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, November 12, 2012

Impressions from the 2012 Global Dressage Forum

  I went to Holland at the end of October for inspiration and I got even more then I expected. First of all I am motivated by the Bartles Family who take on the overwhelming project of putting on the Global Dressage Forum every year. They are amazing and the Dressage community is lucky to have such a dedicated group of people to bring us together as a Global Dressage Family. Next the speakers, all amazing, candid and generous with their knowledge and time, Thank you!
  When one is able to attend any clinic or symposium with such top characters you always expect to be inspired and learn. Why was this experience so much more? because the quality of the people attending was so fantastic and the tremendous respect for horsemanship and hard work was tangible. The theme throughout the entire two days was POSITIVE :) People were respectful and even complimentary of each other! When asked what they respected most about their fellow competitors it was good horsemanship and hard work! I was floored. Horsemanship! This is something I thought had just about disappeared, and especially in dressage. But, here we were with some of the most respected riders, trainers and judges in the world and they are respecting people that are exhibiting good horsemanship. I was instantly revived and inspired to continue my passion, dressage.
  The Program was great and Richard Davidson , as always, was a fantastic emcee. The tone he set for the entire forum was intelligent, warm and personal. His ability to open people up to show their best traits was fantastic, when necessary he put the elephant out into the middle of the room and got everyone to love the elephant. This was especially clear in his interview with Patrick Kittel, whom we all know has had his share of bad publicity. The interview was special. It was great to hear his perspective on training. Hear about his horses and how he worked his way up the ranks. It is interesting to learn a bit more about Patricks horses especially the famous Scandic. Part of his demonstration was "finding and training a future top horse". I am not sure he wanted to share with us his secrets! But from Jo Hinneman (one of the panel members) we learned to look for natural balance, intellegence and horses that enjoy being connected to people. Of course!
   My favorite demonstration was Ingrid Klimke working with cavaletti. Of course. Anyone who knows me, knows that having Ingrid Klimke on the schedule was what made this forum impossible to miss. Horsemanship, this is what she exhibited, in her interview prior to her demonstration and during her demonstration. The exercises were fun and her explanation of her daily routine balancing the barn and the family was awesome.
   I was also really interested in the demonstration by Tristan Tucker. The title was "training your horse for the award ceremony", but it was so much more than that! He did amazing things with a Grand Prix horse and rider as well as a 6 year old Hanoverian mare he was training himself. This was the first "crossover" trainer that I have seen that actually understood our sport and horses well enough to help us help our horses. He was fantastic. He did not show us his tactics on desensitized quarter horses (nothing against quarter horses! I love them), he showed us his methods on our horses. His feel and thoughtfulness was so fun to watch. For this demonstration I really wish my husband had been there. Poor Matt always having to turn the tractor off and wait until that horse is done working, or while that horse is moved so it does not get upset. Here is Tristan in the middle of the arena with 300 people sitting at one end and an excavator running and MOVING in the middle of the arena calmly riding his 6 year old black Hanoverian mare around! It was so exciting to watch how relaxed she was and how he did not have to muscle her into control, but had actually trained her to be able to concentrate on him and be relaxed because of his relationship with her. I loved it!
   Next favorite: Adelinde Cornelissen on fitness. This was really fun. She brought her personal coach and they demonstrated alot of wonderful ground exercises that can be done to improve fitness, coordination and balance, without the horse. The entire demonstration was exciting and amazing. Her concentration, control and fitness level is out of control. Definitely time to get a program going! Great!
   Of course I am a big fan of Damon Hill! So Helen Langehanenberg and her husband Sebastian doing a demonstration with German Coach Johnny Hilberath was also fun for me to watch. The discussion about the balance, lightness of aids, suppleness and preparation was a reassurance. The ability to stop and walk for a minute when one of the mares became tense was also very nice to watch and showed how the horsemanship theme was prominent in their demonstration as well. Less ego, more horsemanship. Nice! At the end of their demonstration the newly appointed team coach Monica Theodorescu was introduced. She gave a small talk about the German system and additions to the show schedule to include more programs for Young Riders and coming young grand prix riders. The depth of Monica's involvement in the sport is distinctive, her family history, the amazing training and showing she has done herself and now the first Woman German Dressage Coach, fantastic! Included in her talk was a quick interpretation about the German system,"Classical does not mean old fashioned. Our training is based on the training scale. The classical system bases the training on the experience of the old masters without forgetting that we are riding modern horses." She went on to say "Despite all sporting ambitions our horses should be our partners and friends". The other really great thing she talked about is creating a show program and championship format that is attractive to the horse owners, amazing concept!
      The Physio lecture was great. Jarko Dun obviously has alot of experience with top competitors. The guys in the audience got a bit stuck on the controversy of sacroiliac mobilization or lack of. Sorry about that because it blocked the positive interaction from the director of the talk himself. The discussion of what is happening with the spines and neck facets is always fascinating to me. He worked on two horses as well as brought a skeleton to make his points. Great lecture, definitely could use more like this.
        The technical things are not really my thing. It is interesting to see what people are working on, but I am more intrigued by the horsemanship and riding. So although they did a great job, Barbro Ask Upmark with her dressage simulator and Inga Wolframm with her computer sensors to measure harmony between horse and rider, it only confirmed for me that the only science I am interested in is veterinary science :)
          I also need to thank Gerrit Claes Bierenbroodspot for showing me around and keeping me company during the forum. Definitely an exceptional experience and not one I will soon forget!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Another nice article about our clinic :)

Jackie Cartesio


A Weekend I Will Never Forget!


            I remember when I first started riding dressage my trainer at the time, Alice Petersen, had brought me to audit a Mr. Schumacher clinic for young riders. The clinic was at Gleneden Dressage. All I remember from was a young rider questioning Mr Schumacher. Well he didn’t like that to much and let me tell you, he let her know! Never did I think I would get the opportunity to ride with him. So, when I first was accepted to ride in the clinic, i’m not going to lie I was a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect. As the days approached I was more excited then ever that I was getting to ride with such an extraordinary person.

