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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Being a good student

                 Through the years it has been a goal of mine to be an extraordinary teacher. I have studied teachers, learned from very good instructors as well as learned from some super educated people who were less skilled at passing the knowledge along. One way that I became a better teacher was by being a better student.

                  Ones job as a good student is to be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with your trainer. It is important to feel the flow and purpose of the lesson and be cognizant of when to ask questions and when to shut up and ride. Most of all to be a good student one needs to value learning. Many times, when I am teaching a new client, or a clinic, it can happen the rider is not able to accept help. I needed to value learning over knowing, in order to maximize my time in lessons. 

                  I believe it is helpful to watch a clinician or instructor prior to taking a lesson. Knowing that you value the same things will help when being asked to do something that is difficult or seems different. Our bodies and minds always want to stay with familiar. If we are asked to step out into discomfort, we may resist the change. Knowing that you like what the instructor is doing with his/her own horses as well as other clients will help you to stay true to your student persona. 

                  Balance is so important to riding. It is important to practice your balance on and off the horse. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and if you have any one sidedness's will help you to understand and influence your horse correctly when being asked to ride in a certain way. If you are not aware of your body, your instructor may have difficulty communicating what and how things need to change. I believe there are many great practices off the horse that will help bring self-awareness and balance. When you find a helpful practice, such as yoga or tai chi, you will find yourself resetting your balance and relaxation automatically during the day. This practice will help you understand the balanced physical and mental state needed to optimize your riding. When taking a lesson we are processing a lot of information. We need to think about what the instructor is telling us, and all the while continue to connect and receive important information from our horses. Knowing a natural state of relaxation and balance will help manage the horse better and notice pressure before it becomes unmanageable. A horse that is responsive and relaxed will stay in balance much better than a horse that is being held and being "prevented" from making mistakes. Self-awareness is key to being a good student.

                     Another thing that helped me be a good student is to value the lesson in the moment, commit 100% and try not to overthink things. This was not easy for my brain! I love to understand everything! However, immersing myself in the moment allowed me to get the full perspective from the instructor. Later I can decide what parts really worked for me and if there was something that did not feel right. Often with practice things will make more sense and feel better. If one is judging too much or holding back in the moment it will be impossible for the concept to sink in and be ridden with 100% commitment.

                    Do communicate. Find the right time! It is easy to think that some instructors don't want you to ask questions or know how something feels. However, this can often just be bad timing. Ask questions during a break. Talk to your instructor about how your horse has been going and any problems you would like to address ahead of time. When you ask questions be open to the answer!

                    I love to hear from you! Email Nancylaterdressagehorses@gmail.com with any questions and also let me know if this benefitted you!


Monday, April 15, 2024

Spring!

            Another beautiful day here in New Hampshire. I am grateful to be witnessing spring for the first time in many years and it is miraculous. 

            Let's talk about spring and how we can utilize the energy of spring to create some goals and action steps to take.

            Spring is an energy; it is the popping out of all these intentions that we have been making over winter. Throughout winter we have dreamed, longed and visualized for this time of year and what we were going to do. Now is the time to do it!!

            Exercise:

                       Take your journal and free write about anything that comes to mind related to your dreams for this year. This might have to do with some goals you put in place at the beginning of the year, or it might be some new ideas that you have been thinking about as the weather has been teasing you. Write in no particular order. Don't worry about the how. Try not to put too much thought into it, just ramble about what you dream about spending your time doing this summer. Set a timer and write for 10 to 15 minutes or so. If you go much longer than this, you may start questioning yourself. 

                       When you put the pen down take a break or come back the next day. Look at the list. Which of the items on the list make your heart beat a bit faster? Do any of them give you goosebumps? Pick two or three things that are most exciting for you and on a fresh piece of paper start to write about what it would mean to you if you were able to start working toward these goals. It does not have to be about the achievement of them, although it can be. Most important, I want you to write about how it feels to be doing the things you picked. Where are you? Who is with you? What do you like about it? 

                       Then pick one action step you can take toward making this happen. It can be as small as buying a book to learn more about it or researching people who might support you in your goals. Put an action step for all three.

