Paula Paglia Dressage
On the Bit
January 2018
In This Issue
Barn News & Updates
Dressage Training:  Video - How to Sit the Trot
Dressage Training: Collection with Throughness and Forward Desire
Horse Care Tip of the Month:  Helpful Hacks for Competition Season
Recipe of the Month: Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw
Paula's Pearls: "Ah Ha!" Moments in Riding
A Little Inspiration:  A "warning" to all the dads out there!
Barn News & Updates

Champion Kristen Whittaker came to train horses and riders, and increase her knowledge of dressage with Paula.
Kristen Whittaker
We were so excited to have Kristen visit. She is the manager and head trainer at Whit Acres Farm in Massachusetts, and she spent over a week here at Paula Paglia Dressage. She shared with us her knowledge and furthered her own education and experience. Not only did she complete training rides on many horses, but used groundwork to demonstrate effective leadership. She was able to successfully improve the confidence and willingness of some of the more difficult horses. She trained with Paula, rode at the Royal Andalusian Riding School with Sandy Leubbe, and partook in lessons with Emily Glidden on Equine Biomechanics. We can't wait for her return! If you missed having a lesson with Kristen, plan to when she is visiting again. We'll keep you posted on when she's coming back!

West Coast Dressage Festival
Lucy and Paula
On January 2nd, Denise, Sherrill, Ed, Paula and Lucy traveled to Temecula, CA for Lucy's first exposure to the "CDI atmosphere." It was truly electric, exciting and a great learning experience for all five of us.

We entered three National Prix St George classes with 21 of California's finest with fabulous judges we were anxious to ride for.

The first day, Lucy was middle of the pack with a 65.735; second day she was in the ribbons with a 66.176. Her final showing was in the international arena with its Jumbotron, tents for judges and commentators and a huge VIP tent. There Paula and Lucy performed for two judges and ended up in second place with a 67.5 from one judge and a 63.088 from the other. We were thrilled!!

It was a thrill watching Steffen Peters, Charlotte Jorst, Sarah Runge (Germany) and Mette Rosencrantz perform the Grand Prix Special, under the lights in the international arena!!

We returned home with tremendous enthusiasm for the coming show season with the goal of entering and doing well at the CDI Level before the end of the season!
Dressage Training
How to Sit the Trot

Throughness is directly tied to your ability to sit with a horse. When you get your horse through and they start carrying you and swinging in the back, they become easier to sit. Learning to sit the trot is about getting your horse through first, then working to move with the horse in balance. By sitting for shorter moments and working on the throughness when we are rising, we can make sure that we have the horse swinging in the trot and then sitting the trot in true self-carriage is easier. Dressage Trainer Joseph Newcomb shows us his techniques.

Dressage Training
Collection with Throughness and Forward Desire

Scott Hasler, an international trainer and competitor explains the process behind finding perfect collection.

Learning to develop collection is one of the most important aspects of horse and rider education. Collection can be poorly produced unless both horse and rider understand the principles of what it should achieve. In defining "collection," I like to use the word "compression" because when you compress something such as a spring, it wants to push back. If you take a spring that's 12 inches long and you compress it 1 inch, it wants to push back that 1 inch. If you think of collection as "fluid compression that wants to push back," you're ahead of the game, so don't lose that concept!

scott hasler
Scott Hassler rides Harmony's Diamo Gold, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding by DiMaggio, owned by Harmony Sporthorses.

What is Perfect Collection?
I often compliment a rider whose horse is cantering with expression, but then when I ask that rider to show me how she collects the canter, the quality is often lost. The bottom line is that collection should make the horse more beautiful than he was beforehand, not less beautiful. If the horse loses the expression, the elevation, the beautiful contact, the energy, the fluidity of the gait or the way his legs are animating, we can't be satisfied that we've achieved collection.

As you ask for a degree of collection, you should feel a gradual yet energetic coiling, and for every degree of ground coverage that is reduced in collection, your horse should come up that much higher. His inclination from the beginning should be to lower the croup and lift in the shoulders. Period. Your horse should understand that clearly.

Then later, when you're asking for higher collection in, for example, the preparation for a pirouette in the Prix St. Georges, your horse knows to compress or collect himself and the croup becomes lower and the shoulders higher. When you're going from an extended canter to a collected canter, he still has that concept that the croup is lowering and the forehand is rising.

Collecting the Canter
Canter is a very natural gait from which to learn collection because the horse can innately canter very fast or almost in place. Trotting is different, more artificial and usually more difficult, so let's start in canter.
I teach collected canter in two ways. I start some horses with Exercise 1, "Schooling through the Numbers," and some with Exercise 2, "Changing the Balance Rapidly." However, eventually, your horse needs to understand both.

