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Dressage Aficionados - Police Ourselves Or Pay The Consequences

It is sad to see folks like British rider Lottie Frye with her Everdale competing at Amsterdam CDI receiving some significantly bad press and attack over her training style, and Cesar Parra, another Olympian this time representing Columbia who works in the U.S.A, subject to the same. Lottie Frye went from hero to zero in short order, the horse showcasing some telling signs that the training methods employed on the equine, who I'm sure is nonetheless much loved by Frye, are perhaps not the kindest. And from a classical dressage exhibit standpoint, certainly not correct and true. But the judges certainly rewarded it, placing her 1st. We all love our horses, but our actions speak louder than words   The reality is that whether the alleged activities of applying screws to horse's mouths such as mentioned in the FEI suspension of Parra, or the inevitable topic of rollkür training techniques are back, it seems that elite riders are still being rewarded for the results of those meth
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Free Trial of Grand Meadows Postbiotic - Yes Please!

Figuring out how to help our horses heal from bouts of disease is all part of the horse owner's experience. Fighting issues with tick borne diseases such as Lyme and Anaplasmosis, flare-ups of metabolic issues caused by the amazing amount of green grass we've had available all summer in the North-East, and figuring our how to help our older horses with hind gut issues and post-ulcer treatment support, is a constant battle. To the rescue comes a ground-breaking new product, Grand Meadows Postbiotic, that rather wonderfully also currently has a free trial offer available to our fellow professional trainers. Here at Willowview Hill Farm, we don't often endorse products, but this feed supplement product does seem to be a game-changer.    Launched in March 2023, the triumphs of this product that are being hailed by many pro trainers that have already been using it, is that not only does it resolve equine digestive upsets caused by antibiotic administration, and lower ulcer scor

Reasons Or Excuses For No Sitting Trot at 3rd/4th Level Dressage

Paul Alvin-Smith training an ANCCE stallion at WVH A fellow Grand Prix dressage rider recently equated the proposal to offer riders an opportunity to waive out of sitting to the medium and extended trot at 3rd/4th dressage level testing, the same as offering folks the chance to play pickle ball instead of tennis. While that may be a bit harsh, judges such as Natalie Lamping, who I entirely respect, believe differently. And she has been taken to task for her opinion in the press with quite a vehement response that has at times been very disrespectful. Lamping's colleague Janet Foy, chimed in to say the USDF committee on such matters has heard this all before, and that the idea when previously floated was, 'booed out the room.' Other fellow coaches/clinicians/competitors including Olympic medal earning dressage folks we have historically worked with to improve ourselves, have also spoken out against the idea. Let's consider the apparent reasoning behind allowing riders to

The Hay Season Cometh. We hope.

Weird weather this year has life at WVH in a reverse schedule - as clinic giving times are always wrapped around haymaking times and Mother Nature never shows her hand when it comes to when the hay will be ready for harvest. Peaceful times at Willowview Hill Farm   Rain or lack of it, doesn't just affect the grass growing where we're mowing - but also in the horse pastures. And this season we've seen more than a few horses that were booked to participate at clinics by their owners withdrawn due to laminitis flare ups or other metabolic issues. Thankfully after a two week dry spell we finally received an inch of rain last night. This week promises more precipitation which makes us happy, as our hay customers are anxious to purchase our 1st cut and we simply can't get going on it until Mother Nature boosts the hay crop yield. Mother Nature works her magic   All these weather issues are a stern reminder that we all rely on water and Mother Nature to provide it and hopefull

What's The Fuss About The Spanish Riding School?

  The firing of Andreas Hausberger, Chief Rider at the Spanish Riding School after 40 years of service is not the first 'firing' of the elite trainers at this heritage institution and most likely based on precedent won't be the last. I was fortunate to visit the SRS when the horses still lived at the palace. Shopping for a stallion at the school I enjoyed riding stallions in the grand hall and at Piber, and experienced first hand the work of the riders and Chief Rider at that time, Arthur Kottas. In my previous career I had also worked with an earlier Chief rider at the SRS, George Wahl after he had left the now, unenviable position. That was a long time ago now - back in the days where Christine Stückelberger and Granat were the highlight ride at the yard where I trained. The days of the classical dressage were numbered, and those last years of the 1990's were truly the end of the institutional training in the classical art. The advent of rollkür was embraced by the

Pet Peeves - Poor Horse Hands Handiwork

A rider without an independent seat will almost always go to their hands to help balance themselves in the saddle. Sadly, many dressage riders manage to acquire a trained horse that is 'finished' or at least headed toward FEI level and regardless of their poor 'horse hands handiwork' they gift themselves even more leverage with the use of a double bridle. Paul Alvin-Smith schooling his daughter's horse Manitak - Day 1 of double bridle introduction. Note lightness of weymouth rein.   It is not easy to develop a truly independent seat. But you can't jump this part of equestrian work without consequences in the progression of your own and that of your horse's training. Many folks don't have access to the use of a schoolmaster longe horse where they can ride without reins, hopefully to learn how to use the seat and legs to elevate the front of the horse, to direct 'traffic' as it were, speed, cadence, collection etc. However, there are some steps the

The Horse Clinic Business Alive and Kicking

For the past few decades hubbie and I have been out and about sharing our equestrian knowledge and in particular dressage training, as the 'Brit Grand Prix Duo' and our work has taken us far and wide.  It has been very rewarding, thought at times quite exhausting! As we kick in to 2023, we are thrilled to announce we are already fully booked for the limited 'book' we are offering to hosts for our clinics.   The post Covid reality that like everyone else caused us to pause and consider how we were spending our time and what direction we wanted to take our lives. We have to acknowledge that we are not getting any younger and that while we enjoy our travels giving clinics, it takes up much time and travel as everyone knows is a more intense experienced and more difficult to accomplish than ever.  So, now I've taken you around the block explaining the change, am also pleased to share that another 'result' of this cut back on travel for clinic giving has also res