by wonderful people.
    It will be 3 years in Feb. that I have owned Willy and I have had so many good days with him. We have improved by leaps and bounds but some days I wish I were in my 30's, 40's, 50's! I will be 72 also in January and W can be so hard to get going at times....other days he is just a charm. He still does not have his changes, his half changes are pretty well established by now but he thinks that bucking is what is required from the hinds. I have found myself catapulted on the ground several times this summer. We have an icelandic and he is such a pleasure to ride, always ready to please that I have been entertaining the idea of having a FEI pony, 4th level and up... but it is still at a dream stage.