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Posts Tagged ‘Dressage for the Not-So-Perfect Horse’

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Janet Foy is an FEI/USEF dressage judge, popular clinician, and author of the bestselling DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE and new book DRESSAGE Q&A WITH JANET FOY. She shared this CENTERED RIDING “aha” moment in honor of our 30th Anniversary:

CenteredRidingTree“I still use Sally Swift’s visual of how a rider should sit—like a tall pine tree in the forest. From the waist up, sitting tall and seeking the sun, and from the waist down, stretching deeply to find the water below the surface.”

Share your own CENTERED RIDING  memories and “aha” moments online and tag them #CenteredRiding30! And remember, all CENTERED RIDING books and DVDs are 30% off, the entire month of November.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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When it came time to write a follow-up to her bestselling DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, FEI/USEF dressage judge Janet Foy knew what she wanted to do.

“I thought it would be a great way to answer all the questions I have from my dressage friends,” she says. “It is my hope it will help readers on their dressage journey…making learning easier and more fun.”

So far, from Janet’s reports, the release of DRESSAGE Q&A WITH JANET FOY has inspired fun—for all involved!

“We sold out at the Madison book signing last week!” says Janet. “The WDCTA chapter of USDF is a very active group, and Mary Hanneman is the best organizer in the world! I always enjoy doing clinics for them, as they are well attended with good riders and also many auditors.”

 

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And how do the horses get in on this?

“Since attending Janet’s USEF Dressage Judge clinic in Colorado last September, I have been reading her first [DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE] and now her second book [DRESSAGE Q&A WITH JANET FOY],” says USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold-medal rider Michell Combs (she’s also an L Graduate with Distinction). “The other night I pulled a chair into Cosmo’s stall expecting to hang out with him and read while it was raining, but he kept coming over to snuggle and get attention.”

 

Cosmopolitan is an eight-year-old Dutch/TB cross that is schooling First/Second Level dressage. He's in his second career. "I was looking for a new project horse to lease and train while Cosmo's eventing trainer (Barb Crabo) and owner (Paige Hipsley) were looking for someone to train him full time in dressage," explains Michell Combs. "I've been riding 'Cosmo' for four months so far."

Cosmopolitan is an eight-year-old Dutch/TB cross that is schooling First/Second Level dressage. He’s in his second career. “I was looking for a new project horse to lease and train while Cosmo’s eventing trainer (Barb Crabo) and owner (Paige Hipsley) were looking for someone to train him full time in dressage,” explains Michell Combs. “I’ve been riding ‘Cosmo’ for four months so far.”

 

What was it about DRESSAGE Q&A that had Cosmo so interested? Perhaps it was the chapter on how horses learn (or perhaps, more importantly, the one on how riders do!)

“Remember that each horse will teach you something,” Janet writes in her new book. “Sometimes, the horse will also teach you what not to do. Take these lessons in stride, and keep learning and questioning. With dressage we are never really a ‘finished’ product! When you think you know it all, you will fail.”

If you and your horse have been so busy this summer you haven’t spent an evening just snuggling and reading together, take a tip from Janet, Michell, and Cosmo. It’s essential to keep learning and educating yourself…but even more important to spend quality “friend time” with your horse.

After all, he’s the most important “dressage friend” you have.

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DRESSAGE Q&A WITH JANET FOY is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information and to download a free sample chapter.

 

Check out the article about Janet judging at the upcoming Australian Dressage Championships on EquestrianLife.com!

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Background photo by Keron Psillas.

Background photo by Keron Psillas.

 

We all grew to love Janet Foy’s straight talk and sense of humor in her first book DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, now a bestseller. Janet is back with new insights in her book DRESSAGE Q & A WITH JANET FOY. In a style intended to be fun to read and easy to learn from, Janet canvased friends, students, and Facebook followers for their dressage questions. Asking, What have you always wanted to know that you’re afraid to ask? and What about dressage is hardest to “get”? she received hundreds of questions that she used as prompts to provide the guidance we need to grow as riders and trainers, while remembering how to keep it all fun.

