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Showing posts from January, 2012

Rider Fitness. The Burning Question.

Like most riders of a certain age for me the question of fit and fitness in the saddle poses a significant obstacle to progress in my riding.

Yes I have my excuses. A surgery nearly ten years ago that wrecked my hormone balance. But you have to take care of the yourself don't you. Actually, on reflection the surgery I underwent was possibly not the best option. Unfortunately my doctor did not relay to me the hormone impacts that would result from a fairly minor procedure. Not a major event in the grand scale. Though at the time I was very stressed. Certainly nothing compared to what others have suffered and continue to suffer. Net result was a massive weight gain, an incremental advance in all you don't want reflecting back at you in the mirror. In fact, you wonder where you've gone. Inside you feel the same. Outside you are completely different. And yes, people treat you differently. That's your own fault though isn't it. You should diet, exercise and get on it.

Dressage and CT. How dressage benefits eventers. Boost your event scores this season.

Essentially you are asking your highly electric equine partner to settle down and pay attention in the confines of a small space just as he arrives 'amped up' with anticipation at coming out to do something he presumably is good at and enjoys ( well those two go together I guess).

As you probably know many eventing 'events' are won in the dressage ring. Well almost. How do people like Bruce and Buck Davidson, Pippa Funnell and David and Karen O'Connor manage to win so many events? Could it be that horses and riders that excel at dressage are actually better jumpers and cross country athletes? And why is dressage before the cross country portion of the event?


The latter question is easy to answer. It makes perfect sense when you think about the order of go - make sure your horse is safely on the aids and listening before you head out on your run. Show that your horse is obedient no matter what and ensure the horse that will blast around demanding courses like Badmi…

To Breed or Not to Breed. That is the question...should you 'stop foaling around.'

As I watch the freezing rain descend on this damp gray day, my thoughts turn to the joys of Spring.  In particular to the immense pleasure I derive from watching a foal take his first bounce around the pasture.

Here's an oil painting I produced this time last year.  Inspired by the lure of Spring foals. For those that are interested, the foal captured is a Hanoverian colt ( WVH Majik, Maronjo x Gimli/Grande ), that we bred at our farm, Willowview Hill Farm back in 1993. He enjoyed a career as an event horse and then went on to dressage. Although born bay he turned into a massive gray beast, full of true bounce and at times a good measure of questionable attitude. The picture is for sale at my studio by the way http://www.NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com. Sorry, have to plug my art. And I donate a percentage of proceeds to equine retirement organizations.


This horse and the many that came after him, taught me so much. I never became any better at bouncing during a fall and at times lost c…

The Push & Pull of Classical Dressage

It's a chilly -15 F out today and not ideal riding weather. I look with zero envy at our students booting up readying for their morning clinic with Greta and I. Our " Speaking French think Philippe Karl " clinic will soon be officially underway. And I should give a shout out to http://www.TheHorseStudio.com, The International Equestrian Shop, for their ongoing sponsorship. Everyone appreciated the hot breakfast they provided this morning, fried egg on a roll with starbucks coffee and a freshly squeezed orange juice certainly hit the spot. Later they are presenting a catered lunch, a trunk sale and an equine art for charity silent auction and their welcome baskets went down a treat. But I digress.

The question of the day is the push and pull of classical dressage.  The nemesis of every rider. Following German teaching, we have all seen the big moving warmbloods hounded by the riders forceful seat and leg aids slamming into unrelenting hands at the Elite auctions in Verden…

Welcome Dressage Aficionados

Welcome to my new blog - dressage diva central. Well - not really. While the haute couture from America and Europe will be avidly addressed, and there will be some 'whining' and 'wining' going on, let's learn how to sit better, ride better and feel better. Masters of art and of dressage have historically been men, so isn't it time to look at iconic women in our sport too. It was Karin Rehbein and Donnerhall that inspired me - yeah - hubby Hubert rocked too. Wanna visit Grunwoldhof but can't afford the airfare? I'll fill you in. Lots to share. Can't wait.

Before we get started. Reality sets in. Snow here in the mountains of beautiful New York State and my own herd of homebreds and home trained horses to care for ( including my Grand Prix Andalusian/DWBx featured above, stable name 'Tigger", because of his ever so bouncy springy legs), but must out and at it.

Please sign in to follow. Love sharing.  Meantime,  thought for the moment:-

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