Bascule Farm LLC

Bascule Farm LLC Top Quality Boarding, Training, and Instruction for Eventing Dressage and Jumpers. Close to Wash, DC.

Hofgut Ludwigshöhe

Starting work in hand really young! Adorable!

Simply in love - Sophie und Schnuppe wachsen immer mehr zusammen. Handarbeit ist die Basis dieser Freundschaft- mehr davon gibt es auf der Onlinepferdemesse zu sehen.

Sophie and Schnuppe are growing closer together. Work in hand is the basis of this friendship - see more from our work

What a great way to spend your time!

What a great way to spend your time!

On Barn Closures due to Quarantine Orders
On Barn Closures due to Quarantine Orders

On Barn Closures due to Quarantine Orders

In the past few days, many states have announced stay-at-home orders. In many places, this has meant that equestrian facilities, as “non-essential businesses” have had to close, cancel lessons, and…

This is not easy times for anyone.  For your own health and that of your family, and ours, please stay home.  Call/Text/...

This is not easy times for anyone. For your own health and that of your family, and ours, please stay home.
Call/Text/Email your trainer and we can arrange virtual visits with your horse!

We understand that there has been some confusion about the intent and effect of the Maryland Department of Agriculture message issued on March 24. In consultation with MDA, it is clear the Governor wants everyone to stay at home. Unless your horse relies on only you for survival, e.g., food, water and shelter, you are not essential. This means no visiting/grooming/riding/lungeing, etc. your horse if it is boarded somewhere other than your own property. Many of the boarding barns are embracing this guidance because it helps ensure that the people who are, in fact, responsible for your horse’s food, water and shelter stay healthy. #flattenthecurve

More wise words

More wise words

Many years ago, Chuck Grant wrote something along these lines--(not an exact quote)

"It is an axiom, generally accepted among dressage trainers, that if you do not "own" the jaw and poll of a horse," you can not "own" any other joint in its body."

That concept, and the many fallacies that have grown up around it, are a source of struggle, coercion and confusion to many riders.

My take on Grant's use of the word "own" is that the horse willingly gives the flexibility in jaw and poll to the careful ask of the sensitive fingers, wrists, arms of the tactful rider.

This is created as conditioned response, over time, to carefully applied pressures and releases, accompanied by various other leg and seat aids, to produce unforced lightness.

But too many think of "own" as in "by God, OWN". Like a slave.

To that end, they employ various means of force and coercion to make the horse give to pressure that is too intense to resist. Included would be strong arms and hands and fists, sharp bits, and any number of leverage devices, draw reins, bitting rigs, chambons, de Gogues, And just about every rider who does this will have a dozen good reasons for why, in this case, it is justified.

The mouth, jaw, poll of a horse, when rigid with resistance, that resistance a response to overt pressure, will never be the same as the soft mouth of a calm, well schooled horse, even if the horse yields to force. The underlying fear will still be there, fear of pain, fear of constriction, fear of punishment.

When we use the term "good hands," we are not talking only about hand pressure. We are really talking about the entire underlying philosophy of teaching the horse that it can safely yield to non coercive pressure.

For many riders, this understanding will come late. For too many, it never comes at all.

#teambascule and the #glittersquad had a great day out practicing #socialdistancing in a huge open field #xcschooling to...

#teambascule and the #glittersquad had a great day out practicing #socialdistancing in a huge open field #xcschooling today! #trainerandy and her crew of Sophie/Raisin, Maya/Ribbons, Claire/Lance, and Ella/Passport had a super time, working on the accuracy and thoughtfulness of the rides while maintaining correct position with great success!! #trainerdick took Ainsley and #rotwingbaby Risque out for a fabulous go around the bigger fences and trickier questions easily!! #trainerjulie took #residentstudents Jasmine/Romy, Emily/Stone, and clients Ava/Four, and Lilly/Fiona out as well, working on perfecting pace and balance over some trickier questions, and showing how a well built partnership functions beautifully!! So proud of all of these ladies!! #werkwerkwerk #winterbootcamppaysoff #nooneoutglittersthesquad #totallysafe #definitelyasport #positiongoals #staredown #featSophieK #kneestonose #rotwingmaresdoitbest #gogirl #chestnutsquad #baysquad #getitgirl #wooh @ Loch Moy Farm

Some absolute cuteness to brighten your feed 😍 We start them young and train them right at Bascule!! #startthemyoung #ra...

