Friday, April 11, 2008

Dressage Clinic with Lise Vilcoxen

Disclaimer: Any similarity to an actual dressage magazine rider critque column is just the reader's imagination.

This contributor sent in a family photo for evaluation. We will start with the horse, who was apparently a Christmas gift. His conformation, and the fact that he is on springs, suggests he moves with elasticity and suspension. In fact he appears to be suspended. He seems to be a quarter horse type that, when viewed from the side, will look as if his front legs are in a 6" deep hole. He is utterly unsuitable for dressage, and the rider would do well to arrange a horsebuying trip to Europe in the near future.

In evaluating the rider, let us start with the positive attributes. Let's see... She is young...and, well... Um... She looks happier than her sister.

Now we must address the all-too-obvious problems. As always, I will point out things that offend my personal aesthetic. First of all, when riding, one's hair should never be worn "down." Ideally it should be swept into a smart blonde chignon with some cute earrings (author pictured right). The mother, shown adjusting the curtains, would seem to have an ample supply of of hair spray and bobby pins. Perhaps she could be persuaded to share some with her daughter.

Many riders school in informal attire, but a mu-mu should never be worn on horseback. And someone should tell this poor girl about horizontal stripes.
George Morris and I agree on matters of rider physique. A good rule of thumb is that the rider should not outweigh the horse, and here we see a rider on the verge of breaking this rule. A note to the girl's mother: if you allow this child to eat two bowls of Captain Crunch every morning, she will be soon be built like an armoire.

While I cannot see the rider position clearly, because she is American we can assume it is incorrect. She appears to be developing a classic chair seat, with hips and toes rotated outward. I see little hope for improvement. Perhaps she should consider switching to ballet.

I like to end every critique on something positive. The Danish modern couch is nice. Very retro.


  1. This was absolutly GREAT!! Thanks for the laugh when my day is going out of control!!

  2. Haha is very funny. And a little sad, she is a much better rider than me :D

  3. But the horse does have a nice 'expression' and doesn't look to swish his tail at the tempi's
    Perhaps they need to work on their flexion a bit though.

    This is priceless!


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.