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.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Horses in Peru

Last week I was in Peru visiting with my friend Maggie helping her prepare for the FEI Challenge. It is amazing how far the care for the warmbloods has come since my last visit, 15 :( years ago. The biggest change I see is in the shoeing. They have gone to great lengths to bring in farriers to teach the local guys about the difference to the warmbloods and the thoroughbreds and it is an amazing improvement. The feed is also better, as the warmblood diet cannot be as rich. The horses are so happy and relaxed. It is amazing to see. The young girls coming up in the sport have such a nice feeling when they are riding. The level is improving, yes, but the partnership that these girls want to create with their horses this comes from nature and from their character. So nice to see. Of course as trainers we can help to educate the riders to ride more correct from back to front and the system of training dressage, but when you start with such sensitive, naturally talented students it is a very easy job. Congratulations for a succesful Challenge with a record number of competitors, and I look forward to my next visit.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nancy! Was soooo great to have you here and thanks for the nice words!!!! We re on the way,but its a loooong,rocky,curvy, up-and down one! :) For shure it will take quite a time!