Paula Paglia Dressage
On the Bit
August 2018
In This Issue
Barn News & Updates
Dressage Training Video:  Moving Your Horse's Shoulders
Dressage Training: Train for Your Horse's Pleasure
Horse Care Tip of the Month:  What to Do for a Horse with Choke
Life & Style: Luxury Equestrian Travel to Argentina
Recipe of the Month:  Avocado Shrimp Salsa
Paula's Pearls: "Ah-Ha!" Moments in Riding
Paula Recommends: "The Classical Rider" by Sylvia Loch
A Little Inspiration
Barn News & Updates

Misting Systems a Godsend!
Summer is upon us and as I get older, 114 degrees feels hotter than anything I have ever felt before. Thank God for our Aero/Mist system! A few years ago we installed this misting system (it's pretty simple to install) and I must say before this, I found that all the mist systems seemed to leak and put out too much water, wetting the stalls. I have the rings on the fans and the heads can be changed easily to distribute more or less mist. The pump is on a timer and clicks on and off if I'm not here to do it. I recommend this to anyone keeping horses on your property!

Upcoming Shows
Our barn staff is in full swing before 5 am. We are schooling our show horses from 5 to 9:30 and trail riding the older ones to keep them moving. We are heading out to Flagstaff next week to show and escape the heat. While we are gone, Emily Glidden is coming in to clinic Body Mechanics with those that are here. A few horses are going to Cool August Nights, then to Somis to show at the end of August - another way to escape the heat!

Clinic with Kristen Whittaker
My riders have been enjoying learning from Kristen. She was here for several days in July teaching, and training with me as well. She'll be returning from her home in Norwell, MA from September 9th through the 12th to our ranch and will be holding a clinic for anyone interested in Western Dressage and will continue to teach her approach to the traditional dressage riders. 
Dressage Training Video
Moving Your Horse's Shoulders

Source: DressageMasteryTV

Dressage Training
Ingrid Klimke: Train for Your Horse's Pleasure
Seven elements of a training program that will keep your dressage athlete happy and healthy in his work

Cavalletti work is an excellent way to strengthen and loosen muscles and supple the joints. Here Ingrid rides the Oldenburg gelding Horseware Hale Bob OLD. (Silke Rottermann)

Dressage sport has changed significantly in the past 40 years and is now dominated by horses who were bred specifically to be dressage athletes and who were trained to specialize in dressage early on in their careers.

Ingrid Klimke, Germany's double Olympic champion in eventing and international dressage star, spoke about this during one of her recent symposiums, saying that in view of the ever-increasing quality of such specialized horses, many trainers and owners lose sight of the initial goal of training, which is to improve the horse and not just teach him certain movements required in dressage tests.

I create an individual training plan for each of my horses, no matter if they are young and still doing their basic training or if they are experienced international eventing or dressage horses. These plans consist of several elements that make sure my horses follow a versatile training plan and that they enjoy themselves.

Following are seven elements of my dressage horses' training that together take care to maintain or increase stamina, strength, physical fitness and motivation.

Element 1: The Off Day
At the beginning of the week my horses have a day off. This doesn't mean that they are stable-bound, but they can relax in the field where they usually go anyway for a few hours every day. If the weather is so dreadful that we cannot turn them out extensively on their off day, the horses roam free under supervision in the indoor arena. I consider such off days, which really allow the horses to switch off mentally, very important, in particular after a weekend of competition or after having learned something new. It's the day that the horses can entirely be horses.

Element 2: Dressage Training
Dressage training doesn't mean that on that day I drill the movements the horse will need to show at a certain level. It is a trap into which some riders fall, forgetting that these required movements are only a means to reach certain goals, but should not be goals in themselves. Instead, dressage training means to systematically make the horse more supple, to develop his gaits, strengthen his musculature and to increase his throughness and expression.
Each training session has to follow a structure that is clear and keeps the horse interested. We divide it into three parts: the warm-up, working phase and cool down.

The  warm-up is of particular importance, as in this phase the horse must reach a state of relaxation, which is an indispensable prerequisite for him to use his whole body and listen to the rider. I always start in free walk with the reins at the buckle like my mentor, the late Paul Stecken (German dressage master), used to say. This is meant to help the horse find relaxation, which is visible by the horse's dropped, stretched neck and a loosely swinging tail.

Next, one can use walk cavalletti of about 20 cm height to encourage the horse to stretch down. An experienced horse will need approximately 10 minutes to warm up while a younger one might need up to 20 minutes or occasionally even more. But it is of paramount importance not to switch prematurely to the working phase without successfully having achieved the required relaxation of the horse.

