News Update from Horse Radio Network!!
Western Dressage is taking over the last week of every month on the Dressage Radio Show. Hosts Karen Abbattista and Timothy Christensen will lead the way discussing one of the fastest growing disciplines in the horse world. Listen to the December episode featuring a fireside chat with legendary horsewoman, Lynn Palm!
Western Dressage is taking over the last week of every month on the Dressage Radio Show. Hosts Karen Abbattista and Timothy Christensen will lead the way discussing one of the fastest growing disciplines in the horse world. Listen to the December episode featuring a fireside chat with legendary horsewoman, Lynn Palm!
- Co-Hosts: Karen Abbattista from Karen Abbattista Dressage and Timothy Christensen of the Training Four Life
- Link: Western Dressage Association of America
- Link: Western Dressage Association of Florida
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- December 12th - A letter from AQHA....VP Keys to my Karma, in just six months of showing, is awarded the Open Superior in Dressage! Many thanks to Tim Christensen and Linda Henry for allowing me to ride this amazing horse!
- December 4th - USDF All Breeds Awards - Congratulations to Deb King and her AQHA gelding I'm Quincy's Main Man, winning the USDF Vintage Amateur All Breed Champion Award at First Level!
- November 11th-12th - WDAFL Championship Show, Grand Oaks Equestrian Resort. Team Tim Christensen rocked it once again! Tim and VP Keys to my Karma scored 82.742% , earning two 10's, for their Basic 1 ride. Tim and Chelsea (VP Keys to my Karma) were High Point Champion of the show. Tim earned several division Champion titles, including one on his own horse, Jewel by Execute. JJ is an award-winning halter horse who has a new career in Western Dressage. Also of note, Terri Ross and Zips Bit of Luck were AA Intro Champions, also earning two 10's and a score of 78.958%. Laura Zalkin and Lopefully moved up to Level 1 quite successfully, earning the AA Level 1 Champion title. Rachel Freeman and Moon's Black Apollo were Division Champion for Gaited horses. The weekend was also filled with educational events and presentations, all of which were well received.
- September 27th-October 2nd - WDAA World Championships, Guthrie, OK - Team Tim Christensen rocked the show! 6 World Championship titles, 4 Reserve Championships, numerous Top 3 placings, and too many Top 5's and Top 10's to count! Of note: Junior Rider Melissa Cruzan and Hug Me Hot Rod were Basic Level World Champions, Division Champions, High Scoring Junior Rider, and High Score FL Rider. Rachel Freeman and Moon's Black Label were Reserve Champions Intro Level, and High Scoring Breed Champion. Tim Christensen and Linda Henry's VP Keys to My Karma (Chelsea) were Reserve Champion Level 1. Tim's halter horse, Jewel by Execute, with only a few dozen rides on him, took the show in stride with Top 5 and Top 10 placings. Laura Zalkin and Lopefully and Terri Ross and Zips BIt of Luck also ranked in the Top 5 and Top 10. I was there as support staff, coaching the team to victory!
- July/August/Sept - Wow, has this summer been flying by! No news is good news (I can't believe my last update was June, so sorry). I've been super busy with clinics and shows. There were two clinics for Lakeland Dressage Association, a clinic for STRIDE, and a Western Dressage clinic with Tim on the east coast of FL . Several rated USEF/USDF shows, all extremely successful. VP Keys to my Karma continues to improve, with scores now well into the 70's at Training Level, scoring 9's for her halts, free walk, and stretch circle. I'm having fun showing a 5 yr old Andalusian, RC Kaiser, for owner Mary Lynn Stanton, and she showed him at Grand Oaks , smiling at her score of over 65%! HF Calli Daaba and rider Susan Mori are currently ranked in the top 5 with USDF All-Breeds at First Level in the Arabian Horse Division. Debbie King and Quincy are also in the top 5 in All-Breeds with AQHA. And, Dante and I were featured in the September issue of the USDF Connection!
- June 18th-19th-Dressage Under the Oaks III. VP Keys to My Karma and Lopefully showed successfully once again, scores in the mid-sixties. Every show they get a little more forward, a little more supple, and are coming into their own. So proud of them!
- June 11th-12th- The Sunshine Sunburn Classic I & II, Florida State Fair Fairgrounds. VP Keys to My Karma had her best show yet, with scores of 71 and 73%. Congratulations to owner Linda Henry! Lopefully should have scored a 15 on submission, having to show in the midst of thunder, lightning, and a torrential downpour, with a very disobedient horse doing his best to toss his rider in the adjacent ring. But, Hope did her job with barely an ear flick. Owner Laura Zalkin has a gem in that mare!
