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.

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.

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