At Litchfield Hills Dressage, we believe in letting horses be horses and providing them with as natural an environment as possible. Alix's mantra is that “... it’s all about the individual horse, in regards to both their physical and mental well-being.” Her classical dressage training and horse care philosophy is centered around three fundamentals:
- Cross training in a variety of locations – although Alix specializes in the development of dressage athletes, she does not train in a dressage arena every day. Horses are individual personalities. They need variety in their work and surroundings, so she incorporates ring work with work up and down hills and work on trails, in big open fields, cavaletti, and work on the beach when possible. The change of scenery and different types of footing not only helps the horse learn how to balance themselves – they are also naturally inclined to go more forward in bigger spaces, and the variety improves their attitude. This work also helps strengthen muscles and tendons, reducing the risk of injuries that can be associated with dressage horses.
- Achieving true Horse & Rider Partnerships – a keen focus on the correct ‘way of going’ and achieving unity between each individual horse and rider through effective communication from correct posture, core and seat. She uses classical dressage training methods emphasizing the importance of the underlying basics as well as having fun with your horse. Alix merges this with analysis of posture alignment and body mechanics to explain the signals your body gives to your horse. She also provides clear exercises to achieve true, harmonious partnerships and improved competition scores!
- Providing a relaxed, natural environment – for us, that means:
- as much grass turn out as possible because fresh air, grazing and moving around for as much of the day as possible is not only better for tendons, bones and joints but also relaxes the horses' mind and provides Mother Nature's most natural whole food; and
- a whole food diet - the high bio-availability of a equine whole food diet helps to alleviate stress on their digestive tract, thereby reducing stress on the liver and immune system. Horses are healthier on a whole food diet because their GI tract is not designed to eat synthetic processed foods. We choose to feed our horses minimally or non-processed food and use a whole food diet because the horses are mentally more focused and settled (less anxious and spooky), brighter, more consistently sound and fit, and have better coat condition.
You will have an improved riding experience if your horse is happy, and we know that happy horses and riders also make for a better training partnership! We look forward to developing this partnership with you and your horse.
Litchfield Hills Dressage
The art of classical dressage with FEI trainer Alix Szepesi