Paula Paglia Dressage
On the Bit
December 2017
In This Issue
Barn News & Updates
Dressage Training:  Being a Mindful Rider
Horse Care Tip of the Month:  Clipping and Blanketing Insights from Top Grooms
Client of the Month: Colleen Reiter & Daisha
Recipe of the Month: Pull-Apart Gingerbread Man
Paula's Pearls: "Ah Ha!" Moments in Riding
A Little Inspiration:  Mindful Riding in Action
Barn News & Updates

ADA Fall Festival November 4th & 5th 

Fall Fiesta
Ed and Sherrill Tripp's mare Slipstream (Lucy) continues to advance up the levels! She and I won the FEI High Point at the show. It was Lucy's first time out for Prix St. George. 

We were so proud of her and really appreciate the support of friends and clients who came to cheer us on! 

The Ranch is Holiday-Ready!

PP at Holiday Time

We've been busy decorating the ranch with its holiday dressings. It's definitely feeling festive around here!

Kristen Whittaker Clinic - Let Us Know If You're Interested in Attending

Kristen Whittaker
Kristen Whittaker is the owner and trainer at Whit Acres Farm in Norwell, Massachusetts. She began her show career at the age of eleven primarily in the Arabian horse world. She won numerous achievements, and top titles at US and Canadian Nationals, in English and western pleasure as a junior and amateur exhibitor. Kristen went on to become the co-captain of the Stonehill equestrian team in college. Since that time she has developed a strong interest in Horsemanship and using effective communication to enrich her skills, training, and competition in Western Dressage, Working Equitation, Garrocha, and versatility/obstacle events. At the WDAA World Show in Oklahoma, Kristen earned a Top 5 in Level 1 Open in 2016, and an overall 4th divisional championship in Level 2 Open in 2017.
CLINIC INFO:  Western Dressage through Good Horsemanship

Don't miss this opportunity with Kristen Whittaker to enhance your riding skills and develop your relationship with your horse. Regardless of the discipline, riding is about communication and commitment. Learn to use WD techniques and training to improve softness, balance, and cadence. Help understand and foster a better working relationship, and build confidence, whether it's on the trails or in the show ring! All levels and seats welcome. We'll schedule the date once we determine how many riders are interested in participating. Let me know if you're interested.
Dressage Training
What Is Being a Mindful Rider and How Can It Help My Dressage?

Mindful Dressage

We are surrounded with distractions, whether its distractions at work, at home or on the horse. The more modern our world gets the more distracted we become. Its not uncommon these days to find living rooms with a TV going, your phone by your side while you scroll through pinterest on your tablet for inspiration. I have certainly caught myself doing this many times and been shocked at how much the world is changing.

Unfortunately this then moves into your distraction on your horse. When riding we are thinking about work, the kids or just something in the distance that the neighbour is doing and is that going to freak our horse out!

The truth is we are getting more and more distracted and the art of focusing on one thing is getting harder and harder to do, not just in our riding but our work life, relationships and so much more.

However for today I want to talk about the impact this has on our riding.

Often when we ride we are told to relax, so then we concentrate super hard on relaxing creating a more tense and unstable position. Or we are told to focus on our core position but we are trying so hard to steer at the same time, while again worrying about what that neighbor is doing behind his shed!

One of the most powerful things you can do when you ride is to become fully present and this is what I love so much about riding. Is it helps me zone out the rest of the world and simply focus on that present moment. Similar I believe to a surfer catching that wave. We are focusing on our position, the movement of the horse and how it is feeling right then.

When we ride each and every stride and we stay present in the saddle, we can become aware of the movement a trot or canter creates. Our body can then communicate to the this incredibly powerful animal with ease and clarity. This is what I love about dressage because the better you become at riding the more mindful a rider you are becoming without having to put a label on it.

You see when you ride each stride, when you focus on your breath, your position in that moment you are being present and being present allows you to communicate clearly to your horse. That moment you bring your work to your horses back, the stress from you day or the worry from what your neighbour is doing you become distracted. This conversation then between you and your horse is no longer focused. Its like talking to someone face to face but their eyes are looking over your shoulder while they nod their head pretending to listen. Your horse feels just the same, they will continue on because they are such amazing animals but that clarity has been lost.

