From inspiring stories of underdog horse-and-rider duos finding success in the dressage arena, to informative horse health features, articles highlighting unique and interesting breeds, and fun “top five” lists, readers flocked to YourDressage in 2020 to get their daily dose of dressage! Here are the top 20 most popular stories from last year.
20. Returning to Competition After COVID-19 Layoff
Have you and your horse missed valuable riding time during the COVID-19 restrictions? World-renowned researcher Dr. Hilary Clayton provides an insightful look at how to recondition your horse back into work after a layoff. This YourDressage exclusive includes helpful exercises and ways to reduce the risk of injury to your equine partner as you prepare to resume showing. This article contains valuable information after any layoff, not just one caused by the pandemic. Read it here.
19. A Healthy Hoof Print
Did you know that you can tell a lot about an arena surface by the hoof print your horse leaves behind? The footing experts at Premier Equestrian discuss their findings from years of research on horse biomechanics and share what secrets your arena is trying to tell you. Read it here.
18. Are You Bad for Your Horse’s Health?
You give aids; your horse responds. But what’s actually happening in the process? In this reprint from USDF Connection magazine, Dr. Hilary Clayton delves into some fundamental rider-biomechanics findings and offers research-based explanations of how, exactly, skilled riders use their bodies differently than novices. Read it here.
17. Tips for Creating a Musical Freestyle
Musical freestyles are an exciting and creative way to showcase your connection with your horse in the dressage arena. In this video, Janet (Dolly) Hannon, chair of the USDF Freestyle Committee, shares tips to help you craft the perfect musical freestyle.
16. Five Pet Peeves of a Dressage Judge
Ever feel like you’ve rubbed a judge the wrong way, but you’re not sure why? Based on a segment with Marilyn Heath on the USDF Official Podcast, this article outlines five pet peeves of a dressage judge. Read it here.
15. Five Safety Considerations When Lungeing
Lungeing is a great way to warm up your horse, but a surprising amount of people make this activity riskier than it needs to be. US Equestrian Dressage Technical Delegate Jean Kraus lists her top five safety violations that she sees most often, which you can keep in mind next time you practice your lungeing. Read it here.
14. Small But Mighty
This article kicked off a YourDressage original series, where we look at the High Score Breed Awards offered at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®. In this edition, we meet Avatar’s Jazzman, a fiery Morgan gelding who competes at Grand Prix. Read it here.
13. The Stay at Home Guide for Dressage Lovers
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many equestrians to be cooped up indoors much more than we normally would be. Exclusively for YourDressage readers, USDF put together this helpful guide to help equestrians avoid boredom and improve their dressage knowledge while they were at home. Read it here.
12. “Tru” Dressage for the Off-Track Thoroughbred
Can an off-track Thoroughbred make it to the upper levels of our sport? Dressage trainer Emily O’Neill thinks so, and her OTTB Honestly Tru has the ribbons to prove it. In this YourDressage exclusive story, learn about this pair, and their ultimate goal of riding at Grand Prix. Read it here.
11. A Breeder’s Dream – Sir Sinclair
More than 10,500 KWPN Dutch Warmblood foals are born in the Netherlands every year, each carrying the hopes of their breeder. Sir Sinclair, Keur, is one of those rare, once-in-a-lifetime horses. Born to a small breeder, he became a US national champion dressage horse, and this YourDressage exclusive story chronicles his rise to the number one USEF dressage sire for five consecutive years, with dozens of Grand Prix and FEI champions to his credit. Read it here.
10. My Dear Watson
“I was told to sell Watson, that he was too much horse for me, that he was an ugly mover, and that I needed to get a ‘real’ dressage horse…” Kate Kudelko didn’t listen to the doubters, and put in hard work with Watson, who was rescued from a kill pen. In this YourDressage exclusive, she shares the story of their exciting journey to FEI Levels together. Read it here.
9. Installation and Use of Mirrors in an Indoor Arena
Mirror mirror on the wall… Considering installing mirrors in your indoor arena? Jennie Hakes gives us all the details on research, pricing, and how tos in this article, which won a 2019 GMO Newsletter Award. It originally appeared in the Central States Dressage and Eventing Association (CSDEA) newsletter. Read it here.
8. Five Modifications to the 2020 USDF Championship Programs
With COVID-19 impacting many competitions, USDF made some modifications to our championship programs to make it easier for competitors to qualify, given the circumstances. In this list, we outlined five changes that competitors needed to be aware of when working to qualify for the 2020 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships and/or the USDF Breeders Championship Series. Read it here.
7. The Many Faces of Dressage: A Clydesdale’s Perspective
In this YourDressage original series, we explore the dressage experience across a full spectrum of unconventional breeds, with firsthand accounts from the humans that know and love them. In this debut entry of the series, meet the mighty Clydesdale, and learn about these gentle giants through interviews with two Clydesdale owners. Read it here.
As a rider, trainer, judge, and official, Linda Zang has forever expanded what’s possible in dressage. Learn more about this Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame inductee in this reprint from USDF Connection magazine. Read it here.
5. The Right Snaffle
Modern snaffle bits come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, sizes, and material. Choosing the one that’s both comfortable for your horse and competition-legal can be a daunting task. In this article, reprinted from USDF Connection magazine, experts help you sort the options and find the best USEF-legal snaffle bit for use at Introductory through Fourth Level competitions. Read it here.
4. On the Bit, Naturally
Riding your horse in a light and round outline should be easy, yet in real life it is often very tricky to get right. Visconte Simon Cocozza, Dressage Examiner for the Fédération Française d’Equitation (FFE) shares how you can get your horse on the bit, naturally, in this enlightening article which contains many helpful illustrations. Read it here.
3. Dressage Riders: Coronavirus Quarantine Means You Can’t Ride? Eight Things You CAN Do!
Dressage fanatics were getting a little stir crazy when they weren’t able to ride during the pandemic, and YourDressage was here to help! Adult amateur Sally O’Dwyer shares her tips for how to make the most of your time by pursuing your passion for dressage from home. Read it here.
2. Hock Injections: A Sound Practice?
Hock injections are a common procedure in dressage horses. For some, it’s routine “maintenance,” but should it be? In this reprint from USDF Connection magazine, explore the equine hock, the role injections play, and the potential risks. Read it here.
Drumroll please! The most popular YourDressage article during 2020 was….
1. Pint Sized Equine Partner, Bryan the Cob
“If someone would have told me the first horse I would ride at an FEI level would be a barely backed, 6-year-old Welsh Cob, found from a random internet search, I’d have thought they were crazy…” Follow along with Valerie Goodman’s adventures with Bryan the Cob in YourDressage’s leading 2020 article. Read it here.
What was your favorite YourDressage article from 2020? Let us know in the comments below!
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