Contributors

Dressage


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, December 26, 2023

Happy New Year!

 Happy Holidays and wishing you all the best for the coming year, 2024!! It seems only yesterday that we went into 2000! Take time for what is important, there is no time to waste.

                So many crazy and troubling things happening in the world today. I am incredibly grateful for all that I have and for the experiences I had in 2023. Many of you already know, but some do not that I lost the ride on my beautiful Diamond Flame. This year was so special for me as I was able gain her trust not only at home but finally in the competition arena as well. I had been looking forward to taking our freestyle to Florida and finally having the opportunity to ride Grand Prix in the big arena. This is not to be; however, I am immensely grateful for all that Blonde taught me and for the privilege to ride her. 

                I have competed in the small tour for years, and I feel completely at home in these levels, on any horse. I have competed some naughty pants, even at top shows and have been able to negotiate my way to the top of the class on many occasions. I say naughty pants, but those of you who know me know this is not what I believe. I believe that the horses are always trying to work with us and figure out what we want. It is with this principle in mind that I have been able to partner with some horses that had been otherwise discarded. It taught me so much.

                I had not been as comfortable at the Grand Prix level. I had a couple of horses that were reactive in the piaffe and passage and I did not learn easily how to control my emotions nor my body when things were not going well. Blonde has a lot of spirit and it took us a while to get on the same page. When we did, being on the same page was sooooo fun! I will always be grateful to her for teaching me to be patient and be able to ride in the show arena through the grand prix as I do at home, relaxed, with her in the moment and with understanding of each other.  This was an amazing gift.

                 With all the controversy going on in the dressage world, this much I know is true, and I know it now more than ever because of Blonde: 

                              Relaxation is possible

                              Horses need to understand, and when they are scared or nervous all learning ends

                              If they are resisting, there is a misunderstanding or physical pain

                              Work on your posture, timing and the ability to go with the natural movement of the horse.

                              Stay away from fads; tack, exercises, supplements, training schemes, treatments.

                              Connection is the key.

                              Take time to get to know your horse.

                               Do not go to the show if it doesn't work at home, unless you want to set your relationship back.

                               Say what you need to say, to your trainer, your sponsor and your horse.

                               You cannot inject everything away.

                  

                   I started my coaching business because I believe that when people believe in themselves, they do the right thing. Success comes from knowing yourself, making decisions that move you toward your goals and believing in your self-worth.

                  So many super talented riders are looking to the outside for recognition and acknowledgement. They change their training because of one clinic or one judges comment. Stay true to yourself and to your relationship with your horse. If it does not feel right, it is not right. Watch the best partnerships and learn from them. They are not always perfect, but it is how they handle the mistakes and the future training that creates success or ultimate failure. 

                  This year will be very different for me, but, I hope to have a positive impact on the sport, even if it is from a different position. In the meantime, I am enjoying a real winter break, time with my husband and time for projects long thought about. 

                  As we go into 2024 I wish for everyone to honor their horses with the time and respect they need. Know that you will get where you want to go, one small step at a time. Do not worry about other people's opinions, nor compare your journey to theirs. 

                        Cheers to you and yours for a great 2024!

                  Be youthful in your approach.

                                        Connection is the key,

                                                        Anything is possible

                              Love to Ride!

                                                  Nancy

                     

                      

                              

                  

                

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Work and Fun can happen together!

 

Share what you love, and the money will follow.

 

             Work and Fun can happen together.

                            A while back I wrote a Blog Post “Do what you love and the money will Follow”, there were several ideas in this post:

                         It’s okay to make mistakes

                         It’s good to have fun even when you are working (work and fun are not mutually exclusive)

                          Taking care of yourself is necessary, not selfish

                          Everyone’s path is not the same (Some people may have similar goals and different ways to get there. Other people may have different goals all together, and this is not for us to judge.)

            I had fun with “It’s ok to make mistakes” in that Blog, so let’s talk about “Work and fun can happen together”;

                                  Somehow, we are taught when we are kids that work is a bad word. People make a goal to make enough money, so they no longer have to work. But then what? And for heaven’s sake, for most of us how long does that take? How many stories do we hear about unhappy wealthy people? Money itself is not fulfilling. I believe; money can mean freedom, but freedom from what? What if we design a life where making money and living a fun and fulfilling life go hand in hand?

           This might require a shift in perspective, not a big one mind you, just a small shift. Then suddenly life will be much brighter every day when you wake up. What if you are a waitress and you have a love of art? Every day you are pushed to the waitress job to pay the bills, everyday you long to be more involved in art. What if as a waitress you go in everyday and bubble over with your amazing skills and apply your love for art in your job? What would that look like? What are you good at? Do you enjoy helping people feel good about themselves? Can you give more compliments? Work with your teammates energetically and create a positive work atmosphere that helps everyone do a better job, and in the end benefits the restaurant and your tips? Can you notice people that might have the same interest as you? Find a part time job in an art gallery, take a class in painting? Go to a new exhibit and meet people that share your passion? Is it possible to work in a restaurant with an owner that shares your passion and lets you participate in new and exciting d├ęcor? Is it possible to add decorations for the seasons? Create fun specials or challenges? How can you take your job and make it fun? I know you have been in restaurants where the waitress/waiter was “doing his job” and I know you have been in restaurants where your server was engaged and creating an experience for you. If you do not want to be a server all your life you must create a vision of the next step and work toward it. However, I believe we do not get to the next step without honing our gifts in our present situation.