                       Now with the energy of Spring take the action step of the most important goal on your list! And when you have done this celebrate yourself! After this is accomplished sit again with your journal and review your last couple of entries. When you get back in touch with the energy of how it feels to be going after your goal write down another action step. What would be the next thing that will move you closer to that end?  

                       You can work with all three goals simultaneously, or tackle one at a time, this is up to you. It is important not to get overwhelmed, instead make journalling a tool that helps you stay clear and focused.


                   Things that can get in our way:

                                  Distractions              Lack of Self Worth               Fear of other people's opinions 

          One way to overcome these hurtles is to hire a coach! 

                          I know first-hand how easy it is to put other people's goals ahead of mine. I have definitely experienced what it is like to feel I don't deserve to succeed. I think we all know what it is like to be frozen into indecision with too much weight being put on what other people think, what if we make a mistake, fail or worse yet actually do achieve our dreams!

          This is why I became a coach. I know what having a coach has done for me, and I want to be able to do this for others. 

                The other day I received this note from a client, and it made me feel so happy!! This is exactly the impact I want to have and to know that I am able to help people achieve the joy and progress they dream about with their horses is a dream come true for me!

           "After a couple of years of my dressage journey not going as I expected or was hoping for, I have struggled with my mindset around horses and horse riding. I turn to the area of self-development for tools and tricks, which have been super helpful, but left me on my own to make the connection with riding. A bit over a month ago I started following your webinar's and they have been incredibly helpful and inspiring. Firstly, they have helped me in feeling that I am not alone with these mindset struggles when I am around horses. It feels like every week I get a reminder that I can draw upon the webinars for help, reach out for questions and even realize there are others experiencing the same. Second, they have made the connection between coaching tools and concepts to horse riding so clear that it just clicks easily when I apply them. Learning from someone that knows both sides, coaching and riding, helps a lot because you know specifically what is important, what has the highest likelihood to work, and what might differ when applied on a horse. Third, they are really motivating!! You speak in a way that gives me the feeling that I can take control of my mindset, so every time I watch a webinar I can't wait to go out to the stable and apply it. 

              I am super grateful to have found you and I am excited to keep growing and developing with your guidance!

                          Thank you,

                                 Andrea Sesana

                       

                 Please visit my website www.carouselcoaching.com and sign up for my weekly webinars or even better, for personal coaching. I am also scheduling freelance lessons near Rindge New Hampshire and remote lessons as well as clinics.

                 My passion is using my experience to help you achieve your goals sooner and with more ease. I am a Grand Prix Dressage Trainer, with special dedication to the development of the seat and connection. In addition, I am experienced with groundwork that teaches anxious horses how to develop more confidence and stability. This work I can teach to any rider and empower them to have more success preparing their horses for shows and challenging situations. 

                 Happy Spring!!

                           I look forward to helping you achieve your dreams!

                                            Nancy


   

                       

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

What is Mindset Coaching?

         Recently I had the opportunity to teach in Florida and to observe at Global. I managed to have good luck with the weather and was there for an amazing week of sun, cool mornings and warm afternoons. The horses were super happy and relaxed, which was great, as I have heard it has been a cold, windy and rainy winter.

         I had the pleasure to work with some super smart horses and skilled riders and this always brings me so much inspiration. I was also able to do some one on one in person Mindset Coaching and it was great to see the results in person at the show!

         In addition, I was reminded of why I started the Mindset and Performance Coaching. It may not be for everyone, however, the people that do give it a try are able to amplify their progress exponentially. Why is this? Why does it help to work on your mindset independent from your actual riding time? Why are the top athletes using Mindset and Performance Coaches? 

         It is shocking how easy it is to be reacting instead of responding. What this means is that we are not actually in control of our actions. We are being reactive to the environment, what people think and what our horses might do. We can react physically, mentally and emotionally. Actually, having a strategy to manage these things will change how one approaches important decisions as well as how to move forward in the training. 

          Surprisingly even top riders are not present with their horses. If they can't be, then how can their students be? Mindset Coaching is about the present, having awareness of the impact you can have on each situation and then progressing toward your goals, seamlessly. It is about removing the struggle and feeling in flow with your aspirations and in your relationships. When I help people with their mind set, they are able to process the training, act on the instruction and ride their horses with much more feel. Mindset Coaching benefits both the trainer and the student as the trainer will have time to work on skill building instead of trying to get the rider in the right space for taking instruction.

