Paula Paglia Dressage
On the Bit
September 2018
In This Issue
Barn News & Updates
Dressage Training Video:  Common Mistakes in Trot-Canter Transitions
Dressage Training: Don't Rush the Basics
Horse Care Tip of the Month:  Uveitis: Here's What You Need to Know
Life & Style: Horse & Heart: Life Lessons From Lechoso
Recipe of the Month:  Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs
Paula's Pearls: "Ah-Ha!" Moments in Riding
A Little Inspiration
Barn News & Updates

California Shows
at shows
Denise, Sherrill and Paula
Team Paglia had two successful shows in August, (Cool August Nights at LAEC and Spirit Equestrian, in Somis) as well as four days of training with former Olympian Hilda Gurney. 

Nathalie Eikel-Baughman  got her qualifying score at Cool August Nights in the I-1 and headed home to family after qualifying!  Sherrill Tripp, Denise Ostrow and I came home with the two qualifiers Lucy needed to do the Intermediate 1 Freestyle at Region 5 Regional Championships. 

Additionally, we were proud to earn ove r 66% at Intermediate 1 in Burbank; and at Spirit Equestrian, we were thrilled to win the Prix St George Open class with almost a 70% with six riders in the open class. 

Lucy and Paula
Lucy and Paula showing I-1 at LAEC
Our 10-day adventure got us out of the 100-degree heat in Scottsdale and into beautiful days in CA. Spirit Equestrian is a lovely facility with big airy stalls and all the amenities of a top-notch facility. 

I want to thank my sponsors Ed and Sherrill Tripp for making it a wonderful trip for us all ❤️. As usual I also want to thank Denise Ostrow for all of her support. We totally pampered our show horses for a week and enjoyed wonderful food and friendship. I am excited to share all that I learned!
Dressage Training Video
Common Mistakes In Trot-Canter Transitions

Dressage Training
Don't Rush the Basics: Courtney King-Dye Explains Why

Courtney King-Dye
Courtney King-Dye
Some people rush "the basics" in dressage training. Myth is a perfect example of why it's important to focus on them. (Mythilus was her partner at the 2008 Olympic Games.) He came to me having shown Grand Prix twice for a 63 and 64 percent, but when I got on him, I couldn't do a single flying change. Heck, I couldn't even do a good trot-to-canter.

Every day for the first six months, I cried because I felt so incompetent. In all of my sessions, I did about a million and 10 trot-walk transitions. Lendon [Gray, Olympian and mentor] was wondering why I did these endlessly, and she eventually got on and took it down to walk-halt transitions. It took me a year to be able to do a sequence. Even though Myth knew the movements, he could only do them if I held him together, which greatly minimized the quality. By focusing on getting him to listen to me and carry himself and by never doing the movements holding him together in any way (even if the best I could do was a turn on the forehand and a walk-halt), in two years we were at the Olympics. To make this happen, I had to go back and work on the basics. The basics allow the horse to move on his own 100 percent and to maximize athleticism.

"Go, stop and steer" are the fundamental basics that need to be easy in order to do anything well. Myth's problem was stopping, but all three have to be trustworthy; if one is lacking in perfection, the quality is lost. The basics begin before the horse is mounted: respect, paying attention to space, listening to body language. Training for Grand Prix starts the moment we get on their back. When they're 3, the transition from trot to canter must be immediate and off a light aid. How can we expect a horse to eventually do one-time changes if it takes four strides to go from trot to canter and you have to flail your legs and pull his head down? 

The problem I see is that horses are treated like babies until they're 6 or 7. Then they're expected to be grown up and really work. There should be no change. The horse is just gradually asked to do more. If he is asked to do simple things, they still have to be good. Don't make the mistake some people do when they have an "easy day." This doesn't mean that you are lax on perfection or obedience; easy days just means you reduce what you ask. You don't challenge the horse's body, but you are equally as focused on doing everything you do well; the quality remains the same. 

When the horse is a baby, he learns go, stop and steer simplistically. These fundamentals never cease being important, and we must never lose sight that pirouettes, passage, extensions and everything advanced can be broken down into these three basic elements. If you are having a problem, go back and make sure each element is easy. You'll probably find one that needs perfecting.

