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 !

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