This is why I love dressage and schooling my horse because it really helps you become more mindful and not only does this help your dressage but being more mindful will also help your work, relationships and so much more. Its just about being present and less distracted!
Horse Care Tip of the Month
Clipping and Blanketing Insights from Top Grooms


Alan Davies and Carmen Thiemann share their systems for keeping horses comfortable.

body clipping
The days are getting shorter and your horse's coat is getting longer. You've pulled sheets and blankets out of storage and are ready for the first cold nights. You find yourself studying the weather 10 days out: Is it time to clip yet? If so, what type of clip? And then, which blanket? Of course, you're concerned about your horse's optimal comfort at rest and at work as well as how to maintain his healthy skin and general well-being once he's been clipped. Here, top international horse-care experts Alan Davies, international traveling groom for British Olympians Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin, and Carmen Thiemann, who oversees care for all of German Olympian Ingrid Klimke's horses, share their insights on clipping and blanketing.

Clipping: It Depends on the Individual

Davies has been a professional groom for his entire adult life and has been with Hester, Dujardin and their horses since 2011. He has been recognized by Team Great Britain as Groom of the Year in 2015 and by Horse & Hound magazine as 2016 Groom of the Year. When it comes to providing exceptional care and, in particular, to clipping and blanketing, Davies emphasizes the importance of tailoring his approach to each horse as an individual.

According to Davies, "When and how often to clip varies greatly from horse to horse. We have horses in our barn who may not need to be clipped at all if we start blanketing early enough in the autumn, as they grow and maintain a beautiful thin coat beneath the blankets. Valegro, on the other hand, is a hairy horse-last winter I clipped him seven times."

Generally speaking, Davies begins to clip horses sometime in September, which is in accordance with England's climate and the intention that the horses will compete internationally throughout the winter season.

Thiemann, who has overseen the management of Klimke's horses for more than two decades and was distinguished with the FEI's 2013 Best Groom Award, has an approach to clipping and blanketing. "I first clip horses during the fall when they begin to get their long and thick winter coat," she says. "When exactly I do the first clip depends on how quickly the horse begins to sweat while working and also how long the coat is. Only very seldom and reluctantly do I ever clip a horse during the summer-doing so disrupts the horse's natural metabolic processes and really throws horses out of whack in terms of their natural ability to regulate temperature and hair growth."

For Thiemann, the type of clip depends on the horse's workload, turnout schedule and whether or not the horse will be showing. Thiemann explains, "At our stable, the horses are still turned out daily all winter long. I have to think about this when it comes to clipping and blanketing because they will need more protection and warmth on their backs and in the kidney area in order to be comfortable and maintain wellness when turned out." Therefore, for young horses and horses who do not compete much, Thiemann prefers a blanket-clip pattern, which keeps the horse cool at work but also provides hair coverage along his complete topline for turnout.

For horses who do compete regularly throughout the winter, Thiemann does a full-body clip, leaving only a patch of hair in the shape of a saddle in the saddle area.

Davies says he prefers a full-body clip for horses schooling and competing throughout the winter. Removing all the hair simply makes it easier to maintain cleanliness and keep the horse comfortable before, during and after work. Hester's and Dujardin's horses get turned out daily in most weather, so choosing the right blankets becomes crucial once the horses are clipped.

Davies also mentions that Hester's stable is designed with a traditional courtyard, so each stall has a window that allows the horses to look out into the area. The stalls also have a window at the back that is opened during the day, which increases ventilation and offers the horses an alternate view. Because of the open design, the horses are exposed to and enjoy a lot of fresh air even when they are inside.

The flip side of this is that horses who have been body-clipped will need ...  click here for the rest of the article. 
Client of the Month
Colleen Reiter & Daisha

By: Colleen Reiter 

Colleen & Daisha
Daisha shows Colleen some love!
I have been riding horses since I was eight years old. Coming from a "non-horsey family," I ironed for a neighbor in order to earn the $90 I needed to buy my first horse. I became involved in 4-H and a friend convinced me to try a horse show. I showed up in a rented trailer, horse unbathed, not knowing what a lead was and running around the ring as fast as I could. I was told by someone that day that I had no place to go but up!

I stuck with riding and throughout the years I competed in Washington and California in Western Pleasure, English Pleasure and Show Jumping.

I purchased Daisha, a 3-year-old Holsteiner mare, from Wild Turkey Farm outside of Portland. She was very talented and showed great promise as a hunter derby horse. Unfortunately, a little over a year ago, I sustained a significant injury while jumping. It took me a while, but I finally realized that for the first time in my life I had lost my nerve to jump.

