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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


        Going to Kentucky was so much fun! It was a great time to spend together with my husband. I had not driven through Tennessee before and the country was beautiful! The horses were so perfect in everyway and I am so lucky to have my parents, Scott and Casey Satriano (the owners of Roxanne),  and my amazing husband to support me in such an adventure. I have not done a competition like this in many years........... so one starts to wonder if you still have the energy and enthusiasm to make it all happen.
     When we start in the beginning it was a long road getting to Kentucky, however, it is also just the beginning of many awesome things to come. Glorious my adorable now 7 year old Dutch horse  has been sick for a lot of his young life. He catches up in the training because he is such a good boy, but he missed out on a lot of the show experience. I am so grateful to Dr. Brett Gaby, Dr. Belden, Dr. Bill Yerkes and Dr. Belgrave, along with my completely wonderful blacksmith Kevin Strain for putting Glorious back together and he is in the best shape ever. Taking him to Kentucky was fun, and if I had not been "going for the gold" in the extended canter his points would have been much better!! Next time I will remember his experience level and help him out a bit more. It is like I tell the kids "sometimes you ask for more....and you get less" . Yes I could have been more thoughtful in the extended canter! but, still it was so fun to have him there and I know we will be there again next year with more horse showing under our belt.

The weather was pretty cold! A bit early for Kentucky and we were all in a bit of shock. The show management did a great job of keeping everything running smoothly. It was also fun to get saddle pads and hats with the Region 8 logo on them, thanks to Debra Reinhardt, Regina Cristo and everyone else that was involved in getting those organized.
Roxanne has had a bumpy road the last couple of years too, being able to have her qualify for Kentucky was a super achievement. She has some stress in the show atmosphere but through the summer we have really been getting her through this and slowly we are able to show off and not be nervous. Well she passed all of the tests in Kentucky, well almost all of them :) We were able to negotiate our way around the show grounds on foot and in the saddle in the snow and wind, sun and wind and wind and wind. She was so perfect and trying hard to keep her cool even when other horses were loosing it. When we schooled around the arena she was great, other horses so lost and she was with me and focused and I was so happy. Sadly when I took her in the arena for her test the speaker exploded and I lost her. I did not loose her for that long, but long enough to take too much time to enter. We were eliminated :( but, she did come back to me 15 seconds too late and we did go through the whole test, albeit in the schooling area, but not ruffled or upset. I am happy that she was able to have the experience of being scared and then coming back to me, she came back 100% and did not have to be muscled or manipulated into listening. It was just too long from scared to back with me..... We will keep working on the time it takes to come back from noise fear. But I was so proud of her because in another time she would not have come back at all, so we are getting there, practice practice, practice!

       I know there are a lot of great riders that have had the wrong thing happen at a very important time. We have all felt so sad to watch top riders in the Olympics and World Championships have these experiences. The emotions that it takes to get to a show like that and then everything going wrong, oh it just makes you so sad for them. But, what is great is that my horses do not know anything about it. I love them, they are so wonderful to put up with all of that travelling and no turn out and washing and braiding and riding. I am old enough finally that even though I had the wind taken out of my sails for a minute the horses came home like champions after an experience of a lifetime and hopefully something that will lay the ground work for a more successful go next year!
       One of my favorite things about Kentucky was all the nice people there. It was great to catch up with old friends that I have not seen in a while. It was also amazing to see so many new faces. If you have the chance to go to Kentucky for the US Finals as a competitor, owner or just as a spectator GO, it is so much fun!!
                 Happy riding :)