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, October 29, 2011

Rainy Day in Florida

Here we are with the remnants of Rina bearing down on us. We are very happy it is not Rina! This gives me a day inside to do paperwork and reflect on the last week of training.
The horses are great. Glorious is just improving day to day making huge progress. He is such a pleasure to work with. He is learning how to put his body in the right shape and put the power in the right direction and it is so much fun!
Taylor and Cookie are also improving day to day. If Cookie is longing for his cross country fences he is keeping it to himself! He is concentrating hard to make his tempi changes and power his extensions. Taylor is a quick study and there goal of Prix St Georges is definitly with in reach.
Ariel and Evita are moving to the next level, balance and more expression. Evita is an extravagant mover and as Ariel is learning to keep all of the energy going in the right direction it is an amazing picture.
When I was a kid all I wanted to do was ride horses, at that time I did not care what kind or how talented they were. Now here I am working with such talented girls and a barn full of athletic horses. This life is better then I imagined!

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