Newsletter of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the California Dressage Society (on line version)

Summer/Fall 2003

Index Chairperson's Salute!
It's almost Halloween... where did the summer go? At least this fleeting summer brought our chapter yet another successful show season! Dressage in the Sierra, alone, netted us $2,254.85... wow! Here are a few F.Y.I.s...

2004 Sierra Nevada Chapter Board of Directors
Elections for 2004 directors will be held at the November Monthly Chapter Meeting/Nikken Therapeutic Magnets Clinic to be held on Monday, November 10, 2003 at Franktown Meadows Equestrian Center (see the "Activities" page in this issue of the newsletter). The following are 2004 director positions for which we have volunteers (and the remaining open positions):

Chairperson: Susan Ward
Director of Treasury: Open - WE NEED A VOLUNTEER!
Director of Newsletters: WE NEED A VOLUNTEER
Director of Shows: Joan Wright
Director of Education: Open - WE NEED A VOLUNTEER!
Director of Activities: Madeline Zook
Director of Junior Membership: Lou Christensen
Director of the Website/Chapter Information: Steve and Michele Ting

* Actual name of this directorship will be determined at the Board of Directors Meeting on October 28th - the meeting is open to the SNC general membership, so please come (see the "Activities" page in this issue of the newsletter)!!!!

2004 Sierra Nevada Chapter Shows
So far, we have a manager for only one of our 2004 scheduled shows (see the 2004 show schedule in this issue of the newsletter).

--- A BIG thank you to Jennifer Smith, who has volunteered to manage the April 25, 2004 show, and has already retained Angela Littlefield for the judge! There will be no clinic held in conjunction with this show.

--- We still need a manager for our July 11, 2004 show, which will be judged by Louise Koch. Maybe a clinic with Louise Koch could be held in conjunction with this show, if the to-be-named manager so decides?

--- We need a manager or co-managers for our Dressage in the Sierra Show on August 14 & 15, 2004. (Call Joan Wright (687-0202) for details on what the duties of this show's manager will be - it's not as overwhelming as you may think!)

--- We still need a manager for our September 19, 2004 show... and possibly a clinic, too?


In closing, I just want to let you know that I feel we have a great group of people making up our small CDS chapter here in the Sierra Nevada! We should be EXTREMELY proud of what we accomplish every year with our shows and other activities.

I hope that we will see some new volunteer faces this upcoming year in amongst our loyal group of members who consistently put in their time to keep this chapter going as well as it does year after year. New input and ideas are always welcome, as well!
Remember... without its members, the chapter could not go on!

- Maureen

SNC on the Web

SNC Makes Its Debut on the World Wide Web!!

It all started with an offer from Pat McGee to put together a website for our chapter... how exciting, we all thought!! "Thanks for offering!!," we all said. And, from there, our wonderful website was born!

A HUGE thank you goes out to Pat for getting us started on the Web with our original domain name of snc- Without her efforts and perseverance, we never would have had our site at all! Pat has recently gone back to school and, what with studying and her full time job, has realized that she will no longer have enough time to act as Webmaster of our site. So....

Another HUGE thank you goes out to Steve and Michele Ting, who have volunteered to take over as Co- Webmasters of our site, with its new address of

Our website is still in its infant stages, but growing by leaps and bounds every day, due to the Tings' efforts. We look forward to fun and informative additions to the site as it matures.

If you haven't done so yet please sign up for the SNC-CDS E-mail list by sending an e-mail to By signing up to the list you will be notified of when changes, additions, ride times/scores are added to the list. The list will also allow us to communicate in a quick and efficient manner. Please take a couple minutes to sign up. You will not recieve any unwanted e-mails.

Please send an e-mail to Steve and Michele at: with the information you would like to send out to our members. Anything that might be newsworthy... or maybe information about an upcoming clinic, is what Steve and Michele are looking for.

Don't be shy! Send them an e-mail today and get your information out and onto the world wide web for all to see!

If you haven't submitted your information for the website's "Instruction" link for the local trainers' listing... DON'T BE SHY!! Please send an e-mail to Michele and Steve and let them know you would like to be included on the listing.... today!! Thank you!!