Some absolute cuteness to brighten your feed 😍 We start them young and train them right at Bascule!! #startthemyoung #raisethemright #raisedright #goodtraining #goodtrainingfromdayone #thegirlandthehorse #lostsailor #ottb #ottbsdoitbetter #teambascule #glittersquad #goals #socute #whatagoodboy #perfection #everyhorsedeservestobelovedbyalittlegirl #ponykisses #myheart #icanteven

Great share!  Thanks Claire Martin!

Great share! Thanks Claire Martin!


If you’ve been around horses long enough, you’ve probably heard these terms. But what do they really mean? Can you spot the difference? Why is it important?
Roundness is more than just a headset or, "outline" as many believe it to be, it is an incredible athletic feat that is still widely misunderstood and undervalued in *all* disciplines.

PHOTO A: Let’s start at the head, this horse is working nicely on the bit and is presumably green. But note how he is not yet reaching into the bridle, just coming back into the contact. Take a look at the flow of energy, the power is coming from the shoulders, pulling his body forward and leaving the energy to move down, back and fizzle out behind. Note how the lumbar and thoracic are dropped or *hollow*, leaving the pelvis rotated out behind the horse. Because he can’t get his hind end underneath himself, all of his weight is shifted onto the forehand, making his shoulder the lowest point. It gives the impression that this horse is moving down a hill when in actuality he is moving across a flat surface. This type of mover is what we call a, “leg mover”. Which means precisely that; the legs (particularly the front) are burdened with all of the responsibility of propelling the body while simultaneously absorbing all the force as well. As it is, the horses potential and his energy’s potential, is limited.

PHOTO B: This is the same horse from photo A, but clearly further along in his development. This horse is actively reaching into the contact and coming into the bridle. His shoulders are lifted making his frontend light and maneuverable. The energy is originating in the hind end, leaving it to move forward and up into the bridle. His weight is shifted back and his pelvis is tucked underneath his body, making his pelvis the lowest point. Notice how, unlike in the first photo, his back is *rounded*. The lumbar and thoracic are lifted, indicating the core and hind end are engaged to balance, collect and extend with ease. This way of moving gives the impression that the horse is moving up a hill instead of traveling across a flat surface. This type of mover is what we call a, “back mover”. Meaning, the flow of energy is moving through the entirety of the body, sharing the burden of motion with the legs, and greatly reducing the downward force on the limbs. This trainer has nurtured a way of moving that allows this horse to utilize his energy and power to the fullest extent.

As riders, our job is to bring out the very best in our equine partners. Part of that responsibility includes teaching them to use their body in a way that is conducive to longevity. Because if we didn’t, what kind of partnership would that be?
Long term, Horse “A” is more vulnerable to tendon/ligament injuries and uneven joint wear, due to the sheer fact that the limbs are absorbing all the force of the body. He is also more susceptible to developing back pain (kissing spine, general muscle tension) and hind end asymmetries (pelvic rotation, hip hike, SI injuries) as all the downward force of the rider is compounding on back muscles that are not strong enough to carry the weight.
Horse “B” is not only going to have a significantly easier time carrying a rider because his back and core is developed, but he will also have a much longer, sounder, more comfortable career. Long term, this horse is much less vulnerable to stress injuries on the limbs and back/pelvic discomfort. He will also have an easier time developing *even* muscle mass since his body is working efficiently as a unit and not in separate parts. In turn, the wear on the joints is more even and consistent.

