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Posts Tagged ‘Your Complete Guide to Western Dressage’

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 fifth installment in TSB’s “Horseworld by the Hour” blog series, we caught up with “WonderHorseWoman” Lynn Palm.

Lynn is not only the author of THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION and YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE, she’s won 34 World and Reserve World Championships; four Superhorse titles, AQHA Female Equestrian of the Year, and many more awards and accolades throughout her career in the spotlight, which has now spanned over 40 years. She and her husband Cyril Pittion-Rossillon conduct training courses and clinics across the country. Lynn is an Advisory Director of the Western Dressage Association of America, and makes regular appearances at expos and special events, such as her popular bridleless riding demonstrations at the World Equestrian Games.

Lynn has shown horses on the flat and over fences, in Western, hunt seat, and dressage saddles. And NOW we hear she’s taking up a whole new sport, to boot!

So just how does Lynn fit it all in? Check out her typical day:

 

24HourLynnPalm

 

Just a Regular Ol’ Spring/Summer/Fall Day with Lynn Palm

5:00 a.m. Still sleeping, I hope!

5:30 a.m. I wake up in the spring, summer, fall at 5:30, with all my dogs. In the winter I get up around 6:30 a.m.

6:00 a.m.  My morning chores: making coffee, unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, planning meals for the day. If I have clinics, I start preparing lunch and dinner for at least 20 people and often more!

6:30 a.m. I feed my wonderful dogs: 3 labs and 2 mini longhair dachshunds.

7:00 a.m. I check my gardens and greenhouse, and then get dressed for the day while drinking my coffee. I make a protein fruit smoothie and take my vitamins!

7:30 a.m.  In the summer, by now I’m getting to the barn to ride my first horse before feeding. Spring and fall I start riding at 8:30 a.m., and in the winter I may ride in the afternoon, switching my day to ride with our warm afternoon sun!

8:00 a.m.  I’m riding horses and following up with necessary calls for the day.

8:30 a.m.  Still riding horses, and finding time to check in with Marie Frances (my office manager) and Cyril (my husband) about what’s up for their day. Cyril also works our horses, and we discuss our saddle business and what orders or leads he may have about our hunt seat and dressage saddles we have made in France.

 

Lynn Palm has written two important books for Western dressage riders: THE RIDER'S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION and YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE. .

Lynn Palm has written two important books for Western dressage riders: THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION and YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE.

 

9:00 a.m.  I’m in the barn, checking on all the horses for health or care, confirming supplies needed, and discussing with the farm manager what he is doing on the farm for the day.

9:30 a.m.  On another horse, while my staff turn out some horses and plans for grooming and care of horses and the stable for the rest of the day.

10:00 a.m.  I am training horses in our wonderful training field with the big Live Oak Trees.

10:30 a.m. Training horses in the Outdoor Jump Field.

11:00 a.m.  Training horses on our 3-acre Natural Obstacle Training Arena.

11:30 a.m. Training horses with ground work in our training paddocks.

12:00 p.m. Training horses still—but now it’s driving to prepare for Combined Driving (a new sport for me this next year!)

12:30 p.m.  Riding horses in the covered arena (if it is raining, as can be the case in the afternoons).

1:00 p.m.  Lunch, swim in the pool, play with dogs!

1:30 p.m.  Shower and clean up from the barn.

2:00 p.m. Office duties: email, Facebook, marketing plans, writing newsletter or editorial for magazines, following up on horse sales, planning shows and clinics, working on remodeling our property in Sarasota, Florida (Southern Reflections – An Equestrian Private Retreat).

3:00 p.m.  More office duties: conference calls with sponsors, companies with product development, reviewing client requests with their horses, making contacts for clinics or expos engagements.

4:00 p.m. Office duties continue, or if we have a clinic going on, I prepare dinner for the students, guests, and staff.

4:30 p.m.  Still in the office: preparing the daily horse training and lesson schedule for the next day.

5:00 p.m. Haven’t left the office but gotta feed my dogs!!

5:30 p.m. Close the office for the day.

 

Lynn with her Labs. Photo by Cappy Jackson from THE RIDER'S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION.

Lynn with her Labs. Photo by Cappy Jackson from THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION.

 

6:30 p.m. I’m watching Nightly News on NBC if I can!

7:00 p.m.  Preparing dinner for Cyril and me, and friends if we have some over (which is often).

