A laid-back horse is a great fit for people who want to share their horses with their families. There are also a number of disciplines for which a laid-back temperament is preferred. No matter what your reason is for getting a relaxed horse, an even-keel horse presents a number of challenges for training and competition success. But if you implement the right management techniques, a horse’s laid-back nature can be a fantastic asset.

Many cool-tempered horses are slow to the aids, taking a while to respond and requiring reminders to stay sensitive. There are other cool horses that are too…


Body alignment is a key part of dressage. It’s imperative that your seat is in the correct position. This way, the energy can flow through your legs and travel to your hands in the proper way. The position of your seat and your hips makes a world of difference. But when you turn, this can be especially difficult to maintain. Here are a few tips for body alignment when you’re riding bending lines:

The Basics
Let’s first discuss how to get properly aligned in general. Your seat should be perfectly even. If your horse is travelling in a straight line, you…


Every rider, no matter what level of expertise, can benefit from a professional lesson, especially with the right preparation and attitude. These tips will help make sure your sessions are as productive and enjoyable as possible.

1. Ask what the lesson will entail

It’s always advantageous to know what the lesson will entail ahead of time. Don’t be shy to ask the instructor what will be covered, how much time will be spent on certain exercises, and what fitness level is expected of both you and your horse. You should especially do this if you’re working with an instructor you’ve never taken a lesson from before.

If…


It’s important to maintain an engaged cantor and trot, but engagement takes practice. Polework can help encourage your horse to want to work, even outside the arena. Keep your training regime fresh with these exercises.

First, set up 4 trotting poles approximately 4–5 toe to heel steps apart, depending on your horse.

Always start with a warm up to get your horse’s blood pumping and muscles feeling loose. Once you’re both sufficiently warmed up, begin a trot in a 20 meter circle over each pole keeping the speed even and your horse off your leg coming out of each pole…


After months of developing exceptional young horses up the levels, Piaffe Performance Farm is ready to return to the 2016 Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois next month.

Dr. Cesar Parra himself is an accomplished dressage competitor with experience as an Olympian and U.S. Pan American Games Dressage Team Gold Medalist. This year, he has already qualified two horses for the competitions, both of which he has been working with from the start. He will be campaigning Fashion Designer OLD in the Developing Prix St. …


Walk ~ 3–5 mph, 1–2–3–4 Beat
Trot ~ 8–9 pmh
Canter ~ 11–17 mph

When riders are first introduced to horse riding, they are taught three simple gaits at which the horse may move: walk, trot, and canter. However, many never perfect them, in large part because of a common misconception about how to shift the horse between each.

Many riders today believe that when switching between gaits, there needs to be a transfer of energy to the horse, almost as if the rider is stepping on the accelerator pedal and injecting more energy into the horse. …


New research from the University of Surrey and the University of Nottingham suggests there is reason to believe that dressage and eventing horses may benefit from a daily dosage of nutritional supplements to prevent and treat a variety of ailments. Joint and mobility health are among the top concerns for nutrients, but overall stamina and fitness can also be aided through the use of antioxidants and vitamins.

Joint and Mobility Health

Many horse owners are beginning to test different supplemental doses to help prevent and treat the inevitable muscle and joint damage that comes with eventing and dressage. One of the most important physical…


As a responsible horse owner, it’s important to understand the effects different climates can have on a horse. As we enter summer, our horses become vulnerable to the most common ailment these animals experience: heat exhaustion. It is crucial that riders, keepers, and trainers all know the warning signs of heat exhaustion as well as how to effectively prevent it.

Travel Safety

When traveling with horses, it is important to know that horses simply cannot be stuck in traffic. Traffic jams can be times of intense stress for the horse and also can be a time of high heat in the summer…


Dressage is considered one of the most skilled forms of exhibition riding in the equestrian world today. With highly skilled competition comes highly skilled judging. It is obvious then that correct execution on even the littlest things in dressage can make a big difference. Here are seven quick tips that can dramatically improve your score.

  1. Always assure accuracy when performing circles and loops. If a rider performs sloppy loops, it lets the judges know that they haven’t properly measured 15m and 5m paths when practicing. …


While riders usually want to focus exclusively on training, riding, and competing, becoming a dressage judge can offer many advantages, both in terms your own expertise and your contribution to the sport as a whole.

The Impact on The Sport

The benefits of judging stem from the fact that navigating through the numerous requirements and parameters of the USEF judging program gives you a deep understanding and appreciation of what judges really bring to the table. Most riders see that judges have to deal with frustrated riders who blame them for their low scores, but being a dressage judge is so much more than that.

Dr Cesar Parra

Dr. Cesar Parra is a professional dressage rider and trainer. http://drcesarparrra.com/

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