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, October 23, 2014

on our way to florida

What a whirlwind October has been. Mr. Schumacher was at the Ashby Stock Farm for three days at the begining of the month. The lessons were inspiring as always. This time I had a chance to ride Roxanne and Glorious in the clinic. They were both great! Glorious I had not had a lesson on from anyone in two years :( because of his health. Mr. Schumacher was very pleased with his progress and helped me a lot with a good plan for him. Mr. Schumacher has so many creative exercises that help with suppleness and strength. I loved his work with Glorious and the results are ongoing. With Roxanne we worked on balance and strength building half halts. The work with Roxanne reminded me about my own quietness and really has made a big difference in our everyday. I am super psyched about taking both horses to The Usdf Dressage Finals in November :) I also have to say it is wonderful to see the progress of everyone who joins in our clinics. I learn a lot from watching all of the lessons and appreciate everyones open attitude about learning a super training system.
     Last weekend we had a fantastic training with Tristan Tucker. I am so energized after spending the weekend with him working horses. He is an amazing horseman and tireless! So I have a lot to learn about his techniques but PW got a gold star for her improvement since june , we have been calmly practicing and we have lots of new homework. I am so lucky to have met these two extra special trainers and so wonderful that they make time for me so I can continue to learn.
    Now we are driving to Florida. My horses are so sweet.  Yesterday while we are are packing they all know what's coming. Used to be so anxious, now they are relaxed and happy and practically load themselves. They are tired now it is getting late, so amazing how good they are to put up with all this.
    It is also at times like this where you realize what a great team we have. Thank you must be said to  my husband Matt for putting his life on hold and driving me to Florida. Also there will undoubtedly be lots to fix and he is amazing how he can fix anything. Darwin and Lic are also fantastic at preparing everything and everyone for the trip. Of course I cannot do any of this without my mom and Dad who continue to support me while I try to figure this all out.
      It is also with a bit of sadness that we leave our masachusetts family. My friends and students that stay behind will be missed. That is the bad part about following the sun. Charlie and Jeanne are so generous over the summer. The Ashby stock farm is such a super farm to train out of and we have a growing group of students whose progress is tangible this year :) I hope for everyone a mild winter and good riding.
All the best and ride well

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