Paula Paglia Dressage
On the Bit
July 2018
In This Issue
Barn News & Updates
Dressage Training Video:  Developing the "Second" Trot
Dressage Training: Why Do You Bounce?
Horse Care Tip of the Month:  Warmblood  Fragile Foal Syndrome
Life & Style: Incorporating Equestrian Design into Your Interiors
Recipe of the Month:  Blueberry Pound Cake
Paula's Pearls: "Ah-Ha!" Moments in Riding
Paula Recommends: The Girl on the Dancing Horse by Charlotte Dujardin
A Little Inspiration

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Barn News & Updates


We've got a busy show season ahead
The next few months are going to be busy training, prepping and showing! We'd love to have any of you who can make it out to cheer us on! Here's where we'll be:
August 11-12 - Dressage in the Pines in Flagstaff, AZ
August 23-26 - Cool August Nights in Burbank, CA
September 1-2 - Dressage at Spirit Eq. in Somis, CA
September 22-23 - Fiesta Dressage in Santa Fe, NM
Dressage Training Video
Developing the "Second" Trot 

By Joseph Newcomb

Dressage Training
Why Do You Bounce?

Why do you bounce

Bouncing is caused when you get out of phase with the up and down motion the horse does when they trot. With the stride of the trot, the back comes up and lifts, then travels back down again. If you don't move with that motion, you end up not traveling down in tune with them as they take the next step forward again. If you are then only partially down, as that next stride comes forward you get popped out of tune. Then the more strides in which this happens, the more behind you become and the more you bounce.
So the key is to get in tune with the horse's motion and learn to move as fast as his back does with the strides of the trot. In general, this requires an up-and-down motion in tune with the strides. When you can get down at the same time as the feet hit the ground you will be in tune. This "getting down" requires the subtle pulsing action in your hips to be efficient to allow your seat bones to remain plugged in.
As you learn to get down and up with each stride, you will then discover it's not so one dimensional. The movement is, in fact, more of a forward/upward-backward/downward movement. To stay in tune with the horse requires your hip and knee joints to extend (open) and flex (close) while your seat bones remain stable and balanced with the saddle. Now all of this movement happens when we remain plugged into the horse with our neutral spine and balanced seat bones. Your body moves in tune with it and gravity plays a role in keeping you connected as well as your core. It's not that you are "actively" trying to open and close your hips, or grip with your legs. This movement happens with the movement of the horse. You are able to achieve this when you have correct core function stabilizing you so your seat is able to be independent and deep on the horse and the hips open and close to allow you to not bounce.
One way to improve your bouncing is to develop your ability to improve flexion and extension of the hip while maintaining your neutral spine. Where people go wrong is they tend to lean back when they have trouble with extension and opening of their hips and this can create tension in other areas of the body due to the body not being correctly aligned in good biomechanics to absorb the horse's motion. This also creates tension and blockages from incorrect muscle usage.
So from your neutral spine you are trying to improve hip mobility as well as strength to open and close in tune with the horse's movement and not affect the position of your pelvis. You are wanting to create that independent seat that is able to move with the horse. This is done by creating a stable core and improving hip function. The goal is to learn to activate the correct muscles to allow your hip to  move freely without affecting the position of your pelvis and neutral spine.
Some other things to be aware of when it comes to bouncing, is squeezing and clinching of the thighs or glutes. This can pop you out. You are wanting to switch on the right muscles to keep you stable and balanced, but then relax around that. It's an elastic, fluid strength with relaxation that gets created when we ride.
Horse Care Tip of the Month
Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome

By: Kareen Heineking-Schutte, DVM | Source:

Kareen Heineking-Schutte
The reason I remember first hearing about WFFS is because this exam in 2000 coincided with the first day I performed a D-Mark into Euros conversion. I admit this bit of active knowledge did not survive its vet school exam deadline and I neatly stacked it away onto the pile that already held malign foul brood of the bees or infectious hematopoetic necrosis of salmon, labeled "diseases not requiring urgent attention". It was thus pushed down into the abyss of unused information for the next 15 years during which I didn't hear a single noise about it despite being a vet and running a stud farm in the heartland of sport horse breeding.

Fast forward to 2015 when I met Dr. Bärbel Gunreben at a convention and learned about the study she and her team had conducted in 2012. She mentioned that Laboklin had been offering commercial testing for this defect starting in 2013 and that she was surprised they had seen little to no interest from warmblood breeders and registries which she attributed to the low quota of statistically one in 400 foals being affected based on the 9.4% prevalence of carriers they had found in her work.

