Skip to main content

Clinic Tours in Reverse




At Borba's, Lisbon..



It used to be that dressage competitors like my hubbie Paul and myself, spent many dollars traversing the pond to visit Europe to elevate our dressage knowledge by working with big name trainers and to buy big moving horses to bring home.


Trips to the Iberian Peninsula are common for us...and we love them!

Everything now is seemingly in reverse. European riders are commonly seen here in the U.S.A. taking lessons with our team riders and buying our horses.
Meantime we are conducting clinics abroad as well as here at home. In the past few years Paul and I have been pleased to give clinics in Spain, Portugal, England, Scotland and Switzerland. Our sometimes twice or three times a year sojourns over the Atlantic in addition to our U.S. schedule, keep us very busy indeed, and we never know quite what to expect on our arrival in foreign climes.


Repeat bookings are always appreciated by any clinician, as it tells us we have done a good job and that the participants and host have enjoyed the experience. Occasionally we may not be keen to repeat a visit to a location, usually due to issues with either the venue or the soundness of horses presented. That is a rare occurrence however, and if the host is efficient at organizing the event and there is keen interest to have us return, it usually happens. 

When traveling from venue to venue, it is always great to have the opportunity to explore the countryside and to occasionally manage to find time to stop in and visit with dressage colleagues, take a few lessons and add to our education in the saddle. Trends in types of horses being produced and sold, chatting with other horse breeders and time spent over the dinner table meeting friends and family of big and small name riders and trainers is always fun.


We're always up for an adventure and love training riders from other countries.


The world truly has become a smaller place in terms of the dressage market. While in all our 30+ years of breeding Iberian and Warmblood horses we only ever exported a few horses from the U.S.A., (to Germany, England and one to Japan!), we have bred horses abroad and imported them to our farm for sale and been much involved in increasing the available equine gene pool of fine horses for dressage aficionados here. 

On a recent clinic tour to England and Scotland, we stopped at several different breeders in search of young horses for import and were pleased to say we have been seeing horses just as good and better on our clinic travels here in the U.S. that have been home-produced. 


Clinic in the Lake District, UK keeps us rolling around the countryside in different mountains to home.

Price wise there is still a wide difference, as the European market is so well-versed in metrics and keeping tabs on the progeny that their market produces.

It still amazes me that American competitors will pay much more for a similar horse across the pond than here. The added risks and costs of transport not withstanding, the "purchase parties" that I used to take on trips abroad would still today follow their own guiding principle that something foreign is better and worth more money.



Importing Iberian horses to the different climate and diet in this country can be happily undertaken, but the horses do take some time to adjust to the huge changes in both factors. Prices abroad can be extremely high, and just as ever before the best horses are usually retained and protected from sale for export.


Paul riding the late Rico, Lusitano extroadinaire, at Borba's invitation in Lisbon.

So as a clinician that regularly works with, rides and still occasionally purchases and searches horses abroad for clients as well as in the U.S.A., I would urge both serious ami riders and professionals alike to consider the U.S. homebred horses in a more serious light before hopping a plane to cross the ocean. The market in the U.S.A. has evolved, the training here has also improved and there are plenty of lovely horses here on our soil.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Flying Changes Problems Answered

The fun to do, fun to train, dressage flying change is truly like dancing with your horse. Unfortunately all too often issues arise during training that make them less than perfect.

Major issues which are very common include swinging of the hindquarters ( which will cause lots of issues with tempi changes so be warned), changes that are late behind, swishing tails during the change, changes that are not forward, where the croup is high and the horse shows stiffness behind. In the latter event the horse will cover very little ground as he is not 'flying' through the change. Other issues that occur in training are running off after the change, bucking, coming above the bridle and the riders hand. Do not despair!

There is some discussion as to which leg should push hardest during the change and to whether there should be a lightening of the seat during the movement. From my experience and training, lightening the seat is to be avoided. Stay straight, do not collapse a hip and onl…

Dressage Bit Contact: The Dreaded Break at the 3rd Vertebrae and How to Resolve it

Schooling challenges: Inheriting a horse that has been trained incorrectly and breaks at the 3rd vertebrae - It is much easier to work a horse correctly from the beginning than to have to 'fix' an issue later on as we all know. Our latest equine protegee, this lovely stallion - has received minimal training and but has shown at Training Level in Canada ~ however somewhere along the line he was ridden incorrectly and allowed to hide behind the vertical. Though he scored well the judges comments noted inconsistent contact.

As he does not have an excessively long neck this is an interesting achievement. How to resolve it?

We'll begin by working him a little in front or above the bit, sending him forward and setting a good rhythm from the get go. Then we'll encourage him to take the reins and stretch over his back and out down in front, without putting his head too low i.e. not below the knee - he must learn to take the contact and to take his part of it consistently. Thi…