This Is NOT Correct!!

This photo allows me to point out three very important concepts that I feel can never be reminded enough!

Firstly, if I posted this photo on Facebook I would get lots of like and people saying how expressive it is…In reality this photo is horrible. Why? Because Batialo is active in front, and some might even say that he is active behind, but THIS DOES NOT MATTER! If you look at a horse that is active in front, and active behind but the two do not match each other, it is not harmonious, nor is it correct. If the horse is reaching out in front he is simply pulling himself along, and is not stepping up and under and pushing from behind. The legs must run as parallel diagonal lines, or more importantly the cannon bones of the front and back legs must be parallel.

Photo not correct!

Secondly, a photo must provide us with information. It’s obvious that this was one of my more difficult moments with Batialo. He had decided that he knew far more about this dressage thing that I did, and took over. I was actually so proud of myself this day, because it was one of those make or break competition moments. I somehow managed, despite the bucks and side flips, to maintain my composure and finish the test, even with my idol Kyra Kyrkland standing at the sideline. When looking at photos it’s important to remember that there will always be a bad moment, but you have to look at the big picture. At my first ever test on Batialo they took 200 photos and 4 were ok. In the last test we did they again took 200 photos, and 4 very pretty average, mainly because my tongue was poking out or my right leg had flown off into outer space.

Finally, if my mum knew I posted this photo for people to see she would have my guts for gardens. It is absolutely crucial that in your team, or family, or riding circle, that you have at least one person who will tell you, with no bullshit, and no rose coloured glasses, exactly how it is! It’s great to also have a person to tell you you are fantastic, but you need at least one person, in my case my mum, who tells me “Sarah this photo is just fling ding front legs, it’s not through, it’s not correct, and it’s not harmonious…

Photo much more correct and harmoniousย 
horse in balance, still could open gullet moreย 

This is your only hope of searching for true beauty, parallel diagonals in the front and back, and a horse whose posture and back muscles can grow and support him (aka a happy horse!)

If you are searching for your own dream Lusitano and want one from the source Portugal ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡นย Writeย to me at

27 thoughts on “This Is NOT Correct!!

  1. I think you must look at some very kind sites – everything i see seems to be being torn to shreds, even if it doesn’t really deserve it! And I believe the expression is “guts for garters”!


    • Yes, it’s funny cause I used to hear that saying when I was a kid, and I always thought it was gardens ๐Ÿ˜‰
      And no, all I see is criticism, which is also my point, this is just one photo. I am pointing out that this was at an international comp and I was having trouble. My point is to learn and grow, not to critique and condemn, which is why I used me as the example. We should help each other, and lift each other, and make each other better. And until we can learn and discuss, how can we improve?


  2. I cannot believe what I am reading and seeing because I have this very dilemma regarding front and back ends not matching. I have an article I hope to have published regarding amongst other things this very problem seen at an international three day dressage competition recently where I was judge writing


  3. So good to see people evaluating there riding so that no only cab they them self’s learn but others can too! Lovely to see the comparison as sometimes people get too caught up in how flashy the movement is and forget how it actually should be!


  4. Thank you for sharing & raising awareness that this wasn’t what you were hoping for on the day, that people shouldn’t be aiming for this. ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re right, there should be discussion to help educate & improve our selves. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Good to see you have corrected your riding. The 200 bad photos should be the clue that there was a riding issue…a big one. Now do you get 200 correct photos?


  6. Not “guts for gardens”. Guts for garters. Those elastic things that go around your thigh and hold up hosiery. Other than that, good self-critique.


  7. hehehe. It’s “guts for garters” for future reference. Guts stretch well hence they would make ideal garters……..”guts for gardens” would work though as they would make good compost……just not as threatening as the former which is what is intended. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ


  8. Great article Sarah! Should it be the cannon bone of the hind limb & the forearm of the fore limb that are parallel (rather than cannon bones of both limbs)? I am still learning the details of the higher end dressage levels so would love to have this clarified ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Hi mate, I have done a follow up blog, as the parallel lines can be misleading, a horse can be parallel, but not actually be stepping evenly forward with the back and the front leg, and this is what the FEI rules state ๐Ÿ˜‰ Xo hope this helps Sarah Xo


  9. Sarah, I believe you are correct but at a judges school recently a high level judge told us that a horse with an exaggerated fore leg which did not match the hind leg and which had a modest over tract in extended trot deserved an 8. This is not right.


  10. Great article Sarah! Could you please clarify something for me? Is it the hind & fore leg cannon bones that should be parallel OR is it the cannon bone of the hind limb & the forearm of the front limb (I was always taught the latter)?


  11. Totilas had some of the highest scores recorded for his extended trot yet his front end was far more exaggerated than his back end.


  12. Thank you thank you thank you! I had wondered where that ”parallel” movement had gone- and why everyone applauds that exaggerated reaching foreleg.


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