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.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Back in New England

Phew we made it! 12 horses are now happily settled in at The Ashby Stock Farm and loving the scenery and fresh weather!
After quickly unpacking on went on my way to teach at Wells Valley Farm and Sunny Field much fun, super horses and eager students, it is great to be back up North!
Many thanks to Ralph from Meadowbrook Transport for arranging a super driver and truck for our trip. And once again, thank you to Robert and NSE stables for a very relaxing layover in Fayetteville North Carolina.
We are busy making plans for our symposium with Mr. Schumacher which is going to be a great weekend. We are looking for sponsors and advertisers so please contact me if you want to help bring this wonderful symposium to New England.
Come visit us at the Ashby Stock Farm in Ashby MA. We are open for business, training, lessons, trailers in welcome!

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