The DT team recently attended The Dressage Foundation’s (TDF) 2nd Annual Florida Dream Tour in Wellington. This TDF fundraising event benefits the Young Rider International Dream Program trip, where young riders travel to visit European dressage trainers for a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity. The Florida version offers the general public the chance to do the same in Wellington, and I think I can speak for virtually all who attended—the experience was incredibly inspirational.
This year the TDF group visited four farms and witnessed amazing horses and riders training on their home turf. Included in the tour was U.S. dressage supporter Betsy Juliano’s Havensafe Farm, international dressage rider Tuny Page’s Stillpoint Farm, Adult Amateur (and owner of the first dressage farm in Wellington) Janne Rumbough’s MTICA Farm and Denmark’s Mikala and Henrik Gundersen’s Bell Tower Farm. Among some of the many riders/trainers we observed were Laura Graves, Adrienne Lyle, David Marcus and this month’s DT cover girl, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and her own Rassing’s Lonoir.
Olivia, who currently rides at Juliano’s Havensafe Farm, brings us her training story on the importance of the inside aids. She says that so much emphasis is put on the outside rein that riders sometimes forget that the process of getting to an ideal connection with both reins starts with the inside aids. “Gaining submission with the inside aids gives us influence over the hindquarters and enables our horses to relate correctly to the outside aids,” she says. In “Defining the Rein Aids,” Olivia offers two exercises to help the rider establish understanding of the inside aids so the horse can be put on the outside aids. You can read the full article on p. 32.
In this month’s “Tips from Trainers Who Teach,” we hear from USDF Certified Trainer Melissa Allen on the importance of how to ride a correct bending line. She explains how keeping your seat in the correct position will allow the energy to flow through your legs and go to your hands in the right way. “The horse is like a hose and the energy is water,” she says. “You don’t want a kink in the hose caused by the seat positioned incorrectly. You want the hose to be fully open so the energy can go from the hind legs through the seat and to the hand. The position of your seat and your hips allows this to happen.” The story is on p. 40.
In addition to training stories we tackle the enormous topic of bitting in “Find the Bit that Fits” (p. 42), address the relevance of the horse’s asymmetry in “Understanding Saddle Fit” (p. 54) and take a glimpse of the excitement surrounding Omaha, Nebraska, home to the 2017 World Cup Finals (p. 66).
Until next time…