“It is my hope this book will help your dressage journey,” says Janet. “The Q & As address often-asked questions about dressage, and the commonsense and simple approaches I offer should make your learning easier and more fun. Lastly, by sharing many riders’ ‘Aha!’ moments with you, I hope you won’t have to wait so long to have your own similar breakthroughs!”

DRESSAGE Q & A WITH JANET FOY is like having a heart-to-heart about your riding and the sport of dressage with one of the most sought-after teachers and clinicians in the country. Here’s an example of how it rolls:

Q: I sometimes feel stupid during a lesson when I don’t understand what my instructor is telling me. For example, she told me my horse was “dropping a shoulder.” I didn’t have any idea what she was talking about. I felt embarrassed to tell her that I didn’t understand, especially when there were other people observing my lesson. Is it okay to interrupt a lesson to ask my questions, or should I wait until after the lesson is over, find the answer in a book, or ask a friend?

A: Remember, you are paying the instructor. This means he or she is your employee, and you are the boss. I am a bit worried about your relationship with your instructor if you feel you can’t have open and honest communication. You should not wait to ask because you’ll miss that learning opportunity—when it has just happened, it is the best time to stop and say, “I am sorry, could you explain that to me? I don’t understand.”  You should not be embarrassed. In fact, those watching will no doubt be grateful as well, as they might not understand what she is saying, either!  You will never improve if you don’t get immediate information to help develop your feel and your skills. The teacher will just assume you understand everything unless you speak up!

 

DRESSAGE Q & A WITH JANET FOY is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs, is a small, privately owned company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

 

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Ever wonder what it’s like to be a top rider, trainer, judge, or clinician? Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com) is tracking down its top authors and asking them to pull back the curtains and let us take a quick peek into their lives. In our second installment in our “24 Hours in the Life of…” series, we caught up with FEI/USEF dressage judge Janet Foy (author of the bestselling DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE). In case you’re wondering what Janet will be doing tomorrow, here’s a glimpse at her typical Tuesday when not on the road officiating at a competition or teaching a clinic.

 

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A TYPICAL TUESDAY

5:00 a.m. Still sleeping!

6:30 a.m. Britta, my dog, wakes me up for breakfast! First, I start the coffee pot and watch Britta go out the doggie door, then I head out to the front driveway for two papers: USA Today and the local Gazette Telegraph. I immediately feed Britta and give her insulin. The day has begun!

7:00 a.m.  I finish my first cup of coffee and have skimmed the newspapers. Off to the computer to check e-mails and wish every one of my FB friends a Happy Birthday!

7:30 a.m. Head to the shower, being careful not to wake up my husband, who is retired and has the luxury of sleeping late everyday.

8:00 a.m. Out to the garden to water all the veggies and flowers in pots, front and back.

8:30 a.m.  By this time I’m usually on my way to Denver, to teach lessons at Julie Forman’s house. Have a great group of gals who come from all over Denver, and two sisters, Natalie and Nicole, who come from Tomora Training Center in Greeley, Colorado.

 

Janet with two of her students.

Janet with two of her students.

 

1:30 p.m.  I finish teaching and pack up my lunch, dog, headsets (etc) and head to the car.

2:00 p.m.  I call in for the USEF High Performance Working Group Conference Call. Luckily, I am not the Chair of this group , so can drive home (45 minutes) while talking on the call.

3:00 p.m.  Arrive home, and my conference call is over. I drop Britta off at the house and run off to finish the errands I did not get done Monday: Go to the cleaners, grocery store, bank, and today also to the Apple store because my computer is broken. Turns out the hard drive needs replacing, so I buy a system to back things up, run home to do a back up on what hopefully still remains on the computer, then take another trip to Apple to drop the computer off for them to fix.