Exercise 1: Schooling through the Numbers
In this exercise, I ask my horse for collection very gradually, thinking about the rhythm and the speed-or ground coverage-of the canter. For purposes of illustration, we might consider that the speed of a quality working canter is 15 mph, the Third Level collected canter might be 12 mph and the FEI collected canter of the Prix St. Georges might be 10 mph. Finally, the highly collected canter in a pirouette is only 1 mph.

How do we get from 15 mph to 12 to 10 and finally from 10 to 1? Try this exercise to coach your horse to quality collection.

For the Horse Just Learning Collection:
Step 1: Start in your working canter at 15 mph. Within the rhythm of canter, go to 14 mph. That slight reduction in ground cover should translate into more animation. The rhythm shouldn't get... click here for the rest of the article.

Horse Care Tip of the Month
Helpful Hacks for Competition Season

 Presented by: SmartPak

competition turnout

Competition Turnout - For Your Horse

Braids - Protect your braids by cutting one leg of an old pair of pantyhose or tights lengthwise.  Then stretch the leg over the length of the braid, and put a band over each one to secure. 

Horse tails - Protect your horse's tail by stretching one leg of pantyhose or tights over his tail. Band it at the end and at the bottom of the dock to keep it clean in the trailer or overnight.

Cornstarch - Does your horse have white socks? Need them extra white for a show?  Just rub some cornstarch on those socks before you enter the ring, and see the difference!

Hair clips - These are great to keep the unbraided mane from getting in your way while braiding. They are usually sold in packs of 3.

Rubber bands - They're a quarter of the price of tack store bands, and they work fine for quick braiding or mane taming.

Competition Turnout - For You

Mirror - Get a decent sized or full-length mirror and some adhesive Velcro strips to stick it up in your trailer or inside your tack trunk. Remember to get a plastic mirror, not glass. Perfect for a last minute check of your helmet, hairnet, and stock tie.

Nylon stockings - Put a military-grade shine on your competition boots by using old nylons with runs in them. You can either use scraps balled up in the toe of an old pair, or you can use a single leg like a towel to buff the leather to a brilliant shine almost instantly. Don't laugh! The U.S. Marines use it to get that killer shine on their dress shoes. 

Armor-All or Lexol wipes - They're great for a last minute touch up to put that winning shine on your boots as you enter the ring. Remember to knock the dirt off the bottom of your boots once your feet are in the stirrups as the wipe's last hurrah (George Morris would be proud). They're also a lot easier to pack in your show trunk than a whole collection of individual tack cleaning supplies.  

Baby powder - This is good for helping your foot slide into tall boots and keeps them smelling fresh. Use it in your horse's boots too to prevent rubs.  (Holly)

Sing out loud! - If you have trouble with your nerves before competition, sing to your horse out loud. It will force you to breathe and it also helps you keep a tempo. Lots of people sing Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees because of its strong, basic beat.
Recipe of the Month
Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw



  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha or other Asian chile sauce, plus more for serving
  • 2 limes (1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved crosswise
  • 1 14-ounce package coleslaw mix
  • 1 mango, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 12 hard taco shells


Make the dressing: Pulse the mayonnaise, Sriracha, lime juice, sugar, 1/4 cup cilantro and 1 tablespoon water in a mini food processor until smooth. (Or finely chop the cilantro and mix with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.) Place the shrimp in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing; set aside. Roughly chop the remaining 1/2 cup cilantro. Toss with the coleslaw mix, mango, red onion and the remaining dressing. Season with salt. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque, about 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate. Warm the taco shells as the label directs. Fill the shells with the shrimp and some slaw. Serve with the lime wedges and more Sriracha. Refrigerate any extra slaw for up to 3 days.
A Little Inspiration

"Daddys, don't let your daughters grow up to be dressage girls!"

I love this cute take on one of my favorite country music songs. I'm sure we can all relate! Enjoy!

Paula's Pearls
"Ah ha!" Moments in Riding

What makes a horse light, is getting a greater response from a lighter aid.
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 2014. 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

  • Boarding/Training
  • Lessons
  • Showing
  • Purchase/Sale
  • Clinics
  • International Equine Procurement 
  • Regulation arena with premium footing
  • Over-sized stalls, cleaned multiple times daily with premium shavings
  • Fly misting system and cooling misting system 
  • Three all-weather turnouts
  • Medical, shaded turnout
  • 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

Paula Paglia Dressage | 480.695.4581  |