Meeting Minutes

June Chapter Meeting Minutes
Meeting Attendees: Jennifer Smith, Eric Ahlstrom, Madeline Zook, Martina Thiel-Poblotzkii and Maureen Lyons

The meeting was a "Pilates for Equestrians" clinic and was held at Dynamic Movement Physical Therapy Rehabilitation and Wellness Center at 487 East Plumb Lane in Reno.

Denise Montagne, Physical Therapist and Certified Pilates Instructor, gave an introductory talk about Pilates - its history and theory based on working the body from the "inside out." Conscious breathing and stretching are a big part of Pilates, with concentration on strengthening the torso, and lengthening and strengthening all of the muscles.

All of the participants in this clinic appreciated the Pilates exercises so much, that Denise arranged for a special one-hour class per week for 6 weeks, to start, to be held for the participants. This class will be specifically geared towards equestrian athletes.

(Note: This class has now been holding session for 20 weeks, with Jennifer, Madeline and Maureen still attending. The class is held every Wednesday at 12:00 noon and is open to anyone who wishes to participate.)

The clinic ended at 9:00pm with everyone feeling less stressed and a lot more flexible than when they first arrived!

August Chapter Meeting Minutes
Meeting Attendees: Erica Ward, Susan Ward, Gerri Iseman, Kellie Tormey, Rachael Eaker, Holly McGee, Pat McGee, Madeline Zook, Margot Ward, John Stone, Ann Stone, Carolyn Graebener, Alice Park and Joan Wright

The meeting was held at Joan Wright's beautiful newly remodeled home in Carson City. The salads that everyone brought, and all the other food, was delicious! A fun time was had by all!

Discussion was had about how well our Junior Membership did at the CDS Junior Championships... congrats Juniors! Madeline announced that she is working on the SNC Awards Banquet to be held in March, 2004. Joan advised that she needs a few more volunteers for the Dressage in the Sierra show, but that things were going along well with the show's organization.



The Sierra Nevada Chapter really made the charts this show season with many members accomplishing great things! CONGRATULATIONS goes out to ALL members who showed this year, no matter how small or how great YOUR accomplishments were! Keep up the good work and always remember that the definition of dressage is "training!"

The following are some of the more outstanding results achieved by some of our members during this show season: [If any members' accomplishments are not listed, please e-mail Maureen ( to let her know what they are, so that they may be noted in the next SNC publication.]

Sierra Gold Championships:

Fourth-FEI: Susan Ward & Landito
Training-Third Open: Vicki Cliff & Picasso
Training-Third Amateur: Michele Ting & Faramir
(This was the first time that any SNC member won anything in the Sierra Gold Championships... and, ONLY members of SNC won this year!)

2003 CDS Junior Championships:

Troy Christensen won the Major Alvin J. Levy High Point Male Rider Trophy

Training - born 1991 or later: Bridget Lockman & Absolut Royalty -1st
Erica Ward & Talk to Me - 5th
Training - born 1989 & 1990: Delaney Chambers & Vicktory Bey -4th
Training - born 1988: Leah Plaugher & Tiza T.W. -1st
Training - born 1987: Kelsey Myles & Maia - 4th
Katie Cumming & Anaistacia - 6th
Troy Christensen & Pacifica - 7th
First - born 1987 or prior Troy Christensen & Casper the Friendly Horse - 5th
Second: Sarah Lockman & Prince Albert -3rd
Training Test 2: Leah Plaugher & Tisa - 2nd
Training Test 2: Margot Ward & Landitos - 1st
Training Test 4: Erica Ward & Talk to Me - 3rd
Training Test 4: Leah Plaugher & Tisa - 1st
Training Test 4: Margot Ward & Landitos - 2nd
US Pony Club "D" Training Test 2 Erica Ward & Talk to Me - 1st
US Pony Club "C" First Test 1: Katie Cumming & Anaistacia - 3rd

2003 CDS Championships: (No official results have been posted for the Championships, so... the following are definitely just a few of the SNC member accomplishments.)

