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, August 8, 2011

Developing Nations Symposium with Axel Steiner

What a fantastic learning experience..............and where was everyone??? I need to go onto the USdF website and find out how many trainers and judges for dressage are in just the Massachusetts area?? Our "O" judge comes from California and spends 3 days teaching right here in our back yard and I think there definitly could have been more auditors. All of the girls did a great job showing dressage thru the levels, and Axel Steiner is so clear and precise about what they are looking for and how to make it better. If you missed this fantastic opportunity then you absolutly must go to when it is posted and watch it on video! But, come on guys.................we need to be constantly looking for ways to educate ourselves farther and this was a perfect venue for that. Listen to Lendon Gray .................What have you done to educate yourselves in the past 6 months? If we teach we must stay on the right track, broaden our knowledge and keep our eyes clear! Thank you so much to Bear Spot Farm, Jane Karol and Cathy Zemaitis and Axel Steiner for putting on such a wonderful event!

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