             Finally!, we arrived at the incredible Ashby Farms in Ashby Massachusetts. Walking into the barn everyone was very welcoming and easy to talk to. We settled my horse in and were off to check into the hotel. Later that night we came back to do night check. I guess Nancy had saw the lights on in the barn and came out to check on the horses. I was in my horses stall wrapping him and when I look up I have Mr. Schumacher  peering into my stall. I didn’t exactly know what to say beside hello. I felt honored to be in his presence.  He didn’t really say much, took note of my stall card and continued walking.

            The next morning, bright and early, we were all gathered in the barn, feeding and mucking out our stalls. Everyone that participated was friendly and just as eager to learn as I was. We all gathered and watched the first ride. It was a girl that was schooling about third level. With just watching her warmup Mr. Schumacher knew each problem the horse and rider were having. It was incredible the eye that he had. The exercises that he came up with were not very difficult but something I would never have thought of. After her ride were more young riders of all levels. Still, even with them, he was able  to recognize each weakness they were having. By the end of each ride, as an auditor, you could see an improvement.

            Next, was lunch. We were introduced to Bill McMullin. One of Nancy’s student’s, Taylor, rode the Junior team test for us to watch. Mr. McMullin explained the judging scale with us. It was interesting to get his point of view. After lunch were more excellent lessons with Mr Schumacher. My lesson with Mr Schumacher was out of this world. Yes we worked on basics but we also worked on things I was having difficulty with. By the end of the lesson. Our extended canter to flying change was perfected. All in less than an hour.

             Later that evening, we all returned to have dinner together. Nancy announced that she was the new region 8 coordinator. We gathered at a table and discussed how Nancy would like our input as much as possible and how she is going to try and put together as many affordable clinics and schooling shows as possible. This was exciting with me because with living on Long Island there really isn’t much dressage happening.

            Mr Schumacher then talked to us about personal experiences and how to prepare for the show ring. I look forward to using his recommendations for our 2013 show season.I could never get board listening to him. We all had dinner together and was given the chance to get to know each other.

             The next day we got an early start. For lunch, we had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Brett Gabby. He talked about the soundness of a sport horse. I definitely learned a lot about legal and illegal drugs. Even about having it on you during a CDI.

            I had another fantastic lesson. We had worked on mainly canter pirouettes.  I didn’t exactly have bad canter pirouettes to begin with but by the end of  our ride they couldn’t have been better. The exercise he gave me was something so simple but something I could have come up with on my own. I was amazed of how well they worked and improved our pirouettes.

             The eye that Mr. Schumacher had was truly amazing. I took away some awesome exercises.  I could not have asked for a better weekend. I was able to meet some incredible people and walked away with some new friends. Thank you so much to Mr Schumacher. Another thank you to Dressage for Kids and their Emerging Dressage Athlete program. What and amazing program to be a part of. Also, Nancy Later and her husband Matt Lavoie deserve all the credit for putting together such a memorable weekend. Without them I would have never have gotten this experience. They were both so hospitable and welcoming. I absolutely can not wait for the next time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back in Florida!

Still tired from our 4 day clinic extravaganza at The Ashby Stock Farm we packed up our 13 horses and started the long haul to Florida from Massachusetts. It is always with a bit of worry that I put my beloved horses in the trailer and make them endure this long trip. I am always so relieved when we are in Florida safe and sound and my horses are all healthy, thank goodness.
Although I do not have a "Smart Phone" I am able in a bit archaic way to get some emails on the road.
I have added to my blog below the delightful article written by Jessica Hainsworth about our clinic last weekend. Reading this article made all the hard work worth every minute! I am so happy that even one of the girls had this kind of an experience at our clinic. But, I know that she is not the only one! Thank you Jessica for your kind words. Thank you again to Mr. Schumacher, Bill McMullin, Dr. Brett Gaby, DVM, my husband Matt and our great staff, Taylor, Ariel and Omar for making the weekend such a fantastic success. :)
Please find Jessica's article below:
In late summer, I turned 16, and my best present was being awarded a grant from the USEF as part of the High School Equestrian Program as the best submission from the USDF.  I was thrilled to say the least, but was also told I needed to have the grant funds disbursed by  October.  A few days later, I received information about the Region 8 clinic that would be held with Mr. Schumacher and be hosted by Nancy Later. It was a huge opportunity despite the 8 hour drive, so I immediately applied to be a rider, and was so excited when I was notified I was accepted to ride in this clinic!  In mid-August, I sold the horse I had just finished my USDF Silver Medal on and moved on to a new project horse that had just been purchased as a potential horse to campaign at FEI  Jr's.  This clinic was only our second major trip and clinic together in just about three months together and a big step for us to start creating a better bond as a team.  This horse has not had a "real job" for a few years now, he is an East German WB and is now 10 years old, he is the type who needs his own rider and has some trust issues, so we have a bit of work to do to get us both speaking the same language and working as a team.  ( Let alone just being able to stand quietly in cross ties at the wash rack!)  

            We had a uneventful drive to Massachusetts and that started what became an amazing clinic with Mr. Schumacher!   I must start with a huge thanks to Nancy Later for being such a great hostess and her wonderful staff, working students, and husband as without them this clinic would have never been such a great success!   Throughout my experience at the clinic I participated as an EDAP program rider and as part of every EDAP clinic the participants are expected to observe every lesson or discussion when not riding.  I brought my riding journal as I do to every clinic and recorded notes and points on each lesson.  I learned so much and met so many new friends, as well as made connections with other teens who have a passion and love for horses.  Both days I rode right before lunch,  so I was able to bathe my horse first thing in the am (my new mandatory morning duty as an owner of my first gray horse) then watch several lessons before having to get ready for my lesson.  A clinic like this is such a great learning opportunity yet so many try to get as much as they can out of it by just listening and trying to remember the details... it just won't be enough!   If they are truly trying to take what they learn and then apply it to their own riding it is a must to write down what they learn so each lesson I jotted down notes and comments to help me recall the focus and main point of the lessons.