CDS First Amateur:Charlotte Jorst & Kalypso - 1st (Charlotte may be a Reno Chapter member?)
Amy Fulstone & Nuance - 9th
CDS Third Amateur: Susan Ward & Landitos - 3rd
CDS Fourth Amateur: Susan Ward & Landitos - ?? place
CDS Second Open: Beth Curle & Hazen - 11th
CDS Futurity: Charlotte Jorst & Kalypso - ??????
USDF First Amateur: Charlotte Jorst & Kalypso - 1st
USDF First Open: Seana Adamson - 2nd
USDF I1: Joan Wright & Handicraft - 4th

CDS Amateur Clinic Report


Francis Verbeek...or "what the 'O' judge wants to see"
By: Madeline Zook, SNC participant

The biggest heartiest thanks to CDS and especially, to my own chapter officials, for providing me with the chance to ride in the Amateur's clinic with Francis Verbeek. To say that I had a wonderful time is not to even come close. First, the facility and hospitality at Fieldstone Farm and the Labroucheries is just fantastic! Huge indoor school with perfect footing, a huge viewing area (enclosed no less!) surrounded by a perfect outdoor ring with fantastic footing, with paddock after paddock of gorgeous horses and green green! Flowers everywhere. Not to mention the barns, which look like something out of Kentucky! What a place! Add to that the most friendly group of individuals I've ever had the pleasure to meet, all helpful, kind, and supportive, and you have the feeling of this clinic. We had a fantastic time together! And learned not just how to ride better, but also enjoyed that rare camaraderie amongst riders that the journey is long and not easy on the rider, even though the tasks are simple to describe.

One of the most problimatical issues for all amateurs is the isolation in their riding lives. Struggling to juggle careers, family, money, and mostly time, riding for many of us becomes a hurried struggle to get to the barn, ride the horse, and be on our way. Many amateurs start their dressage careers later in life, and haven't the experience to realize that issues with their horse and their riding is the same issue that everyone has, at every level, because horses are horses, and riding is riding. So many conversations reflected the relief to discover that other people had the same difficulties with their horses on the ground and in the saddle that they themselves were struggling with, even though other riders were more experienced, or riding at a higher level, the issues are the same. This in and of itself brought immense relief to all, the realization that "I am not alone! It's not just me! Hooray!"

It was a very good thing to have that communal support going into this clinic, for Francis is a demanding taskmaster. I have no doubt that she worked most of us harder and longer than we had previously experienced, but as she halfway apologized, "I only have 3 days." As a weight loss experience, this was only somewhat effective, as food was abundantly provided for all.

The Clinic

The horse has to be active, not just forward, not just in front of the aids, submissive in the sense that he's working with and for the rider, and with active hind legs transmit the energy forward into the rider's hands (close the circle of aids) and in this way, give a supple and moving back and a place where the rider can sit easily and give small, invisible aids with very light and elastic contact to the reins into a supple and not pulling or holding hand. This amount of self carriage and suppleness was the focus of Francis's teachings for three days. In a nut shell, this is what the high level judge is seeking in the show ring: a very classically prepared and ridden horse.

Technically, how she prepares the horse for this level of achievement, and the rider as well, is to insist above all on the horse being in front of the leg, and supple at the same time. She achieves this by working on circles and voltes within the circle, first one side then the other, first trot then canter, with the horse's head always clearly positioned so that the horse is on both reins, and the inside eye is clearly visible to the rider's eye. The neck must follow the bend through the head and the body, and the neck must be rising up from the withers in front, at a normal position, up and reaching out. She continually chastised riders for having the horse's neck too low. Behind the vertical was absolutely forbidden at any moment in time whatsoever. When the horse's head was too low, she wanted the rider to drive the horse up in front by making the hind legs more active and creating more forward energy.

She strongly emphasized the position of the head, neck, and the riders contact. If the rider was pulling or holding the horse, she demanded that they let the horse go in front and drive them forward into the hand so that the horse was not restricted in it's impulsion or stride length. There was a marked improvement in all the horse's during the clinic-they became more forward, more active, lighter on the aids, more engaged, and moved with bigger strides and suppleness.

When on the circle, the rider was asked to make the horse take smaller steps, almost on he spot if possible, then go forward, go medium, bring the horse back, but she was also insistent that none of the transitions should be quick-especially the transition from medium to collected. She instructed me that this downward transition could take even 10 half halts to achieve, so that the hind legs remained active, and engaged, and under the horse- this was more important than achieving the actual transition, because the work was geared towards bringing the hind leg more forward under the horse, and having the hind leg carry more weight, so that the horse could be lighter on the aids and in the hand.