- June 4th - Judging LAHUF Dressage Show. I saw some super cute ponies I wouldn't mind taking home! I had a lovely compliment from the show manager, Judy Fannin. Apparently, not every judge is as supportive with their comments. I still feel that judging is a privilege, and I am honored to be able to sit in that booth at C. I am often that rider in the ring, and I know what it takes to get there. Each and every competitor deserves our respect, our support, and our encouragement. They are the reason we are here!
- May 28th-29th - Dressage Under the Oaks II. Chelsea and Hope found their forward and love it! These AQHA mares keep getting better, more solid scores over 60%. I tied myself for first place in one of the classes, how often does that happen? The show was not without it's challenges, but that's how we get better. Every obstacle is an opportunity to learn and grow, and we are now seeing 8's more frequently on those test sheets. What I also love about these two mares is while they don't always get the big scores, you don't have the big headaches....I can hack around the show grounds on a loose rein and not worry about a thing. I could NOT do that with Kartoon!
- May 14th-15th - Training Four Life Clinic with Tim Christensen, Myakka City. We had some milestones this weekend! It's amazing how far some of these riders have come. From never having formal training to successfully navigating a respectable dressage test, that's an accomplishment. And, it doesn't matter who you are or what you ride, this group is welcoming, supportive, and really wants to see everyone succeed. We have some regulars who do each and every clinic and it is just so much fun to work with them and watch them reach their milestones!
- May 7th - Judged Lakeland Dressage Association's Schooling Show. What a blast! Fell in love with a super cute fell pony who had no idea he wasn't a big horse, and got to judge some lovely horses and riders. Great day for all!
- April 30th-May 1st - Sunshine Classic III at Triple J Arena. DWF Dolly Parton with rider FIona Hart showed Saturday in the open all breed portion of the weekend, expanding their repetoire and showing halter, showmanship, horsemanship, equitation, and trail. I particularly like the trail classes. We play around with obstacles in lessons. It's fun, practical, and let's you use your dressage in a way that keeps the horse engaged and involved. The dressage show on Sunday was our biggest yet, over 80 rides! A big thank you to our dressage judge, Elaine Sherer, for being a super trooper during the really long day!
- April 17th-18th - Training Four Life Clinic in Myakka City with Tim Christensen . We introduced a new format, offering group instruction on Saturday and private coaching sessions on Sunday, with a discounted rate for riders participating in both days. This gives us more time to address individual concerns and to focus on specific issues. Horses and riders both appreciated it!
- April 10th-11th= April Dressage Concours, Fox Lea Farm, Venice. Lopefully, owned by Laura Zalkin of Myakka City, earned her AQHA Recognition of Merit! Lo;pefully (Hope) and VP Keys to My Karma (Chelsea) earned more scores in the 60's and had a fabulous show! These quarter horses are loving their career change!
- March 12th-13th- FL Dressage Concours, Fox Lea Farm, Venice. Say what you will about Western Dressage, but it's exposed a whole group of horses to classical dressage who would never have been introduced otherwise! This weekend VP Keys to My Karma, owned by LInda Sue Henry, and Lopefully, owned by Laura Zalkin debuted at their first USEF/USDF competition at Training Level. After years of competing in Western riding at AQHA shows, these talented mares are enjoying their new found freedom of movement! Scores in the 60's, were what we hoped for and what we received, a benchmark to build on. Susan Mori and HF Cali Daaba demostrated profeciency at Second Level, with solid scores in the 60's as well. And, Deb King and Quincy rode their first First Level Test 3, receiving qualifying scores. Well done!
- March 5th-6th-TrainingFourLIfe Clinic in Myakka CIty, FL. We welcome sponsor Ed's FlexForm to the program! Ed Weinstein is a physical therapist who has designed the FlexForm to help with posture and alignment, and it is an excellent tool for riders who need help stretching out tight muscles. Ed joined us Saturday morning to demonstrate a series of stretches done on the FlexForm to encourage greater flexibility and range of motion. I found taking the few extra minutes before I ride to loosen up helps my horse relax and more more freely that much faster. For more information on the FlexForm, visit www.edsflexform.com
- February 26-28th- TrainingFourLife Clinic at Caloosa Estates, Palm Beach, FL. On over the top weekend! Our host, Glenn and Linda Maloof, could not have been more gracious. Saturday's clinic had standing room only for auditors! Add to that a dinner party that evening, private lessons all day Sunday, and you have a very successful expedition to the west coast!