It is paramount that we, collectively as a community, are educated on the biomechanics of these amazing creatures. If we are to ask the world of them, we must simultaneously be their advocate. It is a general lack of understanding that hurts these animals the most. And it has become increasingly more common, it seems, for riders and trainers to strive for the quickest results possible without having any actual substance behind them. Making a horse great takes time, patience and cannot be fashioned together overnight.

I want to thank Kevin Hadfield of Hadfield Horses for allowing me to use his photo for my page. It’s so refreshing to see truly exemplary trainer set his and his clients horses up for a lifetime of success!


SO...whoever doesn’t know what to do with their kids for the next 2 weeks, we have 68 stalls to clean daily! Promise they’ll come home more tired than they ever do from school! Boot campers welcome!

Wonderful share!  Thanks Stephanie Bennett!
I Changed My Career So That I Could Afford to Ride the Way I Want

Wonderful share! Thanks Stephanie Bennett!

Money can be awkward to talk about, but it’s a big part of participating in the sport. We all have to navigate our careers, finances, and how much we spend on horses, so why shouldn’t we talk about it? Welcome to our new series about how careers and money impact our relationship with horses and ...

Remember how I said #teambascule and the #glittersquad had a phenomenal go at Sporting Days? My AMAZING crew of rockstar...

Remember how I said #teambascule and the #glittersquad had a phenomenal go at Sporting Days? My AMAZING crew of rockstars & unicorns managed to not only match their efforts, but to improve at Full Gallop!!! All 3 riders that competed in both events bettered their dressage score at the 2nd event (with Maya & Claire bumping up to Novice, too!), and the 3 that didn’t compete at the first pulled a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place BN sweep their first time out!!! Also, my 6 riders only had 2 time faults TOTAL, meaning that we have FIVE #finishedondressagescore rounds!!! To say I’m bursting with pride is a MASSIVE understatement!!! Claire & Lance kicked off the day with their recognized #moveup to novice, giving one of their most relaxed, consistent, & pretty tests yet for a 33.8, with some easy places to improve!! They finished that off with a steady clean SJ, & ended with a well planned & ridden XC, just 2 seconds above optimum to finish 9th!! Isabel & Rascal put in their best dressage test to date, showing better consistency, bend, & rhythm for a 33.3!! They followed that with a super well ridden & clean SJ, & an easy confident #doubleclear in the XC, moving up to finish in 6th!! Maya & Ribbons took 2nd after a beautiful #dressage test with a 26.0 (just 1.0 off the lead!) & held her place with a super accurate, well ridden, & clean SJ, & bold easy double clear XC!! Sophie had a catch ride on Raisin, scoring a lovely 32.2 in her BN division for 3rd place, maintaining her position with a bold, forward, & clean SJ & an easy & steady double clear XC to maintain her place!! Katie & Al had their first time out as a pair with an absolutely lovely & cleverly ridden dressage test for a 31.9, putting her into 2nd place! This super pair followed that with super clean easy SJ, & a beautiful double clear XC to maintain second place!! Ainsley & Risque took the lead in their BN division with an outstanding 21.1, and maintained that level of outstanding for a double clear & far too easy SJ & XC, holding their lead! Back home, Mischa & Olivia got 4th and 5th in their Elem division at the XC derby! I am SO proud of my girls & their horses, can’t wait to see how well they all do this season!! @ Full Gallop Farm

#teambascule and the #glittersquad had a great day #xcschooling with @lillian.j.heard.eventing at the #vista yesterday!!...

#teambascule and the #glittersquad had a great day #xcschooling with @lillian.j.heard.eventing at the #vista yesterday!! Everyone had a blast and is looking super solid for #fullgallopfarmht tomorrow!! #alldisconopanic #easypeasy #werkwerkwerk #getitgirl #chestnutsquad #rotwingbabies #marepower #rockstarstatus #aiken2k20 #lovethesegirls #workhardplayhard #dreamsdontworkunlessyoudo #goals @ The Vista Schooling and Event Center

Another awesome day of lessons for #teambascule and the #glittersquad!! Everyone looking very ready for #fullgallopfarmh...

