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, August 30, 2013

Mr Schumacher

This is the nice letter Mr. Schumacher wrote for me last May when he came to teach our Jr/YR clinic at the Ashby Stock Farm.
          To Nancy,
              It is so nice for me to be in your home,
              Therefore for you a little poem.
                You certainly deserve a special toast,
               Because you are a wonderful host.
            First of all I have to say
            Region 8 is the most exciting in the USA
            And for me it is so much joy
           That the coordinator is Nancy Lavoie!
          You believe in education, your expectation is smart,
             Everybody shall ride in the classical art!
           You want confident riders who go for it,
              And happy horses, well on the bit.
            You trust my system along the way
               This is the reason why I am here today
             Conducting this clinic triggers reflexion
            Thank you Nancy with much affection :)

                      I am so lucky to have such a wonderful mentor and we look forward to our clinics in October.
               THANK YOU MR. SCHUMACHER!


Adult Camp

     Last weekend we had our third annual adult camp. This years campers were a fantastic group of ladies with varying degrees of ambition and education but one common goal, how can I get along better with my horse? Everyone was open and forthright with their worries, limitations and problems. Everyone was receptive to the tools we were able to provide and all of the horses made huge strides forward in a short weekend.
      One of my goals as an instructor is to create thinking and feeling riders. I would like to give you the tools you need to problem solve and succeed even when I am not present. As a rider you need to be open to suggestion in order for this type of training to work. It is so delightful to spend a weekend with a group of ladies such as the group we had at the Ashby Stock farm last weekend. Everyone supported each other and we were able to work together as a team to make improvements and gain awareness. There was only relaxation and learning.
     I teach a lot. One of the hardest things about teaching is just getting the student to relax enough to hear what I am saying. What makes students tense? The worry of what their horse may do, especially in a new place. The worry of what their peers may thing when they make a mistake or do not do well enough. Disappointment in themselves and their horses. So when you have ten ladies that allow all of those fears to disappear in the safety of the indoor arena at The Ashby Stock Farm anything is possible.
      The theme of the weekend was balance. For me this took on three different meanings: balance in your daily riding routine, the balance of your horse and independent balance between the horse and rider. No matter who was riding we could solve all of our problems thru the fantastic concept of balance.
        Jennifer Waurinen, Susan Raineville, Patrice Lagrant, Tamison Rose, Martha Goodwine, Karen Chevalier, Liz Shepard, Deb Brewer, Marlene Berghout and Wendy Terebesi  were our participants. The camp would not have been possible if not for the help I received from Matt Lavoie, Ariel Matisse, Linda Powers, Lynn Simonson and Gayle Price. Thank you everyone for such an inspiring weekend and happy riding!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Words of Wisdom from Lendon

 Just home from Centerline Events at Hits. What an absolutely perfect weekend weather, horses and good friends, who could ask for more?
   Glorious had his first big boy horse show and he was just so good it makes me cry. He looked around at this new world on Thursday with big eyes, but he said if you think it is safe then I am with you. Friday I had one of the most fun tests of my life. He was such a blast attacking every movement with determination and confidence, I felt like I did not even need to be there, he was so good!
    Dhoppler did two very very correct and relaxed tests and he has grown up so much since our last time out at Hits. No mistakes, no taking over, just very attentive and trying his best. So much fun!
        So here I am in my office and I came across a little project I had wanted to do a while back, and of course did not have time for.
         Here it is:
                  Who has time to read the show program? Not many people, so I just wanted to post part of Lendon's letter from Dressage 4 Kids show program. I think it is great advice we all need to hear now and then. Thank you Lendon.
                  " Let each one of us do everything we can to make this a great few days for everyone. Take a moment now and think about what needs to happen for you to have fun, and then you take responsibility to make it happen for those around you. This might involve helping a fellow competitor or a volunteer with their work, thanking as many people as you can, cheering up someone having a tough day, helping your child learn how to lose graciously, seeing a problem and coming forth to try to solve it. I hope everyone will say as they drive out the gate on Sunday, "Wow, that was a fun three days."
                   Remember riders, you have already proven that you are a winner just by qualifying to compete. For those who take home medals, my heartiest congratulations. For those who maybe don't have their best days of competition, hey, that happens to all of us. I hope you have fun anyway. I had some really disastrous competitions in my day but still made two Olympic teams. The one dressage test sheet I have kept from all my years competing is the one where I got 38%! There are lots of ways to win; Overcome a difficulty, be a super sport, have your horse stand still in the halt for the first time, do your first test ever in the pouring rain, keep smiling even though you just had the worst test of your life.
              My hope is that each of you goes home with a new friend, a new technique for riding, and wonderful memories."
                 Happy Riding :)