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.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Youth Camp

           It has been a couple of years since the last Carousel Dressage Youth Camp. I was able to host a small program in Florida this past winter and for sure this ignited the fire inside me to get my youth programs back on track and make them a reality.
           This past week was definitely an adventure. I had many doubts and worries as we moved forward toward our start date, the least of which was not stalls for the horses and sleeping arrangements for the girls. Every time I started to get overwhelmed with how was it all going to go I just kept my eye on the ball, doing a Youth Camp is really important and we will get it done. And I am so incredibly happy about the results!!! The week was amazing, and I am inspired for the next one!
           The power of persuasion! Many of you saw my posts on Face Book asking for recommendations for stalls. The people that offer stalls in this area are few and far between, some businesses already closed shop and the others already booked. I am super grateful to  Bob at National Show who was able to dig up some stalls for me, send his driver from New Jersey and direct me where to find a tent, what kind and how, because he was out of tents. It sometimes takes people to step out and lend a hand to get things done and THANK YOU Bob for helping us get this camp off the ground!!
             Where to put the tent! Already not an easy task, was made even more complicated by the weather!!! Not typical June weather, the rain made it a bit more difficult, so I need to thank Christian Party Rental and their creative staff for being so generous with their time and energy to put the tent in a bit of a complicated spot and they did so with expertise and enthusiasm. I am so lucky!
               Our girls!
                     It was as we started to get closer to camp that I realized we needed more help!I reached out to Remy Sprague who has joined in all of my camps in the past. She was just back from college and had not started work yet. Remy was a life saver and not only a super help with the organizational side but a wonderful mentor for the girls and a fabulous example of how this positive mindset coaching can change lives. We also had help from another student Annie Wohlgemuth which was amazing because Lexie and Huber and I needed to not only be hosting camp but taking care of and riding the horses we are training! We never could have done it with out Remy and Annie. Thank you!
                     Leah Drew, Samantha Mahar, Hazel Greene, Clara and Addie Locke and Natalia Haycock Tafur all arrived Wednesday morning and the riding started Wednesday after our first lunch lecture. I prepared work books that were a combination of mindset and dressage and each meal was spent with some discussion about our work books. Although we had an outline, much of the discussion was directed by the girls and their questions and curiosity to dive in to some of the subjects deeper. I always feel like I learn so much during camp!! Some of the talks I did remember to record, so some of this will be coming on the website.
                     The girls all made amazing progress in their riding. We were able to do lunge lessons where we did a lot of seat work and well as practical riding. We also hosted two guests Saturday Nick and Sophie who ride with me once a week. With two more campers we all did work with the horses twice having fabulous Tristan Tucker ground work lessons as well as riding. The ground work lessons were super fun and everyone learned even more about their horses, and this followed thru to make an even bigger impact on their riding. Thank you Tristan for your inspiration!

                     Throughout the week we also did special grooming, braiding, bandaging and other care and management lessons. Lexie and Remy guided the girls to be more conscientious about the routine care they give their horses.

                     The week flew by and all I can do to keep my spirits up after everyone left is to start planning the next one!!

                              Thank you to everyone that helped bring this special week together! Especially Heidi and Dick Venuti who were so generous to let us overtake their beautiful Kilgore Farm, Remy, Lexie, Huber and Annie for all of your hard work and energy, Casey and Scott Satriano for helping to sponsor the tent!! And very importantly to these girls and their parents for their time, enthusiasm and all of the effort it took to get here. Thank you for joining us for this special week and I look forward to the next one!!


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