October 2019
On the Bit
In This Issue

Barn News & Updates
Dressage Training Video:
The 3 Must-Do's for a Perfect Leg Yield
Dressage Training:
A Tool for Times Your Horse Makes You Nervous
Horse Care Tip of the Month:
Do's and Dont's for Helping a Cast Horse
Life & Style:
Fall Decor Ideas for an At-Home Seasonal Escape!
Recipe of the Month:
Creamy Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas
Paula's Pearls:
"Ah-Ha!" Moments in Riding
A Little Inspiration:
 A Lovely Tribute to the Girl/Horse Bond
About Paula Paglia Dressage
Barn News & Updates
The End of Summer Successes
There is lots to tell you about during the months of August and September. Let’s start with our showing and training. We left Scottsdale in the 115-degree heat to head over to Star Spangled Dressage and Cool August Nights at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, California. Believe me I was beyond sick of the summer heat! We wanted to show at the Region 7 Championships in Sacramento, California in September and needed scores to qualify for the CDS Championships.

My 2 FEI horses Slipstream (owned by Sherrill and Ed Tripp) and In D’ Aire (owned by Kate and Dave Earl) were the two who needed to qualify. Janet Teodori’s mare Dancer went on the trip to escape the heat, show and train. I rented a rather unimpressive VRBO for us all to stay in for a week but it served its purpose because it was three and a half miles from the showground and with my knowledge of the LA traffic, that was a plus! I like to arrive a day or so in advance of our show day, so our horses get used to their new surroundings, but this time it was not possible so we had to get settled in quickly and show the following day.

It was a true test because Sunday I was the first rider at 8:00 AM. It was a success for both horses and we got the scores we needed. Janet’s mare Dancer scored well which was her first time off the ranch to show.

We had a few days between the two shows so we trained with Gerhard Politz, the former director of the Flintridge Riding Club, and who lives near The Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Wow! We got educated. German style all the way! Lots of things to work on and refine. One word sticks out in my head: MORE! More power, more bend, more jump, more forward, more BOLD riding, more accuracy. The Cool August Nights judges gave us all more great feedback and things to improve before Championships and we qualified for everything. 

We were now planning on competing at the California Dressage Society Championships and the Region 7 Regional Championships. The divisions we're now qualified for were Fourth Level Musical Freestyle Regional and CDS classes and the PSG Regional class with Indy. Slipstream had four classes in Intermediare 1 the Musical Freestyles Regional and CDS and the same I -1 classes.

There was a couple weeks between the shows and I was headed on a vacation with my husband. Just before leaving I came down with vertigo which was miserable for part of the trip but slowly recovered by the time I got home.

We all prepared to head for Sacramento and it was a very competitive week of showing. In D’ Aire won both of his Freestyle classes and was 4th in the large PSG class. Slipstream and I ended up 5th in the large and very competitive Intermediare 1 Regional class.

I showed my two super FEI horses in their freestyle classes, Indiare 4th level and PSG, and Slipstream in her I-1 freestyles and Intermediare I. Indy won both CDS and the Regional Championship and Lucy and I took turns making a few costly mistakes.

She ended up 6th in a very large CDS freestyle class. The following day I decided to really GO for it. Sadly, in my exuberance I forgot a pirouette in my freestyle. Had I not made that mistake I would have been well in the 70’s.

So now Lucy and I had one more class to do which was the Region Inter 1 Championship. Lucy and I had a beautiful clean ride and we ended 5th in a class of 26. The competition field was huge in the FEI divisions and many talented horses and riders were going for a win or at least a top 8. I took my 5th place in that class as a win for us because we did it with self carriage and harmony.

I am grateful to Ed and Sherrill Tripp, Kate and Dave Earl and Denise Ostrow and Mike Brock for their support in every way. It is clear... this is a TEAM sport and I appreciate all the energy and money that goes into it! 

I am also so appreciative of my sponsor Equipe Saddles and thankful to Ingrid Trimmer for their support. I'm in awe of how beautifully crafted Equipe Saddles are. The attention-to-detail and stellar client service are second-to-none!
Onward and upward with all our horses in 2020 with an exciting future ahead of us! 
ADA Futurity Competition
Do you have a young horse (four to six years old) that you'd like to get into the show ring? Be sure to nominate that future super star for the Arizona Dressage Association's Futurity Competition. It will be held during the Spring Celebration in March of 2020. Click here to get started.
Dressage Training Video
The 3 Must-Do's for a Perfect Leg Yield

Dressage Training
A Tool for Times Your Horse Makes You Nervous

horse and rider
My sixteen year old student did something the other day that I just loved. It was an easy and very effective way of working through the type of resistance from her horse that often makes her nervous. It’s a tool everyone can use anytime they need it.

