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, July 5, 2011


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!

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