…Roderick August 11, 2013

Roderick West Calgary Dressage Third Level Test 3 64%

Ride more forward into a steady hand. Why does it take so long to get there? I have a compulsive need to fix things as they happen. My coach, Deanna Cullen, has steadfastly resolved to not allow my disfunctionality to “fiddle” with the reins.

Roderick, my long suffering partner, has much to teach me yet.  Bless our horses and our children,  for they are the consumate teacher.

Your in good riding,

Kim…AEF Hosts Canadian Interprovincials

The Alberta Equestrian Federation will be hosting the Canadian Interprovincial Equestrian Championships this year September 13 – 15. The event will be held at Anderson Ranch, just south of Calgary.

The CIEC is a sanctioned Equine Canada competition & a collaborative event between the national and provincial sports organizations.  It aims to develop the next generation of equestrian national and international champions.

This year the competition will be held in Alberta for the first time.

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Sophie Beaufils at

For more information about the CIEC you can visit: www.cec?

Also, below is the link to the CIEC page on the AEF website.…..Showing in the USA #3


Kim Cox and Roderick training in San Diego
Training in San Diego

In a perfect world, I would like to show every 2 to 3 weeks during the season.  In this part of the world you can do that.  Showing this often adds to a rider’s mental toughness and psychological edge. There is a long off season at home and shows are far apart in the regular schedule at home.I learned a lot about myself showing in California.  When I began my dressage career after leaving the jumper ring, my coach asked me about my goals.  I thought third level was “safe”, and not wanting to be brash, chimed out third level as my goal.  She was German. She looked at me and replied “Das ist M”. I had no idea what M was and wondered about how long it would take.  She waved her hand and said, “All riders take 5 years to learn”.

It has been 5 years and I have met my goal to ride third level.  I won 2 first and a fourth placenat Del-Mar. Now I realize how much I don’t know. Riding here in the same warm-up as Jewels, Stephen and Shannon Peters and Guenter Seidel has been an amazing and very humbling experience.  There is such a gap between good horses and great horses. Good riders and great riders, and I know I can ride better.  I personalized the experience…it’s not the score or the ribbon, it’s the ride that counts.  I can’t believe it has taken me this long or coming this far to figure out.

Every coach/athlete team needs to set goals for training.  Jewels asked me that question when I came to train with her.  I want to ride Prix St. George. This ups my game. I need several things to achieve this.  The most fundamental thing for me, is to understand my flaws as a rider/competitor. I must work hard to overcome them. I also need a dance partner that will take me to the upper levels.  I have a great coach that has gone to the WEG and has her sites set on re-entering the ring on the international stage.  I’m fortunate that my family supports my efforts and my clients at home are in my corner too.

The whole package, the mental toughness, the training, the horse, the show, the score, the ride etc. is a journey.  Dressage is a pursuit of perfect harmony with the horse.  I saw it in Del-Mar, and it was motivating.…Showing in the USA #2

You have established a training base in southern California, your horse has arrived at the destination all is well. Your horse will need a few days to  adjust to the climate and change in hay.

Bathe and clip your horse and find the appropriate sheet/blanket/fly mask combination for the weather in the desert. We feed “Safe Choice”, a Purina product.  It is an American based brand, but was difficult to find locally.  Once the jumpers were competing at Thermal, the brand was brought in.   Don’t assume that you can find the same brands of horse feed here as at home.  Make sure you contact the local feed store to find if they will bring in a supply of any specialty feed you may require.

Ask about all the barn and arena rules.  These may be different than at your home barn. Be polite and respectful and always clean up after yourself and your horse. You are a guest boarder and remember you would like to be welcomed back. Other riders are a great source of information on where to find tack shops, boot repair, veterinary advice, farriers, showing etc.

Personal accomodation becomes a matter of choice.  I have an RV, and as long as there is a place to park near the barn, I am home.  There are condos, hotel resorts (suites) or rental units available locally.

Now that you and your horse have arrived safely and settled in, it’s time to start riding.

 – Showing Dressage in the USA #1


Kim Cox and Roderick training in San Diego
Training in San Diego

The process of showing Dressage is a multi stage process. Riding in the equivalent of our recognized shows, riders must have all memberships to the USDF, USEF and the local state NGO.  Riders also need a horse license number for your horse, USDF and USEF membership numbers for your coach or trainer and the owner of the horse.  If you ride your own horse as an adult amateur, then your own membership numbers will be used on the entry forms.

I chose the shows I wanted to compete in, based on the time frame I had planned to travel to California, and the time my coach was available.  The internet has made it so easy to access show schedules, download entries, and even now there are fee for service on-line entry sites for recognized shows in all disciplines in the US.

Planning and teamwork are a big part of showing success this far from home.  Plan well ahead to find a “base camp” for you and your horse. I recommend you or your coach, visit the area you plan to show in,  before you decide to proceed.  Meet people involved with the sport through trainer contacts, friends or the internet.  Make arrangements with the facility you decide to board at.  Most horse facilities in the US require copies of your equine insurance records and require signed boarding agreements.  You will probably need to leave a damage deposit equivalent to ine month’s boarding fee and pay for a month in advance.  Pay attention to what the boarding facility offers for their fee.  Many facilities provide hay only and you buy your own feed.  Feeding supplements, blanketing and turnout may be an extra charge. Barn help may be willing to do this for you, but expect to be paid directly for this service.