          It is really exciting for me to be able to offer this special tool. I have always struggled with leaving clients behind when going back and forth to Florida, as well as some of the moves I have made throughout my career. With the help of technology, I am able to do the Mindset Coaching remotely and help people all over the world, in addition to being able to view their horses if necessary. I do love being with the horses' hands on. I also find it very rewarding to be able to impact the connection my clients have with their horses, even from a distance! 

         If you struggle to stay present with your horse when taking a lesson, become fearful or anxious at horse shows or simply would like to improve your relationships, reach out, you will be surprised how a little shift in mind set can make a big impact on success.  

           

           

Monday, February 5, 2024

Why Coaching?

 Good Morning! I hope you are having an amazing day. 

I thought in light of a lot of distressing equestrian news on social media I would write a little bit about why I started the Life and Mindset Coaching.

I have been in the horse world my entire life. 60 years now! My parents were riders, and I was lucky enough to have a pony and be riding before I could walk. I participated in many equestrian sports, but in high school I got drawn to dressage and I have pursued becoming a dressage rider ever since. I train and teach and have competed through the Grand Prix level both on horse's other people trained and horses I have trained myself, with the help of my trainers. We never really train a horse all alone. 

There came a time when I was learning that I realized I was going into my own lessons with the wrong mindset. As I started to work on this, I was able to absorb my trainer's information and act on it quicker and with more skill. Life went on and I had students and taught clinics, I started to realize a majority of many lessons were spent, not on skill building, but instead on trying to prove why the information I was giving would be beneficial. Our belief systems were not aligned. I got better at knowing if students would work in my program or not, however, I still wanted to be a better teacher. I could not find the skills I wanted in our horse community. Not that there are not amazing teachers out there, but they teach riding, not how to teach, or the theory behind why they give information the way they do.

This brought me to search for mindset and performance training outside of the horse world. Inside the horse world we were seeing suicide, horse abuse, sexual allegations, lack of improvement in riding skills, as well as many well intended horse enthusiasts doing things they never would have the heart to do, if they only knew better.

I have become Certified in two super courses for Life Coaching, attended many High Performance and Mindset Seminars, I am Certified in Mindfulness, in addition to graduating from Dr Zack Bush's course on Intrinsic Health.

I did this because I want to help people become educated enough in themselves and what affects their health and emotions to be able to make good personal decisions. The coaching I do is to help people find their inner spirit, confidence and drive and then from this place be able to make strong positive relationships with their horses, and the people in their lives. When we are not emotionally fit we do not make good decisions, not for ourselves and not for our horses. 

I believe that many of the mistakes that people are making come from this place of emotional unwellness. Real confidence comes not from money and power, but from knowing that we are enough, without the ribbons, big bank account and car. 

My goal is to help the horses by helping their riders build true confidence. The confidence that you can take out in public and not be worried about making a mistake. A confidence that allows you to be joyful with your horses and have fun with the process, not just the reward at the end. In this case, the sport of dressage, I do not believe many of the recent results justify the means. We as trainers and riders need to do things differently, not just the judges. Dressage has principles. Dressage is defined by the laws of physics. You can create extravagance through proper training or through pressure and fear. Just because you get good points does not mean you should go out and recreate that strategy again. As riders we know truly what is going on in the ring. When our horses are working with us or not. I have not always been perfect with this. For sure, I have made many mistakes, and I went through a major period in my riding life of confusion and understanding the training in the wrong way. This is why I got a mindset coach. And this is why I wanted to be a Mindset Coach. I feel that there are many awesome Dressage Trainers out there. I want to be able to have influence in this sport because I have a deep love for the horses. I know that when people have the proper mindset, they will be successful, but not at the expense of the horses, instead, by partnering with their horses.

There is so much hate being spewed out there right now. Be the change you want to see in the world. Go out and show compassion for your horses. Be kind to them at the horse shows when they make mistakes, prepare them properly for scary venues and always remember why you started to work with horses in the first place. 

                       I am so happy for and proud of my clients that are working with their horses in a successful, happy and joyful way. If you feel that Mindset Coaching might be right for you, please reach out! You can also listen to some excerpts from my webinars on my YouTube channel Carousel Classroom.

