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.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Forced Pause

       Okay, here it is try number three!
        I am not sure how it happened that I did not post this a year ago!
            Funny that now I personally am on the other side of a forced pause. Yes, the virus infected me last week and gave me some time for reflection! The world was starting to get back to some kind of normal and now they start talking about yet another strain. I am very grateful for the environment I work in. I am able to stay healthy and strong and build a good immune system. That being said, somehow the virus was able to infect me for a short time and it has been many years since I spent a week without getting in the saddle. This gives renewed appreciation for the gift of my horses and being able to live this amazing life with them. And speaking of appreciation, I have a lot of gratitude for my girls Kristal and Shealyn for taking such awesome care of everyone while I was down and out.
           We are in Florida and the show season will start for Blonde and I next weekend. As I was training the last month I had a lot of enthusiasm toward this goal. Now I have a new percpective, it is amazing how a short break can put everything right. I am not saying that it was not right, because I feel that I definitly have a healthy respect for how lucky I am to be where I am and doing what I do. However, every single day is a gift. Every single day! So where before I think I was working toward the goal and having fun everyday, I was still! feeling the pressure to do it right more than the joy of doing it at all. So, body says, you do not appreciate enough, lets take a minute to think about it! And so this week of trying to get my riding muscles back from the Pillsbury Dough Boy and encouraging Blonde back into some kind of a frame capable of collected canter has been filled with joy and gratitude for every minute. It has definitly helped that we have been blessed with incredible weather and I have amazing help to keep me going while I build my strength back.
        So following is a short Blog I wrote some time ago and never pushed publish!
      Enjoy !

  This is an interesting time and I believe there are a lot of horse lovers out in the world that are lost without the ability to make goals for competitions and championships. 
           I started this blog post early in the spring when the virus put all of our shows on hold. For some reason I did not post it. So here it is revised and I am happy to see that many activities are starting back up and we are looking forward to have competition in Florida this winter.
            When your body needs a break and you do not give it one, it will take it anyway by means of illness or accident. The forced pause we have seen because of the corona virus has brought about many interesting changes, some we are yet to feel the results of.   
         For me taking a break from showing for the summer was great. I needed to make different goals and keep my energy and enthusiasm up about training in other ways beside looking forward to the competition. For the most part this has been really nice and a great learning experience.  I am super lucky to have the opportunity to be putting together a new partnership with a great mare, and having time to do this has been a gift. I did have a couple of times through the summer where it would have been nice to go and test my work, but I have had to find other ways to challenge myself. 
          I think we will see some interesting results next year as we move toward the postponed Olympics. Some trainers I feel will have dug deep into the issues that they might have otherwise not been able to tackle because of upcoming qualifications. These riders I think will come out with stronger, with better and more thorough partnerships and true collection. Others I fear may loose track of their goals and get distracted with the fears that are being pushed at us.
            I personally believe that all of us that are so lucky to be in the horse community, and in any vocation that allows us to work outside, will weather this storm and bring strength to other areas of the community that so need it.
               Enjoy your riding!
               Stay Youthful in Your Approach
               Remember:  Anything is Possible
               Connection is the Key!