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.

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.