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.

Monday, June 26, 2023

More fun less work!

     We have to remember that every day we take our horses out to work, we are taking them to the gym, and they are not understanding why they need to go to the gym!

     So how do we make it fun for them? Here are three ways to keep the training mentally light while still getting your work done:

                         Have a beginning, middle and end to your training session and be flexible about the middle!

                              1. Beginning is for warming up! Loosen the body and retune the aids. Do not be too strict, be playful and vary tempo, size steps and energy.

                              2. Beginning should relate to the middle! In other words what is your intention for the work and in knowing that, how can you prepare your horse the best for this subject?

                              3. If the beginning does not go as planned and your horse got up on the wrong side of the bed, notice and redefine the work for the day. Ride the horse you have, help him to develop into the horse you want, be careful not to ride what you wish you had and then be impatient.

                               4. Give the middle a purpose. Fitness, strength, accuracy, teaching something new, test riding, suppleness, forwardness, you pick the intention before you ride.

                               5. Be flexible, stay in the moment, if the intention is not working out on this giving day do what is necessary to have a productive day, do not be stubborn!

                               6. The end is for relaxing, stretching, hacking out, praise and gratefulness. Be sure to know what your horse likes as a reward. If he/she does not like to hack, that is something to work on but not to use as a reward :)

                    Vary the work!

                               1. Fitness work can be done on a track, in the field or by utilizing groundwork, cavaletti and even free schooling.

                               2. Don't repeat the same exercise over and over! Be creative! What is another way to teach that feeling or movement?

                               3. Keep a sense of humor when trying something new.

                               4. Within each movement have a beginning, middle and end. This will help you to keep the conversation open, get ready, go and finish. When something is not going well ask yourself what aid is not working? Then create an exercise that isolates this aid. After you feel it is better understood go back to get ready, go and finish .

                     Keep your sense of humor!

                                1. Meditate in the car or tack room (or Bathroom) a couple of minutes to free yourself from work, problems or your last ride.

                                2. Visualize your best selves and be free to chuckle at mistakes.

                                3. Remember that you Love to Ride and do not let outside influence or worry of other people's opinions interfere with your peace.

I hope this benefits you!

             Please share with anyone you think might benefit!

                          All the best,





Thursday, June 15, 2023

Positive Daily Practice



                I have finally decided to start the Blog again! After a fun and productive winter in Florida, I am back in New Hampshire and trying to get back into a routine. This makes me think about Daily Practice and how do we get back on track after getting distracted or having a setback?

                The most important thing to remember is that it is okay to have slow days, it is okay to take a break. We must forgive ourselves when we make mistakes and move on from the mistakes with renewed energy and a vision for the future. 

                 What are Positive Daily Practices? For me this is self-care. The act of paying attention to myself, my energetic health, my healthy body and my mindset. If I am able to take good care of myself, I will be much better equipped to do my job well and help others.

                  Taking care of horses can be time consuming and takes a lot of energy. Training people and horses is all consuming. I have many colleagues that are bleeding themselves dry trying to keep up with this heavy load. I have never ever felt bad about working hard with horses. I feel blessed every day to be doing something I love. I have in the last couple of years adopted some daily practices that are helping me stay physically healthy and have a better point of view as I help others.

         Everybody is different, so pick things that work for you. I am here to throw out ideas. Help you to realize that self-care is not a bad word, it is not selfish but instead it is a prerequisite to success.

                   Start by getting up just a little bit earlier so that you do not have to rush out the door. Start your morning by sitting with your tea or coffee and perhaps a journal and write a bit about how you want your day to go. If you have time perhaps do a little yoga, meditation or watch an inspiring video.

            Too much? Any of these things can be done by simply getting up one half hour earlier. Think of this as something you are doing only for yourself. Do not give this time to anyone else. Do not turn on your computer or phone. This is your time.

                    Another act of self-care is to plan your food! Buy healthy snacks, prep dinners ahead of time and shop in the produce section. The energy you will reap from your healthy eating will power you through your days with ease.

                    I am also an advocate for protein shakes. I buy clean organic protein powder and mix with fruit, veggies and some vitamins to help make up for when I am unable to cook for myself.

                Mindset practices? It is important to have positive self-talk. Start to pay attention to what you say to yourself and then consciously change the recording. It is so easy to be negative about ourselves and our mistakes. What we focus on we find. So always stay with the message that "the world is working for me" and "I can do it". If there is a little blip along the way learn from it and move on. 

                           Talk to your friends! When you find yourself in a negative place talk to your friends. Reach out! It is so easy to hide and get down, but talking about things, reaching out to a supportive friend can change your energy in just a couple of minutes. Know who your real friends are, this is very important!

                  Another really helpful thing to do if you feel down is help someone else. Can be big or small. Hold the door open, compliment a smile or an outfit, or even pay for someone's coffee. Such small things can change the day for someone and this will bounce right back to you.

            I hope that this benefits you! Please share with someone you know that might need a little boost.

                         Have an amazing day!