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And Then There Was 1

It's never easy to go with your gut and turn down someone that is interested in buying your horse. But know when you have found the right fit for your horse you will know it immediately and so will the buyer.

As many of you know hubbie and I are retiring from horse breeding, or more correctly, we have retired. Clinics and working our private yard of horses will be our focus for the future, that and our organic hay business where we home produce all the hay we sell.

After an off/on again marketing of our broodmare band we are thrilled to announce we have sold Gambol's Middernacht WVH, aka Midi - and even better we once again have sold one of our horses to folks that we know well as both students and as friends. It truly doesn't get any better than that! Patience has paid off.

During marketing, visits from prospective buyers on Midi I have turned away two parties as we didn't deem them suitable for one reason or another. Now we have just one broodmare remaining, our proven …
Recent posts

Ignoring Reality - The Lame Horse In A Clinic

Unfortunately from time to time horse riders are faced with a difficult decision. They have worked hard to train and prepare for a clinic riding experience with a noted name with their daily trainer, and their horse has been going reasonably well as far as they can tell.

The moment they enter the arena to participate in the clinic, it becomes clear to the clinician that the horse is not sound. The horse may act up in frustration at the demands that are being asked of it by the rider, and the rider and their daily trainer may have not recognized it or if they have, perhaps have chosen to ignore it as a 'training issue.' 

My husband Paul and I give dressage clinics internationally, and work as a 'duo' in training horse and rider at these events. When we are faced with a horse that we see is clearly not 100%, it is difficult for us to point it out in such a public venue to the rider and their trainer. We fully appreciate that much money, time and effort has been spent by th…

Dressage Duo On The Move _ Clinic Giving Abroad

Hubbie and I have been out and about giving clinics as usual. We just returned from our last tour which was in England and Scotland, which naturally included staying in a castle. It was awesome and fun but also very tiring. I think we've just about recovered!

We traversed more then 1600 miles in our gallant rental vehicle. The roads were sometimes single lane and difficult to navigate, especially across fells and around lakes in the Lake District. 

Our trip took us from a clinic in Buckinghamshire up to Lincolnshire, then onto Scotland just South of Edinburgh. We crossed over to the West coast of Scotland to Aye, before heading South to the beautiful Lake District for another clinic and then on to Shropshire for a day or two. Then it was back down South to Buckinghamshire before we headed back home from Heathrow. 

The horses and riders we saw were a broad mix of talent, from those starting out their young talented horses to veteran competitors who sought polish for their forthcoming …

Is It Best To Walk Like A Horse, Talk Like A Horse?

I recently showed a young mare to a prospective buyer who brought along her daughter who was also her trainer. The couple were searching for a dressage horse that they could also use in their lesson program as a therapy horse. Against my better judgement and wealth of experience I agreed to allow the trainer to work directly with the young mare from the ground. Well, at least. I agreed to allow her to longe it when she made the request on the phone.

The mare was bridled with a bit in place, and the longe line attached to the bit as is our usual practice. The horse was home-produced at our farm and kept for our breeding program and to date had received perhaps 24 or so longe lessons and been sat on just a few times in preparation for sale as we are retiring from horse breeding. She had never put a foot wrong in all those sessions.

After I had shown the horse on the longe line, I offered the trainer, a nice young lady that was very polite, the opportunity to longe the horse. Bear in mind …

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…

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…