My new horse can be stiff and blocked in the neck that in turn leads him to have the option of  being behind my leg and often ends in a battle between us trying to get him to respect and react from my application of the aides.  Mr Schumacher was so amazingly patient to wait for him to give at his poll, even giving him a sugar when he had been quiet and soft in his neck connection with what my hand was asking.  He acted as my interpreter between what I was asking and finding a generally quiet and kind way to work through the tension until I was able to feel a better connection up into my hand that came from behind.  The first day was spent mainly finding ways to use lateral work to reduce tension to get him through his neck.  One exercise especially useful was the use do the counter bent extended canter on the long side turning on the 1/4 line and focusing on leg yields and straight lines.  The second day we used a ton of cavaletti work which my horse had not had much exposure to in the 3 months I had him and from his reaction not much prior to that either.  Despite a few excited "discussions" the cantering  cavaletti work helped to loosen him to a point where we really established some trust as I helped him figure it out.  Mr Schumacher told us during that lesson "That only in the dictionary does Talent come before Work."  That it was my job to show him how and where to take off, cantering within the small corner bordered by cavletti showed how precise your straight lines need to be coming into a quarter pirouette and then how straight you need to ride out of them to be able to maneuver this short corner in 4 or 5 short strides on every straight line.   My horse was excited at times but I have to say the improvement in his gaits once we went back out  on the track was amazing.  I felt the future passage that is in there, the flying changes we made after this work brought new meaning to "flying" as they were the most uphill I had ever had with him.  We had established a new level of connection not through toughness but through making him use his body in new ways to release tension and create trust. 

             At lunch Saturday, we had a lecture from USDF judge Bill McMullin about test riding and judging and were even lucky enough to watch Taylor Lindsten ride a beautiful Junior test and then listened as he gave each score  being able to hear his remarks with each movement was so helpful as a rider considering that test for the next year.  We also had Dr. Brett Gaby, come on Sunday to discuss how to keep your sport horse sound by sharing a wonderful PowerPoint presentation.  Then, each day finished with some more really great lessons, and no matter what level or age the horse and rider, I was learning something new as Mr Schumacher found ways to get the best out of each pair.  He was really an inspiration to watch as he found a new and refreshing approach with each lesson and I was amazed by the tactful and kind approach to each horse and rider.   Never did one lesson resemble what the last rider had done or if it did it was presented in a way to address the specific area of tension or stiffness in either the horse or rider that he was being presented with.  Being able to ride with Mr. Schumacher was such an amazing opportunity,  my horse has great gaits and a lot of potential, but is tricky based mainly on the inconsistency that he has had in his training.  He said in my lesson that retraining a horse is "one of the hardest things to do and in Germany it would never be done by a "young lady"  that instead it would be the job of a professional."  Yet  he was very supportive of my efforts so far in the short time we have been together, and focused his lesson on ways giving me some great tools to work with to get my horse to soften and allow us to work together rather than holding that tension between us.  In just two lessons I learned so much and I could feel the change in my horse and as we became more connected.

             We  had a great dinner Saturday night followed by a lecture by Mr. Schumacher about the preparation for a show and  how  it's not just about packing up the equipment and walking into the show, but that you as the rider need to be mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared before you consider entering a show.  He explained that a rider should see mediate through each part of the test, be in good physical condition and fit, and emotionally know and be prepared for whatever they are about to do.  Also, a rider should have a planned warm up similar to the warm up done at home rather than the 45-60 minute warm up he sees so many people do at shows.  He said that essentially providing this consistency of the warm up routine to your horse often will help your horse behave more similarly at a show ground if what you ask there, is the same  or very similar to what you ask of them at home.    One of the best parts of this lecture was his explanation of the difference between being a good rider and a good competitor.  I hadn't really thought of it that way and he shared many points of preparation that go into being at the top of your sport.  I was able to meet many of the riders from Region 8 that being from 8 hours away, I just haven't had the chance to do so before.  We also had a chance to discuss some plans for the NAJYRC region 8 teams and discussed the planning and commitment that goes into that program.  

             I am so very thankful for the opportunity to come to this clinic to learn from Mr. Schumacher!  I had an amazing time getting to meet the other Region 8 riders, and of course the excellent staff at the Ashby Farm!  This was my 3rd EDAP program clinic and thanks to the support of Dressage4kids and Lendon Gray several youth riders will be getting some funding to help cover the cost of this clinic and more importantly we had the opportunity to get some incredible education offerings as part of this program.  Most of all a huge thank you to Nancy Later, and the USEF and USDF for helping to support kids like myself through programs like the High School Equestrian Program and therefore allowing me to participate in this amazing opportunity!
Happy Riding :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conrad Schumacher Clinic!

