Gwyneth McPherson

Training in the Right Way: Knowing When It’s Time To Stop

When training, how do you know when it’s too little, or too much, or enough? It’s important to differentiate between doing too much and doing too little, as well as considering how each end of the spectrum can appear in — and affect the — training.
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Training in the Right Way: The Process vs The End Goal

This week’s article discusses the significant difference between the end goal and the process of getting there. Although they obviously are inextricably linked, it’s important to understand that they often look very different.
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Training in the Right Way: What to Look for in a Dressage Horse, Part 4 — Exercises for the Imperfect Horse

This final installment of the four-part series on choosing a dressage horse takes a closer look at how specific dressage exercises can be used to improve the ride-ability of a less-than-perfect horse.
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Training in the Right Way: What to Look for in a Dressage Horse, Part 3 — Movement

Today’s  article takes a closer look at movement. In order to choose a horse for dressage, or evaluate the one you have, you need to understand what the base-line requirements for movement are, be able to visualize them, and understand why they are necessary.
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Training in the Right Way: What to Look for in a Dressage Horse, Part 2

This is the second of a three-part series that explores what to look for when selecting a dressage horse. Today’s article focuses on the conformation that lends itself to a successful dressage horse.
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Training in the Right Way: What to Look for in a Dressage Horse, Part 1

This is the first of a three-part series that explores what to look for when selecting a dressage horse. Today’s article focuses on the three parts needed for a successful dressage horse: temperament, conformation, and movement. (more…)

Training in the Right Way: Let’s Talk about the Correct (and Incorrect) use of Equipment

The focus of this week’s article is to shed some light on some commonly used — and almost as commonly misused — pieces of equipment found in training and discuss what their original purpose is.
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Training in the Right Way: Let’s Talk About Balance

“[C]ollection creates better balance while performing harder tasks, which then also creates greater cooperation from the horse due to having the ability to stay balanced while performing these tasks.”
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Training in the Right Way: 12 Dressage Exercises and Their Training Purposes

“What almost everyone has forgotten, or may have never learned, is that dressage is a training system, based on the European cultures and horse types of antiquity, and it was created over centuries to develop horses for war and for ceremonial purposes.”
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Training in the Right Way: Road to the Grand Prix — Milestones for Age and Level

A student asked for a timeline for the development of the Grand Prix horse. While there are all sorts of variations and time elements that may get in the way, there is a generally accepted, age-based expectation of the horse’s development.
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Training in the Right Way: Classical vs Competition Dressage

This week’s article begins to look at the differences, and very important similarities, between classical and competition dressage. As with most things, the important truths tend to lie somewhere in the middle.
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Training in the Right Way: A Picture Is Worth a 1000 Words…

This week’s article discusses what you can see in a still photo and explores how to begin sorting out what is “a moment in time” versus what is most likely a constant state (which is, of course, indicative of the training).
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Training in the Right Way: Talent vs. Training — What’s Happening to Dressage in the US?

It was my intention to discuss how the training scale relates to Second through Fourth Level in this installment, but I think it’s important to broach a broader topic about the direction of Dressage in the United States. (more…)

Training in the Right Way: The Training Scale as Seen Through the USEF Levels – Part I

This week’s article takes the importance of the training scale and looks at how the training scale aligns with, and is woven throughout, the competitive levels, as designated by USEF. Part I will focus specifically on training and first level.
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Training in the Right Way: The Training Scale, Part II

The last article discussed the importance of the three base layers of the training scale. This article builds on that, focusing on the top three layers — which do not stand alone or separate from the lower half and cannot exist without or disconnected from them.
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Training in the Right Way: How Can You Tell When the Training Is Being Done Effectively?

“In the right way is intentionally separate from the meaning of more concrete words like talented, perfect, and correct as it denotes that good training is completely separate from natural talent, that perfection is, in fact, unattainable…”
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Training in the Right Way: What is Dressage and Why Do We Do it?

“Whenever you see a rider and horse in harmony and balance, performing their jobs fluidly and enthusiastically, you are witnessing the product of horse training and riding in the right way. No matter what, that is a product of what dressage was initially meant to be.” (more…)