During the  working phase, which differs depending on a horse's training level, the rider constantly has to safe-guard not only the relaxation, but also the rhythm, the soft contact and the horse's activity.

Of course, these training sessions also serve to exercise or teach the horse the dressage movements. But as riders, we absolutely have to look at the movements as a kind of treasure that we have to take care of. The horse has to carefully learn the movements in a way that is playful and as stress-free as possible so that he is really eager to execute them. So to teach my horses the demanding piaffe and passage, we also use the training on the double-longe (long lines) once per week to complement the piaffe and passage training sessions and give them some additional variety without having the weight of the rider on their backs.

Element 3: Cavalletti Work
About twice a week I include cavalletti work in my training session. It is an important as well as valuable part of my approach as it is an excellent way to strengthen and loosen muscles and supple the joints.

Some trainers shy away from it because they fear damage to their horse, but by using proper heights and suitable distances for each individual horse, this will not be the case as my experience and that of my father has shown.

Proper ways to use cavalletti:
* On the longe to eliminate one-handed stiffness by... click here for the rest of the article.
Horse Care Tip of the Month
What to Do for a Horse with Choke

When your horse develops an obstruction in his esophagus, doing the wrong thing can turn a relatively minor event into a potentially life-threatening problem.

horse with choke

Choke can look alarming, especially if you've never seen it before. When a wad of poorly chewed feed or a big chunk of apple gets stuck in a horse's esophagus, the muscles may spasm and clamp it in place, causing him to cough, gag and produce prodigious amounts of drool and nasal discharge.

Unlike choking in people, however, choke in horses doesn't interfere with the ability to breathe, so it does not pose an immediate threat to life. In fact, choke will usually subside on its own. If it doesn't, however, you'll want to take quick action to prevent a minor problem from leading to serious complications. Here's what to do.

* abruptly stops eating, and perhaps takes on an alarmed or confused expression.
* coughs, gags, retches, while stretching his neck and/or shaking his head.
* drools heavily and expels discharge that includes bits of food from his nostrils.
* shows signs of discomfort, such as sweating or pawing.


* Remove all hay, feed and water, and do not let the horse graze. Some choking horses may attempt to continue eating and drinking, which will only increase the size of the blockage and may make the case more serious.
* Call the veterinarian. Choke that continues more than a few minutes is an emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention.

* Keep the horse calm. Encourage him to stand quietly with his head lowered. If he's in a pasture, move him to a stall or dry lot. Placing a buddy nearby may help him to relax.
* Monitor the situation. If you see nasal discharge that contains bits of chewed food, wipe it away with a clean rag, but take note of the color, volume and consistency so you can report it to your veterinarian. Taking photos with your cell phone can also be useful. Call your veterinarian with an update if you see blood, foreign objects or anything other than food draining from your horse's nose or mouth.

Also let your veterinarian know if the discharge stops. Often, as the horse continues to produce and swallow saliva, his esophageal muscles relax and the blockage passes through to his stomach. If this happens, the case is no longer an emergency, but your veterinarian will still want to examine the horse for potential causes of the choke, such as a tumor or other growth in the neck or throat.

Depending on the severity of the choke, an endoscopic examination of the esophagus to look for tears or other injuries may be advisable. Your veterinarian may also recommend management changes to help prevent a recurrence.

* Do not squirt water into the horse's mouth. You will greatly increase the risk that he will develop aspiration pneumonia, a serious lung infection, should he inhale any of the liquid into his lungs.
* Do not administer medications or home remedies. Nothing you can do will help, and you may make the situation much worse if you cause permanent damage to the lining of the esophagus. Even rubbing the horse's neck may cause injury. 

Life & Style
 Malbec, Mares, & The Ultimate Vacation: Learning A New Sport In Argentina

Source: | By: Jennifer Sims

Polo in Argentina

Have you ever tried something for the first time and loved it so much that you got kind of bummed that it took you so long to try it out? That was my experience with learning to play polo. I've always known about it and even have a good friend who plays regularly, yet I never gave it a shot, perhaps due to my fear that I might not be able to hit the ball. But then I traveled to the El Venado Polo School in Argentina to learn how to play (and take a killer vacation) and my inner polo star came out.

Located on 2,500 acres about two hours outside of Buenos Aires in Pila, El Venado is a polo school and retreat that provides guests with an authentic Argentinian experience, complete with homemade food, Gauchos, and expert polo instruction. Federico Cendoya, the school's owner, is a 5-goal professional and has been hosting travelers for over 30 years at his Estancia El Venado.