    The clinic with Mr Schumacher was more than I could have ever dreamed it would be! This morning as I reflect over the past four days I get even more excited about what the future will bring.
     The clinic started thursday with the adult phase. The lessons were fantastic. Mr Schumacher's ability to zero in on the most important factors, stay calm and patient and explain, explain, explain, created a day of overcoming hurdles for some and developing new skills for others.  This guy gets more done in 45 minutes than most people accomplish in a month. He is clear, relaxed and so positive it is impossible not to get what he is looking for. The horses become relaxed and the riders learn. The second day for some was easier. Everyone came energized for the next step and of course Mr. Schumacher did not disappoint us. He has an amazing combination in the  depth of his knowledge and his complete patience, this makes every lesson special. He knows when to push and when to wait. Even the way he tells you "Oh come on, just do it!" makes you feel like it is possible to do what he says. I had the luxury of watching most of these lessons as well as riding and I feel energized for the winter training!
      Friday afternoon the kids started arriving and what a fantastic group of kids we had! Everyone was wonderful. Such a group I was so happy to work with. Helpful, happy, ambitious yea! Congratulations to all of the girls for making the weekend even better with their positive attitudes and desire to be part of this amazing project.
        Mr Schumacher taught on and on and on. The lessons were so great. The girls all looked amazing. The nerves that some came in with quickly disappeared when they realized he was on their side and fighting for their riding. Everyone stepped up to the plate and worked at these dressage basics and communication that is so vital to good riding. Position, timing, body language and reward reward reward. Fantastic day. The lunch lecture that Bill McMullin did about judging was wonderful. His direct language about points and scores took some of the mystery away from the judging aspect of our sport. Taylor Lindsten performed a super example of the Junior team test for everyone and his discussion after was eye opening. Thank you to Bill for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and be part of our educational weekend.
          Saturday did not end after the lessons! We had a nice dinner where the girls and I had a minute to discuss some of our plans for Region 8 for the coming season (and beyond). I encourage all the Region 8 kids to stay in touch with me about their ideas for fundraising, education and competition. PLEASE!
          After dinner Mr Schumacher gave us a very informative lecture about Competition Preparation. He talked a bit about the weeks leading up to the show and the training strategy, as well as warming up and the test itself. His many experiences at all levels really makes this lecture amazing. Of course he always adds some fun personal stories that help us to realize that even in the top, competitors are human!
        Sunday came quickly! The lessons started early and the quality of the information was tangible. There was no converstaion going on in the auditor section as Mr Schumacher taught about collection and haunches giving in and throughness and and and. Awesome lessons to awesome girls who were willing and able to soak it all up.
         Lunch time was filled with the reality of the soundness issues that can come up. Dr. Brett Gaby gave us a very informative talk about, yes again, preparation! Planning ahead to avoid problems in the most important times. He and his assistant Becky Hicks presented a creative slide show that targeted long term soundness strategy as well as discussed the CDI jog and legal and illegal therapies. Dr Gaby has been super helpful to me in keeping our horses in the ring and happy and Region 8 is lucky to have him on our team!
         I loved every minute of it. My only regrets are that I am not able to watch every lesson and that at the end of the day I had to take the Master to the airport. 
          Thank you so much to everyone who came and made this weekend spectacular. The parentswere so helpful and positive. These girls are so lucky to have such great support behind them and their learning process. Thank you to the auditors that supported our event and their positive energy that helps to fuel our energy for the next projects.
          I am over the top with gratitude. THANK YOU!
                     Have fun while you ride well !

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Congratulations Taylor!

Tracy Kok Jr/YR Region 8 Coordinator and NEDA volunteer

Taylor and Cookie Award Ceremony

Taylor and Katelyn Victory Gallop
As the summer show season comes to a close it is fun when things finally come together at the right time in the right place! Congratulations to Taylor Lindsten and Raoul "Cookie" For a job well done at the Region 8 Championships at the NEDA Fall Festival.
Taylor's journey has been fun to be part of. She and Cookie came to The Ashby Stock Farm just a year ago with dreams of creating a trained Prix St. George and qualifying for the Young Rider Championships in the following summer. Sometimes it is good to be naive, taking an event horse that is green 3 rd level and an event rider and turning this pair into a polished dressage pair. I was not as lucky as Taylor, I knew the job was not going to be an easy one! But, hard work and perseverance paid off and a reluctant dressage horse became a willing partner and qualify they did for Young Riders and for the Regional Championships.  
Each show step by step has been a learning process. The Young Rider Championships were a highlight in Taylor and Cookie's show season with two very accurate and well ridden tests. Although they ended up in the middle of the pack Taylor beat some extravagant horse and rider combinations with good scores, and gained alot of confidence in Cookie as he stood up to the atmosphere and pressure.
The Regional Championships brought more nerves. Not only for Taylor but from what I saw all of the Jr's and YR's were a bit on edge. Maybe riding on a team is a confidence builder and then being an individual against your team members nerve racking? I am not sure, but the first day of the Regionals definitely did not bring out the best in everyone! Taylor learned a valuable lesson about timing and partnership. It does not matter how bad you want it, you have to go in the ring with your partner and convince him to want it too. Cookie has matured and instead of telling Taylor to bugger off he just said "not sure what you mean!" This polite behavior kept them in the 60 % and Reserve Champion in the Young Rider Team test. But the lesson needed to be learned. The next day they did not only win the warm up, but they won the Championship as well. And what is one of the best parts of the championship? The judges actually noticed Taylor's good timing and feel and mentioned it on the test! YEA!!! That is a wonderful reward for a long, hard job well done! Congratulations to Taylor Champion 4 th level YR and to Katelyn Kok Reserve Champion.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September in MA means blankets!

 Fall is here in Ashby! PW has no time to say hi as the grass is still abundant in our beautiful paddocks.
 September began with saying see you soon and good bye to some dear friends. first Ariel has had to go back to school and arrives in Florida ahead of us to start her studies. We are happy that it is see you soon! She will travel back to get some riding in over the weekends and we will be happy to see her for the Conrad Schumacher clinic in October.
 Good bye to Ann Friedlander and Sammy and Royal. We will miss you! Two horses that are very dear to my heart and all of us here at Carousel Dressage wish you all the best in your new adventures.
  September means cool mornings, brisk fresh air and bright sunny days. The weather could not be more perfect for riding and my horses feel fit and happy. My two 5 year olds PW and Glorious have come along so well this summer it is such a pleasure to work with them. They could not be more different in type! But, they both bring athletisism and fun to every session I am so lucky to have such great horses! Glorious did his first flying changes last week :) yahoo! and PW well of course she is perfect in everyway, if a bit behind in the excersices she never dissappoints me with her good balance and concentration.
   Noah my buddy is back from Martha's Vineyard and I missed him! He is in great shape and I look forward to getting him into the ring as soon as we are back in Florida. His pirouettes are getting so thru and strong and the relaxation in the changes is coming, slowly slowly but coming!
   Of course I have fun with Sax while Ariel is away and we are gaining relaxation and control of those one tempis! I think she will enjoy his tune up :)
     And I also have time to work on plans for the future! We have committed to a weekend clinic in April "Improve Your Competitive Skills Weekend" April 6-7, 2013 at the Ashby Stock Farm for the jr and yr's of Region 8. I am excited to say that Lois Yukins will be our judge and Dr. Jenny Susser will be in attendance to coach the psychological aspects of competition. This is my new project and in addition to Mr Schumachers clinics I am very excited about it! Please contact me any time if you have questions about the jr/yr project or want to help!
   Dressage! Where Sport meets Art    Enjoy! happy riding :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

