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, 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.