                         Love to Ride!

                                   Nancy

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A New Year A Better Daily Practice!

 

Carousel Coaching

                    Daily Practice

                                               Nov. 2, 2023

                     Updated and Reissued    Jan. 24, 2024


January encourages us to make new goals and celebrate past wins. As we move into February keep these important ideas close.

 

Why is it that we seem to lose track of our positive daily practices just when we need them the most?

What daily practices are we implementing to keep us healthy and successful?

 Eating right, staying hydrated, meditation and breath work, exercise, personal time for scheduling, self-care and relaxation, massage, talking to friends, speaking with a coach :)

We all have things that get us down. We make mistakes, get sick or something can happen in life beyond our control. These things can take us temporarily off our path. The good practices and positive habits that were benefitting us can drop by the wayside, if we are not diligent to focus on them. When with difficulties how do successful people persevere? They put their best foot forward and use positive self-care to help them through difficult times.  When we stop taking care of ourselves, energy goes down, productivity diminishes, and this can feed self-doubt and fear. When we are doubting ourselves, we do not make the choices that will bring us the most success. When we are fearful, we will not step out and be our best selves.

It is important to know that even successful people can have setbacks, it's the bounce back time that makes the difference between a setback and a competition or career block.

How can we hold on to our best habits even when we get derailed, depressed or lack energy?

For me jumping back in as soon as possible makes a difference. However! I also think it's a good idea to take a bit of time to mourn the setback, recover from being sick or process the event that has caused us pain. After this, we must jump back in as soon as possible to our best practices. Even if it is only for 5 minutes a day, set that time aside for yourself, then next week add 5 minutes and so on. Put the time for yourself in your calendar, set an alarm, do whatever it takes to notice yourself and take care of yourself.

We all know that exercise builds confidence and energy. So, I encourage you to make time for it. We know that eating well and actually taking time to eat helps us feel healthy and mentally alert. So, take time for this. Hydration is imperative for optimum performance, no matter what your activity level is make sure to drink water.

There is a kind of stigma around taking care of ourselves first. We are taught that self-care is selfish. Know that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t be there for the important people and horses in our lives. Put your own oxygen mask on first!

A few of my favorite quick tips for building bounce back:

  • Talk to your good friends.
  • Write something you are grateful for, everyday, in your journal.
  • Start recording your wins.
  • Do 5 minutes of exercise first thing in the morning before you get lost in the day. If you ride, then stretch! Add time when possible because it feels good!
  • Spend one healthy meal with yourself (and others) daily
  • Drink water, add lemon, mint, cucumber whatever makes you happy, drink water
  • Change all self-talk to positive self-talk; I can’t do this becomes I can’t do this yet, or who can help me with this, or how can I figure out how to do this. It might be shocking to notice the negative self-talk. The only way to create change is to first be aware of the habit you want to change. When you notice the negative voice acknowledge and thank it, then tell it you do not need it anymore. 
  • Set some boundaries for yourself, start by journaling about where you feel any resentment or lack of appreciation. Then journal about this, is it my self-worth where I need to create a boundary with myself? Or do I need to start to set better boundaries with some of the people around me? Take time with this, when you have a boundary you want to put in place, be clear and relaxed in how you deliver the information. Change can make other people uncomfortable; this does not mean you're wrong. Stay grounded and as unemotional as possible.

I hope this benefits you! And please share with anyone you know who might need a boost.

Please feel free to share your good ideas about getting out of a rut with me at nancylaterdressagehorses@gmail.com  

 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

A Reissue! I think it is a good time to revisit this!

 

We need more corners in life!

Percolating in my brain is a book about life lessons that dressage has taught me. It will be an awesome book about the parallels of a life with horses and lessons necessary to navigate a happy life in the "real" world.
             One of the chapters "We need more corners" Can be found, in its infancy, below.
              I hope you enjoy it, and please share with other people that may need a corner sometime.

                  When I ride, I am very particular about my corners. depending on the age and experience of the horse every corner has a purpose. If it is a young horse, it still needs to be "my" corner. Not too deep, not too shallow, balanced and being sure not to lose the rhythm. With an older horse it could be that we school transitions, leg yield, smaller and then bigger steps, and then the half halt. Axel Steiner said a couple of weeks ago "the horse should be a bit taller when he comes out of the corner". I love this! So, what if we applied this to life.