My husband was transferred to Arizona a few months ago. Knowing that I wasn't ready to stop riding, I decided to pursue dressage. I never realized it was such a difficult and addicting discipline and so far I LOVE it.

After a rough introduction to Arizona (colic and a rattlesnake bite!) Daisha is settling in and progressing very nicely, thanks to Paula, assistant trainer Ali and groom Art.

Training with Paula has been an amazing experience. She is knowledgeable, patient and has a true gift when it comes to teaching. I truly feel that she is one of the best trainers I have ever known. I am always excited to go to the barn and learn something new and I am looking forward to getting Daisha back in the show ring again!
Daisha competing at the Franktown Derby

Recipe of the Month
Pull-Apart Gingerbread Man


Gingerbread Man

"Want to get the children squealing with delight this holiday season? I love this cute idea for an extra-large gingerbread man made of individual cupcakes." - Paula


Ginger-Molasses Frosting
4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses 
1 tablespoon chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella 
3 cups confectioners' sugar 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Gingerbread Man
48 mini cupcakes (preferably gingerbread), liners removed 
Assorted gumdrops, candies and royal icing for decorating


Special equipment: a large, flat serving platter a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip a small pastry bag fitted with a round tip 

For the ginger-molasses frosting: Beat the butter, molasses and chocolate-hazelnut spread with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa, ginger, vanilla and salt and beat on medium low, increasing the speed as the ingredients begin to incorporate. Beat on medium high for a few seconds until the frosting is completely smooth. 

For the gingerbread man: Arrange the cupcakes on the platter in a gingerbread man shape (use about 14 cupcakes to make the head, 14 to make the arms and chest and 20 to make the tummy, legs and feet). 

Transfer the frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe swirls to generously cover each cupcake top (the frosting on each top should touch its neighbor). Then fill in any gaps with a squeeze of frosting. Decorate as desired with gumdrops and candies. Fill a small pastry bag fitted with a round tip with royal icing and use to decorate as desired.
A Little Inspiration

Speaking of mindfulness in riding, I love this thoughtful analysis from my client, Dr. Janet Teodori:

"I was sitting and imaging the use of my outside rein, particularly when that outside rein involves my left hand. I have trouble with this, largely because I am so right hand dominant, that my right hand always wants to do all the work. I was trying to imagine the "dominance" of the left hand so that I could move Obie into the outside left rein without my right hand insisting on pulling him to the inside. Suddenly, I had a revelation.

In addition to imaging use of the outside left hand, my image of Obie and myself had him falling on the forehand. Now this aspect of my thinking had not been fully conscious. It probably occurred as part of the image because he does tend to fall on the forehand. But part of successfully riding on the outside rein is that the horse is balanced. "Falling" in any direction, forehand or either shoulder, is not allowed. But here I was, mentally trying to put him on the outside rein, but not fully aware of critical components of my horse's balance in my visualization.

In one of Robert Dover's clinics, he mentioned the importance of your image of yourself and your horse in creating your ride. He says, imagine the most magnificent, perfect trot as you are riding the trot and you will come closer to creating it. In essence, you create what you imagine. Your body also reacts to your visualization, and the horse feels this. The more complete and accurate your visualization is, the more powerful it will be. 

For example, the yield to the outside rein is probably only possible if the horse is also using himself correctly. Think and imagine every aspect of the horse's movement and how it feels - the activity of his legs, the push from his hind, the feel of his back, the bend of his body, the lift at the withers, the position of his poll, etc - when you imagine your ride. With practice, you will be similarly attentive as you actually ride.

This is mindfulness in riding, just like the mindfulness practice as you are eating, walking, or doing the dishes. You may find, when you are fully attentive to the whole vision of your horse, that you held thoughts about how his body was working that had been unconscious to you, but were likely to be influencing you both. 

Consider, what unconscious thoughts may be contributing to the problems you are having with your riding? Mindfulness may be the gateway to resolution of some of these problems."
Paula's Pearls
"Ah ha!" Moments in Riding

To create a little more straightness, tuck the inside shoulder into the rail as you go down the long side of the arena.
Give Yourself the Gift of Better Riding!
The Unisit Sit Strap System 

Use promo code "Holiday25"
when ordering to save $25
and receive a FREE Unisit logo embroidered baseball cap ($21 value!).

Go to for more information and to order.

Unisit Sale

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  |