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, 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.

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