She was especially fond of trot halt transitions for getting the hind legs to really spring forward. She wanted a horse to halt with complete steadiness, and to stand still with relaxation and readiness to move off at the riders command. Through many transitions, the horse came even more into self carriage, achieved greater suppleness in it's body and greater bending of the leg joints. Once the horse was forward, bent through the body, light on the aids and supple, she would start with the work on straight lines. She never really wanted to see the horse's body entirely straight on straight lines-always a little shoulder fore positioning was desired. She also used leg yield quite a bit in her lessons - asking for the horse to leg yield in trot first around a 20m circle, then from the volte in the center of the circle to the 20m line, then on centerline to the wall. She demonstrated that the proper use of leg yield really set the horse up for a big, beautiful, and forward shoulder in, haunches in, or half pass.

She also worked the horses in counter canter extensively. Horses picked up true canter, then came across the diagonal for counter canter, and continued in counter canter along the long side of the area. She demonstrated that to keep the horse straight and on the aids in counter canter, a little bit of shoulder in or shoulder fore was essential. She also asked the more advanced horses for changes from the counter canter, emphasizing flowing changes with collection.

Although dressage is mostly about the horse and the horse's way of going, Francis did not neglect the riders. She was insistent that the riders develop better feeling, better timing of the aids, and a better position in the saddle. She emphasized rhythm and tempo of the horse, and timing of the rider's aids. She had the riders tell her when the inside hind leg was stepping on the ground, and then asked the rider to use her aid at that moment to achieve a more forward feeling. She wanted the riders hands down, in a natural way, with a clear bend to the elbow and quiet hands. She was less drastic on rider's legs, but did not want the rider to use big aids, and expected that when she got the horse to be more supple and through, that the rider would also become more supple, be able to sit better, and get softer and more connected with the horse. She wanted the riders legs forward under the hips, not too far back, and was especially insistent that the rider remain quiet in their bodies during the tempi changes. She was very pointed in her derogatory comments regarding the riders moving about in the changes. She also made sure the rider sat to the inside or outside correctly in the lateral work. When riders had momentary difficulties with their horses, she wanted the minimum of fuss about it, no snatching or pulling or kicking over it, and as soon as possible, a return to work as if nothing had happened.

I can't speak for the other riders, but for myself Francis was the best coach I've had the pleasure of working with. She helped me achieve a lightness and suppleness in my 7 year old horse Killarney I did not expect to feel for at least another year. It was utterly fantastic! I could barely wait to get into the saddle, and my horse was as keen as I was (well, maybe less as he decided he no longer knew how to get into the trailer on the second day!). I was surprised to discover that unlike most of the other riders, I had Francis for a private lesson (instead of 2 riders) because my horse is at 3rd level, and that was also fabulous! Now that I am back at home, the guidelines and the techniques that I learned at this clinic have helped me with all my horses, and my riding has just taken a quantum leap forward. I can't thank CDS enough for giving me this opportunity to work with such a world class coach. USET may have Balkenhol, but we amateurs have our Francis!



A Little Birdie Told Me...

SNC Junior Members, Troy Christensen and Katie Cumming, were seen recently together at the Bishop Manogue prom. It's a "horse" connection! Erin Quaglieri apparently "double-dated" with them with her "non-horsey" date.

Be Sure to Vaccinate this Fall...

Co-Chapter Basket for the CDS Annual Meeting's Silent Auction...

"The Art of Dressage in the Sierra"

By: Cindy Hoonhout

This year's chapter basket will have a theme of "The Art of Dressage in the Sierra" and it will be a Sierra Nevada/Reno co-chapter project! Philis Evans, Reno Chapter member, Vicki Cliff and I have volunteered to be the "basket committee."

We are looking for donations from the "craft-y" and "arts-y" members of the Reno and Sierra Nevada Chapters for the basket. The donations should be related to dressage or the Sierra Mountain area in which we live. For those members who are not so artistically inclined, items that would "enhance" art appreciation would be more than welcome. Items such as wine, music, candles, etc... would be perfect! Use your imagination! Any items, no matter how small... or how large... will be welcomed!!

So... all of you artistic types, and not-so-artistic types, out there...
Please donate an item to our co-chapter basket this year!