- February 21st - Ride-A-Test Clinic for Horse Academy South. Horse Academy south is a family run facility in North Ft Myers. Doris Suenkel and her husband, Albert, go above and beyond for their clients. Case in point, when the SWFDA Schooling Show was canceled, leaving her students all dressed up with no place to show, Doris asked me if I would come down and judge/teach a private Ride-A-Test for her boarders and clients. They had raffles, prizes, and a picnic lunch. I was able to work with each horse and rider combination for approximately fifteen minutes, and saw significant improvement in that time. One rider exclaimed, "I wish we could do this every week!" Me, too!
- February 19th - Fix =A=Test Schooling Dressage at the FL Horse Park. An interesting mix of professionals on young/green horses and amateur riders wanting to improve their test scores. Each rider had a 12 minute spot to ride their test and then work with me on how best to improve their performance. It provides immediate feedback to the rider and allows them a chance to discuss issues they are having. Enjoyed working with this talented group of equestrians!
- February 13th-14th - TrainingFourLife Western Dressage Clinic. Said one participant, "I really learn best when the background is provided. Thank you!" Tim Christensen and I so enjoy sharing our knowledge in these clinics. We have all levels of horses and riders, and have a great time teaching them. Each weekend brings a mix of familiar faces and new participants. Looking forward to the next one!
- January 30-31st - The Sunshine Classic II at Triple J Arena- 417 entries in Saturday's Open All Breed Show had Tim running in circles and made Sunday's 65 ride Dressage day seem calm by comparison. We had quite a few new competitors and new names on our High Point Award List...Terri Ross and Zips Bit of Luck were Overall Champion High Point with 76% and Jack Hennig at WTR Rockin A Blurita were Reserve Champion with 74%. A big thank you to the many volunteers who make this show happen and to judge Carol Stephens for her knowledge and expertise. Next show, May 1st!
- January 23rd-24th - American Dressage Concours at Fox Lea Farm, Venice. Thirty mile an hour wind gusts and freezing temperatures couldn't stop our group from having a good time! Some highlights: Dante and I rocked the Musical Freestyle Class, first place for our Latin Jazz inspired dance and a score of 72.50%! Susan Mori and Cali rode their TV theme song inspired freestyle to a score of just over 70%. Wendy and Divi were their awesome selves, gliding through Training Level with scores of 70+% as well. Deb King and Quincy rode First Level for a very respectable mid sixties score.
- January 16th- WDAFL Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet - Honored to be serving as Co-Chair with Marie-Francis Davis, serving together as President of WDAFL for 2016. The WDAA State Affiliate has grown exponentially since its origination in 2013. In 2015, participation in the High Point program quadrupled, we held the first ever Western Dressage State Championship Show, and we had members earning USEF Horse of the Year titles at every Level from Introductory to Level 3. Proud to be a part of the journey!
- January 16th-17th- Dressage Under the Oaks I. I absolutely love Grand Oaks Equestrian Resort! It has to be one of the most beautiful venues for a horse show! Wendy Ying, Susan Mori and I took Divinity, Dante, and Cali for the weekend, renting the Oak Tree Lodge and stabling in the mare barn located on the top of a hill overlooking the lakes. We explored bridle paths and trail rode when we weren't actively showing. Wendy showed Divi for a personal high score of 73% at Training Level Test 3, making Divi the MVP of the barn. She continues to perform her best for each and every rider. I debuted Dante's First Level Freestyle, scoring 66% with room for improvement as we improve the degree of difficulty of the choreography. Susan and Cali worked through some confidence issues, as it was Cali's first time in a covered arena. Thirty mile an hour winds did not help! It was also Cali's first time hacking out, and I think we awoke her inner trail horse!
- January 4th-13th - "Ride From Within" with James Shaw. I took a break from my busy teaching schedule to participate in a clinic with author James Shaw. James uses Tai Chi principles to improve your balance and connection with your horse. I had worked with previously with Kartoon, and knew his approach would be perfect for Decadance. James eliminates blocks and braces in your body that contribute and correspond to resistances in the horse. For detailed accounts on my lessons with him, visit my blog as I chronicle our work together.
- January 2nd-3rd - The TrainingFourLife Western Dressage Clinic Series continues to grow in popularity. Had a record number of participants, some traveling several hours to attend. With fellow WDAFL Sanctioned Professional Tim Christensen, we are able to work individually and in group sessions to further develop the partnership between horses and riders. Each participant was able to ride two WDAA tests of their choosing and received a video of their performance. The next clinic will be February 13th and 14th, and is already wait listed.
- December 13th- Alpha Dressage Schooling Show. Jr Rider Fiona Hart made her dressage debut on Divinity and her score of 73.260% earned her High Point JR/YR. Susan Mori and Cali unveiled their First Level Musical Freestyle for a score of 73.750% and followed it up with a lovely First Level Test 3 ride scoring 73.676%. Deb King and Quincy had a fabulous Level One Test 3 Western Dressage ride, scoring 73.026% and Jeanne and Lark scored 69.074% and 67.702% in Western Dressage Level One. Great day, great show, great fun!
