I don't know if this is a new forum or not, but in any case.. i'd love to know what some of you guys do to get your horses good and supple (giving to leg pressure, light cues, easy to bend, etc). Something I had practiced a LONG time ago, and I hope I can find again, is something like "the 13 Dressage Exercises" or something like that. It included:
Leg Yielding - turn your corner early, and use leg pressure to get your horse to go back onto the rail without having him bend his neck.
"Butterfly" Leg Yielding - Start on the rail, use your outside leg to leg yield to "X" then use your inside leg to leg yield back to the rail.
Circles Decreasing in size - Self explanitory. I did these at the walk. Start with a 20 meter circle, then slowly shrink the circle until it is only 10 meters, then finally until it is 5 meters. Great for keeping a horse in a good bend.
Circles Increasing in size - Same as above, only you start with the 5 meter and work up to the 10, then the 20. Great combination of bending and leg yielding.
Shoulder in - Tip your horse's shoulder to the inside of the arena but keep his hind end straight.
Shoulder out - Tip your horse's shoulder to the outside of the arena, keeping his hind end straight.
I think Dressage is fascinating. It is one of the best disciplines that reflects basic good horsemanship, in my opinion. I am not even talking about the Grand Prix levels.. i'm talking the lower levels, the basics. There is some awesome rider-horse communication going on, and for that reason I will always be Dressage at heart.
When I had been riding in lessons for 2 solid years I had done a little sampling of everything in the english world. My riding instructor asked me if I wanted to go the Jumping route, or if i'd like Dressage. It wasn't even a second thought. I knew I wanted to do Dressage. I was the only one out of 20 students or so. BUT.. I have to say.. out of the 19 students that went the jumping route... only 3 of them still ride horses to this day. The others all moved on to boys and whatnot ;) I stick by my decision!
Im by no means ragging on Jumpers/Hunters/Eventers at all. A lot of people (my husband included) just completely discount Dressage because it doesn't look exciting, and it is really hard work. Or some people only want to do dressage because of the Grand Prix stuff. Or some people who don't know any better see the high level stuff and think its just "show" and that there is nothing really going on behind it. Seriously, some people think its just tricks.. like Bowing and Rearing. Me? I just love having the open level of communication with the horses as I am astride =)
Anyways, i'm done blathering.. please share your warm ups and training methods as to how you get your Dressage horse good and supple! I think I listed the gist of what I do, but im tired and not thinking straight, lol!
I look forward to seeing what you guys say! =)