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, December 19, 2011


How can I describe how much pleasure my adorable girl gives me everyday! She is so cute. Getting taller then I had imagined. I need to put a stick on her, but she is definitly 16.2. It makes me glad we have gone slowly as she is definitly not finished maturing. In her work she is very thoughtful. She has super balance and is very interested in understanding the aids so that we stay together. Her willingness to move thru her body is growing everytime I ride her. Presently she is working on the forward swing in the trot and some small leg yields. Her canter is becoming more easily forward but occasionally she still holds her breath. Our confidence is growing outside of the ring as well, and we have gone all the way down the driveway and back without one protest, away from the horses in the paddock and with Daphne running along beside! In Ashby walking around the stable grounds never was an issue and she was always happy to be outside and relaxed. In Florida the walk around the farm is away from her friends and I had to make a point to be the boss to get her confidence, but now it seems that she is relaxed to stay with me and our partnership is maturing. She is not as confident as her brother ( not blood brother ) Glorious who will take me around the farm on long reins just to see whats going on! But she will get there. So much fun to have these two and be able to keep working with them. Makes me happy I am becoming educated and will be able to teach them more skillfully.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Classical Dressage

Horsemanship is a living art similar to ballet and singing. Living arts survive by the right advocacy of their practicioners. If one generation deviates from the inherited successful (classical) standards, a living art can be derailed temporarily or lost permanently. Equestrians are the custodians of a living art, and it is the duty of each generation of instructors to aquire a thorough knowledge of horsemanship and Not to reinvent it. This art is based on science. It must be understood by the mind and by the function of the human intellect. To become an equestrian, one must take a stance in life, showing devotion and commitment to the horse by practicing the classical principals of horsemanship simply because they are the ones proven to have worked.
Charles de Kunffy

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome to Florida!

Season is here! The stalls are all full. So fun to welcome back Roxanne and have new additions, for training and for sale.
The horse show over the weekend was so much fun for me. It has been a long time since I have had a horse to show consistantly and build a relationship with in the ring as well as at home. I just love it. Glorious was so wonderful at the show. It is so rewarding to get the same relaxation in the ring as we get at home. He was focused and swinging and I just couldnt help but smile thru the whole 1 st level test. One of these times where you do not even care what the judges give you, he was just so good! But we will take the 70% as well :)
And Noah is really a character. We did our first 4 th level test 2 after winning the 4 1 Sat with 70 %. He was great. And although a bit perplexed that we had to do a different test, and...........yes pirouettes at the show! he was wonderful and 68%
I am really looking forward to a fun season with Ariel, Taylor and Janneke and such fabulous horses to ride!
Stop by 999 B road, Loxahatchee Groves and if you cannot tune into and see about our horse friendly training techniques!!
Happy Riding :)