Paula Paglia Dressage
On the Bit
February 2018
In This Issue
Barn News & Updates
Dressage Training:  Video - Warming Up the Dressage Horse with Charlotte Dujardin
Dressage Training: How Not to Blame Yourself or Your Horse
Horse Care Tip of the Month:  Build Your Equine First Aid Kit for Traveling
Recipe of the Month: Valentine's Day Horse Treats
Paula's Pearls: "Ah-Ha!" Moments in Riding
A Little Inspiration: A Dressage Scribe's Guide to Emojis
Barn News & Updates

Our Warm Winter and Early Spring has been Gorgeous!
Warm AZ Winter
January in Scottsdale has been unseasonably warm. With temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and sunny, cloudless skies to ride under, this warm winter and early spring has been nothing short of perfection. While many other parts of the country are struggling with snow and freezing temperatures, b oth riders and horses are enjoying the spectacular weather. 

Upcoming Shows & Clinics
Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show at WestWorld - I'll be riding Maren Cochran's horse Harry on February 15th, 17th and 18th. We'd love to see you there!

Ulf Wadeborn Clinic at Paula Paglia Dressage - If you haven't yet ridden with Ulf, you owe it to yourself and your horse! Ulf will be here to clinic on March 5th, April 16th, and May 21st. Contact me to sign up!

March Madness in Tucson - We will be showing a number of horses March 17th and 18th.

Paula Paglia Dressage Recent Improvements
I've had 97 solar panels installed at the ranch. The facility is now running entirely on solar! We have brand-new LED lights in all of the barns, and also heavy-duty LED lights in the cross-ties for body clipping at night. The arena footing has just been upgraded with the Fibar product, making footing softer and performance-enhancing. Lastly, we've installed three new stalls in a new mare motel. Things are always cookin' over here at the ranch!
Dressage Training
Master Class with Charlotte Dujardin: 
How to Warm Up the Dressage Horse

What happens when you combine Charlotte Dujardin and Robert Dover in an amazing place like Central Park in Manhattan, New York? Magic happens! In this short video we watch Robert Dover and Charlotte Dujardin warm Evi Strasser's Grand Prix dressage horse as part of a master class on dressage. This opening segment will walk you through the importance of warming up your horse in preparation for the movements in dressage, as well as how it helps your horse be more prepared for anything that might happen when you enter the show ring. THE best part of this masterclass is that Robert Dover takes everything that Charlotte Dujardin is doing while she rides, and breaks it down for the audience in a way that makes it highly consumable information. 

Dressage Training
How to Overcome Blaming Yourself or Your Horse to Improve Your Riding Today

improve riding

Riding is, by definition, an activity that involves a partnership between horse and rider. Is it then the horse or the rider that deserves the credit for the good rides, and the blame for the bad ones? Examining your answer to that critical question can lead you towards consistently better rides.

It can be nearly impossible to separate horse and rider and see what part we are contributing and what part the horse is contributing, and how the part we contribute affects the part the horse contributes, and vice versa. So most riders fall into one of two camps more due to their general nature or approach to life in general, than by a logically reasoned process of breaking down the contributions initiated by each party.

Consider your last challenge with your horse. It may be some annoying little thing that happens daily or multiple times in a ride, or it may have been one very bad moment when you and your horse had a significant difference of opinion about something. What was the cause?

Are you the type of rider who blames yourself? If so, when things go wrong you tend to think:
  • If only I was a better rider, that would have gone better!
  • He goes so much better for better riders, I'll probably never be able to get him to do that...
  • I'm sure it's because I am tired/sore/distracted today...
  • My bad habit with my legs/hands causes so many problems!
On the other hand, riders who blame the horse tend to think:
  • If only he weren't so lazy/fresh, things would be so much easier!
  • I wish my horse were more focused and obedient...
  • He never does that to my trainer!
  • He has conformational/health/training issues that will always cause him to struggle with this....
  • He's just so stubborn sometimes!
  • Once he has more training, this won't happen anymore!
Are you one of these riders?  There's good news. It doesn't really matter which camp you fall in, as long as you are able to identify when and how you play the blame game.  And once you've identified your "go-to-blame-of-choice," improving your ride becomes much easier!

