Terry Ciotti Gallo clinic. Terry is the owner of Klassic Kur

My experience with the Terry Ciotti Gallo clinic hosted by the Midwest Dressage Association

I love Terry because she gets to the point quickly and efficiently. Her knowledge of music and cohesiveness is extremely vast. In one 45 minute session a rider can learn what music best suits your horse and your level.
Bold music for example is too harsh for a lower level horse that does not have the strength and suspension to keep up with the music.
I also learned that a rider should not just simply pick what music they like but rather what best suits and enhances the horse. We see riders picking all the wrong music because they are grabbing what they like rather than finding what enhances the performance of the test.

The best way to find the right music is to ride to the music that closely matches the BPM ( beats per minute ) of your horse. When you feel the gates improve as you ride with the music that’s your music to go with.
The walk does not need to match the BPM unless the horse has an exceptional or extravagant walk.

Terry is also quite creative at designing your choreography. She taught us you can build your choreography first or find your music first. Personally I like to build my choreography first and then put the music around that. What you do first is whatever you are personally comfortable with.

When you decide on your test make sure you know the rules. While Terry’s mission is to continue to educate judges keep in mind many judges are still not aware of the rules and how to properly judge a freestyle. This is why it’s so important for all judges or people studying to become a judge participate in these clinics. Rules for your level of Freestyle can be found on the USEF ( United States Equestrian Federation ) web site or you can down load their app on your phone, tablet, or iPad.

While some words in the song you choose have become popular in the past decade too many words can be extremely annoying and distracting. Choose wisely and be conservative if you want to add words into the freestyle.

Terry made a point to say to the riders please don’t confuse the judges. Judges have very long days. When horse after horse comes into a ring all day long judges get tired. Keep things simple and easy to follow. Use your ring space evenly.
Adding degrees of difficultly can make your score higher if you execute it properly. If you mess it up points are deducted. So make sure you can handle your choreography.

Transitions in your music are very important. While you can use one song throughout it must have multiple transitions and most songs don’t have enough.
Terry likes to see about 6 transitions in a test.
So your entrance to halt for example can be one transition if your music stops for your halt and/or salute. Another music transition would be from walk to trot as an example. For higher level test use transitions in your music to go from collected trot to extended trot or collected trot to half pass. The more transitions you can execute the higher the score and the easier to keep the attention of the judge.

This is my second year I worked with Terry as a rider. I feel that if you can’t afford to have someone like Terry make your freestyle this clinic is an absolute must to learn to do it yourself. Another option is to make your freestyle and have Terry put the finishing touches on it in the form of editing. Terry edited a freestyle for me this year. She shared with me that she loves to edit so this is another option.

Now lets say you can afford to have Terry make your entire freestyle, this clinic is still extremely educational and important for you. Learning more about anything you are doing makes you a better rider, a better judge, a better trainer. If you are an owner who sponsors a rider get involved and enjoy the journey with your rider. Add some ideas of your own to personalize the freestyle. Terry is very generous with her time and knowledge. She wants to really help the riders and judges.

Keep in mind that freestyles are becoming more and more mandatory for the CDI competitions so riders working their way up the levels need to be aware of this. Also if you aspire to make the team for your country you must have a freestyle.
I believe we need to see more young riders participating in this clinic. The earlier you can become confident with riding to music the more success you will have.

Thank you to the Midwest Dressage Association for providing this very educational weekend with Terry. I am going to do it again next year because one can only absorb so much in just a few days so taking this course over and over again is important to fully learn it.

If you are interested in participating in this clinic next year please contact the MDA and let us know. We will be working on securing a date for Terry to come back so anyone who wants to participate should contact Will Davis at 810-287-2011 so we can add you to the list.

Granaino V owned by Melony Lipar is for sale. He will be moving up to the Grand Prix and has made his debut this year into the CDI ring proving he is capable of handling the atmosphere with grace.  Contact Carole Grant for Sales information 561-301-6274

Terry helped me with Granaino’s freestyle this year and we had a blast with it.

About Tonya

I began riding at the age of 3. I rode in group lessons with my Dad Chuck Grant. I also rode with many show jumping trainers across the country and competed all my life. In 2003 I decided to focus 100% on Dressage but now that I am training a wide range of young horses; I use my jumping and dressage ability to cross train the young horses and find exactly what they are best at. I currently train with my mom Carole Grant and am always amazed at the knowledge she has for horses and training. See my full biography at www.visualequestrian.com I have a 5 year old son and 7 year old twin boys. We live in Hartland Michigan. All my kids love animals but have a special interest in wild animals.
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