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, February 6, 2018


      I am constantly surprised by the speed at which time goes by these days.
        Brittany and I are in Florida and enjoying Half Pass Heaven Farm and some beautiful weather.
      The horses all acclimated well and are progressing in their training. We have eight horses in our care presently and it is a perfect work load for challenge and success. The horses are getting fantastic individualized care  through the great work of Paul and Brittany. They are all working hard, happy and participating in their learning which makes it all more fun.
          Glorious was able to show in the first show at Global and he was great. I am so proud of his confidence after not showing in quite some time, last June actually! He was second in the Prix St Georges with 67%. I have had some issues with his stamina, which we are investigating and until I get that resolved I will not take him out again, however, my goal is by the end of the month. We did the Prix St Georges a couple of weeks ago and I think the Inter 1 is well within reach. He is also gaining in his understanding of the piaffe and passage and one tempis are coming along!
          My beautiful PW stayed in Rhode Island and is working for Lynn Phipps at the Beachwood Center for Wellbeing. She is so personable and in tuned with people that I have no doubt she will be instrumental in changing some lives for the better.
           Pnut has landed in the capable hands of Olivia Suker and is participating in Lendons WIT program here in Wellington. I am so proud of both of them and happy for Olivia with all of the progress she is making with her riding.
              Brittany and Ravi are progressing well. Ravi had his eyes opened wide coming here to Florida. He was a trooper on the long trip and settled into his new lifestyle well. Brittany is developing her dressage seat with lessons on all of the horses and Ravi is benefitting from her experience. She is working with him consistently on the 1 st and 2 nd level work and we are looking forward to showing him soon.
              Florida is just amazing this time of year. The opportunities to learn are endless. The shows have been interesting. There are some amazing riders here for the winter. For me I would also love to see more developing of real throughness and balance in the shows. I feel that we have made little progress in this area even over the past couple of years. The sport is growing and the horses are amazing. The whole disaster on face book with amateur rider from California being picked apart as well as the judges giving her inappropriate scores brings me back to the idea that we need to implement a better system for allowing riders to move up the levels. Such a sport already has a systematic and proven way for teaching riders and training horses, it would behoove us in America to adapt the system in our show requirements as well. Just a thought :)

               Where ever you are this time of year I hope you are opening yourself to learning, if it is not easy up North go online for inspiration. There are many, many options available. Your horse will thank you! Even if it is not until spring. Stay inspired!

              I am excited to be opening my new coaching practice. I have been studying hard and am now taking clients for personal and performance coaching. Email me for more information, my website is going to be online soon.
            We will also be doing a weekly boost on facebook, so if you have not already done so follow my carousel dressage page!

                         All the best! Ride Forward!

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