Beginner level dressage - Page 2

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Beginner level dressage

This is a discussion on Beginner level dressage within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Dressage basics for novice level dressage
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    10-10-2012, 12:18 PM
Here is a link to the PDF that tells you what you can use. The bits start on page 9
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    10-11-2012, 06:44 AM
I definitely think you should give it a try, and I agree with Anabel, training level is the appropriate level. There isn't any lateral work, it's just walk, trot, canter with 20 meter circles. A well-trained and obedient horse that's a decent, not spectacular mover, should score in the 50s; I had a huge QH that looked and moved like Riley that routinely scored in the low 60s because he was a super good guy, always round and obedient. Mostly you want the transitions to happen at the letters, the horse active and forward and maintaining a correct bend.

The thing that will be difficult to overcome for the two of you is the WP style no contact backed off the bit and the floaty not quite contact for HUS. For a dressage test, you need a firm, solid, in the bridle contact - if WP is no contact, and HUS is loosely holding hands, dressage contact is a firm handshake, or a handclasp like dancers or skaters use. I would advise you to go with the fattest mildest bit possible because you want him really reaching forward into the bridle.

I'd also make sure you can manage the walk to free walk transition. This is in the test to uncover incorrect training; the horse should reach down and forward into the contact, and the walk should be relaxed, free and forward. If the horse stays behind the vertical as you go to free walk, it will be marked down, as it will be if you drop contact altogether.

I think your breeches and jacket will be fine, depending on the type of show and venue, there will probably be other folks at Intro and Training riding in forward seat saddles.
    10-11-2012, 09:16 AM
Super Moderator
Free walk... Is that when the ride is over? Do you just let the reins drop and the horse walks on? If that is it, Ri drops his head low and moves forward at that walk. If it's not, I need to research.

My biggest concern is the bit contact. I need to make sure he's not going to head toss or anything when he suddenly has a constant preasure on him and since he's used to a ported bit, I'll have to get him used to the feel of a snaffle. The reason I went with the port was because he seemed to like it better.
    10-11-2012, 09:32 AM
Originally Posted by farmpony84    
Free walk... Is that when the ride is over? Do you just let the reins drop and the horse walks on? If that is it, Ri drops his head low and moves forward at that walk. If it's not, I need to research.
It's not the walk at the end, no. There will be a movement in the test that calls for either a loose rein or long rein walk. The horse should continue with the same rhythm etc, but in a longer frame. They should maintain contact at all times, reaching forward and out to maintain it.

At least, that's my thoughts. A dressage diva will no doubt be along soon enough to set me straight
    10-11-2012, 10:10 AM
It needs to be on a long rein, not a loose rein - that's an important distinction. You'll be penalized for dropping the contact.

It's a transition from medium walk to free walk and back to medium walk in the middle of the test, and it's scored with a coefficient of 2, meaning it counts double. It is a test of correct training, because a horse that's been forced into a frame, or trained with devices, will not stretch down into the contact the way the test calls for - they'll either invert, stretch down but avoid contact by going behind the vertical, or just stay in the coerced frame. Also, if they resist in the transition back to medium walk, when you shorten reins and ask them to compress, that's a fault as well.

All this is hard for a horse that's been trained in WP that has a very heightened respect for the bit and wants to "back off" the bit. Even HUS horses that I've seen tend to be ridden with "faux contact" - the rider takes the slack out of the reins and follows the head and neck gestures, but the horse isn't really picking up the other end of the conversation.

FP, the good news is that I know of a really nice QH mare that did a ton of AQHA showing and was probably flatted in draw reins every day of her AQHA life, and she ended up doing very well in dressage with minimal reschooling. In a mild bit and no devices, she did learn to stretch contact pretty readily, and was a fabulous event and lower level dressage horse.

Here's a link to the training level test I

I'll try and find one with the scoring rubric, that would be more helpful.
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    10-11-2012, 10:16 AM
Super Moderator
There is a Nov. Show on this site. I have to read to see when the deadline is. Going to look at the test now. What's the worse that will happen? I'll place last and be out $30 right?

Welcome to VADA/Nova
    10-11-2012, 10:16 AM
Super Moderator
Oh crap. I forgot about the letters.... CRAP! I have to go look up where the letters are and relearn them....
    10-11-2012, 10:29 AM
Super Moderator
Ok. I got the letters. Test one looks like I can learn that... I found one that is Oct. 27 but I have to figure out how to get there etc. but the entry form is confusing...

Do you just tell them what test you want to take? I looked at results from previous shows, some people look like they rode the same test twice?
    10-11-2012, 10:30 AM
Originally Posted by farmpony84    
There is a Nov. Show on this site. I have to read to see when the deadline is. Going to look at the test now. What's the worse that will happen? I'll place last and be out $30 right?

Welcome to VADA/Nova
Just go for it and have fun. I bet you will find that you enjoy it. Oh and a trick to remembering the letters that are used on Intro and Training level.
Someone told me this...."all king Edward's horses can make big fences" or "all King Edward's horses can make best friends"

(A) All
(K) King
(E) Edward's
(H) Horses
(C) Can
(M) Make
(B) Best
(F) Friends
    10-11-2012, 01:01 PM
Super Moderator
We used to say
All King Edwards Horses Can Manage Big Fences!!!

When I was young - and same for my children and some that boarded with us I used to cut out cardboard squares with the letters on and lay them out on the floor in the garage and do the test on my own legs. Works really well to help you remember it!!

I really think more people should be encouraged to do low level dressage on whatever sort of horse they own, it gets people interested in it and is really good training for whatever else you might do even if you never progress beyond there

If you are keen then taking some basic lessons would give you more confidence.

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