- December 5th- Clinic for the Southwest Florida Dressage Association, held at Grace Equestrian Center in North Fort Myers. An enthusiastic group of riders, covering a wide range of ages and experience. As usual, the focus was on improving rider position and the effectiveness of the aids....fix the rider, fix the horse. Most gratifying, several of the riders showed the following weekend at the ADA Show and their scores showed marked improvement!
- November 14th-15th - WDAFL Championships. Busy, busy, busy weekend! Judged the Schooling Show portion Saturday am. Saturday afternoon, presented a seminar on Musical Freestyles (thank you Marvin's Music for providing excerpts from your selections). Had over a hundred people in attendance! Covered determining your beats per minute, selecting music to highlight your horse, choreography and use of the arena, and guidelines for judging. Sunday was the Championship show and there were two full rings running all day long. Western dressage in Fl is growing! Congratulations to Deb King and Quincy, Level One Reserve Champions!
- October 25th- FL GMO Championships. DIvinity and Ritie were High Point JR/YR! Susan Mori and Cali tied for first place at First Level, Deb King and Quincy took the blue from Jeanne and Lark, who placed second, at WDAA Level 1. Dante is back in driving mode, filming a movie in GA, so while he and I qualified for the Championships, we did not get to compete. Super pony was missed!
- October 20th - USDF Final Award Standings .....Dante and I are All Breeds Reserve Champion at both Training and First Level, and RItie and Divinity took All Breeds Champion JR/YR at Training Level and were 3rd in the Open Division at Training Level! A very successful season!
- October 19th-20th - The Discover Western Dressage Symposium at Fox Grove Farm with Palm Partnership Training. "I didn't know how much I didn't know is something Lynn Palm, Cyril Pittion-Rossillon and I hear often at the conclusion of one of our symposiums. With over sixty years of combined experience, we can't teach everything in two short days, but we do our best to give participants a foundation in classical dressage and an understanding of its application to the western horse. Looking forward to debuting a "Part 2" in March of 2017!
- October 9th-11th - Second of three Western Dressage Clinics taught by myself and AQHA award-winning horseman, Tim Christensen at his farm in Myakka City, FL. Eighteen participants ranging in level from Introductory to Level 3, with quite a number of horses/riders crossing over from the breed show world. Morning sessions focused on the basics of rider position, the freedom and regularity of the gait, bend and straightness. In the afternoon we practiced tests in both the small and the large dressage arena. The lunch break served as an opportunity for discussion on the application of the Training Scale to the western stock horse, approved tack and equipment, and the judge's education program. Our next session will be December 19th.
- September 27th - Judging at the FL Horse Park for STRIDE. The Show Manager wanted to keep me on my game, judged every level from Introductory to Grand Prix, judged Western Dressage, even judged a mule! A wonderful day filled with great people, thanks for having me!
- September 19th-20th - Dressage Under the Oaks IV - What a great place for a horse show! Our first time at Grand Oaks Equestrian Resort and we will be going back. Dante earned the last two scores he needed to qualify for the USDF All Breeds Award at First Level. Karen Williams brought her young horse, Prom Date HU, and it was a great experience for him. Danielle Ammeson and Casino Royale were the big winners, though. First place in their Materiale Class and scores of 71% at Training Level were a wonderful way to end the show season!
- August 22nd-23rd - Fall Dressage Concours, Venice FL. Can you say hot? That's the best way to describe the weekend! Summer shows in FL are not for the unacclimated. With 105% heat index, it was just this side of miserable, and a rain/thunder/lightning delay on Saturday added to the excitement. Remarkably, everyone made it through. Susan Mori and HF Cali Daaba rode their first ever Second Level test earning a score of 60%. Deb King and Quincy had a personal high score of 66% at Training Level Test 3. And, Dante and I took home three blues and scores of 65.9% for our First Level rides. Next up, the September show at Grand Oaks in Weirsdale!
- August 8th - Judging at the FL Horse Park. It's not really a level playing field when you show in the summer in FL. First two riders had sunny skies , the next two rode through torrential downpours. No lightning, so the show must go on. Unfortunately for those two riders, it was NOT a covered ring. Someone will be cleaning tack tonight, for sure!
- July 14th - Partnering with Tim Christensen on a Clinic and Show Series for Sunshine Classic Horse Shows. We have some very exciting things happening in the fall!
