Friday, November 12, 2010


Not bad for an almost 20 year old mare with bad hocks, huh? I mean the 'dap', not me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Training Scale- I've heard this nearly all of my riding life (over 25 years, at least) and now, FINALLY, light bulbs are going off in my head. It's so fun and challenging to see things in a new, brighter light.

rhythm, regularity and relaxation, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness and finally collection

The illumination has occurred for a few reasons. First, I've been reading for months of the huge Phillipe Karl/German Dressage controversy. I already owned 3 of Karl's videos and read of Christoph Hess on, my favorite blog. So, when a video featuring the two trainers was released, I was one of the first in line to buy it. I'm not sorry. I highly recommend you see it, too. It's Classical Versus Classique and is about $50 but worth every penny. I was somewhat surprised to come down about 85% in favor of the Hess/German side of this issue. The only two things that really resonated with me that Karl said were 'why would you train always BEHIND the vertical if you intended for the horse to hold himself/travel otherwise in competition?' I do ride my mare behind the veritical for about 10 minutes a day. This is because, while in the 'long and low' phase of our warm-up, we are also softly flexing. At no other time in our work do we become behind....well, sometimes 'behind the leg', but that's a whole other And, the other possitive was about the fact that dressage has value for every horse and the movements can be taught to animals not bred to be at an international dressage level. I loved the horse he chose for demonstration. An animal just about anyone could own. Like the horses that I've had the privilege of owning and riding and still do. I disagree with him that the horse he chose was happy, though. To me, he looked very tense and UN-happy. What I think would be a better situation is for the horse in question to be trained with Rhythm, Relaxation, Regularity, etc! I think signs of relaxation in a horse include a swinging tail, flopping ears (or one forward and one flicking back and forth), snorting and a 'soft' mouth. I don't necessarily think the mouth must be constantly working at the bit and licking the lips. In fact, I've observed that my horses consistantly show all of these relaxation signs at stretching time and free walk and some during the regular lesson. My goal is to have more and more signs of relaxation (trust?) as we progress.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dressage and Weight loss

I Google 'dressage' and 'weight loss' together all the time. I guess I'm looking for inspiration from someone who has similar goals and challenges. I am nearly 50. Twelve years ago I gained 30 lbs in 1 year. Since then, I got married, had two children after 40, and gained another 30 lbs. As of a couple of months ago, I was 60 lbs overweight, size 16 (and 18 and sometimes 20, to be honest) and STILL riding my horses. Reading blogs, a fairly recent new hobby, has inspired me to try to make some changes and reach for some dreams I had previously given up on.

Three weeks ago I was down 16 lbs and fitting into my boots and breeches I hadn't worn in a couple of years. I've now gained back 6 lbs but have kept up with the fitness end of things. So, let's see how it goes.