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.

Monday, July 18, 2011

King Oak always fun!

Thank you once again to the staff at King Oak Farm for creating a wonderful show! We always love the atmosphere and the personal attention! And...who can pass up the strawberry shortcake?
Big congratulations to Ariel and Evita who won the inter1 and in two times out at the Inter 1 level have gotten their qualifying scores for the finals in September GREAT JOB!!!
Ariel and Sax were 4 th in the PSG with a slightly tense but very well ridden test, so much fun to see someone executing proper pirouettes in the show ring, way to go Ariel!
Alexis had a wonderful outing but I worry too much about her legs and schooling her until she was relaxed and doing the test seemed too much for my old lady. She did some super work and always a pleasure to ride such a talent.
Glorious was a star! Although I still need to work to get the points higher, he did the test much more on his own and was absolutly a pleasure in a completely new atmosphere and difficult warm up situation! 7.4 over all, his points were dragged down by the mark on the walk 7 which will come up whe he has more confidence in the show atmosphere. I have not had such a wonderful horse to work with in such a long time, his attitude about new things is wonderful and he is beautiful and athletic as well.........lucky me!
We are getting so much response to the Adult Camp we are offering in August! I am so excited. The format will offer sooooooooooo much for the campers and the price to good to pass up. Just having a weekend to enjoy the Ashby Stock Farm will be worth the price! We will be teaching lessons, doing demonstrations and lectures and Linda Powers and friends will be feeding everyone as well.............hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ashby Stock Farm

Here are some pictures of the beautiful farm we have the pleasure of staying in this summer. Everyone must come visit. We will offer some training specials, so you can come for an overnight, a week or longer if you can...........but the facility is wonderful so come enjoy.


Anyone who knows me knows I love Astrid and her website. Astrid has a fantastic view of the dressage world and never chooses to keep quiet when politics get hot. I love it. Her continueing coverage of the FEI and the tongue issue is great and a must read if you have not checked it out already.
My latest must read is Andreas Stano's it is a comprehensive website containing news from all over the world, but most importantly thoroughly covers the US. And today I found an article by Lendon Gray about bettering yourself as an instructor and trainer! Thank you Lendon! In the article she states that she is saddened by instructors who claim they cannot take the weekend off to take a course and loose the income. Not only you should but you must! This summer in New England we have several great learning opportunities, make sure you join up, in the interest of your students and your horses!
Bear Spot Farm is hosting a Developing Nations Dressage Symposium with Axel Steiner in the beginning of August and we are hosting Conrad Schumacher in the end of September. Both symposiums have sponsorship and are inexpensive. I will ask you the same question that Lendon poses! What have you done in the last 6 months to better your education?! Sign up for an educational program today! And for heavens sake !pick a classically german trained horse friendly instructor!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Beautiful weather in Massachusetts

Here we are 4 th of July weekend, I cannot believe how fast the time goes by. The weather is incredible. The day starts in the low 60's and sometimes this week even high 50's and we make it up to 80 after lunch time. No humidity an beautiful blue sky. The horses are loving it!
Westbrook was great! Ariel did well riding her first Inter 1 on Evita! They recieved 65% and second place, it was a beautiful debut! Sunday they won the PSG with a gorgeous test, lovely trot and canter half passes and (for the first time) a lofty and controlled extended canter!!!! Great job Ariel.
Glorious went on his first over night adventure and treated the whole experience like a pro! He was super in the stabling and also a complete gentleman in the crowded warm up. We are very proud. He did one first level test and recieved 7's and 8's on his trot and canter lengthenings! He is getting stronger! He also trotted thru the flooded arena with complete confidence and did not hesitate for one minute :) . He was super in his 4 year old test, and except for one minor indescretion where his rider did not prepare him properly for his canter depart and he put his head up and the transition was late he was 100% perfect! Unfortunatly the judges do not understand 4 year old test and penalized him severely for this one mistake and he got 7.2 which is not a qualifying score. Very dissappointing, but more important is how our young athlete is coming into his own and handling these new situations with such grace and beauty!