- June 13th-14th - USEF/USDF Suncoast Sunburn Classic I & II. CS Dante of Earl made his First Level debut with scores of 68.906, 69.444 and 65.185%! The show was not without it's challenges. We sprung a shoe the morning we were supposed to leave. Many thanks to my amazing farrier, Paddy Falvey, who had the shoe back on within 2 hours of my emergency call! Couldn't have done it without him! Took home more blue ribbons to add to the collection. Love that pony!
- April 4th -5th - USEF/USDF Spring Dressage Concours. What can I say? The super pony rocked it!!! Dante and I won all of our classes with some of our best scores to date from tough judges....we were one of the only horse/rider combinations to achieve over 70% not once but twice! Lots of 8's...not bad for a driving horse turned lesson pony now competition superstar! Susan Mori and Cali ended on a high note with a 67% to win her First Level Test 3 class. Ritie and Divi suffered a bit in the heat, scores in the mid 60's have them qualified for FHANA Awards, though, and that was the goal. Deb King and Quincy only showed Saturday, but managed a qualifying score nonetheless.
- March 16th-17th - The Discover Western Dressage Symposium, co-hosted by Palm Partnership Training and the Western Dressage Association of FL. We had a wonderful group of professionals in attendance, from very different backgrounds. We had dressage instructors sitting next to team ropers and reiners, with a hunter judge and a western pleasure trainer also in attendance. Two traveled all the way from Canada to learn more about this exciting discipline. Lynn, Cyril, and I complement each other well in the presentation, offering the perspectives of teacher, trainer, coach, competitor, and judge. When asked at the end of the Symposium if they had any questions, they all wanted to know if we would be offering a Part 2. Many thanks to WDAFL and to Palm Partnership Training for allowing me to share my passion and be part of growing this sport!
- March 15th - The first of five Western Dressage Circuit Shows at Fox Grove Farm in Ocala went smoothly, as does everything Marie-Frances Davis (of Palm Partnership Training) is involved in. Judge Caryl Stephens, "L", was very encouraging, and we had a wide variety of horses in the ring. Remember, you must compete in four of the five shows to be eligible for Circuit awards, and all scores count toward WDAFL Year-End High Point Awards. Next show is May 3rd!
- March 8th - What happens when two best friends on two great horses (who ride with the same trainer, i.e. me) ride the same test at the same show???? Why, they get the same exact score, of course! Jeanne and Lark and Deb King and Quincy tied at 77.027% for their Western Dressage Level 1 Test 1 rides, earning them High Point at the Alpha Dressage Show today. Deb and Quincy scored 74.333% on their Level 1 Test 4 ride, and Jeanne and Lark were close behind with 73.441% Have I mentioned that Jeanne is 73 years young? Deb Herbert and Belle rode their first Level 3 ride for a score of 65.135% on Test 1, and scored 66.458% on Level 2 Test 4. Linda Wrench and Khazmira returned to the ring after a challenging winter racked with illness and injury, earning 66.071% and 64.375% for their WD Intro rides. Linda Windsor and Boogie rode Gaited Western Dressage Basic Level for a score of 67.479%. On the traditional dressage side, Susan Mori and HF Cali Daaba brought home blues with a 68.593% for First Level Test 2 and 69.852% for First Level Test 3. Dante and Divi got to sit this show out...they will be back out in April for the Spring Dressage Concours and Fox Lea Farm.
- February 21-22nd - The FL Dressage Concours at Fox Lea. Wow! Marguerite and Divinity were the highest scoring horse and rider OF THE WEEKEND!. I'm not talking just Jr Rider, I'm talking the whole show! A 71.957% from judge Sharon Poulin 'S' earned Ritie that honor. Susan and Cali also did well, winning their First Level class with a score close to 67%. Wendy Ying's pony, Dante, and I earned scored of 66-67% from Olympic judge Gary Rockwell, scores to be proud of for sure. A well deserved break this week for the show string, and then back to work we go. Next up, the Spring Dressage Concours April 4th & 5th.
- February 2nd - It's official, I'm "Miss February", no really.....I was chosen by EquiVoice to be there February featured rider. You can find out more at www.seeyouatx.com Thank you Jason Curtis!
- January 31st- February 1st - The American Dressage Concours at Fox Lea Farm. It would be hard to have a better time! Divi and Ritie were amazing!!!! 74.038% and 71.923% at their first rated show! What a fantastic combination those two make! So proud! Dante and I did very well, 70% and 68+% (with a quite exuberant canter depart). Susan Mori and Cali averaged between 64 and 66% for their rides, and Deb King and Quincy were in the 62% range. Lots of ribbons for all!
