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Showing posts from 2013

A Few Tips for Competing at Dressage Shows in Europe

Here's your horse. Here's your groom. All the gear you need is neatly packed and organized. All you have to do is show up. Well - not quite. Riding and competing in Europe with my Swiss coach and her elite team from her private yard has been a blast. There have been many ups and downs over the years for sure. Mostly ups. I'm not going to focus on the time my groom forgot my entire wardrobe trunk, or the time my horses arrived just 40 minutes before my first class ( actually I will later), or the time the airline somehow managed to lose one of two boots that were packed in the same boot bag ( most useful one boot), or me running flat-out through the terminal in riding boots and breeches carrying a shadbelly (that, thankfully, only happened once). Not the most comfortable footwear to travel in. But I did make the gate. Travel between European countries is easy enough but driving takes a lot of time due to the traffic and travel from the USA to Europe is expensive. I alway

The Quest for Equestrian Sponsorship

I recently attended an FEI Clinic in Westchester, New York, along with about 35 others, where my coach Greta Kemmer was holding a 'Fix Your Ride' style dressage event that was very well received and lots of fun. Greta lives in Switzerland and grew up as part of a large equestrian family in Germany before she married. At the end of the clinic there was a wrap up party and it was great to hear the lively discussion that came up about the wide divide in sponsorship between Europe and the U.S.A. and how it could be improved on this side of the pond. While there are often much bigger purses to be won in Europe and dressage events are well attended by folks from all walks of life, in the U.S.A. the purses have been improving. The attendance sadly however, not so much. Take the events in the Wellington 'fish bowl this winter season. Robert Dover was remarking that the turn out in the stands was very disappointing and worried that sponsors would disappear as a result. A very real

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