      I have not been good at updating my blog this summer and promise to be better in the months to come! We have so many good things happening and I must get better about letting everyone know!
     So excited to hear about the great results in Lamplight at the Young Horse Championships and many congratulations for all that qualified and then competed! Great Job!!!       
    For us this past weekend we had a great Adult Dressage Clinic at The Ashby Stock Farm. The weekend started with everyone arriving and settling their horses Friday afternoon with time in the arena to ride and acclimate the horses to the atmosphere. At 3:30 I did a riding lecture with my little friend Omar. We built on last years riding lecture where we talked about riding in balance. This year we are talking about riding in harmony. I chose to ride Judith Behren's horse Chich Omar.  Omar and I showed how much the horse really wants to be in harmony with his rider. We were able to show how subtle aids can get good reactions when we ride in balance the horse that we can be harmonious with his/her movement. Omar was a great example and I think everyone was inspired to ride "in harmony!" After Omar's talk Taylor and Cookie did a wonderful demonstration about half halts and the fact that they can work thru the whole body of the horse not just "from the bit to the saddle". Taylor also proved that if you get your horse on you aids with half halts movements become very easy. After warming up with only straight lines, half halts and changing the size of the steps Taylor performed her PSG Freestyle for us with beautiful control.
         Saturday was filled with great horse and rider combinations. The lessons went wonderfully and everybody got a feel for how easy it is to get the horse to do what we want when we make sense and ride the movement :) . At lunch time we had a super lunging demo by  Taylor again and Maggie. We did Nancy style lunge lessons showing how our bodies affect our horses, for better or worse! and how having this knowledge will help us to get things done with less pressure and more relaxation.
          Saturday night Linda Powers hosted a nice dinner and everyone was able to digest the information of the day over a glass of wine and lasagna.
        Sundays lessons were equally as rewarding as Saturdays. Maybe even better as everyone had a plan. 
         The Ashby Stock Farm is a beautiful location for such an event and we thank Charlie and Jeanne Parlee for their kind hospitality. The weather could not have been more perfect, and a strong contrast both to last years camp (tropical storm) and what my house is going thru in Florida (tropical storm ).
         So all in all the weekend was a bit exhausting, but for some reason we feel refreshed and excited about the work we did and the positive effects it will have on our wonderful horses.
              Enjoy riding in harmony!  

Friday, August 10, 2012

BearSpot CADI

            The summer has been flying by and it is hard for me to keep up with all of my obligations!
NAJYRC took up alot of my energy and did not dissappoint. A blog about that event is in the works. But today we will talk about Jane Karol and Bear Spots CADI. This year was great! The weather was not threatening, if a little hot, but no rain! The kids were wonderful. Great riding, cheerful, and ready to learn. There were many hurdles jumped as the kids learned how to get along with new horses, perform in front of their peers and work  for their new trainers. It all turned out to be a fantastic experience. A big hats off to Jane and her crew for having the energy and enthusiasm year after year to come up with new ideas and stay on track with what horses have to offer us. I am always grateful to be part of such an event. It is energizing to see the new talent coming up and the past participants and parents helping out!
           Friday night they had several Freestyle demonstrations and this was so much fun! Our own Ariel and Judith Behren's Chic Omar put together a beautiful ride to entertain the kids. Omar has not been out in public for a while due to injury and he was a star. He took it all in stride and beside a small communication breakdown in the 4 tempis they looked as if they had been performing the freestyle together forever.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

 June in Ashby is absolutly beautiful! Last week John was haying. The hill was in different degrees of preparedness, Some grass still standing.... some cut, some in rows, some being baled. John is an artist when it comes to the hay. The hillside is cut into sections so he is able to manage each section cut, dry, baled and into the barn in the most efficient way possible. I am not sure that he realizes what an artist he is!
  Although we had some hot weather, for hte most part the air has been fresh and the horses happy with this. Such a welcome change from Florida.
   My kids are doing great. Glorious has started to feel confident in his big boy movement. We are working everyday only to keep him supple and happy and his stride is growing as well as his muscles! PW is also becoming more confident. Rikke did a fantastic job over the winter just helping her to understand the balance and her job. Thank you! Now she is such a pleasure to work with and her work is maturing. My two five year olds are the high light of my day.
      Ariel and Sax are making good progress.    The show at Westbrook was a big improvement in the Young Rider GP :) After their wonderful demo on saturday in the Dancing Our Way to the Podium demonstration, Sax still had some energy left for his test! We still have some work to do on putting the whole test together, but it is so great for Ariel to have such a wonderful horse to learn on.
      Taylor and Cookie made some major progress in the ridability of the Young Rider tests over the weekend. Cookie is looking relaxed and attentive and Taylor is articulating the test with alot more precision then a short time ago. It is a fun journey to be part of and Taylor is fine tuning her skills everyday and shows alot of promise as a competitor and a trainer.
       Ann Friedlander's Royal also joined us at westbrook for his first outing since we purchased him a little more then a year ago. He has a wonderful demeaner and was well received by the judge receiving 71% ! Several 8's and a 9 helped him to win his class!
        So many other things going on....... I have been asked to help sunday in the Emerging Athletes program at Bear Spot Farm, then off the Germany to watch in Aachen :) YEA! Thanks Maggie!, back in time for Lendon's D4K show in Saugherties, off to Kentucky with Taylor for Young Riders and then back for the CADI at Bear Spot in the beginning of August. There are so many great things going on for the kids in New England, IT IS JUST FANTASTIC!
             Looking forward to a summer filled with great riding and good horses! I wish this for you as well :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Horses we need them as much as they need us.......

