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, 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!