See, with any sort of blame, the rider is essentially making an excuse. Once the rider has come up with an excuse that in her mind justifies and explains away the problem, she is freed from the responsibility of fixing it. Unfortunately, she also gives up her power to make positive changes at the same time.  The ability to "catch yourself" when you start to blame is the first step in trouble-shooting your own rides. Each time you hear yourself wanting to use an excuse, go ahead and use it! But then follow it with "What can I do right now to improve that situation?"

Let's take the examples above, and re-frame them with a more positive, solution-focused outlook and see how this thinking can improve each ride you have.

"If only I was a better rider, that would have gone better!... What can I do right now to improve that situation? Well, I know my biggest weakness is that my lower leg slips out of position, maybe I will do a little work in a two point, and then do some posting without stirrups to strengthen up my legs...."

Now that same rider is on a path towards solving the problem, rather than doing what most of us do, where we continue to ride exactly as we had been, and continue to make the same lack of progress, or continue to repeat the same problem over and over, re-using our excuse-of-choice each time.

Let's take an example from the blame the horse list.  "If only he weren't so lazy...."

"Well, let's see... he feels lazy because he's behind my leg. One way I can get him more in front of my leg is to ride quick transitions between the trot and the canter, back and forth, reinforcing my soft aid with a tap of my whip, until when I trot he's just *waiting* for that canter aid, and canters off obediently from my light aid.  Then once he's in front of my leg, I can go back to the original problem, and see if that helped!"

Now the rider has a plan to improve the ride, rather than just getting frustrated, blaming the horse, and giving up by accepting the status quo as the best work that is possible. Bonus points on this one for correctly identifying a very common and usually very fixable basic training problem!

Ok here's another, one of my favorites! I hear it all the time. "He wouldn't do that with my trainer in the saddle..." This one can imply that the horse is at fault by deliberately choosing to. .. click here for the rest of the article.

Horse Care Tip of the Month
Build Your Equine First Aid Kit for Traveling

 By: Barb Crabbe, DVM

Be prepared to handle injuries or illnesses you may encounter when you're on the road.

first aid kit

The following is a guide to assembling a first aid kit that will leave you well prepared to handle any injuries or illnesses you may encounter with your horse when you're on the road. Your first aid supplies should be clean, well organized and easy to locate. I suggest that my clients organize their supplies in a watertight plastic container with labeled sections for easy access. To organize the kit, I like to put antimicrobial scrubs and solutions together in a separate container that can be used to hold water if it's needed to clean a wound and will prevent bottles from leaking on other items when not being used. I also like to organize bandaging materials into "bandage kits." A 1-quart Ziploc bag will hold the supplies needed to apply a single bandage. This allows you to simply grab a bandage kit without thinking about the individual components when it's time to wrap a wound.
Your kit will include both over-the-counter supplies and prescription medications. Keep a detailed list, including dosing recommendations and expiration dates, with your prescription medications and update it regularly. Store your first aid kit in an easily accessible location in your horse trailer so you can grab it in a hurry.
Over-the-Counter Supplies
* Stethoscope to check your horse's heart rate and listen for gut sounds.
* Thermometer to take your horse's rectal temperature.
* Antibiotic wound ointment: Silver sulfadiazine or triple antibiotic ointment are both good options that can be used to dress abrasions or wounds.
* Bandage material: Enough to apply a pressure wrap on a wound and a set of standing bandages for swollen legs. This would include sterile, non-adhesive pads, stretch gauze, sheet cottons, 6-inch brown gauze, Vetrap and a roll of self-adhesive tape. 
* Antimicrobial scrub (betadine or chlorhexadine) to clean wounds. 
* Antimicrobial solution (betadine or chlorhexadine) to flush puncture wounds; should be diluted approximately 1 to 10 with saline or water.
* Saline solution to clean wounds or flush out swollen, weepy eyes. 
* Large syringe (30 to 60 cc) for flushing wounds or eyes.
* Safety razor to shave hair away from wounds for cleaning. 
* Shoe-pulling tools to remove a shoe that's become loose or sprung. 
* Duct tape: Most commonly you need duct tape to protect a foot that's lost a shoe or to secure a bandage. 
Prescription Medications
Ask your vet to help you assemble prescription medications that might be needed when you're far from home. He or she will give you recommendations for their use based on your specific horse. The following are some examples of prescription drugs that can come in handy if you know how to use them:
* Tranquilizers: A dose of a fairly potent tranquilizer (usually containing some combination of xylazine, butorphanol and/or detomidine) for each horse in your trailer can be a lifesaver if you break down on the road and have to calm your horse. These medications can also come in handy as a safe first line of defense if colic symptoms strike. Your vet may also recommend that you have a bottle of Acepromazine if you need a milder sedative. If you're not comfortable with injections, ask about Dormosedan Gel, a very effective oral sedative that's now available.
* Antibiotic ophthalmic ointment: One that contains only antibiotics is safe to use for most eye conditions, including a scratched or abraded cornea.
* Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory: Phenylbutazone ("bute"), flunixin meglumine (Banamine) or firocoxxib (Equioxx) would be advised in many different situations, including a tendon or ligament strain, inflamed eye or any other injury. Ask your vet about proper dosing and when to use these medications.
* Antibiotics: Several doses of antibiotics to begin treatment for a wound will ward off an infection until you can seek veterinary attention. Again, ask your vet about proper dosage for your horse.  
Recipe of the Month
The Ultimate Horse Cookie Recipe


