Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eventing Country
• Horses: 0
Firstly, good for you for recognizing the great importance of dressage is for both you and your horse. So be proud of yourself for that big step!
Now, it isn't just doing dressage, you can walk trot and canter just fine - that is basic dressage, but it is the understanding of how to do it correctly, to make it effective.
For example - at my barn, I watch people get in the area, mount and start walking. Horses back is dropped, horse is tense, head is carried high, not tracking up - then within not even a few minutes, they are trotting already. Same thing - backs dropped, head high, blah blah - now they canter, same thing.
Ok, so they walked, trotted and cantered - but was it really efficiant? Was it effective? Did it do its' job?
Not at all.
Then the sad thing is, they start to jump. Wow - no wonder horses break down before they should.
Back to topic - First, you have to correct your position in your tack, to ensure that you are being an effective rider, so that your horse can be efficiant and effective = moving correctly, working correct muscles.
Stop riding on your crotch, get onto all 3 points of your seat. You cannot be an effective rider if you are on your crotch. You must use your core - that means you cannot have a arched lower back. You must sit up tall, you cannot lean forward and put your bodies weight onto your horses forehand. You must carry your hands with elbows at side - this aids your horse to come up into you.
Seat first, legs second, hands last.
Use your body correctly, so that your horse can use his/her body correctly.
When you achieve proper form in the saddle - then work on impulsion, engagement, tracking up, rounding your horses back, softening, suppleness.
Training Scale :)
You can do this through doing 20 meter circles, serpentines. Work on transitions - ensuring that you are rocking your horse back onto their haunches and pushing off on their haunches.
Work on alot of long and low - having your horse stretch down while you lift their back, have them track up and move forward.
There is a great book called 101 Dressage Exercises For Both Horse And Rider - I highly recommend picking it up :)
Remember - you are the key.