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, 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!