Originally Posted by ARTEMISBLOSSOM
can you learn dressage if you don't know how to ride english? ..... My horse has never been trained in dressage I am sure so this would be very new to the both of us. Is this an unrealistic idea? Should I just take basic english lessons on a lesson horse?
Yes, you can learn dressage even if you've never ridden english. In fact, you're better off going directly to dressage than learning the forward, "off the back", seat of the hunter/jumper english riding. Once you learn that, it feels darn near impossible to re-program your body NOT
to do it.
I think you're biggest problem may be with the contact (bit to hand) since western riding requires very limited contact with the horse's mouth. I've switched between western and dressage on several occasions, and that's always my biggest hurdle. The saddle I use has never made a difference to me. When I go from dressage to western, I feel a bit rudderless since I can't feel the horse's mouth at all. Once I get used to that feeling and switch back to dressage... then I feel like I've got too much contact with the horse's mouth and end up dropping all connection at inappropriate times.
I wouldn't say the switch from western to dressage is too difficult to accomplish. As long as you realize that Dressage training is a long, slow process, where you end up feeling like you suck (often), and like you'll never get it. Until one day something clicks, and it's the most amazing feeling ever. So even if you try it for a few months and you feel like you suck at it, don't worry about it. We ALL
feel that way. Dressage is just hard...
but very, very rewarding if you stick with it.