4:00 p.m.  Whew, think I will sit down. No, wait, I need to buy four plane tickets for next month’s trips (meetings, shows, and clinics). Rats, no computer. No problem, I have the iPad! Start to buy four plane tickets. Wow, prices are going up: Nothing under $750.00 and a few over $1,000. Gads. My husband doesn’t open my credit card statement anymore…too stressful!

4:30 p.m.  I put away all the clean laundry that I did on Monday.

5:00 p.m.  My husband just walked in from the golf course, and he wonders what is for dinner. Good thing I took something out of the freezer. Did I mention I love to cook? So, we have stuffed acorn squash. I cook the squash first, then clean out the insides and mix with: white raisins, almonds, dried cherries, maple syrup, butter, white wine, and leeks. Also use a lot of fresh herbs from the garden. Re-stuff the squash and voila, dinner!

6:00 p.m.  Sit down to eat dinner: A glass of wine and relaxing!

6:30 p.m.  Rule in Foy house: She who cooks does not do dishes. So, my honey cleans up the kitchen. I feed Britta her dinner and give her another insulin shot. Time for a 30-minute Britta walk. (On non-Denver-teaching days she gets two, one in the morning and one at night.)

 

Janet's dog Britta likes her walks!

Janet’s dog Britta likes her walks!

 

7:30 p.m.  By now I am pooped. I check e-mail one more time and turn off the computer or iPad. In the winter I like to watch some recorded TV, but summer is all reruns, so I usually retire to the Jacuzzi tub with a good book.

9:30 p.m.  Good night!

 

You can read the first post in this series, “24 Hours in the Life of Horseman Clinton Anderson,” by CLICKING HERE.

 

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CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

Janet Foy’s fabulous book DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.

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Question: My horse lacks “crossing” in his legs (lateral reach) in the leg-yield—what do I do?

USEF/FEI dressage judge Janet Foy has a new book coming...and you could be a part of it!

USEF/FEI dressage judge Janet Foy has a new book coming…and you could be a part of it!

“The difference between a ‘7’ and a ’10’ in leg-yield in a dressage test is that while both horses go from Point A to Point B correctly, the horse that receives the higher score takes fewer strides to get there,” says USEF S and FEI 4* judge Janet Foy. “Later in training you can use the leg-yield to increase the lateral reach in the half-pass.”

We learn in Janet’s hugely popular book DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE that the difference between a high score and a modest score from the judge is really the amount of lateral reach the horse can show. From Point A to Point B, your horse may be able to do it in ten steps, but another can do it in eight steps. Some horses, by nature, have quite a lot of lateral reach—but most horses are not perfect, and need a bit of work here.

So how can I improve my horse’s lateral reach?

“You may have to feel that you are actually pushing the horse sideways out of balance in order to increase his lateral reach,” says Janet. “The horse must really open up the angles of his shoulders. Don’t ride a leg-yield at home as you would at a show. Your job in training is to raise your standards and develop more lateral reach and suppleness than you would need in competition. If your horse can easily do a leg-yield at home with energy and ease, then when it comes to show time and the requirement is easier, he will be a star!

“Try counting the number of strides it takes you to get from Point A to Point B,” she says. “Do this in both directions. One direction will take more strides because the horse will be less supple this way. First, work on this more difficult direction until it matches the other side. Then, when both sides are equal, start working again on improving overall lateral reach. you should be able to take out a stride or two each direction.”

And, fewer strides in the leg-yield means better scores in your next test!

Do you have a dressage question to ask Judge Janet?

TSB invites YOU to ask her your most burning dressage question—it can be about riding, training, competing, judging…whatever! It can be something you’ve asked a million times but still “just don’t get,” or something you’ve always been afraid to ask. It can relate to Training Level or Grand Prix or anything in between.

 

Click the image above to ask Judge Janet Foy your dressage question!

Click the image above to ask Judge Janet Foy your dressage question!

 

Not only will Janet Foy offer you solutions to your riding and training problems and answers to your riding and training questions, YOUR question could be featured in her NEXT BOOK!

Plus, everyone who submits a question is automatically entered to win a personalized copy of Janet’s forthcoming book when it’s published!

