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Showing posts from 2015

That Most Precious of Dressage Horses ~ The Schoolmaster

If you are lucky, ( because nothing bad happens to him first), there arrives a time in your trained horse's career when you realize that your wonderful horse is having difficulty following through on all your demands with the same pizzazz and confidence he displayed previously.  This time arrives seemingly with no warning, as his decline in abilities due to the arbitrary nature of aging creeps forward like a bad piaffe over months and years.

This realization has arrived at my doorstep and I have opened the door and allowed it in. Ever conscious of doing 'that' right thing by our horse, Lafite, a decision needed to be made. The decision? Whether to now take all the many highs and lows which we have enjoyed together through his career that have facilitated his training from backing to Grand Prix and share their experience through him with others as their teacher. Their 'master'.


After much heart searching and deliberation, my husband Paul & I determined that desp…

Dressage Masters: Is it worth it?

Over the past 30 + years I have been privileged to work with many 'greats' within the world of dressage, some embodied the art, some more the sport of dressage. Every experience yielded a new insight and much learning but yes, it has been expensive.

There have been years when all I'd do was clinic. There have been years when all I did was show. There were years between when I just focused mostly on other 'life' stuff. Important stuff like kids. When like many other women I had to set aside my goals and be sure I was there for the three youngsters. These were the years when I also heavily invested both time and money in breeding horses. Well - kinda went together. I'm pregnant, let the horses be pregnant. Seemed to make sense. Looking back it still does and to this day I often advise a client that when they decide to have their next pregnancy to take their lovely mare and do the same. Those moments for me, of standing in the stall awaiting the imminent birth of …

More on How to Resolve The Dreaded Break at The 3rd Vertebrae

For those following along here is an update on how the resolution of the incorrect connection that this Andalusian stallion learned before he came to us is going along.

We have been working him softly and gaining ground and lift in his strides, being certain that he steps brightly forward to the bridle and takes his part of the equation. Focus has been on switching between the posting trot, where we begin and establish a relaxed, forward but not rushed, rhythm, to the sitting trot for just a few strides and then back to the post. The purpose is to be certain he is first off working correctly through his topline and building back strength before we sit and ask him to properly carry the rider's weight for longer periods. As he is a young horse his back is not developed and his sacroiliac can become stiff and tense if we over ask.

Sometimes when the rider sits, this horse comes up into the bridle and slightly in front of the vertical. While this looks very pretty and an uneducated e…

The Perfect Student

Many of us spend countless amounts of money on training, seeking to improve our horsemanship and anxious to soak up that endless vat of equestrian knowledge. In fact many folks actually hide such expenses from their significant other worried that the dollars spent would seem excessive to a non-horsey person.

Consider whether you are obtaining every last nugget of benefit from your lessons. What makes a perfect student? For many years I have been both student and trainer and here is what I appreciate in a student, and what I hope my coach appreciates in me.


Be ready and waiting and preferably warmed up and on your horse when your designated hour begins. Why waste the valuable time you are paying for completing a warm up? If the ring is already occupied a quick ask of the trainer before you enter is usually appreciated, and most of us don't mind if you come in five or ten minutes early. By that point we are already concluding the prior lesson.Dress appropriately. Yes just like everyt…

International Quality Competition Horses: Born & Made

For more than 25 years I have been involved in a very 'hands on' and sometimes ' bods on the ground' part of breeding, starting and marketing high quality horses for the discerning dressage competitor.

I am very excited to report that after a brief hiatus due to importation airfreight costs and market softness in the U.S.A. we are back at it at Willowview Hill Farm International.

Back at some point in the early '90's, when magazines such as Dressage Today sprouted and replaced the venerable Dressage & CT ( Oh, I miss Ivan and his smarts), we were importing our WVH horses from the Elite Hanoverian auction ( not the leftovers at Winter etc. auctions), horses we had purchased in Germany as weanlings, Donnerhall sons we had bred in the U.K. under contract etc., and presenting them at 'site' parties for discerning buyers.

Over the years we made partnerships happen between both new and already Olympic accomplished riders and new mounts.

A brand new Editor…