Another awesome day of lessons for #teambascule and the #glittersquad!! Everyone looking very ready for #fullgallopfarmht this coming weekend 😍😍😍 #goals #sopretty #equitate #werkwerkwerk #getitgirl #chestnutsquad #rotwingbaby #marepower #thoroughbredsdoitbetter #noscopenohope #gothops #springs #fancyfeet #flickthosetoes #infrontoftheleg #intothecontact #makeadecision #land #recover @ Aiken County, South Carolina

#teambascule and the #glittersquad are hard at work at #basculefarmsouth in Aiken!! Jumps unloaded and course set, arena...

#teambascule and the #glittersquad are hard at work at #basculefarmsouth in Aiken!! Jumps unloaded and course set, arena freshly dragged, horses beautifully flatted, human beds unloaded and (carefully!) arranged, Claire doing her best #trainerAndy impression with the #barndogs Max and Essie, Kendall ready to nail it in XC warm up, and Maya catching a nap in the sun...all the girls are working SO hard with smiles on their faces and learning even more! So blessed to have such stellar clients and awesome horses 💕 #workhardplayhard #bootcamp #aiken2k20 #jumpstartingtheseason #immersion #werkwerkwerk #getitgirl #fulltimehorsewomen #lovethem #eventing #twohearts #horses247 #coursedesign #legwrapping #braidinglessons #showprep #farmmanagement #horsecare #fulltime # @ Aiken County, South Carolina

#teambascule and the #glittersquad are taking #aiken by storm!! We had a PHENOMENAL weekend at Sporting Days!! All five ...

#teambascule and the #glittersquad are taking #aiken by storm!! We had a PHENOMENAL weekend at Sporting Days!! All five riders went #doubleclear XC, and three joined the #FODSclub!! Isabel and Rascal laid down a solid dressage test and two lovely and consistent jump phases in the novice, adding one rail to their dressage score! Claire and Lance had a super relaxed and confident go around the BN, going double clear to take third place!! Maya and Ribbons took the lead in dressage with a 26.3 in the open BN against professionals and added nothing to it to hold the lead to win her division!! Kendall and Scarlett has a hugely improved go at the BN, only adding one rail to their score and coming in seventh!! In addition, Maya, Claire, and Kendall were a huge part of the winning YR team for the BN!!! #trainerandy and #fourfieldsmarcella had an easy go around the open training division, finishing on their dressage score for sixth place!! So so proud of all of my girls and can’t wait to keep grinding and growing in this boot camp!! #aiken2k20 #werkwerkwerk #getitgirl #kneestonose #noscopenohope #crosscountrymachine #alldisconopanic #winterbootcamppaysoff #landandrecover #bethewall #soproud @ Sporting Days Farm

Runway Giselle ‘10 and Cathmare’ after their sitting trot lesson!  Love teaching people who love my girls as much as I d...

Runway Giselle ‘10 and Cathmare’ after their sitting trot lesson! Love teaching people who love my girls as much as I do! #rotwingbabywin #buttkicking #igotyoumom #superwoman #princessgiselle #canwegohuntingnow

Things Only Horse Riders Understand

Things Only Horse Riders Understand

Tamarack Hill Farm

Tamarack Hill Farm

The riding lesson of the old sagging barn---

In the early 1970s, I was driving up Whitney Hill Road in Tunbridge, Vermont, past an old barn with its roof beginning to sag. There was a crew of carpenters there, new lumber, as someone had bought the farm, and was having the barn repaired and straightened.

As our old barn was also beginning to sag, I stopped to talk to the contractor. He was in the lower part of the barn, where he had a big jack, with a circular handle, under a big new beam.