So you and your horse could win in more ways than one!

CLICK HERE to submit your question now!

Click image to order!

Click image to order!

DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, the bestselling book by Janet Foy that Dressage Today magazine called “an inoculation against training despair,” is available now from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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Pick up a copy of the August issue of Dressage Today for a great excerpt from TSB author Sylvia Loch's new book!

Pick up a copy of the August issue of Dressage Today for a great excerpt from TSB author Sylvia Loch’s new book!

TSB has a lot to be proud of in the August issue of Dressage Today magazine, with special sections by authors Susanne von Dietze (BALANCE IN MOVEMENT and RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK) and Janet Foy (DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE), as well as a travel piece and cover photo by photographer Keron Psillas (MEDITATION FOR TWO and the forthcoming THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS).

In addition, the “Annual Baroque Issue” features an excerpt from Sylvia Loch’s new book  THE BALANCED HORSE: THE AIDS BY FEEL, NOT FORCE, which is now available from the TSB online bookstore (CLICK HERE TO ORDER).

Take a close look at this photo from the book and see if you can name the celebrity in the audience!

See if you can spot the celebrity in the audience at this Sylvia Loch clinic!

See if you can spot the celebrity in the audience at this Sylvia Loch clinic!

Be sure to pick up a copy of the August issue of Dressage Today magazine, wherever quality equestrian magazines are sold.

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bookreviewJF

Be sure to check out the new book review on HorseGirlTV.com, where blogger Vanessa Wright explains what she finds so valuable about DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, the new book by USEF S and FEI 4* Dressage Judge Janet Foy.

“Fortunately for all frustrated riders—and tired horses—the extraordinary and effervescent Janet Foy has come to the rescue,” writes Vanessa. “Assuring riders that, yes, horses do make mistakes and, yes, they do have their own quirks, problems, and foibles, she goes on to explain how we can guide them—and ourselves—to happy and harmonious success from our very first lessons through our best Grand Prix.”

You can read the entire review on HorseGirlTV.com by CLICKING HERE.

Plus, check out this “Personal Story” from DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, where Janet explains a little about two of her own “imperfect” horses—a “hot” and fiery mother-daughter pair—and how she learned to work with them:

USEF S and FEI 4* Dressage Judge Janet Foy and her book. Photo from Dressage-News.com.

USEF S and FEI 4* Dressage Judge Janet Foy and her book. Photo from Dressage-News.com.

High Society (“Hi-C”) was a Holsteiner mare who came by her “spice for life” via her mom. Her dam was Abracadabra, a Swedish mare who had a lot of Arabian (Urbino) blood in her. Abra was fifth in the country at Training and First Level for the USDF Horse of the Year awards. she was only 15.3 hands, a chestnut, and usually “on fire.” Hi-C’s dad was a stallion I owned named Constitution. Condo was a 17.2 bay Holsteiner. He was my favorite stallion of all the ones I owned and trained. He had a great attitude and loved to show. I told him he would “get more girls” if he won his class. He usually obliged.

Having had my patience tested by Abra, I was ready for Hi-C. I relied on quiet slow work, trying to relax her as best I could. With Abra, a battle had also been the spooking. At least Hi-C did not inherit this trait. I found with both mares that they had an incredible work ethic and worked very hard to try and please me. Too hard in fact. Half the time they did not wait for my aid. Lots of movements were “not my idea.” Experience taught me that if they were punished for all of their great ideas, they would get more tense. So patience, repetition, and reward finally got through to them.

I caution anyone with this type of “hot” horse to be careful. Punishment doesn’t work. If you don’t have patience yet, you will after you get this one trained. Try to think of each of the horse’s mistakes as a training opportunity. Often, when a horse is learning, there is tension. The horse may be trying to understand the desires of the rider. However, he often gets confused. If the rider freely deals out punishment at this time, especially with a high-spirited horse, the horse’ mental tension will increase and he’ll be unable to progress.

DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE is available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

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