7:30 p.m.  Cocktails at the Red Fox Inn or sitting on the front porch enjoying the sunset—talking about the day or what is happening in the horse world with Cyril, Marie Frances, and/or horsey friends. My dogs have cocktails, too: marrow bones, which they love so much!

8:00 p.m.  Dinner in the main dining room, in front of the TV if it is just Cyril and me (of course with the dogs) or at poolside—we have a wonderful pool area with lots of beautiful landscape.

9:00 p.m. Cleaning up dinner or maybe sitting at the bonfire in a courtyard beside the pool.

9:30 p.m. In bed watching The Voice or America’s Got Talent or sports.

10:00 p.m.  Up again! Time for Night Check on all the horses.

10:30 p.m. Sleeping!

 

Lynn Palm’s excellent books THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION and YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

 

Read the other installments in TSB’s “Horseworld by the Hour” blog series:

Daniel Stewart

Doug Payne

Janet Foy

Clinton Anderson

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TSB author Lynn Palm in a collected jog with an uphill balance.

TSB author Lynn Palm in a collected jog with an uphill balance.

 

The Western Dressage Association® of America (WDAA) lists collection as the sixth step in its Guidelines for Training Progression: Readiness, Balance, Rhythm, Impulsion, Suppleness, Collection, and ultimately, Lightness. There are many different ideas of what “collection” in the horse is—and what it isn’t. The WDAA defines it as follows in its Western Dressage Glossary:

Collection is not to be confused with “headset,” nor with slower or shorter strides. Collected paces have relatively shorter steps and more uphill balance, while the frame is shorter and the neck is stretched and arched upward. The horse should reach calmly to contact with the bit with the nose nearly at, but never behind, the vertical. At collected trot and canter, the support phase of the hind legs is more pronounced than in the other paces of the gait. Collection is achieved by increased weight-bearing of the horse’s haunches, thereby lowering the croup and lightening the forehand to allow the shoulders more freedom. The horse’s stride becomes markedly shorter but gains animation and height.

“Transitions are the first steps taken to teach your horse how to transfer more weight to his hind legs, engage the joints in his hind end, and round his spine, which compacts his body in the way necessary for him to be collected,” writes TSB author Lynn Palm in her terrific Western Dressage primer THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION. “The flexibility of his hind limb joints—hip, stifle, hock, and fetlock—is increased. Transitions also work on the suppleness of his longitudinal muscles; they stretch when the horse goes forward and compress when he slows down, which builds strength and enables him to go forward and slow down with more power.”

As she discusses in YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE, Lynn teaches her students that their seat is their primary aid, and rein and leg aids merely support it.

“Think of it this way,” Lynn says. “Your seat is the director. Your leg and rein aids are the supporting cast.”

 

In YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE Lynn Palm explains the difference between a "neutral" seat (A) and a seat asking for an upward transition (B).

In YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE Lynn Palm explains the difference between a “neutral” seat (A) and a seat asking for an upward transition (B).

 

When you are passively letting your hips follow the horse’s motion, your seat stays in “neutral,” but for an upward transition (walk to jog or jog to lope, for example), you move your seat and hips in a more exaggerated manner, “As though you’re trying to propel a swing higher and higher,” says Lynn, before adding a touch of the leg aid. For a downward transition (jog to walk or lope to jog, for example), you stop your seat and hip movement to restrict your horse’s motion, and then add a whisper of a rein aid.

 

Try this walk-jog-walk transition exercise from THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION to improve your use of your seat while building your horse’s ability to collect, so you can ultimately turn in a better Western Dressage performance:

1  Ask your horse to move in an active, forward, four-beat walk for one full circle.

2 Use your seat to prepare and cue your horse for the upward transition to jog.

3 Jog one full circle. The jog should be an active, square jog, where the hind legs track in line with the front legs, and your horse maintains longitudinal bend on the curved line of travel.

4 Use your seat to prepare and cue your horse for the downward transition to walk.

5 Repeat the exercise in both directions.

During the exercise, Lynn says to think of the horse as a speedboat on the water: When the boat accelerates (the upward transition from walk to jog) the back of the boat goes down because the power is coming from the motor (the horse’s hindquarters) and the front of the boat lifts up (the horse’s forehand lightens). When the boat’s speed is reduced (the downward transition from jog to walk), the motor pushes the back of the boat down and elevates the front so it can slow smoothly and not in a jarring, rough manner. The horse should slow from jog to walk in the same way, with power from behind while elevating his front end.

 

THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION and YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE by Lynn Palm are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

 

 

LynnP

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