- January 18th -Another successful Sunday show for ...Ritie and Divi brought home High Point for Jr Rider with a 68.6% at their first show together!. Wendy Ying's Dante and I scored just over 67 and 65% in our classes. Susan Shiell Mori and Cali were fabulous, with 67% for First Level Test 3. Robin Sego and Samaya were in the 60's for their Second Level Test. All of the Western Dressage riders were awesome. Jeanne and Lark scored 65% at Level 1, Deb and Quincy 67%. Deborah Herbert and Belle had wonderful moments in their Level 2 rides, but a few tempermental mare challenges that kept them from their high 60's score of the last show. Next up, Fox Lea at the end of the month!
- January 10th - The first USEF rated Western Dressage Show in FL was held at Fox Lea Farm in Venice. Miss Dolly Parton, Jr won her class with some tough competition. Jeanne and Lark and Deb and Quincy also won their classes. Rumour has it that next year's competition will expand to two days due to the number of cross entries from the AQHA show being held simultaneously. Great news for WD
- December 14th - A great show day for the crew! Deb Herbert and Belle returned to the Western Dressage ring scoring upper 60's at Level 2, as did Jeanne and Lark at Level 1. Robin Sego, on Samaya, earned the High Point Award for the show with a score of 76% for her First Level Rider Test. Wendy Ying's Dante took home blue ribbons and lots of smiles with a 67% and 69% at Training Level. And, DWF Dolly Parton, Jr rocked her first show EVER, acting like an old pro. 71% and 72% and she can only get better!
- November 6th - 7th - The Discover Western Dressage Symposium at Fox Grove Farm in Ocala was an overwhelming success. I had the honor of partnering with Lynn Palm and Cyrill Pittion-Rossillon in presenting an outline of the progression of Western Dressage training featuring both classroom education and demonstration riders. Auditors and riders alike agreed it was a wealth of information that left them passionate about riding and eager to learn more. Look for more events to come in 2015!
- November 1st - Congratulations to Debbie King and I'm Quincy's Main Man for earning Reserve Champion Amateur Level 1 through the Western Dressage Association of FL HIgh Point Awards.
- October 11th - Alpha Dressage Award's Banquet, a great evening for Karen Abbattista Dressage. Robin Sego and Sam were the Year End Champions at both First and Second Level. Our group also dominated Western Dressage. Misty Nichols and Chief were the Introductory Level Champions. Deb King and Quincy were the Basic Level Champions, with Jeanne Brundage and Lark taking Reserve. Deb King also was the Year End Champion at Level One, with Deb Herbert and Belle taking Reserve. Lots to celebrate, great job gang!
- October 5th - FL GMO Championships at Fox Lea Farm. Deb King and Quincy rocked! High Point Western Dressage, highest scoring Adult Amateur and Reserve Champion High Point OF THE SHOW with a 72+%! An unbelievable ride, well done! Susan Mori and Cali Daaba did very well in the Training and First Level Championship classes, sporting some pretty red ribbons. Jeanne and Lark also were in the ribbons in their Western Dressage Championship classes, and Robin Sego and Sam rode their best ever Second Level test. All this, without me, as I was busy judging in Melbourne!
- August 23-24th - Fall Dressage Concours at Fox Lea Farm. Successful weekend for Karen Abbattista Dressage! Susan Mori and HF Cali Daaba were the epitome of harmony. No one guessed it was the first time together in the ring for this new pair. Two first place ribbons at First Level and in the top five out of a big class of Training Level Test 3 riders, with scores throughout the weekend of 63 - 67%. Love that little grey mare! Deb King and quincy showed the versatility of the quarter horse. Trading her western saddle for a dressage saddle, Deb rode Training Level Tests 1 and 2 with scores in the mid- 60's. Divi and I earned our qualifying scores at Second Level for the Musical Freestyle, although our rides were not without their challenges. Our homework is paying off, the trot work was absolutely lovely; we just have to have that same level of refinement throughout the canter. Always something!
- July 28th - Saying hello to Dante, owned and loved by my good friend Wendy Ying. Dante was the 2009 USEF Horse of the Year for Combined Driving Singles is starting a new career as a lesson pony. He will teach both ridden and driven dressage. Thank you, Wendy!
- July 13th - With great sadness, we say goodbye to the most awesome pony ever. Tuffy unfortunately succumbed to a relapse of EPM...he'd been diagnosed and treated by his previous owners. How deeply he is missed is a tribute to how much he was loved!
- July 9th - Received notice that I had passed the online evaluation for the WDAA Judge's Program. Comments from the examiner, "You do a good job matching your comments to your scores....You use very good terminology and vocabulary, and the further remarks are quite helpful and accurate. Even though your scores are a bit high, you are going down with your marks when it is required for incorrect movements....You did an excellent job critiquing the rider position throughout....Overall we think you will make a good judge for the WDAA and are pleased to send you these results.
