Originally Posted by frlsgirl
... What exactly is the difference between dressage and equitation, and how will someone specializing in equitation help me improve my dressage seat?
Equitation is the rider's Seat, Legs and arms - I.e. How the rider sits on the horse. Working on proper equitation is the first thing instructors work on with their students (along with control of the horse).
Examples of things an equitation teacher will work on:
- Are the legs nice and long with heels down and legs in line with the girth?
- Are reins held correctly?
- Are elbows bent and used as "shock absorbers" to give and take on the reins?
- Is rider sitting up tall (not slouched or humched over)?
- Is rider looking straight ahead? (not down, or to the left/right)
- Is rider sitting with their weight distributed evenly (not listing to the left or the right) in the saddle?
After the rider starts to develop "muscle memory" for riding in the correct posiition then the instructor starts to teach the rider to be "effective". I.e. You can have the proper equitation but not ride effectively (i.e. Make the horse do what you want it to do when you want it to do that movement).
A great instructor teaches both proper equitation and effectiveness.