They had taken a little walk break, and she was supposed to be getting him back into a trot and onto a circle so we could work on her right lead canter transition, which can be a little sticky. Maybe there was already some hesitation in the back of her mind just knowing what was coming, I’m not sure. Or maybe he thought his walk break signaled the end of the lesson and he felt like he was done. Either way, when she went to gather the reins he pinned his ears and rooted against the end of the rein, so she held quietly and asked him to trot and he threw his head up and chomped his teeth, behaviors he’s used in the past to intimidate her when he doesn’t feel like working.

I watched quietly, which is sometimes hard to do, but we’ve been through this little routine with him enough times now… she should know the drill. He’s been checked for soreness, had his saddle adjusted, tried different bits, etc and this behavior does not appear to have any physical cause, and it often seems to be linked to when she starts to get nervous and give him mixed signals – like leg on to go, but at the same time tight and restraining with her seat and hand.

What usually works for her is to soften, deep breath, and let him go forward, backing up the light aid with a correction if necessary. Usually he does get back to work pretty easily, but sometimes he gets really stuck and then she gets nervous, feeling like he may buck she gets tensed up and stuck herself, which is totally understandable but only makes it worse. Once that cycle starts, it can take a bit of work to unwind both of them. It becomes a classic “behind the leg” problem, except that the horse has the rider convinced that she better not try to fix it!

Today however, as this started to unfold, I saw her do something different than usual. She sat up, and in a very convincing, commanding tone she said to him, “This isn’t that hard, we can do it!”… and with that, the horse trotted off like a gentleman.

I couldn’t help but smile, and wonder if she knew what she had just done, and what a fabulous tool she had used. Of course as a trainer it’s always fun to hear my own words coming out of her mouth, but as she said those words with such conviction, her entire body reflected that confidence and instead of getting tense and tight and grabbing at the reins, she got deep in the saddle, giving with her hands, and put her leg on like she already KNEW it would work. When he felt that confidence in her, he stopped questioning her. He stopped trying to negotiate the idea of getting back to work and just got back to work. He took her leadership as absolute, instead of responding to her as a herd-equal, another of questionable authority he may be able to boss around.

Maybe she actually felt the confidence I heard in her voice, but my guess would be she did not, she tends to be a more nervous rider that has to push herself to stretch her abilities. Maybe she knew I wouldn’t let her off the hook and end the lesson with him behaving that way, or maybe she just finally got sick of him doing that. Either way, she mustered up the determination, and she showed him the confidence that this WAS going to happen, before she maybe knew for sure it would happen, but by acting as if there was no doubt, she removed the doubt from her horse’s mind. ALL of her verbal and non-verbal communications to him aligned in that moment, and without any mixed signals to confuse him or make him think there was any other option, he simply did exactly what she asked him to without any fuss.

Here’s how you can use this tool:
You need a few powerful words, words that reiterate to yourself that you CAN, words that make you feel powerful and in control. “This isn’t hard” or “That isn’t scary” or “I know how to do this” to invoke your determination to get the job done, followed by something actionable, a “Let’s do it!” that tells your body and your horse that it’s go time.
In these situations, the horse is trying to convince you that whatever it is maybe can’t be done. Often, he’s picking up on your own doubt, so the idea is to erase the doubt from your own mind so that there is nothing about you giving him conflicting signals. Our bodies are fabulous at relaying to the horse what the back of our mind is thinking, even when the front of our mind is thinking something else.

We ride “determined to pass the scary rock” while also “holding on really tight in case he spooks”. It’s that “in case” part that is relaying to the horse that somewhere in the back of our mind we ARE in fact thinking about spooking at the rock! The horse feels this, wonders what about the rock is worrying us, and starts looking for monsters behind the rock. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Then when the horse does spook, we think “Gosh, good thing I was prepared for that spook!” and we ride past the next rock the same way. And in this way, we can train our horses to be spooky if we aren’t careful, and we can train ourselves to be what we call a “nervous rider”. But the so-called nervous rider is often just someone who has learned a body-usage that creates a nervous horse, so they promptly get on a horse, make it nervous, and then feel nervous riding the jumpy, spooky beast they are on. Sadly, they are apt to decide riding isn’t all that much fun after all and give up, rather than figuring out why every horse they get on seems to be prone to spook.

