Dressage Today - - Arena News -

My blood runs cold when I hear the phrase “lead­line dres­sage.” The worst judg­ing ex­pe­ri­ence I ever had in­volved a lead­line dres­sage class. Re­cently, I was work­ing on the pro­gram for Len­don Gray’s Youth Dres­sage Fes­ti­val, which takes place in New York, and there is a lead­line test printed there. I try hard to skip right past that page…

I judged a rail-type lead­line class once at a rec­og­nized dres­sage show that was quite large and had a big au­di­ence. I re­call a clear mo­ment of panic on my part. I asked each child a ques­tion that I thought would be easy and fun for them to an­swer while they were lined up at the end.

One lit­tle girl looked me straight in the eye and wouldn’t an­swer. I asked her pony’s color. Noth­ing. I asked her pony’s fa­vorite treat. Noth­ing. I asked what the strap was called that she was hold­ing. Noth­ing. I asked her pony’s name. Noth­ing. Fi­nally, I asked her to pet her pony, which she did right away. The ap­plause was thun­der­ous.

Fol­low more of Mar­garet Free­man’s blog at dres­sage­to­

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