If you have an item or items to donate, please contact: Cindy at 853-0302 or Vicki at 849-0105 or Philis.


Thank You!!

By: Lou Christensen

As the volunteer manager for the July 6 show at Franktown, the Firecracker at Franktown, I was the recipient of many a thank you for performing that task Being my first show I was not aware of the many details which a show manager must pay attention to. It is manageable however and from my perspective it appears the show went off well. So, to all who offered their thanks I say you are welcome. Now as Paul Harvey says, "the rest of the story."

I could not have done this show without the efforts of many people who are at least as equally deserving of your thanks as I am. Although it was my name which appeared as show manager, this was definitely a family affair. Mary Anne, my better half, was integrally involved from the beginning. Her knowledge and experience acquired from being an active junior rider's mother give her an invaluable sense for what to do and how to do it. Her refined sense of aesthetics was reflected in the prizes that class winners took home. My son Troy's efforts in sorting documents, stapling packages, lugging boxes and even scribing a bit were much appreciated. He even managed to throw off a couple good rides as a participant.

In alphabetical order (more or less) the rest of the cast who deserve our thanks are:

Beth Coffey-Curle (SNC member) has this thing wired. An experienced, efficient hand, she was particularly helpful with arrangements to get essential supplies and EMT support for the show.

Maureen Lyons, SNC Chairperson, ready replies to my requests for information and with answers to questions were essential to keeping show planning on track. The club is fortunate to have her at the helm.

Jennifer and Ray Mair (SNC members). Jen and Ray hosted the judge from the time of her arrival to her departure. Riders no doubt benefited from a judge who was in good humor due to the Mair's gracious hospitality. Ray's work as paddock steward was a linchpin for this show being successful. Working with a full slate of rides he kept us "hitting on all cylinders."

Laura Palmer (SNC member) of Wild Horses Glass Art donated a vase as a gift for the judge. Alice Parker (SNC Director of Treasury) efficiently took care of the financial end of things. Alice is easy to work with and makes people happy because she cheerfully gives them their money.

Jennifer Smith (SNC Director of Education) jump started my show management work by providing the invaluable ShowHow.

The "Ward Women." It was a relief to be able to plan on Susan (Director of Junior Membership) scribing for the show. There was no doubt she would be as conscientious, thorough and compatible with the judge as she proved to be. Margot and Erica were invaluable in the office and as runners. Those girls are killer with the 10 key.

Joan Wright (SNC Director of Shows) provided guidance, documents and invaluable information throughout. I am particularly grateful for her work in doing the ride schedule and making arrangements with the judge so we could have such a full schedule.

I do appreciate that so many recognized my efforts with kind words. As you can see though there are others who are truly deserving of this same treatment. When the opportunity presents itself, be sure to let them know that their efforts in support of the organization and the sport are appreciated.

Thank you.

Another Thank You!!
By: Joan Wright

I just want to let the Christensens, Jennifer Smith, Ray Mair and Amy Fulstone know how VERY MUCH they are appreciated for their time and efforts spent in managing and/or secretarying the Sierra Nevada Chapter's shows this show season.

All of our shows run so smoothly and successfully because of all of the volunteers who help put them on. A HUGE thanks to all of this show season's volunteers!! You are so very appreciated!!

SNC-CDS Volunteer Info

The SNC-CDS Chapter Volunteer Awards Program requires that the participant be a member of SNC-CDS and is based on the "honor system." The participant in the program is solely responsible for keeping track of their hours spent throughout the year volunteering for chapter events (helping out at shows or clinics, etc...). The Volunteer Awards for 2003 will be awarded at the SNC-CDS Awards Banquet to be held March 27, 2004. At the banquet, all volunteers who have submitted a form will be recognized for the efforts they made on behalf of the chapter during 2003 and will be awarded a certificate of appreciation and a thank-you gift. PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM BY SUBMITTING YOUR FORM, SO THAT THE CHAPTER CAN THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP DURING 2003!!!!

Please keep this form handy during the 2003 show season and mark down all that you do for the chapter. This form must be completed and mailed by February 1, 2004 to: SNC-CDS Volunteer Awards Program, PO Box 2637, Carson City, NV 89702.

The form can be downloaded here