My days in Argentina began with helping the Gauchos bring in the horses from the fields, and one day, we even herded cows. I ride show horses. This was about the furthest thing from what I used to, and I was so into it. After playing cowgirl, I went to the school to practice stick and ball - literally what it sounds like: hitting the ball with the stick (mallet) to practice your swing. Although I am an experienced hunter/jumper rider, I had never even touched a mallet prior to this trip. Luckily for me, having previous riding experience made it easier to pick up on polo basics, like staying on the horse. It goes a little something like this: the reins are held in your left hand while you swing the mallet with your right. Then, try to hit the ball without slamming the mallet into the grass and hurting your wrist. The instruction from Fede must have been good because by the end of my first lesson, I was already hitting the ball!

After stick and ball practice, guests enjoy a traditional Argentine lunch and aglass of wine on the patio. Argentina is big on wine, particularly Malbec. You can even order wine by the Penguino at most restaurants in and around Buenos Aires - a ceramic penguin, filled to the brim with the house Malbec. After lunch, you can take a siesta, swim in the beautiful pool, or hang out with the other guests and geek out over your newfound polo prowess. Later in the day, everyone meets up at the stables for the afternoon chukkas. I took it slow and spent the first couple of days learning the rules of the game. Teams are comprised of four riders, each with their assigned position. Each chukka goes by so fast and changes direction often, so the amount of galloping you do is really fun. Now I know why you need multiple ponies-it's a big playing field. Somehow, I managed to hit four goals in two days and I found myself hooked on this totally awesome sport. One thing I appreciated as well was the amazing condition and wonderful lifestyle of the polo ponies here - fat, happy, shiny ponies who graze in green pastures and truly love their job. Argentina values its polo ponies as a national treasure and they are extremely well cared for.

As with all of the equestrian destinations I visit, meeting and getting to know the other horse-loving guests adds such a fun element to travel. I felt so at home during my stay at El Venado that I completely understood why so many of the guests return year after year. There's nothing quite like galloping through tall grass and open fields on these well-bred, well-fed, happy horses. Fede and his wife, Ines, immediately felt like family and are very welcoming and generous.  Maybe I'll need to head back to Argentina and do some polo pony shopping? I could be easily convinced.
Recipe of the Month
 Avocado Shrimp Salsa

Avocado shrimp salsa

"The dog days of summer call for light and fresh foods at every meal. Anything with a kick of lime and delicious seafood has my vote for sure! Give this a try, you'll love it." - Paula

  • 1 lb raw shrimp peeled and deveined*
  • 1/4 tsp salt and black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium limes, juiced
  • 2 medium/large avocados
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • 3 medium or 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (1/2 bunch) chopped

  1. Season shrimp lightly with salt and pepper. Place a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook 3 minutes total, turning once halfway. Saute just until cooked through then remove from the pan. Transfer to cutting board, coarsely chop and place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Squeeze the juice of 3 medium limes over the shrimp, stir and set aside to marinate while you prepare remaining salsa ingredients.
  3. Dice cucumber, tomato and avocado and add them to the mixing bowl with shrimp.
  4. Finely dice onion and chop 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro. Add to the mixing bowl then stir together all of the ingredients until well combined and serve. We love this served with hot sauce (such as Tabasco) and tortilla chips.
Recipe Notes
*If using any sized pre-cooked shrimp - rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towels then chop.

Watch the video below:

A Little Inspiration
Shelly Francis - Danilo LUMILEDS-Preis Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4* CHIO Aachen

I could watch this video over and over again. Shelly Francis  wowed the Deutsche Bank Stadium at  CHIO Aachen  aboard Danilo taking home the top prize in the LUMILEDS-Preis CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 79.305%!

Shelly Francis

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

Try riding with your eyes closed and focus on each beat of the walk. Which foot is moving? Feel how the horse's hind legs move your body. How does each footstep move your hips and seatbones? If you can mentally isolate your movements from the movements of the horse, it becomes easier to time your aids and influence the horse at the right moment (such as asking with the inside leg for a yielding step as the inside hind leaves the ground). 

Paula Recommends
"The Classical Rider" by Sylvia Loch

The Classical Rider
I found this book at Foothills Animal Rescue consignment store for $1 and thought I'd check it out. It isn't so much a step-by-step instructional book, as it is more about the author's memoirs and insights into today's dressage. I found that her description of the rider's position and the pelvic floor in relation to the horse's back might be helpful for riders that just haven't been able to fully understand a balanced seat and correct body position. Readers can tell that Loch is certainly a lover of horses and truly wants to teach riders to ride so that the experience is enjoyable for both the horse and the rider. 

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  |