Courtney King-Dye represented the United States in the 2008 Olympic Games riding Harmony's Mythilus and at the 2007 and 2008 World Cups aboard Idocus. She is a U.S. Dressage Federation (USDF) Certified Instructor through Fourth Level and USDF gold medalist. For six years, she was assistant trainer to Olympian Lendon Gray (
Horse Care Tip of the Month
What to Do for a Horse with Uveitis


Uveitis is a common cause of blindness in horses, but in some ways it remains mysterious. In its recurrent form, it also can be intractable. There's no cure for it yet, but it also need not be a death sentence for a horse. Careful management and treatment can help preserve a horse's sight longer, and even in cases where an affected eye has to be removed, many horses can still continue to live largely normal, active lives and even have successful competitive careers.

Diagnosing Uveitis
If your horse is squinting, tearing, or showing signs of eye discomfort or injury, call your veterinarian immediately.
Uveitis is inflammation of the eye's uveal tract, a layer of tissue that lies between the eye's outer layer (including the cornea) and its inner layer (the retina) and includes the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid. This tissue is delicate, and when it's inflamed, the effects can be painful.

"The iris sphincter muscle contracts and causes the pupil to close, so you get a constricted pupil," explained Dr. Rana Bozorgmanesh of  Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. "The ciliary body muscles spasm, and that's pretty painful. And the blood capillaries in those areas also become leaky, and that releases proteins and cells, which results in the signs that we see."

Those signs can include squinting, tearing, light sensitivity, a swollen or red eye, and/or a cloudy appearance or bluish haze over the cornea. The white of the eye might appear bloodshot or you might see pus or yellow deposits under the cornea in the eye's anterior chamber. But there are also subclinical cases that might show only subtle symptoms.

"You can basically have a smoldering uveitis going on without you knowing, with tiny changes taking place in the eye until it reaches a threshold and the eye goes blind," Bozorgmanesh said. "Often horse owners wouldn't know the disease was there until the horse is blind in those cases. Alternatively, in other cases you will see the obvious clinical signs in the active phases of the disease."

Causes of Uveitis
Uveitis can occur as a one-off event-caused by trauma to the eye, for example-that might never happen again and might not create future problems. But in the chronic, repeating form known as equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) or moon blindness, the disease can lead to permanent damage and eventually blindness-and it's this manifestation that horse owners particularly worry about.

"Equine recurrent uveitis is the leading cause of blindness in horses, and it's a progressive condition," Bozorgmanesh said. The prevalence varies some according to a horse's breed and geographical location, but, generally speaking, in the United States between 2% and 25% of the equine population is affected.

"It's much more prevalent in appaloosa horses; they're genetically predisposed and have up to 25% prevalence," Bozorgmanesh said. "German warmbloods may also have a heritable form. So it's seen more commonly in warmbloods, draft horses and appaloosas generally as well as some quarter horses, also."

What to Do if You Suspect Uveitis
Your first step: call your veterinarian immediately.

"It's important to distinguish uveitis from recurrent uveitis," Bozorgmanesh said. "There's no one test to figure out whether it's ERU or just a single episode. You need your veterinarian to come out, firstly to rule out a primary cause of the uveitis, such as infection, an eye ulcer, trauma, all of those things that might be the primary reason why the horse has developed uveitis. It's better for you and your horse if there is a clear reason that the horse has developed uveitis. If it's just uveitis by itself, that's more concerning, because that's a case that could develop into recurrent uveitis."

Because equine recurrent uveitis is progressive and does not currently have a cure, most horses that have it eventually will go blind in the affected eye.
"There are ways of slowing the progression, and with cases that we've been able to follow up on, we've had reasonable success," Bozorgmanesh said. "But, unfortunately, because there is no cure,... click here for the rest of the article.
Life & Style
 Horse & Heart: Life Lessons From Lechoso

Source: | By: Dayna Guilbeault

Dayna and Lechoso

I love fashion and all things related to fashion. However, as much as fashion satisfies and inspires my creative self, it cannot compare to the fulfillment and soul connection I have with my horse. I am beyond blessed to own and ride this gentle sentient being. I never knew nor imagined I could feel so connected to such a magnificent animal. Lechoso feeds my soul on a spiritual and cellular level and has taught me some very valuable life lessons. We have not had an easy road, but I wouldn't change our journey because it has been instrumental in the cultivation of my love, our mutual respect, and friendship.

There is something magical and romantic about horses. As a young girl, I was mesmerized by their beauty and grace. Two of my favorite movies were The Black Stallion and Black Beauty. I think most girls go through a phase wishing for a pink pony or a majestic white horse. As it would turn out, my fixation with horses did not wane once I reached adulthood. I was still fascinated and in awe anytime there was a horse in my midst.

