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It's A Boy!

Our 1st warmblood purchase, Oldenburg premier colt, Fenix, Furiano/Aktuell/Weltmeister.   Everything in life comes full circle and in horse breeding it is apparently no different. As dressage competitors/clinicians we began our horse owning experiences with two geldings, a Morgan and a Standardbred. The former was trained to do anything but stay grounded with four legs on the floor is seemed. Meanwhile the 16 year old Standardbred had spent his previous six years as a successful Grand Prix horse before we bought him. Only trouble was, the Grand Prix experience was in the showjumping arena not the dressage one. Of course since those early years in 1981 and forward from that time there were many breeds of horses that found their way into our yard, initially mostly male gender.  But then of course the horse breeding bug began. And after several OTTBs, Quarterhorses, an Appendix Quarterhorse, an Arabian and Welsh pony for the kids, we branched out into more mare ownership and stallions wit
Recent posts

What Judges Owe The Competitors

It's not the judges' fault there is no open option to offer advice My attendance at a recent show that was a non-dressage event revealed to me the reality of what showing and competition is for most equestrians. Although I competed in multiple disciplines in my youth I had simply forgotten how things worked outside of our lettered arena. This reveal was the seemingly outdated system of merely issuing points for qualifiers for future competition and placement of 1-6 and nothing further.   In dressage test sheets offer comprehensive help In dressage we are fortunate that every score for every aspect is defined in our tests, and that beside each score the judge offers a comment or two. Sometimes positive, often negative (but hopefully always constructive) critical comments. At the end of the test sheet there are collective remarks that further help the competitor understand the errors of their ways, areas where improvements can be made and offer praise where it is due. We are so l

Pivoting The Willowview Hill Farm Brand

Changes are coming and we don't mean the flying change or tempi variety. Paul and ANCCE stallion Celesto IV.   Your Grand Prix dressage duo, hubbie Paul and myself, are in the process of pivoting our dressage services here at Willowview Hill Farm, based in Stamford, NY. From January 2023, we will only be offering a limited number of general dressage clinics offsite and we will no longer offer our pick up a dressage lesson programs at client's barns. Instead, we are choosing to pivot our dressage services to focus our energies on our own private horses and training here at home. As many of you know we are currently under contract for a film production and a book deal is already underway for, " Road Map To Making The Grand Prix Dressage Horse." We will continue to offer dressage training for clients here at WVH for a limited number of horses.   We are also currently on a serious hunt to buy two top quality PRE/ANCCE or Lusitano young horses. At this point in time we are

Cow Hay Horse Hay It's All Hay Right?

  Hay production is part art and part science. The average hay farmer faces many challenges in regard to the hay production process and not every field of grass or legume is worthy of being baled as horse hay. And why is good horse hay so expensive? What's the difference between cow hay or general hay and horse hay products anyway? A lot! From how the field is seeded to how it is cut to how it is tedded and raked to how it is baled, to how it is stored, - everything matters. For example, most hay products available for purchase at feed stores and agricultural outlets like Tractor Supply Company, come with Round Up type chemicals included in the bag or bale for free. Their suppliers openly post that they use chemicals to cure their hay and to up their hay yields and decrease the time needed on the fields to produce it. Alfalfa seeds come as Round Up Ready seedlings - and regardless of how the pharma industry has changed the name from the well known carcinogen brand name to others, t

The Four Beat Canter Increasingly Common

In recent months our clinic giving experiences have provided much food for thought in regard to how the current dressage training and showing world seems to be developing.   Rarely do you see a 4 beat canter during a victory lap As many of you know, my husband Paul and I work as a duo in training and at clinics often work with one horse/rider combination together. A symposium style without the rehearsal and advance edit. During our teaching time we have both noticed an increasingly common issue in the canter work of new students, that of the four beat canter gait. Paul and Nikki Alvin-Smith   Back in the day Dr. Klimke used to talk about the canter having 'pop' in order to achieve good quality flying changes. And ultimately the goal is to accomplish balanced, 'unswinging' tempi changes. This advice is so true and something to always remember as you train horses up the levels.  A four beat canter has no place in dressage work. All canter work, including counter canter th

Casting Call for Dressage Riders - Spotlight on 101 Classes

The TV production " Road Map to Making The Grand Prix Dressage Horse" is underway and a casting call has gone out for dressage riders with a young horse to start.   Topliner will be trainer British international Grand Prix competitor/coach/clinician Paul Alvin-Smith of Willowview Hill Farm, Stamford NY. The filming will be completed at his farm located in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York, and it offers a super opportunity for dressage aficionados with a young horse to start to enjoy free training and board for their horse during 2022. " The Horse Studio is thrilled to be able to offer this rare opportunity to riders. Paul has started several horses from babies and made them to the Grand Prix level during his career, where he has competed to scores of over 72% at Grand Prix in Europe. Folks interested in auditioning can find more info on our website ," says Kathy Collins, a veteran staffer at The Horse Studio.    The production will enjoy the backdrop of

That Little Thing Called Connection

The bit and the reins are not the only connection point between horse and rider though you might thing so when discussions come up about that little thing called connection.   GP rider Paul Alvin-Smith schooling -   It seems almost inevitable that the beginner rider will focus almost entirely on their hands when they learn the basics of equitation. This is likely more the fault of the instructor who is understandably similarly focused worried that in all likelihood the horse may take exception to errant pulls on the reins and his sensitive mouth. Of course pointing the horse in the direction you'd like it to travel is not accomplished the same way as steering a car or bicycle. Although in some ways more a bicycle than a car, the neophyte equestrian may be forgiven for not making that connection. The error on the instructor or trainer's part however, could easily be corrected. The connection between horse and rider occurs at all points of physical and verbal contact. Mounted ri