First Intro to Dressage on a Trained Dressage Horse. WOW!

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First Intro to Dressage on a Trained Dressage Horse. WOW!

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    06-23-2014, 04:48 PM
First Intro to Dressage on a Trained Dressage Horse. WOW!

Hi Dressage ladies...

I just wanted to stop in and say... you're all Jedi Masters, remind me never to cross you.

I ride hunter/jumper and for my birthday, my friend got me a dressage lesson. I knew it was going to be strange when I got on the horse and the trainer told me to turn my toes straight and keep my knees at the saddle and my heels NOT down. She put me on the lunge line and took away the reins. "Sit up and Breath" the horse went forward... "tighten stomach in and sit heavy" horse stops. Post big, he spend up... smaller posts, slowed down. Want to canter? All I had to do was put my leg back. I don't even know If I was TOUCHING him I just literally pulled it back and we would go! Want to stop? Just literally THINK IT and sit back. He even did some spanish steps for me (the trainer said he was trying to show off for me :))

I ended up ditching the stirrups half way through because with them being so long, and with my weight not sinking down to my heel, they were more annoying than anything else. I'm like "these are NOT keeping me in the saddle, and more than anything I'm loosing them and they're clanking around..."

I suddenly realized that EVERY little movement I made was a communication and was very self conscious about it all. (particularly on this guy who was fine tuned to receive and interpret all communication!) I've done "dressage" work on my hunter jumper horse in my jumping saddle.. but this was something entirely different. Much respect for you all!!
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    06-23-2014, 05:30 PM
Welcome to the world of subtle riding. Thankfully, you had someone to guide you in riding this horse. You might get a chuckle out of reading Sylvia Loch's first experience on such a horse as told in her book "The Classical Rider, Being at One with your Horse." Although she had ridden since she was a child and even organized riding camps while living in Britain, she was totally unprepared for what happened when she was invited to ride a magnificent grey stallion while visiting a quinta in Portugal. Here is just a small quotation:

"What happened next....was mind bending. I say this not because we sailed forth into a wonderful display of Grand Prix movement; on the contrary, I could not ride this horse at all.

"I was quite unable to achieve any form of forward movement. The prancing stallion I had so admired stood as though rooted to the spot as I applied all the normal aids known to man in order to say walk on. As I squeezed my legs again, this time a little further back, I felt my face redden as the beautiful horse moved backward. Half way round the ring we went -- all backwards!"

But subtle cues are not only for the "Haute Ecole". I have found that even low level schooling horses that have learned to ignore the movements of their riders and do what they see the other horses doing in group lessons will respond to very subtle cues once they realize the rider is balanced and is moving with them. They begin to pay attention to the small changes in balance and pressure and respond to them. It is simply a matter of developing a communication using whispers.
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    06-24-2014, 03:41 AM
Green Broke
Lol my first experiance on a "proper" dressage horse was spent mostly going sideways! Cured me of collapsing my hip pretty quickly though!
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    06-24-2014, 04:49 AM
Congrats! Dressage is a fun challenge :)

My first dressage lesson was on a Grand Prix trained mare, there were no straight lines... All of my body parts were pressing buttons unknowingly.
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    06-24-2014, 04:30 PM
Lol.. at least the horse did not go backwards on me :) The weight shifting actually did help me on my hunter jumper in my lesson this week... if he started to lean one way I would "push my foot down" in the opposite stirrup and he would straighten out. It's another world but there are definite bridges!
    06-24-2014, 05:29 PM
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My old boss bought a German ex dressage mare for breeding that had been in an accident and retired, two years later and sound he decided to give her a year off and use her as a second hunt horse. Watching her perform was the most hilarious thing anyone on the yard had ever seen because every non intentional movement he made had her going in all directions but where he wanted - he gave up on the idea.
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    06-24-2014, 05:40 PM
That is a very awesome birthday present! You are such a lucky girl! <3
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    06-24-2014, 08:12 PM
Gossalyn, you might enjoy reading "My Horse, My Teachers" by Alois Podhajsky. In this book, Podhajsky shares his experiences from first learning to ride as the son of a cavalry officer and taking lessons from a harsh sergeant to his own experiences while in the cavalry including competing in jumping and dressage competitions to his years as director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. His jumping performances improved after a General "suggested" he do dressage as well.
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