can a beginner learn dressage? - Page 2

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can a beginner learn dressage?

This is a discussion on can a beginner learn dressage? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    07-03-2012, 08:59 AM
Of course you can. I did trail riding mostly (a beginner rider, horses with no formal training with me as the only rider) till couple years back when I started working seriously with the very good dressage instructor. The changes are quite amazing when I look at pics back then and now. My only suggestion would be to find a really good dressage trainer who knows how to deal with the beginner horse-rider pair.
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    07-03-2012, 09:04 AM
My fiancÚ and I have both started in dressage lessons. It can be a little difficult switching from Western to Dressage and getting used to the differences. But it's easy once you get the hang of it and the dressage seat begins to feel natural to you. My fiancÚ had an easier time as he started right into dressage with no previous experience, I had a little more issues with falling into my western habits but by the third lesson I wasn't having any troubles.
    07-03-2012, 09:07 AM
Green Broke
And it's MUCH easier I've heard going from Western to Dressage vs. something like Hunt Seat to Dressage...Western and Dressage actually have a lot of similarities when compared to other disciplines!
core likes this.
    07-03-2012, 09:03 PM
Yes, of course! Learning basic dressage can prepare you for any discipline you may wish to go into later. In most disciplines, riding is basically the same. You may sit differently or hold the reins different, but the ques are always the same.
    07-04-2012, 09:04 AM
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.
Ray MacDonald likes this.
    07-04-2012, 12:34 PM
Originally Posted by core    
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.
^^ This. Especially the part where you feel like you suck at it. And the part where it comes together suddenly, and you get to enjoy that for 30 seconds, then you start using that to learn something else that you're going to feel like you suck at....etc. That 30 seconds can keep you going for a long time...
    07-04-2012, 12:43 PM
My trainer has always said that any horse or rider can learn dressage. I think it's true because my off track standardbred (who still paces) was able to learn it and me, a hunter jumper, was too. It takes patience and time but it's fun! Sometimes I get angry because I just can't seem to do it but then after several hundred tries, it all clicks!
    07-04-2012, 12:58 PM
Thank you so much for all the wonderful replies and encouragement. I am looking for a coach and hopefully by the autumn I will be able to start lessons.
    07-04-2012, 05:13 PM
Dressage benefits every single horse and every single rider, whether you ride english, western, it doesn't matter. Dressage is also something that every horse is capable of. All it is is training the horse to use their body properly to be strong, flexible, and balanced. It also makes you a better rider. It is absolutely realistic for you to do dressage! It is the basis of ALL riding and it's fun!
    07-04-2012, 08:41 PM
It's a very north American thing to Jump into any discipline of riding. Most other country's especially European country's you don't start anything else untill you have solid dressage training ( ever wonder why they dominate in showjumping and dressage ? ) but there is no reason why you can't. This doesn't mean you will be a gp rider or your horse will be the best for it. A lot of horses do t have that perfect dressage body so understand the limits your horse has and work with them. But you will be a much better rider.
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