How to start?

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How to start?

This is a discussion on How to start? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        08-15-2014, 01:22 PM
    How to start?

    I have an Appaloosa with potential to do about anything and I heard that dressage is GREAT for any discipline. I want to continue doing the jumpers and hunters but I want to know some dressage to help me and my horse.
    How do I start and what to start with?
    I have NEVER done anything to do with dressage and I work at a dressage barn. I have no clue what to do and I don't want to learn from my boss because she scares me.
    Any videos on YouTube or any advice on where to start?
    I don't want to compete just to ride it as a training method to help with our flatting.
    I'm all alone at my barn so no one can really help me, so I am really trying to use the internet to my benefit.
    I'm focused on me first then him, so it's easier on both of us.
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        08-15-2014, 01:42 PM
    Why are you afraid of your boss? That is probably the best place to start. Take a deep breath and a step outside your comfort zone, and ask for a lesson. Start with one, and see how you feel. You are a perfect student for dressage (or any discipline) because you have a horse of your own. Your boss will likely give you a few things you can work on with your horse alone.

    Generally speaking, I start on the longe line when I have a student who is new to dressage and has their own horse. Learn to longe properly, and learn to look for true balance from the ground first. You should be able to see when your horse is carrying himself with control and balance, and when he is running in circles not using his brain or body at all. Once you can identify the type of carriage that is balanced from the ground, you can then try it from the saddle. It should feel different, much like it looks different from the ground. Start with walk/trot only and be patient. You will only honestly get what you are looking for if you are patient enough to encourage it and put in as much time as it takes. Reward him for any attempt, reward him for one balanced stride, reward him when you can tell he's trying.
        08-16-2014, 03:25 PM
    You have a great resource for a trainer right at your work! I'd go ahead and ask for some lessons.

    There are certain things a trainer can explain in the moment that a youtube vid cannot at all tell, and things you can read on the forum that might not translate well in the saddle until you know what you are looking for. Looking back, I understood all of the terms people would use and the general concept behind a horse working correctly through their body, but I had no idea how to recreate that in my own horse without the guidance of a trainer on hand.

    Then over a bit of time you can totally feel a difference in the way your horse moves. At first while they are still learning/ building up correct muscles they can only keep correctness for a handful of strides, but you will be able to feel a big difference during the ride.

    I doubt I would have been able to feel that difference without a trainer to coach me.

    dressage freestyle, riding advice, starting over

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