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.

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