While I made a mental mark I did not follow up on the matter. After all the chances were marginal compared to all the more imminent things that can and will go wrong in breeding. Besides I had not encountered a clinically affected foal in my practice and locally knew only one senior colleague who reportedly had. There was no talk at any of the veterinary conventions either.
My attitude changed when Hilltop went public about Sternlicht being a carrier in the wake of Mary Nuttall losing her foal. I have since tested all my mares and learned that two of them are carriers which I immediately published in the Facebook WFFS group. After not getting anywhere asking around for n/n tested stallions I began collecting cases and test results from clients and other breeders through the internet so in order to pool them for confidential use (meaning I can do a risk-assessment without publishing an individual mare or stallion's status). From a commercial point of view this defect clearly is a non-issue: Based on the available data (~10% carriers) your cost of testing a 100k population of breeding horses will be roughly 5 million euro all included (shipping, managing your data, paperwork and laboratory expenses). The expectable number of homozygous foals out of those 100k will be 250 which means each of these lost foals would have to sell at 20k Euro above cost to compensate for the testing expense which is simply not realistic in sport horse breeding.

Nonetheless I say testing is worth the effort for a variety of reasons. Animal welfare and avoiding the tragedy of losing a pregnancy or worse yet a newborn foal are obvious and reasonable arguments. We have also learned from the HERDA-experience (a similar but not identical disease in American cutting Quarter horses) that prevalence may easily skyrocket in populations when management fails and carriers are   ... click here for the rest of the article.
Life & Style
 Incorporating Equestrian Design into Modern Interiors

Adapted from an article at | By: Carol Cohen Hodess


vance burke
Q: How do you approach adding "equestrian" into modern interior design?

Why start telling the story in the middle or near the end? In my experience, horse people are all-in right from the beginning.

I would literally start from the ground up with reclaimed-wood floors or a rough-cut stone-something that has an earthy, organic integrity. I would juxtapose slick modern walls with a high-contrast, dressage-inspired color story-perhaps saddle leather, off-white linen with dark navy or black accents, or lacquered walls.

When we do get to the accessories, my mantra in modern design is fewer, bigger, better. This is where we would continue the story with the artwork selected - a Deborah Butterfield sculpture, maybe a Susan Rothenberg drawing, minimalist black and white photography, or even the Zen of a Tang dynasty horse.

Q: Is there anything unique about equestrian clients?

We all live in a bubble, most of us one of our own making. But perhaps the group most excelling at this condition is the horse world. I always find it to be a fun project when the client is really passionate about something, and I'm more than happy to jump aboard and be the conductor of their fantasy train.
I understand that their horses are sometimes more family than their family. They live with the horses, travel with them. But it's always perplexing to me when the spaces, architectural details, finishes, and fixtures in the barn are nicer than in the main house.

Q: Do you encounter equestrian-fashion trends in interior design?

Fashion typically leads the way, especially when it comes to color stories. Think of the 1980s equestrian style. Dark, heavy, jewel-tone colors spring to mind-burgundy and emerald, and patterns in paisley and plaid.

But fashion, like decorating, is about robbing the past to create the future, or combining the past with the present to be both modern and classic, simultaneously. This, I think, is something that Hermès does very well. Is that a cape or a horse blanket?

Recipe of the Month
 Blueberry Pound Cake


blueberry pound cake

"With fresh blueberries in abundance at the market during the summer, I like to incorporate this healthy superfood into my summer dishes - even in a delicious splurge like this easy but satisfying dessert." - Paula

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 10-inch tube pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle pan with 1/4 cup sugar.
  2. Mix together 2 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Dredge blueberries with remaining 1/4 cup flour, then fold into batter.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 70 to 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
A Little Inspiration


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

In your warm-up, be sure to limber up your horse which means taking time to seek his own cadence and relaxation. The secret to achieving this is to ride constant changes of direction utilizing diagonals, circles and serpentines. Perpetual changes of direction make the horse shift his weight from one side to the other with the result that he loosens up. They bring the horse onto the aids as they work the horse's haunches and encourage him to engage his hindquarters.

Paula Recommends
"The Girl on the Dancing Horse" by Charlotte Dujardin

Book cover

"A wonderfully chatty, informal account of Charlotte's life, from growing up inthe showing world to dazzling the world with the legendary Valegro... For anyone who has followed Charlotte and Valegro's journey - and let's face it, who hasn't - this refreshingly honest autobiography will prove a highly enjoyable, fascinating read."-  Horse & Hound Magazine  

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  |