Informative Articles

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There's lots of good stuff out there, let's post it here.


The Dressage Foundation has started an online informative newsletter, TDF's OP-ED.  This OPportunity for EDucation contains articles about one of the sports we all love, Dressage.

The opening paragraphs of the first three issues are coppied below.  You can sign up for the OP-ED and get the latest news and articles in your in box.


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"The Power of the Seat"
By Anne Gribbons
After a lifetime of riding, teaching and judging, I am keenly aware of the fact that a horse cannot perform better than the rider is able to guide it.
Riders who love to ride come in all shapes and sizes. The lucky ones, built with legs to their eyeballs and short upper bodies will usually have the inside track on developing a stable and effective seat. However, there are a number of very successful riders whose conformation is just the opposite and it never got in their way. What is also clear, is that some riders have a natural feel for how to stay balanced within the horse's center of gravity, how to connect with the horse's mouth without interfering with the forward movement and how to influence them with just the right amount of pressure from leg or seat. Those are the dream students who make progress in almost every ride and gladden an instructor's heart.


"The Purpose and Execution of the Warm Up"
By Tom Noone
The purpose of the warm up is to supple the body and focus the mind of the horse, as well as to prepare the horse for the coming demands of the work. During the warm up, the rider should work to develop a balanced, willing horse that is increasingly on and between the rider's aids. I like to begin the warm up with a minimum of 10 minutes of walking on a long rein to let the synovial fluid lubricate the horse's joints, along with allowing a basic loosening of his muscles. This is also a good time for the horse to observe and become comfortable with his surroundings. During this time, I expect the horse to stay marching forward with a swinging back and the most over-track possible at this stage in the ride. If he is not marching on his own, I test his reaction to my leg by giving a light aid and ensuring that he has a good response. Remember to reward the horse with a quick pat and/or verbal praise when he does respond correctly. Even at this early stage in the ride, it will help him to understand what you are asking for, as well as help you to keep a happy and willing partner.


"School Figures: Their Meaning, Purpose and Use"
By the late Renate Lansburgh
In dressage, school figures mean straight and curved lines organized in the standard (20x60m) arenas. School figures are definite in shape and form. They provide the rider with the means for progressive, systematic, gymnastic training to improve the suppleness of the horse. The USEF Rule Book interprets 'suppleness' as follows: "Suppleness is the physical ability of the horse to shift the point of equilibrium smoothly forward and back as well as laterally without resistance. Suppleness is manifested by the horse's fluid response to the rider's restraining and positioning aids of the reins and the driving aids of the leg and seat. Suppleness is best judged in transitions." In other words, the horse's body is free of tension and lets the aids come through! The German word for suppleness is Durchlassigkeit, literally translated, 'let-throughness,' which is very descriptive indeed.
The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care  

Soundness & Lameness 

February 4, 2015



Feeding the Horse's Topline

We score a horse’s physical shape on a 1-9 scale, based on how much flesh is covering their ribs, withers, buttocks, etc. But researchers have begun to evaluate another area of the body—the topline—to complement the body condition score (BCS) and to help with evaluation of muscle condition.






Exercise's Effects on Horses' Back Dimensions 

and Saddle Fit

Researchers determined that exercise causes horses' back dimensions to change,

which could negatively impact saddle fit. Read Now


10 Early Warning Signs of Laminitis

Your horse's best chance of overcoming this hoof disease might lie in your ability to catch it early. Read Now



Things You Should and Should Not Put on a Horse's Wound

Is the ointment you're using on that cut helping or hurting? Remember these tips when treating horse wounds. Read Now



Common Dewormers: Still Effective Against Small Strongyles?

Study results revealed that three commercially available dewormers showed poor efficacy on the majority of farms tested. Read Now



Baled Hay vs. Pellets: What's Best for My Horse?

Considering a switch? A nutritionist weighs the benefits and drawbacks of feeding horses pelleted hay. Read Now

10 Things to Remember About Helmets - IHAD - International Helmet Awareness Day

Really, You Should Take Lessons By John Strassburger on horse-journal.com


Safety Recommendations You Can Use for Your Stable By Nancy S. Loving DVM - stablemanagement.com


Kentucky Equine Research

KER’s free downloadable five-page guide covers horse care basics: pasture, shelter, feed, water, vaccinations, grooming, and other health and management concerns. Download now.

EquiSearch Newsletter

Horses Require Regular Dentistry

and Teeth Floating for Proper Chewing

Find out why you should make regular dental checkups should be included in every horse's heath care program.   LINK


Dr. Getty Urges: “Don’t Let Your Horse Develop an Ulcer!”

Juliet Getty, PhD, never stops urging horse owners to “feed your horse like a horse,” for the simple reason that a horse, fed according to his physiology and instincts, will be healthier. Getty often speaks about free choice forage feeding as the first line of defense against ulcers, but there is more an owner can do to protect his horse from the pain and stress of this condition.

