Does he have potential?

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Does he have potential?

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    04-08-2010, 09:06 AM
Green Broke
Lightbulb Does he have potential?

Im going to be honest, I hated dressage as a kid and teen but now I am older and wiser I would like to compete a little more in low level dressage (maybe event). I have owned my horse for nearly 6 months now and on monday we had our first show jumping competition. This picture was taken in the warm up arena; if I got him to work rounder would he be good enough to compete in unaffilliated dressage? What else do I need to do?
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    04-08-2010, 11:26 AM
You can definitely show and compete in some dressage show, I think it would be great experience for you both. As for the photo posted, it's certainly not a good under saddle critique photo. Did you have any others you could post?
    04-08-2010, 02:52 PM
Green Broke
No I know :s I think im about to come into a jump, I don't have any more pictures of me on him (whilst he is moving). Its the first picture I've seen of myself riding him! I think he looks good he needs to stretch out more (he has a nice extended trot apparently although I havnt seen it) and be rounder. I will try to get some better pictures :)
    04-08-2010, 03:22 PM
Around here, you don't need to be rounder for training level. You need to have a steady contact, and a free, willingness to go forward, a flowing rhythm would be great, with enough submission that you can handle the figures.
    04-09-2010, 04:36 PM
I'd find a good dressage trainer near you for a few lessons to get some of the basics under your belt. Forward first, headset will follow. Get the horse to stretch and reach for the bit rather than hollow against it. He definitely has potential for lower level dressage and some eventing, and some dressage lessons will only improve your jumper rounds!
    04-12-2010, 07:47 PM
I think any horse has potential... If you look at the pictures of my horse on his profile you can see why haha. From what you said it sounds like you could easily go for it, and his composition looks like he could very well.
    04-12-2010, 08:41 PM
If I saw a conformation picture and a video of his movement w/t/c I could give you a more accurate reply. From what I see, dressage would definitely benefit him, but I can't say how far he will get. Near any horse can master first level at some point in their lives with the right rider.
    04-13-2010, 09:19 AM
Green Broke
I have video clips of him w/t/c but not in very good quality (and not with me on him)
    04-15-2010, 09:16 AM
Kudos to your for making the big leap - dressage really is so much fun as there is ALWAYS more to learn, and believe it or not, any sound, reasonably well-conformed horse can make it to about Third Level with a good rider and correct training. (That translates to about Medium level in the UK, I believe.)

I like that you're not clutching at his head. A lot of aspiring dressage riders focus entirely on that lovely, round outline we see Moorlands Totilas et al. Trotting about in, but the part you need to be training is the rear-end. Roundness will come in time, and isn't necessary at the beginning levels anyway. The first thing to work on is forwardness - you want him happily moving off your leg at all three gaits, and slowing and halting off of your leg and seat. Experiment a little - you'll notice that when you get up in jumping position, he'll speed up, and when you sit back down he'll slow down. This is good, as it teaches you a powerful lesson about what you can do with your body, and it's the basis for everything to come. Work on adjusting your posting to what you want from him - in the beginning you'll want to post lightly (no butt-smacking) to encourage that big, forward stride. Later on, you can sit longer than you rise to help him shorten his stride, and when his back is educated and your seat is too, you can sit and make micro-adjustments via the motion of your hips.
He looks a little resistant to the bit and is turning to the outside. Have his teeth been checked lately? Make sure that's all in order, and then you can work on the education of his mouth (after you've got him forward-going and relaxed!). Your outside rein should be stable and steady - an ever familiar thing for him to rely on. Your inside rein can mimic that to an extent, but with 'gives' - second-long softenings of the rein to encourage and reward yielding, flexing, etc. At this point you can teach a basic half-halt - using the educated seat you will have attained, sit deeply for a stride as you would if you were asking for a down transition, squeeze slightly with your leg, and slightly pressurize the reins (no pulling!) - then GIVE. If you don't get any response, give anyway. The half-halt request should only last a stride - if you don't succeed, give and ask again. Make that your cardinal rule for everything!!
Once you've both learnt balance, go, stop, turn, all that fancy stuff, you need to address straightness. OK, well, ideally you should address this right after "go." Work on easy leg-yields, shoulder-ins, haunches-in, etc. With a green horse, it is preferable to get one good step of a movement than twenty iffy steps. Instead of turning down centre line and leg-yielding to the wall, turn down quarter line and ask for a step or two, straighten and go forward, ask for a step or two, etc. Same with shoulder-in, except on the wall of course. Start by riding an accurate ten-metre circle in the corner to get your horse in the correct position, and then proceed.
I also think that working with an instructor will help immensely. Learning dressage is kind of like memorizing an encyclopedia - you don't want to just dive in a do it all in one go. Having someone there to present everything to you in managable chunks is so much better than learning it all at home and then trying to remember while you ride! Good luck - I'm sure you'll have lots of fun! :)
    04-16-2010, 08:02 AM
Green Broke
Dantexeventer- thanks a lot! Very useful info :), I know he is resistant to the bit, he isnt in walk at all, a little in trot (and he had his teeth checked today). I am lucky enough to have good instructors and soon going to university to persue an equine career (the course envolves riding), so I am sure we will learn lots more there.

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