Paula Paglia Dressage
On the Bit
April 2018
In This Issue
Barn News & Updates
Dressage Training Video:  Keeping Your Hands Still
Dressage Training: How the Psoas Muscle Affects Your Pelvis Stability
Horse Care Tip of the Month:  Equine Hindgut Ulcers
Recipe of the Month: Lemon Meringue Angel Cake
Paula's Pearls: "Ah-Ha!" Moments in Riding
A Little Inspiration: In Celebration of Dressage
Barn News & Updates

TDC March Madness Show in Tucson
the team at TDC
Denise, Jeff, Paula, Megan, Sherrill, Ed and Mary at TDC

Jeff and Carlotta

I'd like to give a huge congratulations to two of my riders, Jeff Lovejoy and Megan Manning for their stellar performance at last month's show in Tucson. Jeff won first place with a 67.955 in Training Level 3 with his mare Furstin Carlotta, and he won the Training Level High Point. This was Jeff's first-ever dressage test!

Megan and Ssavant

Megan rode her first PSG with her Arab Ssavant. She earned a qualifying score for her Silver Medal!

It is such an honor to train and teach these horse and rider teams!

Sherrill Tripp's mare Slipstream (Lucy) won her two PSG classes with scores of 69.85 and 67.50. Congrats!!

Temecula Valley Dressage
Earlier in the year, Sherill Tripp's Slipstream (Lucy) won 4th Level Open Champion. Here's Sherrill's loot that arrived in the mail! We're so proud of this smart and talented young mare!
Dressage Training
Keeping Your Hands Still

Source: Dressage Mastery TV

Dressage Training
How the Psoas Muscle Affects Your Pelvis Stability


When we are riding in correct posture and with good neutral spine our pelvis is evenly balanced and we are able to absorb the horse's movement efficiently. However when we have tight and short psoas and hip flexor muscles it can often be a frustrating battle as you bounce and stiffen up on the horse's back, having no idea how to fix it or what is going on. No matter how much sitting trot you do, you just can't seem to find that fluid movement and feel at one with the horse's back.

Now I have talked about  the role of the psoas muscle in dressage riders  before and now I wanted to dig deeper into more of the role it plays in stabilizing our pelvis. Now the psoas muscle attaches to 22 different structures in your body, including vertebra, pelvis, spinal disc connections and the thigh bone; making it a vital player in the movement of your spine and pelvis. It's often referred to as a hip flexor but has a much bigger role in spinal movement.
A lot of the time when riders sit for extended periods of time, it can cause us to have two tight psoas muscles. This doesn't necessarily mean they will both be equally tight. You may have one shorter and more contracted than the other, due to how you repetitively sit in your car or at your desk. Or maybe you had an accident some time ago and one side is more dominant than the other. It's important to understand that you have two sides and one tight psoas or two when riding can create issues with clarity of aids and balance.
When we get a shortening of the psoas muscle often due to lots of time sitting, we cause the lowest thoracic vertebrae to shear forward and this can create a tucking and tilting posteriorly of the pelvis while the thigh bone moves forward also.
The goal then, is to be creating a neutral pelvis and spine. This is about alignment, and creating balance within the saddle is also about alignment. Without it, we can't efficiently absorb the horse's movement. It's about our body's ability to be efficient and have proper function within the normal ranges of motion so that when the horse's force comes up beneath us our hips, pelvis and spine are all moveing well within normal proper alignment.
So if your hip can't extend due to having a whole lot of hip flexors' tension and your glutes aren't activating even to balance and you have a short and contracted psoas that can't move efficiently you have a recipe for bouncing in the saddle.
Now this is something that I personally know I need to work on and the key here is that it's about knowledge. I want you to shine as a rider, so problem solving, learning and improving your habits over time are what's going to help you do that and help you be able to truly step forward with your riding.
It doesn't mean you have to know all your anatomy, but it doesn't mean that you want to understand how your daily habits and environment you put your body into each and every day have an impact on your riding. If you have hit a wall with your riding or are struggling with progressing your sitting trot, this could be the step you take to help you improve.

stretching psoas
Here I am demonstrating another way in which you can release your psoas. 

Horse Care Tip of the Month
What Are Equine Hindgut Ulcers?

Source:  |   With Christina "Cricket" Russillo, DVM

horse digestive system

Q: Are hindgut ulcers the same thing as stomach ulcers? If not, what is the difference and how can a horse owner safely differentiate between the two? 

A: No, hindgut ulcers are not the same as stomach ulcers. The term "hindgut" refers to the segment of a horse's intestines that follows the small intestine. Hindgut ulcers are typically located in the right dorsal colon, as opposed to ulcerations in the stomach (also called gastric ulcers). Following are ways to help you differentiate between the two and reasons why you should know the difference.

How would I know if my horse has hindgut ulcers? 
The signs of hindgut ulcers are varied and the degree to which a horse is affected will usually contribute to which of these signs your horse shows. But the simplest sign to watch out for is loose manure. That can be anywhere on the spectrum from true diarrhea to normal-formed manure with just a liquid component expressed at the same time. A simple telltale sign that should make an owner suspicious that her horse may be suffering from hindgut ulcers is manure stains along the inner thighs and on the tail.

Why do hindgut ulcers matter for my performance horse? 
Inflammation of the colon can contribute to irritability, weight loss and poor performance.

What should I do if I suspect my horse has hindgut ulcers?  
Your veterinarian is always the best place to start when you are concerned about a possible health issue. The most accurate way to diagnose the condition is through a combination of transabdominal ultrasound and bloodwork, but even these tests can yield inconsistent results. And while diagnosis of hindgut ulcers can be challenging, there are some simple dietary changes that can help a horse immediately. 

Is there something I can do to prevent the development of hindgut ulcers? 
There is currently no medication that can prevent hindgut ulcers from forming. Our best defense is supporting a healthy digestive tract and minimizing stress and inflammation in the colon, where it can promote a local environment that potentiates the risk for ulcers developing. Strategies include using probiotics and prebiotics, avoiding excess dietary starch, feeding readily digestible fiber sources and products that directly nourish the lining of the colon through the production of its preferred energy source. 
Recipe of the Month
 Lemon Meringue Angel Cake


"Light, delicate, and with just the right amount of tartness; this dessert is pretty enough to take centerstage at a springtime brunch." - Paula

  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 12 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup sugar
  1. Place the oven rack in the lowest position and preheat to 350F.
  2. Sift together ½ cup of the sugar and the flour twice. Set aside.
  3. Mix together the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla extract and salt. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until stiff, glossy peaks form and the sugar has been dissolved. Fold in the flour mixture, half a cup at a time, until combined.
  4. Gently pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Use a butter knife to cut through the batter to make sure there aren't any air pockets. Bake until the top is browned and appears dry, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately invert until completely cooled.
  5. Once cooled, run a knife around the outside of the cake to release from the pan, if needed. Split the cake into 2 layers horizontally. Place the bottom layer of the cake on an ovenproof serving plate*. Spread the lemon curd on top of the cake, then place the top layer over the curd.
  6. To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 350F. Place the egg whites in a bowl with the cream of tartar and beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over the top and sides of the cake. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until browned.
A Little Inspiration
In Celebration of Dressage

A music video celebrating the sport we love! Enjoy!

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

Do you have a sore back? This exercise has really helped my back. When sitting the trot, the area in your lower back - below your belt to the tip of your spine - has to be stretched so that the vertebrae are open and your seat bones can point forward. Your abdominal muscles need to engage to make this happen. This helps make your seat more stable and your hips relaxed, which in turn allows your calf to work effectively.
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  |