How many of you cross train with your dressage horse??

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How many of you cross train with your dressage horse??

This is a discussion on How many of you cross train with your dressage horse?? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    03-30-2011, 05:17 AM
How many of you cross train with your dressage horse??

I feel like their is far to many just dressage horses, horses that are schooled in the arena day in and day out, with no change in work scenery etc. There are also far to many unfit dressage horse out there, that lead to far to many injuroes.

I was lucky enough to work for a guy, who did lots of gallop and fitness work with hid horses. Even the Grand prix horses, got a 45minute trot and gallop hill work eack week, and a further short hack out with hill work a couple time a week as warm up for work. These horse were so fit!

I recently came across this

's-Hertogenbosch (NED), 26 March 2011
The Netherlands' Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival secured their fifth win in the Western European League of the 2010/2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cupô Dressage series at the tenth and final qualifying round in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands today.

"Yesterday Parzival was so relaxed and today he felt really good again" said Cornelissen who, remarkably, has claimed the honours at half of the 10 Western European qualifying rounds this season. She believes her horse's confidence has been reinforced by his training routine which includes doing a lot of things that other dressage horses may never get to do. "He goes out in the field, I take him for rides in the woods and we go cantering on a racetrack quite a lot - that's what makes him happy. In training its about controlling him all the time, but its great to just go out and have fun together too - its all been about building up trust and he's learned to really enjoy himself now" she explained. And she added, "that's why I don't take him into the prize-giving anymore - I don't want to lose that trust because it really worries him".

so how many of you do other work with your dressage horses? I know my own mare gets hacked out on the farm, galloped and occasionaly jumped, and it always makes her fresher and happier in he dressage work.

what about you, what do you and your horse do??
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    03-30-2011, 12:58 PM
Green Broke
I have always loved cross training with my horse, not just for the horse, for me also! We both go crazy with just dressage, and after doing something different (like polo cross, trail rides, bareback, or just plain fooling around) rena is always better at dressage. Because she doesn't become sour to it and the arena. I love her after a day or even weekend off of dressage, she is always more enthuasiastic.

Cross training is definitely my favourite, even I would probably become sour about dressage if I only rode it.
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    03-30-2011, 01:23 PM
Honestly, ring work is boring to me, so it has to be just as bad for the horses. Molly, my dressage mare, schools on trail with me. I warm her up in the arena most days, and then take her on trail while we practice. We have open 1000-acre fields behind our property, so it takes a lot more discipline for a horse to listen to you when you're asking to extend the canter without getting carried away, or transition from that canter to a walk without hanging on to it a couple more steps. In a field that big, my horses know they could gallop for hours, and it requires discipline to not try to take off. Plus, it allows for a change of scenery, and is great bombproofing to deer, weird looking trees (Molls had this weird fit yesterday over a 2-ft pine in the middle of the field...), etc. Sometimes, if I know the horse is listening to me, after an hour of schooling, I'll just let them gallop for a minute and then rein them in. They enjoy it, I enjoy it. It's a reward for cooperating. The only time I do soley ringwork with my horses is when I can't get someone to go with me on trail.
    03-31-2011, 03:51 PM
In the first stages of training any horse it is important to cross train them in as many different things as is sensible to see which they have the greatest feel for.
However, at some point it is important to specialize and begin to tailor all training towards one discipline.

For my horse I limit jumping because he is not fit for it and it could do more harm than good. However, I do pole work in the arena, in-hand work and of course the bulk of his training is undersaddle. It is also important when the weather is nice to get the horses outside and moving as much as possible, especially doing hill and interval work. He is also turned out every day in a large field.
With correct riding and training a dressage horse should not be unfit regardless of how much cross training they do. I can work up more of a sweat on my horse walking in collection for 10 minutes than cantering in a field.
It is important to be exercising the horse (if not training) every day of the week. For most horses this can be accomplished with turnout, although a horsewalker is nice for horses whom you are trying to get fitter. In addition to this I would ride 5 to 6 days a week with varying levels of intensity and a focus on different muscle groups. This is enough for basic fitness and reduces injury.

I would love to have access to a track. We have one straight hill work area which can be cantered up and down (once the horse is adjusted to the hills). You can't really get too much speed up though.
    04-03-2011, 06:59 PM
I feel really badly for the horses who do nothing but work work work, and even worse for the ones who spend their down time in a stall. Any time my horse loses some spring in his step in the arena, I know it's time to go blow off some cobwebs. Yesterday, after a good 5 months of not being able to get out of the indoor arena, the trails were finally dry enough to ride safely. I took him into the woods, grabbed a little mane, and hit the gas pedal. He had a freakin' blast. It was more than obvious that he was happy to be out running. Today we worked on our dressage for an upcoming show, and he produced one of the nicest trots he's done in months. Getting out on uneven terrain builds muscles that you just cannot build in a flat sand ring. It just makes it so much easier for them to do what we ask of them physically and I can't say enough about what it does for them mentally. Whenever I have a dressage test coming up the next day, instead of practice it day prior, we go out and play. So yes, I am a huge fan of cross training.
    04-03-2011, 09:01 PM
MBP - I am totally finding the same thing with the warmer weather. We are a long way from having dry anything lol but I left Ro's borium shoes on so we can at least go hack out at a walk. The outside riding time really refreshes them!
    04-03-2011, 09:43 PM
I do english, western and trail on all our guys even our stallion is helps at LOT.
    04-03-2011, 09:48 PM
Green Broke
Wild Horses - yet another excellent discussion question! My background is eventing so my dressage training is relatively light at best.

I would say that I do dressage with my cross training horse - ha! To be honest, if I was training dressage at a high level, I don't know what my training regime would look like but I would like to think that we could get out for a good gallop at least every couple of weeks because, let's be honest, it's fun for all involved.
    04-04-2011, 04:46 AM
Glad to hear most of you do in fact do other things with your dressage horses!

Sarahver- im an eventer to! I think that y I can't stand schooling even my dressage horse every day!

Plus I think so many skill cross over. Going through a series of bounces (like cavaletti grids) helps develop spring and sharpnes in their step, feels a lot to me like the same way you ride tempi changes....trail ridin especially on young ones for me always helps teach them collection and stretching as well.

Just cracks me up when I see dressge riders who can't do anything with their highly schooled horse...dressage are meant to be the most highly trained yet some people are terrified to ride them out of an arena because they are so out of control
    04-04-2011, 12:54 PM
Green Broke
Well, there are good and bad examples in every dicipline. I would be hesitant to cast too many generalisations about dressage riders as most of the ones I have come into contact with really do have beautifully trained horses and have no problems with them in or out of the arena.

Just wanted to make sure this discussion remains respectful since it really is a worthwhile question as it pertains to different training regimes. Don't want to offend the dressage folk with stereotypes as they aren't always accurate

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