How did YOU get started in dressage?

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How did YOU get started in dressage?

This is a discussion on How did YOU get started in dressage? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Starting dressage
  • My daughter wants to start dressage

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    07-17-2012, 09:36 PM
How did YOU get started in dressage?

How did you start in dressage? What is your personal story? What is your dressage training schedule like, or your riding schedule? Share any advice you can about starting dressage, whether with your horse, taking lessons on other horses, whatever you do. Thanks!
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    07-18-2012, 04:05 AM
I always wanted to ride, but never got the chance to start taking lessons until the summer before I graduated college. I knew I wanted to ride English, but didn't know much more than that. The barn I ended up starting at was a jumper barn, and had me jumping by the time I had to leave to go back to school.

When I graduated, I moved to another state and found another barn, also a jumper barn, and continued with lessons. After nearly a year of riding, I still didn't feel like I had the basics down very well, even though I was jumping and had never fallen off. I ended up moving again later that year, and this time looked for a dressage barn. I wanted to get the basics down and really learn how to work with the horse, not just point it at jumps and go.

...and I've been hooked ever since
    07-18-2012, 01:46 PM
^ Awweee, that's so wonderful.
I'm sure it's something great to be hooked on, eh? (:
    07-18-2012, 05:09 PM
I never had a choice. If I wanted to jump, I had to learn the basics. When I understood the basics I just continued my training.
    07-19-2012, 03:23 AM
I'm the same as wetrain17 I wanted to jump but the only way I could was if I did dressage. (The deal for showing was if I jumped, I had to do at least one Dressage class) I've never really liked Dressage until this year... I'd still rather jump but I'm happy doing Dressage. I have to be until my jumping horse gets shoes and fit again! But it's fun, it's a challenge. I try to ride in the arena at least twice a week, but rarely more than four times a week because I'm riding a very spooky horse and feel as though I should try and convince her not everything is terrifying, (take llamas for example) and go lots of places to seee different things. I'm at the lowest Dressage level for competition but I school higher level movements That's my story!
    07-19-2012, 05:46 AM
Green Broke
My mother trained to international level with Jennie Lariston Clark in the 1980's, she had the honor of riding some of Jennies GP horses. She gave up the majority of her riding when she had me and my sister though.

I had a pony from age 2, I was competing aged 4, I was always taught to ride correctly even from a tiny child who's legs didnt come past the stirrup flap.

To my mums disapointment aged 11 I decided I prefered showing to dressage and perticularly liked working hunter classes.
When I was 15 I realised that what my mum had been telling me all along was correct and that the more dressage I did with my horse the better my showing results would be.

I've since ridden all sorts of horse, upto advanced medium level dressage school masters. I've schooled everthing from a total just broken baby to elem para dressage horses. I've jumped at any ride I've been offered.
    07-19-2012, 06:17 AM
I did dressage so I could jump, when I finished high school went to work in a dressage barn to get more competitive for eventing...then I got side tracked and trained my horse throu to the point were it was doing tempi changes, piaffe, passage and baby pirouettes....but I couldn't give up galloping and jumping, I'm eventing for the next few years but I'll go back to dressage later...I've got a very nice young warmblood colt who is going to be my future go dressage and I take on wild horses, currently got a stallion straight from muster who may be my future dressage pony, fingers crossed!
    07-19-2012, 07:43 AM
I've always been happier doing flatwork but I worked mostly in track seat when I was a teen. I had a four year hiatus - when I came back to riding I decided I wanted to give dressage a go because I wanted to do something completely different and liked the principles on which dressage is based. Hence, I've gravitated toward classical dressage.

Yet to compete, I'm not even sure if I'm interested in competing really. I'm a very competitive person so I'm not sure it would be a good idea for me - I take losing very hard, and can lose perspective, so I'd prefer to work towards intrinsic goals and the satisfaction of doing something right - not that there's anything wrong with others competing!
    07-20-2012, 02:38 AM
I always jumped as a kid because that's what I was exposed to was jumping. I started taking dressage lessons when a coach started coming to the barn I was at around age 9 and was hooked. I still jump, very occasionally, but focus mainly on dressage now. A few horses I have ridden I have shown also in the hunters and eventing, but I now show almost exclusively dressage, and did my first international competition this year.
I ride 6 days a week, and I go to the gym, do yoga, go on a bike ride/run, etc.. at least 5 times a week to stay fit. I am hoping to start riding more horses soon, and I want to drop my ammy status next year, as well as apply for a judging card.

My advice to anyone starting in dressage is to find the right coach!! A good coach won't care what horse you're on as long as it's sound and will teach you in whatever tack you show up in as long as it fits. I know many people who have gotten into dressage taking lessons on their half arabian horses while riding in western tack with a dressage coach. The tack and the breed of the horse is secondary to the training.
    07-20-2012, 11:58 AM
My daughter got started by the Horse Forum, kind of. She was having a problem with her horse one day and the neighbor saw her struggling and said that he had a good friend, who is also a neighbor, that was a retired dressage trainer who may be able to help. We called her and she agreed to give us a lesson. The trainer liked my daughter and her horse so we agreed to another lesson and we're still at it today! Lucky us as the trainer really doesn't want to get into it so my daughter is her only student but even luckier is that she has become more than a horse trainer and is a good family friend.

I knew NOTHING about dressage when this trainer came along and while on the forum I saw a video of "cakemom's" daughter at a show and showed it to my daughter. She thought it looked like fun and asked if she could try it. We did a couple of schooling shows last year. Now she is totally hooked. She even makes up freestyle patterns to songs on the radio!! Daughter just competed at her first "big" (ie 3-day) recognized show in training level and did well and has been begging to go to another. We may have to get a 2nd mortgage on our house...

It's been such a fun journey so far!

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