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, February 11, 2013

Trainers Conference 2013

  I cannot get away without saying something about this years USDF Trainers Conference.
          Steffen was fantastic. And thank you USDF for choosing an awesome, articulate, well educated American citizen to help us learn our sport. Steffen knows where the American dressage trainers are coming from. He works with us everyday. His delivery of the information was concise and never confusing. Scotts comments were uplifting and genuine.
           Overall my favorite part of the entire weekend was the regard for the horses. Again these experts explained the importance of simplifying rather then pushing harder. Working with the horses instead of against them. Of course sometimes this is easier said then done. However, that is what Steffen is so good at. Okay so he does not what? Always an answer, always clear, uncomplicated and fair. I loved it!
            Thank you to everyone who put together this great learning opportunity for us. This includes not only Steffen, Scott, The McPhail's, and USDF but also the great riders who put themselves out there for us to learn from.
                   THANK YOU!

" Engage the brain first, even before the hindleg, teach the horse to offer"   Steffen Peters

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