Thursday, May 20, 2010

On a Serious Note: Dressage for Commoners

R&R for the ol' hock means plenty of leisure time, and in this family leisure means reading. Just this afternoon, FarmWife was reading me some back issues of Dressage Today—formerly the official publication of the U.S.D.F.—and she found this letter to the editor, published in their third issue, November of 1994. (Incidentally, I was one month old at the time!) I thought we should share it with you, my readers. After all, there are plenty of you out there who travel the long road from fenssage to dressage, and I think this will speak to your hearts.

"I received my first issue of Dressage Today and am pleased. I would like to see lots of space devoted to helping those of us who desperately need it. We love seeing the stars in their shadbellies do Prix St. Georges on their huge warmbloods. Then, filled with thoughts of grandeur, we go down to the barn and pull out our cherished Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred crosses, trek into the field and ride endless 20- to 23-meter eggs. Our beloved mounts crank their tails, hang on the inside rein and call to the goats in the next field. We spend months and years with a bizarre array of trainers and end up poor and frustrated. We want to hear about real problems and how to work through them." —Brenda Duenas.

Editor's response— "We hear you and hope that you'll continue to address your real problems to us so that we can provide the answers you need. Our goal is to serve the entire dressage community, whether that means saluting the stars or applauding those riders who determinedly work to turn those eggs into true circles."

Readers, my back issues dry up at around 1997. Tell me—did Dressage Today meet it's goal of applauding the 23-meter egg crowd as well as saluting the one-tempis set? Have they remained a magazine for the entire dressage community?

Your curious friend,

Illustrations by Sandy Rabinowitz


  1. Personally


    I gave up on them quite a while ago. The old USDF magazine was way better

    It is terribly thin with far too much spotlight on the big name riders and trainers, fashion trends and showing.

    Rarely seem to use "real life" models human or animal

    When a "top" USEF / FEI ranked judge said, even tongue in cheek, "I am tired of seeing cowponies come down the centerline"

    That is when I knew I was done

  2. I still get DT. Although there are more wb that cowponies, I do like some of the features.The back page solutions are usually helpful, normally there is at least one article I find helpful. This month I look forward to reading "The Quality of Submission" and an article on the suspensory ligament.

  3. Beth, FarmWife too enjoys the "solutions." I don't get it . . . no matter what the problem, the solution is always either "hold still" or "eat carrots," in my book.

    Upupaepops, dressage=training, and who cannot benefit from that? I agree that it is a pursuit for the common rider, common horse, and common mule, and that its publications should speak to those roots.


  4. I must admit not having bought this magazine, but I have seen plenty of Oz versions full of the top riders in dressage and jumping. I don't find them helpful in my own schooling. I am also tired of seeing crank nosebands and grips of death on the reins on nearly every horse in these mags. I have found that I prefer the english mags geared at one horse/one rider type normal people who just want to improve the horse they own. They have good articles, often with a full lesson aimed at some aspect of dressage or jumping, and I love how they use normal people in the lessons and name horse and list rider's history, history and breed of horse, problems they want to work on, etc. I haven't seen a mule in there yet but I have seen quite a few donkeys in the snippets. :)


Thanks in Advance for Your Mulish Opinion!