I love everything about my horse; the way he smells, his personality, his long thick mane, the way he perks up when he sees me, his soft wet muzzle, I could go on and on. I would venture to say Lechoso is my greatest love affair. I've nurtured him, nursed him through injuries, loved him, have spent countless hours talking to him and grooming him, cried to him, and have told my 1200 lb fur baby how much I love him at every visit. Incidentally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I also spend the bulk of my money on my horse. Oi vey!!

This brings me to my first life lesson from Lechoso: The money that leaves my pocketbook on training, boarding, vet bills, horse supplies, farrier bills, food, horse massage, etc doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things because he brings me so much joy and happiness. Can you put a price on happiness? Money can buy many nice things, but does acquisition truly fulfill your soul? I am the first to admit I love purchasing new shoes, handbags, and clothing; however, I've learned those things, in and of themselves, do not make my soul happy. My shoes don't nicker at me and my handbags don't whinny or give me soft wet kisses. My clothes might make me feel beautiful and well turned out, but they don't make me feel like I'm flying and soaring. It is a feeling like no other to plug in and feel like you are one with your horse. My horse makes me happy. Period.

He has taught me to be a better person and to be an active listener. Horses are highly intelligent and we often misjudge them. Lechoso is always communicating with me and I am still discovering how he talks to me. Sometimes it's nuanced, other times I know exactly what he's trying to tell me. I've learned to check my ego and my cell phone when I'm around him. The barn is the one place I try to fully disconnect from the outside world. Because he is always willing to work and please me, I've learned to be mindful and present when we ride. If he can give himself to me, I should reciprocate.

Another wonderful life lesson from Lechoso was learning to trust and conquer my fears. When I mount Lechoso, I am fully aware there is a small chance he could be unpredictable. Afterall, he is a prey animal and is guided by a natural fight or flight instinct. Despite the fact I am controlling his movements, he allows me the privilege of sitting atop his back. If he wanted, he could easily run and buck me off of him. I have had some terrifying and harrowing moments that have left me shaken and unsure of myself as a rider, but conquering those fears has been paramount to our success as a team.

One particular incident comes to mind when I had my life flash before my eyes. The strength and raw power this animal was capable of was astoundingly sobering. A leisurely trail ride with a fellow barn mate turned bad when Lechoso suddenly shook his head, causing his entire bridle to come off his head. His reins and bridle were hanging off his neck when he suddenly spooked. My trail riding partner could only watch as Lechoso and I took off at a breakneck speed through the desert. Just when I thought he couldn't go faster, my horse turned it up a notch to warp speed. I had no control over this frightened animal and could only hold onto his mane for dear life, while simultaneously trying to keep his bridle from getting ensnared in his legs.

I remember thinking I couldn't let go of his bridle; if I let go, he would fall and cause a catastrophic injury for us both. I had to stay the course and ride him like a jockey at The Kentucky Derby. He was running so fast the cacti were blurry. He was a bullet. There were pot holes, rocks, bigger rocks. All I could do was hold on and talk to him as calmly as possible despite being mush on the inside. He was going so fast, I had tears streaming from my eyes. Then suddenly, without warning, he came to a complete stop. He literally scared the crap out of himself and took a big steamer, while I'm fairly certain I peed my pants.In that moment, I was a changed rider and had a newfound respect for Lechoso's willingness to be guided and controlled by me. In my mind, I fully believe he acknowledged that I didn't abandon him by jumping off. I remounted my stallion and walked off into the sunset...(cue music from Magnificent Seven!) Okay, I may have "enhanced" the ending to my's a more accurate rendition: I remounted with shaking noodly limbs and barely made it back to the barn.

Owning a horse takes tremendous commitment and responsibility.
Lechoso and Dayna
Consequently, the relationship and special bond between rider and horse can go beyond the depths of the ocean and eclipse the warmth of the sun. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my  horse. He has been my therapy, my happy place, and my salvation. Lechoso has selflessly given of himself while I learned the basics of becoming an equine owner and rider. In my opinion, the trust a horse places in their owners is the purest gift an animal can give a human being. This trust builds a relationship that can last for years or quite possibly, a lifetime. Not only is Lechoso my first horse, he is also my "forever" horse in the sense that there will never be another horse like him in my lifetime. 