He explained that he had cranked on the jack until the handle got hard to turn. "In a week or two, when I am driving by, I'll give it a few more turns."

He explained that if he tightened the jack all the way, right away, the timbers would break, but if he put some pressure on, and left it alone, over time the wood fibers would stretch to adapt to the pressure, and he could then carefully repeat the process.

Sally Swift used to come to Strafford to teach, and we were talking about the similarity of stretching wood fibers and muscle fibers. Sally said that stretching should never be forced, because of the risk of tearing muscle fibers, but that pressure should be carefully applied, held briefly, then released.

Sally went on to discuss how humans use devices like draw reins and bitting rigs all the time, to force horses to stretch in ways that are both painful and damaging. She used the analogy of a party balloon. If you blow it up all the way, it will pop. If you blow it part way, let air out, blow it more, let air out, you can get the balloon to be bigger. Someone else mentioned that snowshoes were soaked in water, bent part way, allowed to stretch, bent some more---

The point is that fibers of all kinds respond to pressure gradually. If you want a supple, flexible horse, stretch very carefully and gradually, and just when you sense that the pressure may be getting to the verge of uncomfortable for the horse, gently release.

In a couple of months, maybe more, you will have a horse with much greater elasticity and range of motion.

If you try to force stretching right, by God, now, all you will have is a fearful, resistant horse, and sometimes a damaged one, both physically and emotionally.

Be a good trainer, not someone who relies on leverage and coercion.


20800 Whites Ferry Rd
Poolesville, MD

Opening Hours

Monday 07:00 - 21:30
Tuesday 07:00 - 21:30
Wednesday 07:00 - 21:30
Thursday 07:00 - 21:30
Friday 07:00 - 21:30
Saturday 07:00 - 21:30
Sunday 07:00 - 21:30


(301) 972-8943


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For the love of the horse

We are proud to be the family that cares for your horse, your riding success and meeting your equestrian goals. Our hand picked, experienced staff helps build the team that gives you and your horse the very best. All our resident horses are in a care and training program designed around their specific needs. We have built an amazing network of on site trainers, managers, caregivers, grooms, farriers, veterinarians, saddle maker/fitter, massage therapist, chiropractors, dentists and body work specialists. Making your horse feel their best is important to us! Come out and see how special Bascule is!

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This former working student waved from the highway as we passed by on the way to Virginia. Miss you guys, but we're Florida bound!
Hello Julie how are you?
LILLIAN HEARD here this Sunday for another clinic! So excited to have her see how much progress everyone has made since she was here last. ONE opening left for a Dressage lesson ($135) on Sunday! Message if you're interested!
ROLEX 06 is for sale! Quiet sensible 16+ hand Hanoverian/Swedish WB mare. Pretty much a Novice packer with some Training level miles. Would excel in a program! Great first horse, could be a show hunter or dressage horse exclusively! Healthy with perfect ground manners! $15k and contact Julia directly to try her! [email protected] or call 240-481-8693
June 24th SUNDAY Clinic with 4* rider and GREAT Clinician, Lillian Heard!
JUNE 24th: 2018
Finally selling our super amateur friendly Rocky! Rocket J Squirrel. 2011 16.3 hand chestnut Hanoverian/Trakehner gelding. (Rotwing x Sunrise Sonata (Stravinsky x Whats Up, Wendesohn)) Rocky is a homegrown we have steered to straight dressage, though he does jump. He's a quiet, sensible Adult Amateur friendly mount starting Second level movements. His gaits are smooth and easy to sit. He has shown a few times with an amateur and really needs to find his person who can take him out and compete him. He's easy around the barn, clips, loads, trailers, stands for farrier and is completely healthy. Easy keeper and has spent time living out.
Will any of you be coming to Colorado for USEA championships?
SUNDAY JAN 28th, 8:30am to 7pm
Graceful Marys 2010 Rotwing baby is for sale! Contact Mike Huber at [email protected]. She's in Ocala FL now.