All posts by wcwdressage

What is a yellow card?

BILL—If you are familiar with the conduct of international soccer, you already know this term, although it’s a relatively recent addition to the dressage lexicon. If you are a totally law–abiding model equestrian citizen, most likely you won’t run into one in your lifetime. in short, it is somewhere between a scolding and being administered the death penalty. The best way to think of it is as a formal warning issued by the technical delegate, show management, or the judge which goes on your permanent record card. Start accumulating them (3 in 16 months) and meaningful punishment from the USEF will ensue. This could include fines or suspension. The main reasons they exist are first, to impress on the offender how seriously their actions should be taken and two, to make it easier to detect repeat offenders.

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What makes you crazy?

(This is posted out of order. It was published in November of 2019)

BILL— to a degree, most everything, but my secret pet peeve is when novice riders describe their horses’ random bad behaviors in classical terms. I’m sorry, your nervous, neurotic horse was not piaffing on the trail. He was just anxiously prancing about, most likely in no coherent rhythm.
Nor did he perform a levade, a balanced “crouching,” very collected movement with extreme bending of his hocks. He was just standing on his hind legs. That’s very different!
These are not just semantic disparities. To endow them with classical names doesn’t give credit to the time it takes and the degree of difficulty involved in training those actual movements.

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Why do you see so many necks overbent to the inside?

BILL— Among beginnerish riders it’s probably because it’s the instinctive way that they think they should turn their horse. Fairly early on riders get past that stage, yet the problem persists. This is usually because they underuse their supporting outside aids. We have all heard many, many times “inside leg to outside hand,” but this mantra neglects the importance of the outside leg which keeps the horse from bulging out.

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