Horse treats


1 carrot
1 apple 
1/2 cup molasses (or honey)
2 cups oats 
1/2-3/4 cup flour (or make oat flour by throwing some oats into a blender/food processor) 
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 tablespoon water (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 300-325 degrees
  • Grate the carrot and finely chop the apple
  • Mix together all of the ingredients. Please keep in mind that depending on variations such as: the size/type of apple, what kind of oats you use (rolled or steel-cut oats don't absorb as much moisture as quickly as quick oats), whether you use honey or molasses, etc. you may need to tweak the amounts of the ingredients. You should be able to squeeze a ball of dough in your hand and it shouldn't fall apart.)
  • Roll and press into balls with your hands and place on a greased baking sheet. If dough is too sticky add more flour and/or water
  • Bake for about 28-32 minutes on the middle rack, checking on them often, until golden brown
  • Cool and store in a sealed container and use within a week. They'll stay the freshest stored in the fridge
Cut the batch in half for less cookies. A full batch makes about 24 cookies depending on the size you make them.
Bonus Tip: For a Valentine's Day treat, bake these in heart-shaped muffin tins. Add a Sweetheart candy when they're done baking and they're still warm from the oven.
Bonus Bonus Tip: These treats can be enjoyed by humans and dogs too!

The Good Stuff
Now here's the fun part. Consider the above as your base recipes, perfectly fine on their own but even better when you add one or more of the following:
  • Low sugar: Use cooked sweet potato instead of apples, and a little flaxseed and egg instead of molasses 
  • Peppermints crushed and added to the dough or place a whole one on top (perfect for the holidays)
  • Raisins
  • Add chopped up dates in the dough
  • Add some bran
  • A few coconut flakes on top
  • Sugar cubes (go easy here - too much sugar isn't good for your horse's health or figure!)
  • Blackberries
  • Banana can be used as a substitute for the apple
  • Applesauce (try replacing part of the molasses with applesauce to lower the sugar, or if you can use in place of the apple).
A Little Inspiration
You Put the "Can't" in Canter: 
Dressage Scribe Emojis

Dressage Scribe Emojis

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

I recently found a softness in my lower back which in turn softens my hips. It clearly changes my ability to use my legs differently and sit more open in my seat which allows the horse to come more over the back! What a revelation. Thanks to Emily Glidden for helping me find this ah-ha moment! This sport is one which we can keep on making small changes in ourselves which clearly transfer to improvements in our horses.
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  |