             What does this mean? I believe opportunities come along for us often. I also believe if we are not working on who we need to be, then the opportunities become problems, create fear and many are passed by because they are misunderstood. What do I mean by this? One example is through the years I have had many difficult horses in training. What I learned from each horse depended  on my state of mind at the time. Sometimes it was the owner, not the horse, that taught me the lessons! However, as I look back, I could never be doing what I do now without the difficult horses. Do I wish I had paid more attention to a couple of them? Yes! But thankfully I listened to enough of them that I can ride the horses that I have now. And the best part is, that I have had two of the most difficult, shut down horses of my career this past year and not only am I able to build a connection with and train them, but I am also having fun doing it! Instead of looking at it like “why me?” I am thankful for the opportunity to learn more, be creative and give these horses a chance in a human world. Maybe the horses of the past did not take me to the big show ring, maybe they did not even make me big money, however, applying myself and my special creative talents changed their lives, as they did mine. From those lessons I am able to do an even better job, create more skill and am able to make money in the field I love.

               So, whatever you are doing to “make money” now I want to challenge yourself to make a small shift in perspective. If you are not happy with your present situation what would make you happy? What is your dream job? Start to imagine it, because if you don’t know what it is, you cannot create it. Next, what can you do in your present situation to make it more fun? There is always something!

 

        

                      Be youthful in your approach

                      Connection is the key

                      Remember! anything is possible

        I hope this brings more fun into your life!

                                   Nancy

              

Monday, December 11, 2023

Daily Practice, Self-Care to Improve your Riding

             Utilize Self Care and Improve Your Riding

                  Carousel Coaching                    Dec. 11, 2023

All rights reserved

 

Utilize this as an exercise when you have time, with your journal:                               

 

      Aspects of ourselves

                     Character Traits  (same as values) these are relating to space and time. Honesty, love, compassion, organization, patience, respect.) Again these are things about ourselves that we want to nurture. We may have to look past what other people have made us think about ourselves.

                     Personality Traits (help us to be who we are) these just are, there is nothing to measure. Confident, humorous, imaginative, loving, direct.

                          Part of self love is getting to know these things about ourselves and make peace with them. Without comparing ourselves to others why are these characteristics special? What do we look like when we are acting on them in a positive way? What might it look like when we ignore or don’t like parts of ourselves.

 

              With the horses it is easy to get overwhelmed sometimes with the competitive aspect and then think that our own self worth and characteristics are not worth anything. We try to conform to the way other people want us to be, or what we see other people doing from a distance.

             Yes! There are certain practices that will help to bring you success!

                           Such as being disciplined, choosing good healthy food over junk food, working out, stretching, having lessons to improve your riding etc etc.

                            There are other things that create your special you that do not need to change or conform to the wishes of society or friends. These things are what make you you. And by trying to bury them, hide them or change them you are going against your true nature and living out of balance.

                           It takes time of self-reflection to start to find these traits and characteristics that are truly what you are about. Then it also takes time to cultivate or get to know your true identity. From then you want to grow the positive aspects of yourself and be brave to take them out into the world.

 

                          How to help myself travel on the right path and have success?

                  Take care of yourself and give yourself some love!

                          Be careful not to just ask it from other people. You must not ask someone to love you more than you love yourself. And…. If they do not show you love, enough love or the right kind of love, this must not reflect how much you love yourself.

                         We are all a work in progress. So! loving yourself and accepting yourself where you are right now does not mean that you might not want to improve certain aspects of your being. However, if you only focus on the negative remember, you will only continue to get more negative.

               For example someone might say; I love that I am funny, energetic and have a love for horses. I would like to improve my discipline so that my love for horses turns into a successful show career.

                But what if they said; I am not disciplined but I am funny and energetic. Can you see where this is going. One sentence is uplifting and gives something to work toward the other is going nowhere.

 

              When under pressure you will find that positive attributes will help you persevere, whereas negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves will be self-fulfilling.

“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you are also right.”

 

                                     Be the guardian of your mind. The way that business works in America is that they make you feel like you have or identify with a short coming or a problem and then they offer you the product that will solve it. These short comings are put into your presence daily on the computer, TV, radio, bill boards and magazines and then the advertisements sell you the product that will fix your flaws.

                                       If you can hold your positive self-vision in your mind and heart all of the time these ads will not infect you. In my email I get a million hits with subjects like “lose weight fast”, “look younger now” or “improve your relationship”. When I see the titles, I might say to myself I don’t need to lose weight! or my relationship is just fine thank you! I actually have the conversation and put it out there so that it does not infect me.

                                    When you come from this place of self-acceptance and love you can actively look for things that will improve your life and what you want to do, but you do not allow other peoples fears or judgements to infect you.

                  Taking care of yourself daily will reinforce to your mind, heart and spirit that you really are good enough. This confidence will spill into your riding, work, and relationships.

                  What ways can we take better care of ourselves?

                                     Spend alone time, meditating and learning (or just figuring out what is interesting and we might want to learn.)

                                      Respect yourself with your self-talk. Allow yourself to grow do not judge mistakes

                                     Eat right and stay hydrated

                                     Exercise

Important thing to remember!!

                You were not born knowing everything! So! it is ok to ask questions, make mistakes and look for ways to learn. You do not have to be the knower! As you do this you will find that you can give a hand up to those that have less experience than you, but you can also look up to those that have more experience.

 

                        Homework:

                                    Take a couple of days and listen to your self-talk. Write down some things you hear regularly, good and bad.

                                    Also, listen to some ads, look in magazines or TV and Facebook and write down a couple of these products that use this tactic of making you feel like you are lacking something or need to fix something to sell their product.

                     Share with me at nancy@carouselcoaching.com