When these riders can employ the tool my student did, they can learn to “fake it til you make it” or just BE confident, which then makes the horse confident, which then makes for a ride that can give the rider real confidence. The more often the rider feels how being the confident one first leads to real confidence, the easier it is to do. It’s a process and takes time, but at least now the seed of confidence has been planted in your mind. Next time your horse starts to balk, spook, or make you nervous, try using some power-filled words to convince yourself that you can handle it, and use the tone of your voice to give your horse confidence in you as his leader.
Horse Care Tip of the Month
Do's and Don'ts for Helping a Cast Horse

cast horse
What Happens When a Horse Gets Cast?
When a horse becomes cast, two things may happen. Feeling entrapped and unable to regain its feet can cause a horse to panic. As it flails and struggles, it can injure itself. The struggling horse can also hurt anyone who comes near. Although it seems trivial compared to what the panicking horse can do to itself and to the people trying to help it, it can also damage the stables, fences or anything else it strikes. If a horse is cast for a long time, something called reperfusion injuries can occur. The weight of their own bodies restricts blood flow to various areas of the body. When the horse stands on its feet again the blood flowing back into the affected areas causes pain and inflammation. Besides reperfusion injury, blood can pool in the muscles on the underside of the horse and nerves can become damaged by the pressure of the horse’s own body weight. If the injuries from struggling and/or damage due to pooling blood are severe enough the horse may have to be euthanized. Blood can also pool in the lungs. 

Eventually, the horse can suffocate. This is why if the horse is not found for many hours when it becomes cast, it may die.

What to Do When a Horse Becomes Cast
First of all, stay calm. Don’t panic, and don’t approach the horse until you have assessed the situation and determined the safest strategy for getting the horse on its feet. Some horses will calm down when they sense help is on the way. Some may continue to struggle, causing themselves more injuries and potentially injuring anyone in the way. Remember too, that a horse can appear to calm down, but then begin to struggle again. Check if the horse is breathing and what injuries it might have. A very messy stall might mean you’re also dealing with a horse with colic. A horse that seems confused may be suffering from a concussion or a neurological problem. If the horse appears to have any other problems beyond simply getting itself into a bad spot, call a veterinarian.

You will probably need some help to get the horse on its feet again. Stay out of reach of the horse’s hooves. If you can safely do so, pull on the horse’s mane so that its front feet and head are further from the object it’s cast against. That may give it just enough room to scramble to its feet. Don’t just pull on the horse’s head and neck as this could cause spinal injuries.

If you can’t safely free the horse’s front end, you may need ropes or lunge lines. Don’t put yourself between the horse and whatever it’s cast against. Reach over the horse, or over the object. Loop the rope around the horse’s lower legs, and pull the horse back over. Just be very sure to stay out of reach of flailing hooves, or head and neck.

How to Prevent Your Horse From Becoming Cast
Horses that spend most of their time turned out are less likely to get cast, although it is still quite possible. Banking bedding against stall walls may help prevent a horse from getting close enough to a wall to get trapped. Make sure all blankets fit well, and that leg and belly straps aren’t too loose. If your horse wears a halter all the time, be sure it is the breakaway type so if the halter catch on anything or the horse puts a hoof through it while scratching, the halter will break easily.

If your horse insists on rolling in its stall, anti-cast back bands can prevent it from doing so. Be sure that gaps under doors and feeders are either tight against the floor or high enough that a horse can’t get stuck beneath them. Stalls with rails, rather than solid walls are not a good idea. If your horse digs holes in deep bedding or dirt floors, try to keep the surface as flat as possible. If you use deep bedding methods, be sure that the surface is flat and even.
Life & Style
Fall Decor Ideas for an At-Home Seasonal Escape!

Colder weather, here we come! It’s time to welcome fall in all its glory with open arms—and guess what? You don't even have to leave your house to do so. With our very best fall decorating ideas, you can invent the indoor oasis of your dreams and make your home look and feel as cozy as possible. Sure, there's a lot to do outside the four walls of your house (pumpkin farm visits, corn mazes, and epic color-changing nature, anyone?), but these indoor fall decor ideas will bring all that magic straight to your living room. Simple additions like festive wreaths, dining room decor, and plaid pillows and blankets make a huge difference.
fall decor
Use Cozy Blankets in New Ways

Betcha never thought of using those cozy blankets for this purpose! Two tartan beauties turn this back porch table into a work of art. (The oversized wreath certainly doesn't hurt either.)

fall decor
Liven Up Your Dining Room with a Fun Centerpiece

Who says over-the-top centerpieces have to be reserved for special occasions and holidays? This one can be left on your table all season long for just a little extra seasonal charm.
fall decor
#Go Mad for Plaid

Before your dinner party guests tuck in to a hearty harvest feast, give them the full seasonal treatment with all-plaid-everything table trimmings. Stock the spread with overlapping layers of mismatched plaid garlands, then reinforce the theme with matching patterned napkins. Take it one step further and top each porcelain plate with fabric-covered 3-inch embroidery hoops.
fall decor
Get Crafty with Your Table Fixtures

