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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rainy day in Florida!

Everyone says its good to be busy..........especially when you are doing something you love :)
However the horses are consuming every waking hour and I do love it, but hard to manage the office side of life!
So here we are on a dreadful rainy day in Florida. My lessons with Conrad Schumacher postponed and my horses relegated to walking the driveway in the rain!
But I get to catch up in the office, something that is not much fun, but necessary to having your own business.
Florida is the best place to be in January! We have had so many great learning opportunities and I also get to see many friends and colleagues from all over the world, here in my own town. Mr Schumacher is here for three weeks, so that is an inspiration, to watch his lessons and to get help with my own horses. Rein Van der Schaft has been here training as well and he has been a wonderful help and exciting to train with. We also went to watch Kyra for  day at Jim Brandon doing a symposium. Super super trainer and teacher.
Quadrille practice has started! We are preparing for March 7 Breast Cancer benefit that will be held at The International Polo Club.
 The shows are great. Nicole Nunez was here for two weeks from Venezuela for an intense dressage study course. She was able to show at the beautiful Global Dressage Grounds and rub elbows with the best in the warm up ring (literally :) What a fantastic experience for a junior rider and what a wonderful job she did on her tests, the first time competing at first level and everyday a better score on a brand new horse!!
Dhoppler competed in his first Prix St. Georges with no mistakes! And Noah also back in the ring at Prix St.Georges was a pleasure to show and I am looking forward to the end of the month when we will be competing again. In the meantime Noah and Dhoppler are perfecting their pirouettes and learning the relaxed way of doing piaffe and passage and the not yet relaxed way of doing one tempi's!
Andrea McCauley has moved in with her herd from New York and it is so much fun to have her sharing the farm. The environment for the horses is wonderful and a wonderful group of riders make everyday a pleasure.
Jenny Goad is here helping out and we are training her wonderful 4 year old mare Virtu. Monday we took Virtu and Pnut on a field trip and they were awesome. Virtu is green but handled the new environment very well and it is great to see how much they trust each other. Chanett was so great with Pnut for his first ride off the farm, we are very lucky that Chanett is helping us bring him along. Thank you to Adam Pollack for his generosity in letting us school at the beautiful White Fences Equestrian Center.
Rosie has arrived from New York and Ariella will be joining us for the weekends to start to prepare for the NAJYRC qualifying competitions. Very exciting and a joy to work with.
Linda Powers is also her in Florida for the first time and we are putting her Hanoverian gelding Sam back to work after an injury. In the meantime though Linda has been helping me leg up Alexis for the Challenge, that is a hard job! Alexis is still feeling great at 22!
My super star Judith has been doing fantastic with Omar and what fun to see them progressing every day. Omar does not know what happened to him, but life is not the same since Judith decided to get serious about this dressage stuff and Omar has to really get his butt in gear!
Jeanette is here from Canada and brings us tails everyday of our poor friends in the North. A worse winter I do not think we have ever seen........and Figo is also working hard with a very determined Jeanette, poor boys, they thought Florida was for vacation!
The lessons are all so much fun. I am so lucky to be able to work with this fantastic group of horses and riders.
My own horses are doing great and we will write more soon, I promise!
                    Happy Riding!!