                    When I ride a corner, I ask my horse to wait, rebalance, build energy and then come out of the corner "a bit taller".

               If we build corners into our life, it might be to stop and reflect, remember our purpose, or even who we are or who we want to grow into. We might pause, stop running from task to task or lesson to lesson, we might take a minute to prepare a healthy meal for our self or sign up for a necessary yoga class or massage appointment we have not had time for. We might even schedule some family time, vacation time or even alone time. What if we were able to build some corners into our life and then come out of the corner a bit taller? With renewed energy and enthusiasm, with clarity and direction? Perhaps even with a bit more understanding of who we are and where we are going?

                 I just love this concept! Then we could take it even further to the next step. Because when I show I really use my corners to set up the next movement, to make sure my horse is with me, balanced, through and ready for the next step. I believe we could build corners into our lives purposefully, perhaps once a day, once a week, once a month? Whatever timing suits you to give yourself the clarity you need to motor forward in the right direction. Imagine how tall you could be!

                        Have fun considering this!

                    All the best!
                                  Nancy

       Be Youthful in your approach
       Connection is the Key
       Remember anything is possible

Monday, January 8, 2024

Horses First

 Happy New Year! It is such an amazing time of the year, filled with expectation, dreams and a fresh calendar.

           As I am working to build my coaching business, the New Year is bringing up the questions of why this is so important to me? What is the passion behind my Mindset and Performance Coaching? 

I don't have to look too far..... Horses! Horses First. I have been in love with horse's my entire life. I was riding (thank you Mom and Dad!) before I was walking. The only time I cried, I am told, is when they took me off my pony, Chief. From an early age I was intrigued how to create healthy and happy horses. Even with our own horses, and eventually our own facility, my interests in the horse's needs were not always well received. Nothing bad to say here, only the idea that I was putting the horses needs above other perceived needs in my family. Like the time the new horse would not come in and I made everyone late for an important dinner, because of course, she could not stay out until we got back...  There are many more like this, for my whole life.

            The reason I am saying this is that sometimes we are surrounded by people who do not share our views. In the horse business this is rampant and widespread. Why? People come to horses from many different backgrounds, upbringing, experience and needs. Horses are expensive and attract people with a slew of different values and work ethic. 

             My purpose in Coaching is to build belief in my client's own abilities, values and inner drive that is rock solid. With this inner belief one is able to make difficult decisions based on their own values and life path. With this inner belief one is able to be resilient in the face of failure and disappointment. With this inner belief we are able to create success out of experience and bounce back from adversity.

             What does this mean to our horses? This means we can take time when it is necessary. Horses are not living on a timeline to the Championships or Olympics. Horses need time to allow themselves to be ridden, trust in the training process and give in to the pressures of the human world of horse shows and transportation. They need time to learn to be relaxed and in doing so, excel in their talent. Relaxation creates superstars, not stress.  

              What does Coaching do for riders? Coaching helps you understand your emotions, connect with them and then use them in a positive way for your personal success. Coaching helps you prevent your competition outcomes from eating away at your business. Coaching helps you create and manage goals that are important to you, and only you. It prevents you from getting swept up in other people's dramas, it helps you keep your eye on the ball of your life.

               And most of all! Coaching helps you to find joy in the journey. The support and unbiased perception of a coach will help you celebrate your personal wins, independent of the public's opinion. Successful partnerships are made by bringing out the unique and special gifts of the team members. Yes, we are all unique! Not just in the way we were born, but in the experiences, upbringing and circumstances we are in. A coach will help you maximize your relationships and keep your belief in yourself at the core of your actions. In doing this your horses will also benefit. Your horse will not be an extension of your ego. Your horse will be a partner and team member. You will recognize your horses needs before they become a problem. You will maximize your horses' strengths as well as your own. You will also recognize your unique contribution to the horse world. You will build your business based on your beliefs and your experience. You will find success in the trust you have of yourself and your gifts.

              It will not always be easy. But I am passionate about Coaching You to your best life while creating happy and healthy partnerships with your horses!

              Happy New Year! 

                       Love to Ride!

                              Nancy