Once you have a place to ride and train settled upon, then decide on how to transport your horse. Choices include professional transport or trailering yourself. You need to decide which option you are most comfortable with and which suits your show plans better.  If you show in Southern California during the season, there are several excellent transport companies  making the run to and from Calgary on a regular basis.  Going to recognized shows does not seem to be a problem either, as horse transport here is a big business.  The issue comes when you ship your horse and can’t be there to unload it and make sure things are alright. This is when you have to rely on team members or a staffer to help out.  If you trailer your own horse this problem goes away.

This gets you to your training destination and the beginning of your journey is yet to come.


Calgary Dressage……California Blogging


Stay tuned for information and updates on how to “go large” on the southern California dressage circuit.  I will be shipping my third level horse to Thermal Ca. next week.  Watch for tips and informantion on “how to” for the adult amateur rider who may want to add this experience to their bucket list.

You need to go to the USDF and the USET websites and aquire the appropriate memberships that allow you to attend rated shows in the States.  You also need to join the California Dressage Society to show at certain levels in California.  The process to get all  certification in order takes some snail mail time. I encourage you to begin this process in early December prior to a January departure.

I have my own horse trailer, but opted to have my horse professionally shipped this time.  I contacted Foothills Horse Transport and chatted with Michael Kits.  He was very helpful and provided me with all the information I needed to aquire the health, vaccination, export paper work etc. needed to cross the border. My veterinary service did the tests and vaccinations in a timely manner and now we’re ready to go south.

I am following my horse down in a large RV with horse trailer attached, even though I am not hauling my own horse. You never know when you may find the horse of the century and I want to be prepared to bring it home.  I plan to follow Roderick down after he has a week of post travel recovery at a facility that was previously scouted out by my coach.  It really is important to have connections with a facility in the area where you are showing.  If you don’t have any link to the area, find a coach with these connections and see if they will take you on as a student.  It will make you experience so much less stressful.

If you ship your horse, please make sure you have a responsible party ready on the other end to receive him. This may sound crazy, but I would never let my horse go to a new barn without someone I trussted to keep a watchful eye on him until I could be there.

So as of the week prior to shipping:

  • Transport is booked
  • Veterinary certificates in hand
  • Pack tack trunk for shipping (This is its own topic)
  • arrange to deliver your horse to the departure site for shipping
  • clip horse, arranage for farrier if necessary before departure

So far so good.



Calgary Dressage…Basic Horse Turnout for Showing

Half Pass
Good turnout shows respect for the sport

Basic Horse Turnout for Showing

-Mane neatly pulled, trimmed, and braided.*

-Braid mane with elastics or yarn that matches your horse’s mane. White elastics are acceptable in dressage, but avoid them if you are not a skilled braider.

-Horse is clean!

-Tack is clean!

-Clean white or black saddle pad for dressage events.

-Hot towel or wipe down prior to your class to remove dust from dark horses.

-Feathers clipped.

-Ears, “beard”, and bridle path trimmed neatly. Do not shave the muzzle for dressage.

-Tail is brushed and banged, tails are not braided in dressage.

-Clear hoof polish may be applied, never black for dressage or English events. Do not oil hooves, as sand will stick to them. (Black looks tacky.)

*Always braid regardless of level or type of show. It shows respect for the judge, yourself, and your horse.


-Unless you are showing a Shire, or Clydesdale, clip your horse’s feathers. It will accentuate your horse’s conformation, not to mention clipped legs are easier to keep clean.

-Do not shave the muzzle hairs as it leaves a horse blind.

-Do not shave the inside of a horse’s ears because the hair keeps bugs and wind noise out of them. (Trim the outside hair only.)

-If your horse has a large barrel, avoid swallowtail pads. They’re unflattering.

-If your horse has a thick neck, avoid white braiding elastics.

-If your horse breed has a long mane, running braids are an acceptable alternative to button braids.

-Bang the tail according to the tail carriage of your horse in the trot. The tail should fall between the bottom of the fetlock and the middle of the cannon bone.

-Braiding the top of the tail can accentuate the hindquarters. Avoid shaving or pulling the sides unless your horse is a Hanoverian.

by Victoria Cox




Calgary Dressage – Alberta Dressage Show Dates for 2012

Dressage Show Ribbons
2012 Summer Dressage Show Dates for Alberta

Thank you to Beckie Snow for compiling the show dates for the Alberta Dressage Summer Season:

2012 Alberta Recognized & Schooling Show Dates as of March 21, 2012:
May 11, 12 &13th
Gold Show in Red Deer presented by AJ/YR

May 12th
Bronze Show in Red Deer presented by AJ/YR

May 26th and 27th
Gold Show – Amberlea Meadows Dressage Show (Edmonton Area)
Ph: 780-955-7608 Fax: 780-955-7755
Email- Website