“For many reasons,” said the equine nutrition expert, “a steady, constant supply of forage keeps your horse’s digestive system healthy, but it’s especially important in ulcer prevention.”

Some basic anatomy knowledge reveals why: Unlike in the human, the horse’s stomach secretes acid all the time, even when empty. Chewing creates saliva, a natural antacid. If left without food, horses will chew on whatever they can, even their own manure, to neutralize the acid that is causing them physical pain and mental discomfort. And if left with absolutely nothing to chew on, the horse will commonly develop ulcers.

Horses in the wild do not get ulcers. The diet and lifestyle we impose on our horses are to blame for this disabling condition. The good news is encouraging, according to Getty, who reminded horse owners, “We have the ability to prevent ulcers through proper feeding and stress reduction.”
Read More »


The No. 1 Mistake Even Good Trainers Make

Learn how this costly error will derail a horse’s progress, and what you can do to avoid it.

Read More >






FEI Test Boo-Boos


By Margaret Freeman

Dressage has always been pretty forgiving of a momentarily addled rider, unlike the hunter/jumper and eventing worlds where, if you have a brief brain freeze and slip past a jump out of order, you’re done. But, that’s about to change.

Last month, the FEI voted that a first error in a dressage test would incur a deduction of 2 percentage points (rather than the previous 2 points for a first error and 4 points for a second error), and a second error would mean elimination. Part of the rationale behind the rule change was reported to bring the penalty for rider error in dressage more in line with that of jumper horse sports, and the original proposal was for a deduction of 3 percentage sports. The FEI tests that take effect Jan. 1, 2016 have been printed to reflect this change.


The Unwritten Rules of Dressage Test Riding

Follow these points for each dressage level to improve your dressage test scores. 

The members of the U.S. Equestrian Federation's (USEF) Test Writing sub-committee recently had an interesting discussion about dressage test Directives?the brief explanations of what the dressage judge looks for that are printed next to each movement on a dressage test. We wondered how we could make the dressage test Directives more clear? Does anyone even read the Directives? After much discussion, we decided: 1) There are many dressage test movements that dressage riders and dressage trainers don't really understand how to do and; 2) it would be too lengthy to write a complete description in each little box on the dressage test. These "little rules" are not in the USEF Rule Book either. To that end, I am hoping to share with the Dressage Today audience what I consider the "unwritten rules" of dressage test riding.


How to Embrace "Incompetence"

By Eliza Sydnor Romm

FEI trainer and instructor Eliza Sydnor Romm explains the best mental approach to handle learning curves.

You know that feeling you get when you watch a really good rider on a really beautiful horse? Let’s say it’s Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro (shown above), and you have the feeling that the horse and rider are doing the movements effortlessly, without a care? Now, I bet you also know that feeling of trying to accomplish something with your own horse, but instead, you end up feeling utterly and completely incompetent.

(Learn how you learn - by going from Unconscious Incompetence to Conscious Incompetence to Conscious Competence and finally to Unconscious Competence.) 



The Klimke Approach to Dressage

By Silke Rottermann

Germany’s Olympic eventing gold medalist and Grand Prix dressage rider, Ingrid Klimke carries on her legendary father’s classical approach to dressage. 

Often one hears riders in whatever discipline say that their aim is to bring the horse to a certain level or to place highly at certain shows. These goals are absolutely legitimate, but we must not forget that they are only a byproduct of what should be our highest of aims: To make our horses more beautiful and keep them healthy through their training. 

Read More


Charles de Kunffy Explains the Meaning of “Forward"

By Charles de Kunffy

Learn the true meaning of the term "forward" and how to put it to use in your dressage training.

Read More


Kindergarten Exercises to Learn the Aids

By George Williams with Beth Baumert

World Cup finalist George Williams gives you nine exercises to become more effective with the application and timing of your aids. 

A routine I call “kindergarten exercises” is for horses and riders needing to learn more about the rhythmic application and timing of aids. These exercises translate human thought into a common language both horse and rider can understand: the aids. Although these exercises sound very intellectual, they are really simple. They are kindergarten basics—the beginning of concepts I learned from Karl Mikolka, a former chief rider of the Spanish Riding School and a master of dressage exercise. By doing these exercises, you’ll teach your horse to respond to your leg and rein aids in an increasingly sophisticated manner. Developmentally, the horse learns how to respond to the aids in three phases: The horse relaxes from the rhythmic application of his rider’s aids. Once he is relaxed, he can become more obedient to properly timed aids and yield to them. As he gains understanding, he becomes quick and light enough to the aids so that he engages his hindquarters and responds to the half halt by carrying increased weight behind, giving his rider the “desired effect” by responding to every nuance of his rider’s seat and aids. In this article, we’ll do nine exercises to help you achieve the benefits of the final phase. 

Read More

Thoughts on Soaking Hay for Horses    By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 23, 2014

Some horses can safely eat almost any type of hay. Other horses—those that are overweight or have various metabolic conditions—may get along better on hay with a low nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) level, thus delivering fewer calories per flake (biscuit) or bale. Read More


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