                                         Rest In Peace Seth   April 19, 1988 - May 17, 2012

  Last week while I was riding my horses I was mulling over in my head the next blog installment. My two 5 year old are really going fantastic. My girls are starting to learn to half halt............blah blah blah. I sat down to start writing this ingenious entry last thursday when I was delivered some very sad and disturbing news. One of our family, Taylor's boyfriend Seth was shot and killed by a policeman on his own property in Florida, last wednesday night. A terrible shock. And what do we do now? The thing is, that when you have horses they need you. And that is a wonderful thing when all you want to do is nothing............... The passion and peacefullness,  our love for horses keeps us on track when the world goes crazy. Seth was very supportive of Taylor's riding. He was an animal lover and appreciated Taylor's dedication to her riding dream. Knowing that Seth would not want Taylor to quit gave us all the strength to keep going, even thru Taylor's horse show in Connecticut over the weekend. Where she was able to complete her qualifications for the YR Championships in Kentucky with her new freestyle! Ariel was able to be a great support to Taylor while trying to keep her focus and show Sax in their first YR Grand Prix :)
    There will be a Memorial Service for Seth in Florida Sunday May 27.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

   Participants in our May 4-6, 2012 clinic at the Ashby Stock Farm with Mr Schumacher!

 A couple of photos from our trip :)

Back in Ashby

    We travelled back to Ashby a week ago last sunday. 14 horses, 3 trucks and alot of equipment. The trip went smoothly. Ralph from Meadowbrook Transport helped us to bring the horses up North. He is a great asset to the team when we have to make such a move. As usual we stopped in Parkton, NC just outside of Fayetteville at NSE Stables. This is the best layover EVER. The stalls are big, always clean and they take such great care of us.
    Monday we unpacked the stable and walked all of the tired horses. They all made the trip in great shape, no temperatures, everyone eating and drinking could not ask for more! Tuesday Matt and I started moving the house ..... and the upcoming clinic needed some attention. Wednesday the riding began and thursday we already had people arriving for our clinic. The barn looked great when we arrived thanks to John, Elyse, Jeanne and Charlie.
      The clinic with Mr Schumacher went great. Mr Schumacher as always took time to explain the important basics and timing of good training. Everyone worked hard and the horses and riders looked great! Friday was for the adults. The theme was timing. Timing for the aids of the flying changes, timing for the right time to ask and the right time to give, and time to feel. My lesson was great. I rode Noah. The andalusian gelding I have in training owned by Gail Gibbs. When Mr Schumacher was helping us in Florida we were working with Noah on the engagement of the inside hind leg in the pirouettes and his lateral suppleness for half passes. The pirouettes were soooooo much better this time around I was really happy. Noah stayed so much more infront of me and the control in the turn is really starting to be available. We did some new exercises for the lateral suppleness in the half pass and this became so much better, and Noah was accepting of the legs in a much more grown up fashion. It was sooooo fun!
         The weekend was for the kids, and this was great for me to watch. Mr Schumacher was a bit more strict with the young girls then he was with the older students of the day before. But, it was great to see them all step up to the plate and really get what he was looking for. The use of the aids was a common theme. Body control, knowing when you are using your aids and when your horse has given, and waiting if he has not. Over and over again he stressed that we must not creat unhealthy pressure in the horses. When the neck is blocked and the horse does not move thru the back it is impossible for the horses to be in front of us.  I always learn so much about teaching when I watch him deal with each individual situation. The progress was fantastic and I am so excited for these up and coming riders. They have great horses and ponies and a super support group to help them excel in this sport.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fabulous Florida!

Last night we watched the Nations Cup Freestyles at Global, such a beautiful night. Fun horses great atmosphere. We are definitly spoiled here in Wellington! I cannot wait to get back in the ring and ride at this level. It was the first time in a long time I really wanted to be riding. So I guess that is a good thing!
Horses at home are doing great. Ann was first in her first first level test with 74% at Jim Brandon's Gold Coast Finale. AWESOME! Sammy is a master in the show ring and all of Ann's hard work paid off and came together for a beautiful ride. We are so proud of her.
Last week we were back at White Fences. Ariel won the Inter 1 with Sax 68%. A great outing especially since they had not been in the ring since August! Sax is not getting older he is just getting better! And stayed tuned for our "Sax goes" series coming soon!
Noah did his first PSG and we had sooooo much fun! We had a couple of boo boo's and he felt a bit surprised to be doing all of the hardest things he knows one after the other in the show ring, but he got 64% and we are very proud!
Debby also showed for the first time this winter and did great! Two blue ribbons with Lucky Charm, 62% and 67%. She was so good, and looks like a definite FEI horse in the making!
So that is the last weekend of showing in Florida. Now we are under the gun to get packed up and home, unpacked and organised for our clinic with Mr Schumacher May 4-6 in Ashby. I am very excited to be hosting Mr Schumacher at the beginning of the show season in New England. So far we have alot of interest and really looking forward to having a great group of riders and auditors and soaking up Mr Schumacher's fantastic sysytem.
I am so lucky ! :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

