Monday, March 15, 2010

Lovely mare cleans up at CDI Bremen

Quote from forum...
"Belgian combination Vicky Smits-Vanderhasselt and her Hanoverian mare Daianira van de Helle (by Dream of Glory) blew everyone out of their socks at the CDI Bremen beating international top riders, trainers and Olympians with the greatest ease in the Grand Prix Special (71,500)." What do you notice about this pair?

Here's what I notice...

  • Nose in front of the vertical and long stretching forward neck
  • Relaxation (no tension)
  • Lightness
  • Rider's hands are very high :-), but that's neither here nor there
This mare's sire is Dream of Glory, by Donnerhall out of a Pik Bube  mare. Dream of Glory is deceased. Her mare's sire, Ritual B, is a stallion by Romino.


  1. What a lovely ride! I agree with your observations. The mare's neck comes very high out of her shoulders, and if the hands were carried lower, I believe the tendency of the mare would be to lose that lovely nose-in-front-of- the-vertical suppleness and to lower the neck a bit too much for the GP level, slightly disengaging the hindquarters. I think the rider did an exquisite job of riding this horse's strong points, and allowing her to use her conformation to the best advantage. Super! Thanks for posting this.

  2. Beautiful! The rider is in as much self-carriage as the horse and I think the "high" hand position is indicative of her balance and soft shoulders.

    My teacher describes this as the rider "presenting a tray". This encourages the horse's nose forward and discourages the rider from pulling down on her horse.

    I am so happy to see a pair like this awarded success!

    Isn't this horse related to your favorite, Paragon?

  3. I agree this is beautiful! They may have made some mistakes, but it was just lovely. That horse looks like a true athlete, not a horse specially bred to throw her legs out in front of her. The lightness and elegance in her lateral work throughout her body is something I think you miss with the horses bred for front leg action.

    Something about this mare made me think of Brentina. Perhaps just how happy she appeared to be as they went. The movement of her ears was fascinating to me. My very sensitive OTTB and I are learning together now, and I hope to keep his expression so happy and relaxed as we progress!

  4. Lovely. I don't think the rider's hands are high at all. The line from bit to hand is just fine and suits that mare. Lifting the bit is encouraging her to carry herself.

    There is a nice sense of the horse not being "bottled" up in front but just moving along with freedom and an open throatlatch.

  5. I think her hands are high in relation to the rider's body. But as you point out, the line to the horse's mouth is correct.

  6. A gorgeous horse, and what a fabulous ride! I just love to see a team in action rather than a horse and rider :o)

  7. While the mare looks modern, she has bloodlines that are very "old school" and I think Donnerhall and Pik Bube are a known-to-be-successful breeding combination. This is a timeless ride...

    And I love the notion of 'presenting a tray.'

  8. Thanks for posting that video! What a lovely ride to watch.

    Also want to mention that as a beginner dressage rider (former hunter/jumper), I enjoy reading your blog. It's educational AND the comments your readers leave are educational too! Thanks to you and your readers!

    Now if only I can get my goofy OTTB to look like that - anyone can dream! :)

  9. Wendy! I'm so glad you just posted here, as I'm now checking out your blog. As a former Quarter Horse person, then hunter/jumper in college, I'm now trying to do dressage... on an OTTB. It appears trying to get an OTTB to stretch down and into the reins may be a common problem. :)

  10. There has been much dispute in the Bent Barrow Farm household as to whether I, Fenway Bartholomule, should suffer myself to indulge FarmWife in some dressage lessons. Watching this movie, I have come around . . . 20 meter circles do not, after all, look so insufferable. There is grace, harmony, and muleness in this. Thank you!

  11. There were oops moments, I'll say, but dressage needs to be like what Vicky just showed here! Spectacular ride! And the horse actually looked happy!

  12. What a nice, soft ride. The horse actually looked happy and free of tension -- floppy ears and no tail-wringing.
    The rider appears to be carrying her hands very wide to me; but, then again, it seems to work for her. I am certainly not in the position to critque!

  13. Lovely horse and rider combination! Thanks for posting!

  14. A little late to comment but I just discovered your blog. :)

    I used to ride dressage a long time ago and only recently started paying attention to it again. It was making me very unhappy seeing all these behind-the-bit overmuscled in front horses - things that would have been considered terrible when I was riding are seemingly Olympic medal quality today. Dressage horses should look joyful and not tortured like Big Lick Tennessee Walkers!

    But this video gives me hope that maybe I can enjoy watching dressage again. I'm so glad you posted it.


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