"Dayna and Lechoso have been treasured clients of mine. I thought that her love and connection to Lechoso was truly beautiful and her words above, written months ago, are an indication of her feelings for Lechoso. Sadly, Dayna had to say goodbye to her great love last week as he was unable to recover from an illness. Please join me in keeping Dayna's beautiful words about her horse in all of our hearts." Paula

Tribute Video
Click here for a tribute video
Recipe of the Month
 Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs


"Chicken meatballs stuffed with Swiss and ham and cooked in a white wine Dijon sauce. Yum!" - Paula

  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1- cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper or black pepper
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ chicken bouillon granule cubecrushed
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheeseoptional
  • 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • ½ cup regular breadcrumbs
  • 5 slices ham ultra thin, cut into 4 pieces each
  • 5 slices Swiss cheese ultra thin, cut into 4 pieces each
  • Canola oil enough to cover 1/3 up the side of the skillet
  • ½ cup regular breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1- tablespoon water or milk

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Continue whisking while slowly pouring in the milk, cream and pepper. Whisk until sauce is smooth. Add in the Dijon mustard, crushed bouillon cube and Worcestershire sauce.

Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in wine and Parmesan (if using). Stir until cheese has melted. 

Pour the sauce into a heat proof lidded container, stretch a paper towel over the container then place the lid over the paper towel so that the paper towel stays in place and doesn't touch the sauce. (The paper towel will absorb excess moisture from steam.) Set sauce aside until ready to serve. Clean out the skillet to use for the meatballs.

  1. Heat canola oil in the skillet until cooking thermometer reads 350F. While shaping the meatballs, be sure to check the oil temperature often. If the oil is heating too quickly, turn the heat down slightly.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 egg and ½ cup regular breadcrumbs. Mix gently until mixture is well incorporated. Using a 1½" scoop (or tablespoon), form meatballs into 1½" balls, flatten each meatball slightly and place slice of ham and a slice of cheese (stacked) in the middle of each ball. Bring the sides of each meatball up and over the ham and cheese, then "pinch" the meat back together. Slightly roll each meatball to reshape into meatballs.
  3. *Be sure to keep checking the oil temperature.
  4. In a small bowl, combine regular breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, pepper and grated Parmesan. In a different small bowl, combine the beaten eggs and water and mix until combined.
  5. Set the bread crumb bowl and the egg/water bowl on the counter next to the skillet with the hot oil. Place a paper towel-lined plate nearby.
  6. Once the oil has reached the desired heat, dip a meatball in the egg mixture and then roll it in the breadcrumb mixture. Carefully, place the meatball in the hot oil and repeat until half the meatballs are in the oil. Cook, turning gently to cook all sides, until meatballs are cooked through. Be careful not to burn the meatballs. When cooked through, transfer meatballs to paper towel-lined plate. Repeat process with the other half of the meatballs.
  7. After cooking the meatballs, pour the used oil (very carefully) into a heatproof container and set it aside until cool enough to discard.
  8. Place prepared sauce in the skillet over low heat. Once sauce has reheated, place meatballs over sauce and serve.
Recipe Notes
If you'd like to make ahead, the sauce and meatballs can be prepared (separately) and kept refrigerated up to two days before serving. When ready to serve, place sauce in skillet and place meatballs over the sauce. Cook over low until heated through.
A Little Inspiration
Terrified rescue horse was "skin and bones." Then a dog named Molly made friends.

Best Friends
Click on the image to watch the video

That's when Molly the rescue shelter's resident pooch took notice. 
In the video, Molly sits outside Sammy's stall and the two gently nuzzle each other.

"Molly is your typical Walmart greeter," Kindle wrote on Facebook. "She loves everyone including all the animals we have on the farm. She especially loves the minis; she can reach them much easier.

"Sammy, the mini that she is comforting, just came into CERA's program. He is nothing but skin and bones and scared. Molly truly has an exceptional sense of knowing when one of the animals doesn't feel good or sad. So she very gently introduces herself. This is her job and she is very good at it as you can see."
Paula's Pearls
"Ah-ha!" Moments in Riding

Remember when riding that when you ask your horse with a half-halt to WAIT, that must mean WAIT, (as in smaller steps in whatever gait you are in). For pirouettes, the turning part is the shoulders turning around the hind legs and the hind legs don't stop cantering or become labored. My visual image is the hind legs cantering around a dinner plate. For example, in pirouette left or right, the haunches can not slip out through the rider's outside leg. They must stay under your seat cantering around the dinner plate in tiny steps.
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  |