You only need a few vintage spools of assorted heights, wool yarn, and some leftover knitting needles to recreate this wonderfully unique centerpiece arrangement.
fall decor
Mix Rustic and Autumn Accessories

If you already have rustic elements throughout your home, there's no reason you can't incorporate them into your fall decorations.
Recipe of the Month
Creamy Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

chicken enchiladas
"I'm a big fan of Mexican food. I bet there's a lot of us that are! These enchiladas are so easy to make and will put a smile on all of your family members faces. PS - to make your busy life even easier, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken for this recipe. Can't beat the flavor and the simplicity!" Paula

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (10 oz) can drained Rotel tomatoes OR 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breasts
  • 8 medium-sized flour tortillas
  • 1 (16 oz) jar green salsa
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for five minutes, until softened. Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute more, until fragrant.

Stir in cream cheese, green chiles, and chicken. Reduce heat to medium-low mixing constantly until cream cheese is melted and mixture is combined.

Pour a small amount of green salsa (about a 1/4 cup) into the bottom of prepared baking dish.

Divide filling evenly between 8 tortillas, about 1/3 cup each. Roll tortillas and place them seam side down in the pan. Cover enchiladas with the remaining salsa and sprinkle with cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with sliced avocado.

Serves: 4
Paula's Pearls
"Ah-ha!" Moments in Riding

Let's talk about bend. You can lose your bend from in front of the saddle (with the shoulders) or from behind the saddle (with the hind legs). If you allow your horse's shoulders to fall out, you'll lose your bend. If you allow your horse's hind leg to step out, you'll lose your bend. Control both of those areas and you'll find your horse becoming looser and rounder.

A Little Inspiration
Watch this heart-warming video of a young lady's love affair with horses starting with her as an infant, through adolescence. Warning: You might need a tissue!
About Paula Paglia
Paula Paglia
Paula Paglia, owner and head trainer of Paula Paglia Dressage in North Scottsdale, Arizona began her professional training career in 1979. Paula is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist and has been named ADA Rider of the Year numerous times through 2018. Paula has been an integral part of the training and success of her clients. She is credited with creating numerous winning horse and rider combinations through the FEI levels. She has developed Regional Winners and sent many students to the National Junior Young Riders Championships, the North American Young Riders Championships and the National Dressage Seat Equitation Finals.

Formerly the head trainer at Dynamite Dressage, and the head trainer at Los Cedros, she is thrilled to now offer her own niche to her clients: a full educational program based on dressage, developing amateurs, young riders and other professionals to their fullest potential. As owner of Paula Paglia Dressage, she has taken the best of training practices used throughout her career to offer a specialized experience for her clients. She considers her facility to be "heaven for horses." Owning her own facility allows her to cater to every horse's special needs.

Paula has trained with some of the most successful trainers and riders in the world, including Debbie McDonald, Leslie Reid, Christine Traurig, and Conrad Schumacher.

In 1992, Paula began importing warmbloods from Holland, Poland and Germany. Presently, Paula conducts personalized buying trips abroad for her clients, as she has extensive experience selecting and starting young horses and developing them up the levels.

The Paula Paglia Dressage philosophy is to develop a partnership between horse and rider. The well-being of the horse is the primary consideration. Paula evaluates each horse and rider individually and will design a program appropriate to their ability, yet focused on the long-term goals of upper-level classical dressage. Each horse and rider is developed at their own pace, allowing each team to be mentally and physically strong at each level of competition.

Paula believes that a successful training regimen is a logical, step-by-step process that utilized the horse's natural intelligence, his loyalty, his goodwill, and his honesty. A sensible, kind and structured training program will produce a horse with a strong muscle structure and a sharp working mind. Both are necessary to compete at the national and international levels of dressage. 
Paula Paglia Dressage
Services & Facility
  • Boarding/Training
  • Lessons
  • Showing
  • Purchase/Sale
  • Clinics
  • International Equine Procurement 

  • Regulation arena with premium footing
  • Oversized stalls, cleaned multiple times daily with premium shavings
  • Fly misting system and cooling misting system 
  • Two all-weather turnouts
  • Premium hay feed 5x a day
  • Personalized grain/supplement feedings 2-3x a day
  • Automatic waterers/outside tubs and interior buckets cleaned daily
  • Hot water wash racks
  • Locked tack rooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Blanketing/final night check
  • Caveletti course
  • Access to Equine Corridor trails
  • Regularly scheduled on-site clinics
  • Trailering to shows available