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 26, 2017

Winter in Ashby

 Here I am spending my first winter in New England in a long time. So far it is going great! The facility we have to work in makes all the difference. Once we are inside we do not even know what is going on outside. I am also really (surprisingly) enjoying the seasons. I am having fun feeding the winter birds and have organized a heated bird bath for them! I have started growing Glorious's barley inside and that is fun. I think he appreciates it even more with the lack of grass.
 The horses are going well. Glorious continues to be a pleasure to train, always eager to work and play. We have a challenge to keep things entertaining when we are in the indoor every day, but it is a good challenge to have and keeps my imagination alive. I have learned to be more relaxed about the week schedule and make sure to get outside when ever the weather permits, even if it was not the original plan.
    We have added Tai Chi classes to our work week. Although I do not practice enough daily I have been having two classes a week and it has added a new dimension to my day. I have experience with Tai Chi and yoga from some years ago, but I had put it away for a while. Starting up again has made a huge difference in my balance and mindset.
     It is wonderful to hear about how everyone is doing in Florida. I miss our farm, friends and the sport. However, I am so content to be here and working quietly everyday with this nice group of horses and people. I am lucky to have a super horse for sale "Bastian" who is a pleasure to ride every day. I am jealous of the person that buys that guy as he is a super friend and partner as well as being athletic and beautiful to watch.
    Brittany and I are busy making plans for our clinic schedule. We have a new children's camp that will   take place March 10-12, 2017. We excited to host the kids again. I believe that helping the kids to create a great partnership with their horses early on, teaching them about proper fundamentals and mindset will help them to be successful in their riding lives, but also happier and more productive in life altogether. We will also host our second Summer Dressage Camp at the end of June this year.
    For the adults we plan a weekend in April, July and August this year. As well we look to host Tristan Tucker at the end of July. We are confirming these dates in the next week or so and then they will be up on the website.
       I thought I would be home twiddling my thumbs all winter, not so! The horses are keeping me super busy as well as putting together work books and plans for the upcoming clinics. Please check back to see our clinic schedule and please contact me at to schedule a clinic, lessons or training.
               Ride well !


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