- May 10th - The "Not Your Mother's Dressage Clinic" was a huge success! This JR/YR event for Southwest Florida Dressage featured Prix Caprilli in the am session and Western Dressage in the afternoon. As a bonus, after lunch, Deb Herbert and I did a demonstration illustrating the differences between Traditional Dressage and Western Dressage, she on Belle (Western) and with me riding Divi (Traditional). Lots of Q & A from the audience. Fun!
- April 27th - Alpha Dressage Schooling Show - Gemini's first tests. 66.96% and 64.16% at Training Level. Pam McGinnis and Breeze are ready to graduate from Intro, scores in the upper 60's. My Western Dressage group rocked....Jeanne Brunbridge and Lark had their highest score yet, 69% for Level 1 Test 1. Deb King and Quincy were upper 69's at Level 1 and Basic, and Deb Herbert and Belle rode Level 2 Test 2 for a blue ribbon yet again.
- April 12th - Southwest FL Dressage Association Schooling Show - Congrats to Deb Herbert and Belle for a score over 60% in Western Dressage Level Two Test Two. Not easy and a demonstration of all of your hard work!
- April 5th &6th -Spring Dressage Concours I & II at Fox Lea Farm. Kartoon returned to Fourth Level with a respectable 61.268%. Despite being the oldest horse at the show, still bringing home a red and a blue, Coached Kathy Channel and Ollie through their Second Level tests, all scores over 60%!
- March 30th - Alpha Dresssage Association Schooling Show. Not the best conditions due to heavy rains the day before, but a good day nonetheless. Pam McGinnis and Breeze had a successful debut at Intro Level. Teresa Moll and Yogi had their debut at Training Level and then scored 75%+ in Dressage Equitation, not bad for one season of dressage lessons and her first dressage show! Jeanne Brunbridge and Lark for Sure proved you are never too old to learn new things, at 71, she rode her first ever Western Dressage tests at Basic Level with scores in the mid-60's. Deb King and Quincy rode Basic and Level One with complements from both the judge and the spectators. Deb Herbert and Belle rode Level One and Level Two with lots of good moments. Misty Nichols had a great ride on Chief, and Monique Czaza-Mann had me school Gemini at HIS first ever horse show! Lots of firsts in so many different ways this weekend!
- Mark your calendars for the "Not Your Mother's Dressage" Clinic May 10th, featuring Western Dressage for all ages and Prix Caprilli for Jr/Young Riders, sponsored by Southwest Florida Dressage Association. Since one of the questions I am frequently asked is the difference between traditional Dressage and Western Dressage, during lunch, I'll be doing a demo riding my Friesian mare (traditional dressage) alongside Deborah Herbert and her Western Dressage partner, Belle. See the link for more information!http://swfda.org/Forms%20PDF/2014%20Prix%20Caprilli%20Entry%20Form.pdf
- March 15th -Lots of ribbons at the Southwest FL Dressage Assoc Show. Misty Nichols and Chief brought home high point for Western Dressage with a 66.5% for Intro Test 4. Deb Herbert and Belle were very close behind, with a 66.2% for their Level 1 Test 4 ride. It was the first show for Pik Royale and I, not sure what to expect. At 18.3 h, he's a lot of horse and then some! Very pleased with a 71+%!
- February 22nd-23rd - FL Dressage Concours at Fox Lea Farm in Venice. Won the Musical Freestyle Class both days, with scores of 71.66% and 65.16% with Rebel Kartoon.
- February 15th - Ride-A-Test Clinic for the Sea Fox Pony Club. Love working with these up and coming young riders, igniting their passion for dressage!
- January 28th - In Tulsa for the Western Dressage Judge's Seminar. Very informative and educational! The morning session consisted of biomechanics and theory, the afternoon more practical application and video judging. Stressed over and over again was "riders and trainers will produce what judge's reward." We must be very careful to reward CORRECT dressage training and always to place first and foremost the welfare of the horse!
- January 26th - The Friesian Pas de Deux at the Sarasota Polo Club with Jamie Ashley. Despite having to dodge the crowd, our half time show was a big hit! So much, in fact, we are invited back February 16th!
- January 12th.......2014, the Year of the Horse, and the triumphant return of Rebel Kartoon!!!! Diagnosed 16 months ago with a career ending injury, he returns to the show ring with a score of 72.316% for a very expressive Third Level Freestyle, earning high point and big smiles from everyone involved in his rehab. Big thanks to 5 Elements for Animals and the amazing team of Wendy Ying and Kyle Swanson for all that they have done to help bring Tooney back! Look for us this show season!
