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, September 13, 2011

Horses Horses Horses

The nights getting cooler and the days sunny and low humidity, what better weather for riding?
The horses are going fantastic! My babies are growing up! Finally knowing enough to keep me entertained while I ride them, and much less time I have to worry about falling off! PW is becoming so mature and looking more and more beautiful everyday. She is a bit spoiled but always the perfect lady under saddle. Glorious is getting stronger and stronger and so handsome. He is learning big boy stuff and taking it all in stride! His lengthenings are becoming much more elastic and his counter canter very balanced!
The Ashby Stock Farm has been an absolutly fantastic place to spend the sumer :) We are working on our plans to spend next summer there, and it looks good!
The Conrad Schumacher Symposium is shaping up and we are so excited to have a fantastic weekend. Check out my website for all of the updated information!

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