Dressage topics and dressage tests as well as many other fun horse topics are included in our blogs.

  • Riding The 20-Meter Circle

    Riding The 20-Meter Circle

    20 Meter Dressage CircleRiding The 20-Meter Circle

    Why Use the 20-meter circle to improve lateral flexion on your horse and learn how to change your bend when you change direction. When you ride on a 20-meter circle, you teach your horse to soften to the inside aids, and you learn how to ride your horse across their body from the inside leg (first) to the outside rein (second). Think Things to remember when riding a circle is that a circle is circular, so you are the same distance from the center at every step on the circle. Look at the spatial relationship of the circles in the Small and Standard Dressage Arena while riding the circle your horse's body arcs following the curve of the circle. So the inside of your horse’s body on the track is shorter than outside of your horse’s body on the track of the circle. Notice Circles will reveal stiffness in both the horse and the rider, and if you are uneven with your reins, the track of the circle is difficult to follow. Take note if it is easier to track one direction, if so then your horse may have a problem. Perhaps your horse is less flexible in one direction which is common, and the remedy is to spend more time in the awkward direction. When riding the circle your horse’s inside hind foot should track up into your horse’s inside front foot, and your horse’s outside hind foot should track up into your horse’s outside front foot. And you (the rider) shoulders and hips should match the horses bend. Plan Start riding the first 20-meter circle at the walk and plan your course. Remember that the bend is constant all the way around the circle. Think of a circle as having 4 points and ride from point to point on a curved line. Aids When you begin in this example tracking to the right: use the right rein or inside rein lightly to ask for for the bend and provide direction. The left rein or outside rein maintains contact and keep your horses straight on the circle. The riders right leg or inside leg stays on the girth encouraging the horse to move forward and to bend through its body to the inside of the circle. The left leg or outside leg is held slightly behind the girth to control your horse's hind end and keep it on the curved track and moving forward. Remember you are seeking lightness so if you have an unresponsive horse make a correction then return to the light aid.
  • Dressage Training 20 M Circles vs  Corners

    Dressage Training 20 M Circles vs Corners

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    Riding a Circle vs the Corner in the Dressage Arena

    Dressage Training Corners and CirclesWith an understanding of the spatial relationship of a circle in a dressage arena let's look at some tools to help horse's and rider's riding through the corner. Use cones to create a path and define the difference between a corner and a circle. On the ground start in the corner and measure 9 feet from the wall where the corners meet. Place a cone at your feet. Do this for each corner and in the center of the arena using an imaginary line from B to E. Once mounted you begin this exercise on the path between the arena wall and the cone, this is your corner. The path inside the cones is your 20 meter circle. Start this exercise at the walk keeping your training pyramid in mind. Look for a rhythmically relaxed walk and follow the path of the corners then at A or C move off the track and try the circle. While working the circle set a goal to keep your horse the same all the way, around the circle. This means the same pace and the same bend. On a circle, you maintain the same bend all the way around to achieve a round circle. Always take the time to teach yourself and your horse the exercise at the walk before trying the trot or canter. Once you have achieved this goal reward and take note of your horses physical and mental state before starting a new challenge. If your horse is fatigued mentally or physically call it a good day! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
  • Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix

    Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix

    [vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text animation_loading="no" animation_loading_effects="fade_in"] Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix By Louise Parkes [caption id="attachment_10623" align="alignleft" width="400"] Isabell WERTH (GER) rides WEIHEGOLD OLD[/caption] She’s 47 and formidable, an exquisite horsewoman and a long-time legend as the most medalled athlete in her sport. Despite a few glitches in her performance with the fabulous mare Weihegold today, Germany’s Isabell Werth won the opening Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha, Nebraska by a comfortable 2.5 mark margin when scoring 82.300.. “I’m completely happy, but I’ll have to calm my horse down before Saturday because she got so excited in the prizegiving!” Werth includes five Olympic and three World team golds amongst the massive medal haul she has accumulated during her amazing career. She also has two FEI World Cup™ titles under her belt, the first collected 25 years ago in Gothenburg (SWE) and the next in Las Vegas (USA) in 2007, and she’s hungry for a third. But it isn’t going to be a walk-in-the-park because the home side’s Laura Graves (29) was breathing right down her neck today when posting the runner-up score of 79.800 with Verdades, and is bidding to become only the third American ever to take this prestigious title. [caption id="attachment_10622" align="alignright" width="400"]Laura GRAVES (USA) rides VERDADES Laura GRAVES (USA) rides VERDADES[/caption] “I think anything is possible!” Graves replied confidently when asked if she thought she could beat Werth in Saturday’s medal-deciding Freestyle to Music competition, and she has to be taken seriously after finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics with this horse who was so difficult as a youngster that she almost gave up on him. Britain’s Carl Hester (49) finished third with Nip Tuck and will be another strong challenger on Saturday when just 14 of today’s 16 starters will line out. New Zealand’s Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH were elminated when blood was found in the horse’s mouth post competition and Hanna Karasiova (BLR) and Arlekino failed to make the 60% cut-off mark. Result:
    • Weihegold (Isabell Werth) GER, 82.300
    • Verdades (Laura Graves) USA, 79.800
    • Nip Tuck (Carl Hester) GBR, 76.671
    [caption id="attachment_10624" align="alignleft" width="400"]Carl HESTER (GBR) rides NIP TUCK Carl HESTER (GBR) rides NIP TUCK[/caption] Facts and Figures: 16 riders from 13 nations (Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and USA). A total of 194 human and 215 equine athletes have competed in the four FEI World Cup™ Dressage Leagues, aiming to qualify for the Omaha Final. The winning rider, Isabell Werth, is a multiple champion and two-time FEI World Cup™ Dressage title-holder. There will be 16 participants in the FEI World Cup™ Final 2017. Title holder Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) is not competing in Omaha as his horse Glock’s Flirt was lame on the day of departure (25 March). Jessica Von Bredow Werndl (GER) also withdrew from the Final after her horse Unee B developed colic at the airport in Amsterdam prior to departure. Isabell Werth GER - 1st “I was well prepared but you never know what to expect! It was my fault we made mistakes in the two-tempis but I always felt safe. It wasn’t easy at the start of my test though because the crowd went crazy when they announced Laura’s score!” Laura Graves USA - 2nd “I came here to win, and to finish second to Isabell today feels a lot like winning! It’s my second World Cup Final, we competed in Las Vegas (in 2015) and this has proved how much my horse has developed over the last two years, he felt very honest and I’m very excited about competing on Saturday!” Carl Hester GBR - 3rd “I always give my horse an easy ride in the Grand Prix so that he’s perfectly rideable for Saturday. I don’t expect to be too far behind on Saturday.” [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
  • Why Equine Thermography?

    Why Equine Thermography?

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    Whey Equine Thermography?

    My friend Kelly Jewel posted this video to Youtube the other day, and it caught my eye.   I have always been curious about what equine thermal imaging is, and this bit of video got me motivated enough to do a little research.  Thermal imaging works by reflecting heat from the body of your horse, and it creates a pictorial representation of your horse's surface temperature.  By measuring your horse's skin temperature, it illustrates alterations in the circulation of deeper tissues.
    This image gives us a tool to "read" what is going on under the surface of your horse's body.  Heat may be a sign of inflammation or a "hot spot" while "cold spots" may be a sign of injuries that reflects swelling, decreased circulation in damaged tissue or the presence of scar tissue.

    Equine Thermography  is useful in:

    • Saddle fitting
    • Preventative care
    • As a diagnostic tool
    • Checks tendons and ligaments
    • Checks hoof balance
    • Monitors joints
    • Monitors circulation
    • Measuring progress
    So, in a nutshell, thermal imaging gives you the inside track on your horse's physical health by helping locate injuries, specifically when your horse is presenting with inconsistent or unclear symptoms. To learn more visit Racers to Riders a Thoroughbred retraining center run by trainer Kelly Jewell. We source quality animals and thoughtfully educate them ready for a new career and a loving home. For more details please visit www.racerstoriders.co.uk or email: racerstoriders@gmail.com.
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