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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
  • Where do i start if i want to get into horse dressage
  • Can i learn basic dressage at 22

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    07-04-2012, 07:52 PM
  #21
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoofprints in the Sand    
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!
Western, when taught correctly, is actually dressage in a western saddle. Same plumline, same leg, seat and hand aids. When you start to get into the western games, that's when it begins to separate. Basic western is simply ground riding. I've known plenty of serious competitors who took dressage in a western saddle (not the same as the new "western dressage" gimmic. I don't recommend that) and continued on in reining competitions.

I'd recommend dressage to any beginner. Its not a sport for only good, experienced riders. Its a sport that MAKES good, experienced riders.
     
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    07-05-2012, 06:35 AM
  #22
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperhead    
Western, when taught correctly, is actually dressage in a western saddle. Same plumline, same leg, seat and hand aids. When you start to get into the western games, that's when it begins to separate. Basic western is simply ground riding.
I don't agree with the your statement.

It'd be easier to find a qualified dressage instructor than find a western trainer that actually understood straightness, engagement, relaxation.

Intro to dressage and training level are "basic training". Anyone should be able to complete these levels with some ease. There are eight additional levels in dressage after training level. I get pretty tired of people saying its basic training.... Sure, at training level it's "basic training". Past that, anyone who's trained higher can tell you that it's not "basic" training. That's the beauty with dressage.... It builds from the basics into a whole new level of advanced riding. Well beyond anything related to just sitting up straight, or being able to w/t/c on cue. If you've ever ridden a more advanced dressage horse, you'll know there's nothing basic about it. Even training level, when trained correctly, is far more advanced than any western riding I've ever seen in real life. There are exceptional western trainers out there, but the chances of the regular joe Schmoe getting lessons with that person are slim to none. However, you can find good dressage instructors quite frequently, and USDF lists qualified instructors in your area.
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    07-05-2012, 12:09 PM
  #23
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by core    
I don't agree with the your statement.

It'd be easier to find a qualified dressage instructor than find a western trainer that actually understood straightness, engagement, relaxation.

Intro to dressage and training level are "basic training". Anyone should be able to complete these levels with some ease. There are eight additional levels in dressage after training level. I get pretty tired of people saying its basic training.... Sure, at training level it's "basic training". Past that, anyone who's trained higher can tell you that it's not "basic" training. That's the beauty with dressage.... It builds from the basics into a whole new level of advanced riding. Well beyond anything related to just sitting up straight, or being able to w/t/c on cue. If you've ever ridden a more advanced dressage horse, you'll know there's nothing basic about it. Even training level, when trained correctly, is far more advanced than any western riding I've ever seen in real life. There are exceptional western trainers out there, but the chances of the regular joe Schmoe getting lessons with that person are slim to none. However, you can find good dressage instructors quite frequently, and USDF lists qualified instructors in your area.
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I have trained higher, and higher training is not basic training. However, the basic, lower level dressage should be applied and taught to anyone who wants to learn correct equitation. That involves the western disciplines.

I know many reiners who started out in a dressage flat class and took reining manouvers as a second class. Some of them are competing in the NRHA, some of them are traveling and doing clinics, some of them are training their own reining horses for sales. A correct reiner knows engagement, straightness, rythm and relaxation, contact...all that is involved in the propper higher training of a competitive horse.

These people can also teach propper dressage lessons. A woman I know is running a school/show barn for english riders. She is one who took classical dressage basics in a western saddle and topped it off with reining manouvers. Her students do very well in the english disciplines.

That's the marvel of an all-around instructor. If they have the correct start, they can teach just about anything.

You're right. Theres nothing basic about advanced dressage. No one said that there was.

I don't need schooled in the discipline of dressage. I have ridden and trained tempi's and halfpasses. I ride western as a choice, but I have schooled classical dressage and jumped for years before the western saddle. I use dressage theory, concepts and training methods in all the horses I get on, regardless of their saddle. I believe all students should have this taught to them in order to gain the proper aids for correct equitation.

Basic dressage should be taught to every beginner, regardless of saddle choice, before the students continues on into the chosen sport of their liking. If they want to continue to the higher levels, that's great. If not, at least they have the education to ride better than Joe Shmoe down the road.
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    07-06-2012, 12:26 AM
  #24
Foal
I am glad to hear you want to get into dressage, it's my all time favorite! Even when I dabble im other areas, I always come back to it. I agree with all those who say dressage is great starter training or re-training. I think everybody SHOULD start with dressage then branch from there. Even huntseat and jumpers look to,dressage to improve. :)

You and your horse are never too old to learn something new. Provided physical condition is good LOL My guy is 22 and is an ex-cutter. So he's born and raised full western blood and mentality. I retrained him in dressage, so he can go both ways now. It is a long, often frustrating process, but it is totally worth it. I applaud whoever it was that said to work within your horses limitations. Fish will never be an Olympic dressage winner, but he gives me everything he can and I'm happy with that.

My advice would be to...
1. Accept now it will be frustrating and do everyrhing you can to focus on the positive only. Don't set too crazy of goals either and expect to meet them. I'd have failed every one of my goals
2. Take your time with getting your horse used to contact on his mouth. Fish has a super soft mouth, so I ride with a loose rein. I have enough contact for control, but I have just a bit of slack to get out of his face. Working off the leg has helped us a lot because he understands what I'm asking for by leg and very little if no rein cues are needed.
3. I don't knownwhat your horse is currently ridden in, but take some time on selecting a new bit if you need one as you transition. Fish was used to a medium port curve bit, so I rode him in a kimberwicke at first because it was similar. He's now ridden in a loose ring french link, but we had to try about 10 different bits first. :)

Good luck and have fun with it!

Edit... Please forgive the grammar and spelling mistakes... Ipad is not my friend... LOL
     
    07-18-2012, 05:17 PM
  #25
Weanling
Thank you everyone for your encouragement and words of wisdom. I have found a coach and have chatted with her a few times and she seems knowledgable. I will be starting the lessons in September and continuing throughout the winter weather permitting. My horse is an appy/percheron cross and has been ridden both English and Western. He seems to go fine on a kimberwick bit so that's probably what I will start him on. Both of his previous owners told me that he hates a snaffle so I haven't tried him in one. My goals for learning dressage are to become a better rider and connect more with my horse. Neither he or I will ever show in dressage and I don't have very large goals except to make riding him better for both of us . I have another question for all you kind souls who have taken the time to read this ..... can I learn proper form on a general purpose saddle? My friend is selling a very nice general purpose saddle for about the same price as a cheaper end dressage saddle. I am of the opinion it is often better to buy good quality used as opposed to cheap quality new
     
    07-18-2012, 06:06 PM
  #26
Foal
Absolutley!!! I think everyone should try all the disciplines, because well why wouldnt you! We love horses, love to ride, it keeps you from getting stale, we don't read the same book over and over why ride the same seat . I know you will love it, I think dressage is my favorite and it will help when you decide to start team penning and ranch sorting too!!! LOl go for it and keep us posted!!!
     
    07-18-2012, 09:29 PM
  #27
Foal
The general purpose will work. You won't really be able to emulate the seat as easily in an all purpose saddle.

A good used dressage saddle can be extremely comfortable. Far more comfortable to ride in than a general purpose saddle. I think it's more comfortable than a western saddle too.
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