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Thursday, November 5, 2009


I've decided to go to the LOVE ride if Farley looks good when I get home. So far the weather forecast is predicting no rain for Saturday, although it will probably lightly rain the 2 days before.

Thanks for all the comments about the dressage tests - I can be a bit thick headed and stubborn, but I usually come around. I appreciate each of you for taking the time to comment. Here's to progress and getting better with each test!

I wanted to share something this morning. If you haven't read the FEI description of dressage for a while, it worth a re-read. This was posted here. This statement helps me understand dressage better than anything else I have read. Sorry - the training pyramid doesn't do it for me and actually annoys me.....but this... this moves me to vow that I will improve every ride and achieve the connection and lightness that is described.

Chapter I Dressage Article

The object of dressage is the development of the horse into a happy athlete through harmonious education. As a result, it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with the rider.These qualities are revealed by: • The freedom and regularity of the paces. • The harmony, lightness and ease of the movements. • The lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the hindquarters, originating from a lively impulsion. • The acceptance of the bit, with submissiveness/throughness (Durchlässigkeit) without any tension or resistance.

2. The horse thus gives the impression of doing, of its own accord, what is required. Confident and attentive, submitting generously to the control of the athlete, remaining absolutely straight in any movement on a straight line and bending accordingly when moving on curved lines.

3. The walk is regular, free and unconstrained. The trot is free, supple, regular and active. The canter is united, light and balanced. The hindquarters are never inactive or sluggish. The horse responds to the slightest indication of the athlete and thereby gives life and spirit to all the rest of its body.

4. By virtue of a lively impulsion and the suppleness of the joints, free from the paralysing effects of resistance, the horse obeys willingly and without hesitation and responds to the various aids calmly and with precision, displaying a natural and harmonious balance both physically and mentally.

5. In all the work, even at the halt, the horse must be “on the bit”. A horse is said to be “on the bit” when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the pace, accepting the bridle with a light and consistent soft submissive contact. The head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck, and no resistance should be offered to the athlete.

6. Cadence is shown in trot and canter and is the result of the proper harmony that a horse shows when it moves with well-marked regularity, impulsion and balance. Cadence must be maintained in all the different trot or canter exercises and in all the variations of these paces.

7. The regularity of the paces is fundamental to dressage.

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