June 9th and 10th
Gold Show in Claresholm presented by CC/ADA

June 28th to July 1st
CDI*** in Calgary presented by CA/ADA

June 30th
Double W Riding Academy Bronze Summer Classic – Bronze Show
July 20 – 22nd
Gold Show – Amberlea Meadows Summer Dressage Festival (Edmonton Area)
Ph: 780-955-7608 Fax: 780-955-7755
Email- Website

Sept 1st and 2nd
Gold Show in Calgary presented by CA/ADA

Sept 13th and 14th Parkland Dressage Festival Provincials in Red Deer presented by PA/ADA

Sept 15th and 16th
Parkland Dressage Festival Regionals in Red Deer presented by PA/ADA


March 10-11 – Dressage Schooling Show I
April 14-15 – Dressage Schooling Show II
Contact: Ph: 780-955-7608 Fax: 780-955-7755
Email- Website

UPDATE – Double W Riding Academy Dressage Schooling Show series:
* Saturday, April 14th
* Saturday, September 8th
* Saturday, October 6th
Watch for prize list. Follow on facebook as well! Please note new barn number 403-843-3333 .
Double W Riding Academy

August 10 – 12 – Extreme Stables Annual Summer Extravaganza – Dressage/Hunter/Jumper Schooling Show. Find the prize list in the News at

Calgary Dressage Tips…What to do if a test goes wrong….

Tips for Riders

When considering why your test did not go as it should, be honest and objective about why.

Your coach can be very helpful in this regard.  You need to look to the reason not the result.

This past weekend, I was dissapointed in my first ride, my horse was not with me and seemed to have his own agenda. I could have blamed it on many things, but that would do me little good at improving my performance nest time.

The test starts in the warm-up.  I forgot that.  Rhythm, looseness, contact…that is how I needed to start. I also needed to remember to “be there” for my equine partner, as he needs me to be confident one for the team.  I let him down in that regard.

The judges table at “C”, the noisey door, dogs and people moving about are distractions and excuses to go off task.  Focus and attention to detail in the spooky areas of the ring in the warm up were critical to performing my test well.  Instead of insisting on his attention where I knew we had challenges, I hoped for the best and stayed away from the scariest parts sof the ring.

My warm up may have looked pretty, but it did nothing to engage my horse and give him the confidence he needed to ignore the spooky bits and listen to me as the pilot.  I allowed him to develop his own agenda during the test, which was to focus on everything else, but me.  I effectively set him up to do this in my warm up.

What did I learn.?…Work things through.  Establish the basics of the training scale and build on them through thte warm up.  Keep the horse calm and confident in the scary end by working through suppleness and bend. Ask and allow (but insist).  Ride it through.  The warm up is crucial and you can’t just hope for the best, you have to make it happen.

The warm up is not always schooling, it’s an opportunity to prepare for something else entirely.  You can use elements from your schooling or test exercises for sure, but don’t let you and your partner down by not using the warm up for 100% effectiveness at the show.  A spooky horse will not be “fixed” in the warm-up, but you can use what you know to help set the horse up for the best possible outcome.  You can plan to half-halt or flex to the inside at the spooky corner.

Yikes…I have been riding long enough to know better.  I have to take this one for the team.  Thank goodness there is always a next time and a chance to do the right thing.  I owe it to myself, my horse, coach and sport.

My second ride was better.

No more Top Hats Allowed in National Level Tests!

A great Poster
Freestyles Rule

Equine Canada/Dressage Canada have issued a late rule change that as of May 1st, 2011, only competitors above 4th level will be allowed to wear Top Hats in Canadian Competitions.  All others must wear a safety approved helmet with harness when mounted on the show grounds. Failure to comply will cause the rider to be eliminated from the show.

Any Comments?

Here is a copy of the new rule as of March 23rd, 2011:

ARTICLE E 4.0 SAFETY HEADGEAR [effective May 1, 2011]

1. ASTM/SEI or BSI approved headgear must be worn by all riders

showing Fourth Level and below, regardless of age, when mounted on

the competition grounds at EC Bronze, Silver and Gold competitions.

2. ASTM/SEI or BSI approved headgear must be worn by all noncompeting

riders mounted on horses entered in classes at Fourth Level

or below in EC Bronze, Silver and Gold competitions.

3. All riders of any age while on non-competing horses must wear

protective headgear at all times while mounted on the competition


4. The penalty for contravening 4.0.1 is elimination.

5. Non-competing riders who contravene 4.0.2 and/or 4.0.3 will be

instructed to dismount until wearing an ASTM/SEI or BSI approved


Note: At the tack check which follows the test, the steward may ask the

rider to dismount so that the helmet may be inspected for the ASTM/SEI or

BSI label.

My comment is that I will miss wearing my Top Hat until I can ride in the FEI classes. It’s unfortunate that this elegant piece of our attire will no longer be visible at the higher national levels of our sport.  I acknowlege the inherent risks of riding, but always felt that once you reached third level, you were secure enough in your training to make a personal decision as to the head gear appropriate for your level of showing. Equine Canada (Dressage Canada)’s position is to: ensure our safety and protect against liability.  I thought that is why we signed waivers to compete at  shows.