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, 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.