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, January 7, 2013

Day to Day

 Cannot believe that the time has gone by so fast. The first couple of shows at Jim Brandon and White Fences, horses arriving from the cold, Christmas and New Years!
        January is a very full month for us in Wellington, the list of activities is overwhelming! I feel sooooo lucky to have our beautiful, relaxed farm for our fantastic horses. When we venture out into the busy world and experience all that wellington has to offer it is so nice to come home to 999 B road, peace and quiet, a great place for the horses too train and live.
         The shows have started out mostly good! Ariel is finding peace with Sax in the Inter 1. This is great and will be the foundation she needs for the next step :) P and P in the ring, relaxed. Zee was a star at 3 rd level. Very proud of her and impressed by how far she has come in her self carriage and understanding. The flying changes are becoming easier and easier, now it is just a matter of whose idea is it......! Barbara arrived this week and I look forward to putting them together as a team. They look so beautiful together and Zee although young has such a great work ethic I am excited to see the future of this team. Noah started with his Prix St Georges at Jim Brandon in November and he was great! Then I got the bad idea to find him a new saddle, which he clearly told me during White Fences did not fit!! Oooops, bad timing Nancy. Anyway beside his small hoof abcess that caused him to take a short vacation he is back in top form and we are looking forward to our next outing to redeem ourselves.
           PW has been growing (okay time to stop now!) and when we are home starts to look mature, but wen we take her out in public she is still looking like a baby next to the other horses! She has done her first couple of REAL shows and was great! Thank you Rikke for giving her such great experiences :) PW scored 76, 75 and 74 % in her first 3 classes. So proud.
           Chanett was able to show one of our sale horses over the weekend 4 th level and that went great! Congratulations to Chanett and Palermo for 65% in their first outing together and Palermo's first outing in some time I am sure. They looked great!
          Roxanne is back and I am so happy to be riding her again! Some finishing touches and we will soon be out there at 4 th level and Prix St Georges I am sure by the end of the season.
            Dhoppler our new toy is making some great progress and he is such a joy to work with everyday! Dhoppler is 9 year old Don Federico gelding that we purchased this fall as a sales project. He is a big baby. Loves to be loved on but is very serious about his work! He is learning his tempi changes and pirouettes with style. We took him to the show over the weekend for his first outing and he was great! Perhaps I will be able to get him into the ring before someone snaps him up!
           Welcome back Ingrid, Barbara and Jeanette! And first time welcome to Nicole, the first of many training visits we hope!
          Also have to say congratulations to Lendon and Robert for what sounds to have been a fantastic week for the Horsemastership program :)
         And! Looking forward to Mr Schumcher arriving in the end of January and some days to ride with him in February as well. Cannot wait.
        I am so happy to have such a great teacher who (finally) got through to me with his fantastic horse training philosophies and technique. Our barn is full of happy athletes and so much of it is because of Mr Schumacher and Ellen Bontje. Everyday I think of how confusing it is to make your way thru the maze of training techniques and ideas. It is so easy for me to look away now and say, that is not for me ! I know what I want and I am excited that Mr Schumacher is willing to dedicate himself to helping me achieve my goals. Without a dedicated training partner nothing is possible. Now the Alexis is 21 this year! Better get a move on training the next superstar :)
      Happy Riding !