April Begins

Not sure how we came to the end of March so quickly. Good thing I am getting older and taking things step by step. I can look back on the whirlwind of the winter and see that all of our horses and riders have made so much progress.
The horse shows have been very succesful for those who have participated. Taylor has taken Cookie from an event horse to a jr horse and now into young riders ranks all in one amazing year. Not an easy job :) Well done. Roxanne has become relaxed (for the most part!) and fluent in her 3 rd level tests. Such a fun horse to compete and thank you Casey and Scott for that opportunity.
Noah my man has been a bit up and down about his desire to show himself off. Never a dull moment but always a test filled with character :) Time to move on to Prix St George he tells me, 4 th level is for babies.
But, some hard working horses and ladies have made progress out of the show ring and that is also very rewarding to watch.
Ariel and Sax are moving fluently thru the grand prix work and preparing for the young rider Grand Prix and how awesome is that! Evita is learning patience and Ariel learning to be a trainer not just a passenger. Very fun to sit on the side lines and witness the subtle changes and growth.
Judith has stepped up to the plate in our new competitive atmosphere and Omar has been working his shiny hiney off, not sure if that always makes him happy, but it makes me happy to see them coming together as a team!
Ann has finally come to grips with 1 st level test one and will tackle it for real at the show grounds in two weeks! Looking forward to them getting into the ring after all of the hard work and preparation over the past months. Royal is also really coming along and starting to understand a bit about connection and hind legs. Could we find a more willing horse, I do not think there are many like him made and we are so lucky to have him!
Nancy and Windy joined us late in the season, but are in a hurry to catch up! Windy is changing shape before our eyes and Nancy, an excellent student does not let one lesson go by without holding onto some important information.
Our Peruvian connection is also a work in progress, but daily progress is fantastic to see. Fox and Maggie have made the adjustment to Florida life and Fox is prospering! They are working in a new balance that is so nice to see and Fox working harder then Maggie is an excellent change!
Today we say good bye to Gille and Donna, but see you soon when you come to visit us in Ashby!! Donna is doing a great job with Gille, also getting her to work in a peaceful way. Her balance improved since last year sooooo much and the lesson program starting to be Donna's choice, that is nice!
Zee had her one year anniversary with us last week and Barbara has done so well with her thru the year. What a perfect pair. They are elegant together. Zee is moving into collection and Barbara is learning to be patient training a young horse and not have one ready made! Such a fun process.
Rikke has been fantastic with PW and she even had her first outing in March at Jim Brandon schooling show. PW feeling a bit intimidated in the big indoor but with Rikke support did not put one foot wrong, so nice to see. And Rikke newest project Elena has come along so far from nervous nelly to 3 rd level star in such a short time!
There is no place like Florida in the winter, the shows are great, the clinic opportunities so fantastic and the people who all share our passion!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome Back to White Fences

So another successful show for Carousel Dressage Horses! Once again Adam created a wonderful show! Thank you! The footing is great! A panel of super judges and organised staff kept everything running smoothly.
Taylor did an awesome job on her debut into the Young Rider ranks! She and Cookie have now posted their first qualifying scores on the board 67% and 65%. A great way to start, no one would have ever known it was her first time in the Prix St Georges. Congratulations :)
Roxanne was a star once again! Thank you Casey and Scott for the opportunity to take your beautiful, inspiring mare into the show ring. We were second the first day with 68% and won the second day with 71% which could have been a squeek higher except for a pilot error!
My Noah played with me in the ring. Some very good things and scored 64% in both tests, but we can do much better when we are both on the same page! He brings so much character to the game! Thank you Gail for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to get into the show ring with your special horse.
Thank you so much to our fantastic team for presenting the horses in the ring so beautifully and for keeping things running smoothly at the stable so that the horses that are not showing still get all the attention and lessons they need. Ariel our master coordinator and braiding artist and Andrea for her cheerleading ! THANK YOU everyone for a fantastic weekend!

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Your Choice

A smart man said: Action alone brings potential into reality. Dreams, thoughts, good intentions, commitment, courage, love remain good concepts however only action brings them into being. To turn ideas into action requires intention, commitment, movement of energy and courage because to act is to take a risk. We only grow stronger from our own action - we have to be proactive to determine our growth. Being reactive is fear based defensiveness. Being proactive is having the courage to commit to change. Act or be acted upon - it's your choice

Monday, March 12, 2012

Congratulations Roxanne

The Florida season is going by so quickly. The farm is full and horses are fantastic. Roxanne (owned by Casey and Scott Satriano) has had ywo successful outings this winter at White Fences and Wellington Classic Dressage. Moving up to 3 rd level and winning 3 out of 4 of her classes with scores 68% - 69% . She is such a pleasure to show. I am grateful to Scott and Casey and Andrea! for making it all possable.
Mr Schumacher's clinics in February were fantastic. The results are still tangible. I am so excited to be putting together a clinic in Ashby in May! This is going to be alot of work, I am feeling it already, but I think it will be inspiring for all of region 8.
We are happy to have Donna Armata and Gille back in the barn. This year they joined us late in the season. Welcome back! It is such a pleasure to work with Donna and Gille has improved since last year far more then I could have expected!
We say good by today to Honolulu and congratulations to Jessie Rizzi who has purchased her for a brood mare. Good luck Jessie !
Tomorrow we say good bye to Bandit. Congratulations to Cynthia Makishima who is the new lucky owner of this wonderful 6 year old dutch gelding.
So much fun to have so many nice shows with such good footing and organization such a short distance from our farm! Next week we have a schooling show at Jim Brandon, then the following week White Fences and then Equestrian Estates. Busy, but good!! Good luck everyone!

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Moto this year!!!