- January 12th, Western Dressage student Debbie King and Quincy had two great rides at the ADA Schooling Show. They earned scores of 68%+ for both their Basic and their Level 1 Tests. Quincy looked cool, calm and collected and Deb did a fantastic job. Well done!
- New Year's Day - Road trip to Geneva, FL to pick up the world's best lesson horse! AQHA gelding Hangtough Nicky joins our little family at Verde Farm, selected to be a special friend for some special girls. Advertised as super safe and unflappable, he is all that and more! Tuffy was 2012 Training Level Champion with his young rider, Nick Bryan, who has now sadly outgrown him. We love him, and at 14.2, he's big enough to hack out with Raoul on trail rides through Sleeping Turtles Preserve. For a clip of Tuffy and Nick, click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?
- Christmas comes early! Thanks to Raoul and Penny Verde, I am able to offer customized training with board packages at their beautiful facility just minutes from Fox Lea Farm in Venice. Their support also provides a convenient location for current and future clients to haul in for lessons in an Olympic sized dressage arena with excellent drainage and footing. Check out the facilities page for a slide show!
- Alpha Dressage Association Schooling Show, December 8th. First time showing for Penny Verde's Andalusian/Pinto mare, Secreta. Secreta and I scored 62.708% and 64.285% at Training Level. Cindy Bean and her Irish Sporthorse Ringwood O'dea also had their debut in the ring at Introductory Level and brought home a blue ribbon. My Western Dressage students did a fantastic job. Misty Nichols on Chief scored 67.708% and 67.5%, riding Intro Level. Jane Scott rode Intro on Jag for scores of 64.107% and 66.552%. Debbie King and Quincy scored 62.484 at Basic Level and moved up to Level 1 for their second ride, scoring 67.297%. Deb Herbert and Belle had two Level 1 rides, scoring 68.243% and 65.889%. And, last but certainly not least, Jamie Ashley performed a First Level Freestyle designed and choreographed by yours truly for a score of 75.8%, with 8's for music, choreography, degree of difficulty! So much fun!
- AHAF Annual Thanksgiving Show 2013: Very proud of HF Cali Daaba, owned and bred by Karin McMurtrie of Hawk's Flight Farm. Shown Training Level with scores of 71.042%, 67.321%, 66.2%, and managed to get a very tired 65% out of the last ride. Only her third recognized show! Starting to school FIrst Level in preparation for a move up in the 2014 show season. Stay tuned!
- November 16th-17th, 2013: Wonderful weekend with Lynn Palm at Fox Grove Farm. Invited to speak to participants of her Ride Well Western Dressage Clinic on Saturday, then attended the annual meeting of the Western Dressage Association of FL. So excited about the growth of the discipline! Such an opportunity to bring classical dressage principles to a new demographic that can only benefit from learning this progressive system of training. Sunday, judged the Western Dressage Schooling Show. Loved seeing the smiles down centerline!
- October 27th, 2013: We couldn't have done any better!!!! Results of the FL GMO Championships...Divi and I were First Level Open Champion AND Musical Freestyle Champion (Second Level) AND High Point Open for the show!
- October 23rd, 2013: Just released, the latest installment of "Sharing Strides" http://www.usefnetwork.com/blogs/10652/2013/10/21/western_dressage_charting_progress.aspx
- October 19th, 2013: USDF Final Award's Standings....Divi and I were 3rd in the Musical Freestyle at both First and Second Level with All Breeds and 13th in the Musical Freestyle Challange at First Level.
- Sept 29th, 2013: Fun filled day at the ADA Schooling Show. 67% for Divi's 2nd Level Musical Freestyle, which qualifies her for the FL GMO Championships at First Level, Second Level, and the Musical Freestyle. 66% for HF Cali Daaba in Training Level Test 3. That qualifies her for the Championships at Training Level. Western Dressage students Deb Herbert and Misty Nichols took home blue ribbons for all of their rides, Deb for Level One and a Musical Freestyle, and Misty in Intro. Well done!
- Sept 26th, 2013: Photo Shoot for Cooper Creek Collections, a line of equestrian themed jewelry designed by Sarasota artist Susan Brielmann.
- Sept 24th, 2013 : Here is the link to the recorded version of my Tuesday morning guest spot on Horses In The Morning, a radio network dedicated to, you guessed it, the horse. This is a special Arabian episode, co-hosted by Karin McMurtrie of Hawk's Flight Farm.
- The fifth installment of "Sharing Strides" has been released on usefnetwork.com.
This is an informative and entertainingl blog that I write in conjunction with my Western Dressage student, Deborah Herbert. Follow our journey together as Deb and her horse, Belle, progress through the levels in their quest for a more perfect partnership!