Skip to main content


Excellent Rule Change - Double Bridle NOT Mandatory in 2019 at 4/5/6 star CDI's

Finally, the folks that control the rules of dressage as a sport are acknowledging that we need to allow the use of a snaffle bridle at higher levels of competition. The official 2019 FEI rule change:

2.2. For CDI 3 * / 4 * / 5 * / U25 and Championships / Games (except Ponies and Children), a double bridle with cavesson noseband is mandatory ie bridle and curb with curb chain . A combined noseband may be used without the lower "flash" The curb chain can be made of metal, leather or a combination. Lip strap and rubber, leather or sheepskin cover for curb chain are optional. Neither a cavesson noseband nor a curb chain may ever be so tightly fixed so as to harm the Horse.2.2.1.: A snaffle bridle or double bridle is allowed in CDI1 * and 2 *, CDIJ and CDIY.2.2.2.: For CDIP / Ch, Ponies and Children Championships, and marked on test sheets, a snaffle bridle is used.A noseband is still mandatory when a horse/pony is ridden in a snaffle:

2.2.3.:  A plain snaffle bridle is requ…
Recent posts

Is Your Bottom Too Big For Your Saddle?

In dressage the saddle is often deeper than its counterparts in showjumping or eventing and the space and place where the rider necessarily sits should encourage a centering of the rider's weight upon the horse.

In many instances everyone goes with saddle purchasing by what is readily available in the shop or online in popular seat sizes for adults of 16-17.5 inches.
Unfortunately in many cases we simply don't fit into that space properly. Yes, our bottoms are too big! 

Not only do our behinds not fit into the correct position within the saddle, this significantly affects the position of legs and angle of our hips.

Vanity has no place in riding. Many of us age out of the 120# weight bracket and 17 inch bottom! If you sit upon the saddle and not in the saddle, then you are not only doing a great disservice to yourself, but also to your horse. Soundness issues for both of you will prevail and your spines will not align as they are supposed to do.

I visited with a video producer at E…

The Grand Prix Dressage Test ~ All Chopped Up With No Place To Show

The new shortened version of the Grand Prix dressage test will be showcased at Olympia, London, UK, this December. The new test has not been well received in the dressage community and there are many good reasons why.

The FEI seems to have gone for a shorter test, thinking this means more spectator interest which is ridiculous as the reduction of the test by 2 minutes per test will not mean more viewers. What it will do is to reward the horses at the very top of the sport already, that have crowned their talents with excellent 3 'p's movements. 

The new test offers lots of activity early in on the test which means no time to allow the horse and rider to settle into the test. While much of it feels more like an Intermediate test than a Grand Prix, the missing elements such as the zig zags would have Wolfgang Niggli turning in his grave. The rein back also missing will have many classical dressage trainers also frustrated. I am sure from my personal training experiences with the l…

Retiring From Horse Breeding ~ Hard To Let Go

If you've ever produced a foal from your mare and orchestrated the entire breeding process from start to finish from sire selection, AI and delivery with imprint training and weaning, then you know how rewarding the process of horse breeding is and how it has enriched your life.

Sure there are ups and downs, and I do count my blessings that in 25+ years of breeding registered Hanoverians, Dutch and Baroque horses, we have never lost a foal or mare or had any mishaps. Aside from one mare who resorbed her foal one year and went through a false pregnancy period thereafter. I know that false pregnancy is not strictly a veterinary term, but it certainly fits the experience we had in that particular instance.

Now it is time to retire from the business of horse breeding. All the horses running about out there with the Willowview Hill Farm WVH, either as a prefix or suffix, are a testament to our dedication to produce kind, athletic sporthorses for the dressage world. Their progeny continue…

Dancing With Dressage Stars

It's important for all trainers to keep training with other trainers. Stagnation is the enemy of progress and it can also just be hard to keep yourself motivated as a trainer or clinician. You need fresh material and fresh knowledge to bring to your students and you always want to keep improving both your own training of horses and the training of those under your wing.

Over the past 25 years or so my husband Paul and I, a duo of Grand Prix dressage competitor/coach/clinician and trainer, have always kept busy continuing our education so that we can share that wealth with others.

Access to the top echelon of dressage riders worldwide, is not available to all and by taking part when invited to special symposiums, or hosting Olympic level clinicians for our regular students as well as to our own benefit as riders, we are very happy to provide some added value to our valued students.

Our annual, 'Ride With An Olympian' clinic is a prime example of how much fun it can be as a cli…

A Solid Foundation is Everything in Horse Training

Over the many years of training horses, not just our own homebreds or imports but also for clients that send them in for schooling and development, we know that horses need time to develop their own personalities and to develop their confidence. With horses that don't belong to us but are under our wing for a portion of their training and careers, we have additionally experienced a variety of clientele with a myriad of notions and levels of education as to just what constitutes what in the training pyramid.

Our mantra is based in the classical training that we have received and that we continue to receive from notable sources/masters of dressage around the world. Simply put, a solid foundation is fundamental to the success of the horse in his training. 

Some owners know basically nothing about dressage. They have seen a pretty horse or two dancing at an exhibition, have even developed an eye as a breeder and know lots about bloodlines and can read the studbooks out loud almost from …

The Balance of Life with Horses, Home and a Horse Business

Like any business your horse business will change over time. If you are doing things right it should constantly evolve and grow. And, just like any other endeavor in your life, there are times when a critical evaluation is a good idea. An opportunity is thus created to re-balance life and responsibilities.

For hubbie and I, we have had a busy time with the horse industry over the years. Both of us have trained both horses and students to the Grand Prix level, and helped train many horses for colleagues, especially those in the breeding world that need polish put on their horses for sale. We have worked extensively to learn more about dressage and enjoyed time spent with iconic names such as Herbert Rehbein, Gabriella Grillo, the Eilberg family, Ewe Shulten-Baumer, the Kemmers ( both Swiss and German sides of the family), George Theodorescu, Wolgang Niggli, Gen. Jack Burton, Raul de Leon, Jim Belman (who also taught Dane Rawlins and Paul Alvin-Smith at the start of their careers),and ma…