A man grows most tired while standing still. ~Chinese Proverb~ :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012


The season is flying by! But the horses are amazing in their improvement. February was a fantastic month with a strong presence from our best friend and trainer Mr Schumacher. His advice and encouragement has kept us on track and our horses are stronger and happier for his great advise.
Taylor and Ariel looked fantastic in their clinic lessons. I am so proud to see them answer his questions so well and work their horses in such a positive and thoughtful way. So many people in this era have no time for training and what the horses need. I am so happy to be surrounded by clients and working students that are driven by the same fuel that drives me. Success yes, but from the right training. The horses come first, especially if we are in it for the long haul.
Roxanne did wonderful in the White Fences Show last weekend. She won both of her classes with 68% but better then that she was so confident and relaxed. So much fun! We are on again this coming weekend at Jim Brandon.
Equestrian Estates held the Palm Beach Derby over this weekend and what a fantastic job they did. The show grounds just looks fantastic and everything ran so nicely. Congratulations to Rikke who did great with her latest project in 3 rd level, 3 rd with 66 + and 2 nd the next day with 68 SUPER job!
Presently working on a great article about Mr Schumacher and his super training technique. Back to work!

Monday, February 20, 2012

From Denny Emerson

This is a fun blog from Denny Emerson, enjoy :)
New Blog Post It Only “Matters” if it Matters To You by Denny Emerson Like many of us, I get to see lots of horse magazines and books, and usually their primary emphasis is upon the higher levels of whatever horse sport they promote. I see photos of the same relatively few riders over and over, and get to read abo...ut the bigger competitions. There`s nothing at all unusual about this scenario. I don`t expect to get a local newspaper and read primarily about the local high school or Little League results. In Vermont it`s all about the Boston Red Sox, or the Patriots, or the Celtics, and it`s been that way "forever." In broad based participatory sports, though, this emphasis on the upper levels can easily lead to the perception that competitions at lower levels are somehow inherently less "worthy" than those that are more difficult. If going beginner novice in eventing is an entry level, then, according to this line of reasoning, it`s better to go novice, better still to ride at the training level, and transcendently better to ride at the Rolex Three Day Event. It`s harder, that`s for sure, to ride at the upper levels, but "better" is a most subjective word. I was aware of this subjectivity when I write "How Good Riders Get Good", because a good rider is simply a good rider, no more, no less. The intrinsic worth of that person is tied up in her ability to ride well ONLY if she is judged according to that narrow standard. If it matters strongly to someone to be a good rider, then it matters. If it doesn`t matter, then it doesn`t matter. Years ago, I read an article about a couple of riding instructors who were talking negatively about a not very fit, not very expert rider who they both found difficult to teach. They made the usual comments. You can well imagine those, I`m sure. A couple of days later, the young son of one of the trainers was riding his bike and was struck by a car, and it was that not so great rider, in her other role as a doctor, who saved that child`s life. Does it "matter" how good a rider someone is, in the greater scheme? Only if it matters to that individual. Apart from that, enjoy the level where you find fulfillment. And if you want to get to a higher level, by all means, struggle along, but don`t feel that anyone cares very strongly, one way or the other, except, as that old saying goes, "you and your mother."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Conrad Schumacher :)

Over the past weekend we were very inspired by a fantastic teacher. Mr Schumacher has such a talent for getting to the essence of the training in a logical and systematic way. To put a horse and rider combination into balance and harmony like no other clinician I have ever seen. Many trainers can get on and get the message thru to the horse and then we get on and get the feeling. But, with his patience and determination he can give us the tools to get the feeling on our own. He is truly dedicated to educating the riders and trainers in a way that promotes humane handling of the horses in addition to positive competitive training. It is a breath of fresh air and I feel so privileged to be part of his clinic tour.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Slowly Slowly

It is so much fun when you train horses that are interested in working and engage in the game. I am so grateful to have a barn full of wonderful horses that enjoy learning. Glorious is just coming along so well I am thrilled. He is so much fun to work with. An interested dance partner. With relaxation he is finally letting go in his back and swinging thru his body, his movement is growing everyday. These subtle changes are so fun to witness, and again I become delighted that I am finally getting educated enough to notice them.
I do have to say though that Barbara's horse Zonnestraal gets the most improved award this month. She is learning to use her back and haunches in a way she never thought possible. And she is so happy now and fun to ride! Barbara is back and they are such a perfect pair just beautiful to watch.
Ann and Sammy did the most exquisit extended trot today together. Absolutly amazing. Ann's girlfriends taking photos, so with any luck we got some proof of how far Sammy can still throw his legs :)
Looking forward to the Trainers Conference with Christoph Hess this weekend ! How lucky are we that he will be here in Florida to teach us, and how lucky am I to ride in it. Thank you Lendon!
As they say Make Haste, is so much fun when you have time to train the horses properly without pressure and outside influences pushing for goals that are unhealthy :) I am so lucky !

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! 2012

The first day of the New Year 2012 and as everyone wishes us Happy New Year it is also time to reflect on the past year, and all that we have to be grateful for.
2011 was fantastic in so many ways. I have so much to be thankful for. My wonderful supportive husband. Matt not only tolerates being married to a "horse girl" but embraces it and pushes me to go after my dream everyday. How did I get so lucky? My family and friends, my fantastic customers, who are more like extended family. The opportunity to ride horses everyday. There is nothing I would rather be doing. Again I have to did I get so lucky?
Two most important things that happened for me in 2011 were the meeting of Jeanne and Charlie Parlee of Ashby Stock Farm. They have provided us with a fantastic summer facility and our 2011 summer was so enjoyable and productive due to their generous hospitality. And, our fantastic Symposium with Conrad Schumacher "Learn the System and Teach with Skill" . The symposium we put together with Bill Warren, Bill McMullin and Dry Water Farm was a huge success and a highlight for me. The response to the content of the symposium was so positive that it inspires us to put something together again in the next year. Although a huge undertaking I cannot be anything but energized by the way people embraced Mr Schumachers teaching.
My resolutions for the coming year: to continue with determination to become a more educated rider and teacher. Although I feel great success with my horses and my business even in the struggling economy, another resolution is to run my business with as much attention as I give to my horses care :) . This will make it possible for me to keep living this dream.
Happy New Year! Good luck and may you have a year filled with health, success and love.