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, 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!

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