How to tell 'good' dressage from 'bad' dressage? - Page 2

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How to tell 'good' dressage from 'bad' dressage?

This is a discussion on How to tell 'good' dressage from 'bad' dressage? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Bad dressage riders
  • Saddle flap too long

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    02-27-2011, 06:31 PM
Green Broke
Compare that photo to this one;

Which is in the warm up for a novice (i believe this is 1st level in the US) dressage test in which we did well in. Again, not perfect by any means but is better (and is several years ago).
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    02-27-2011, 06:44 PM

Is that the same horse!? That's a lovely picture of a lovely pair. Horse has great thrust and reach, your hand position is very good but may I say, being brutally honest, you still don't have your weight evidently down into the stirrup.
It almost looks as if the flap of the saddle is too long for you, or saddle too big?
There's just this feeling of you riding on top and not down around your horse.
Sorry for being so vague. The horse is stunning!!
    02-27-2011, 06:56 PM
Green Broke
No its a different one.
The saddle will be quite unusual for anyone not in the UK. It is a specialist showing saddle. No knee rolls at all. It is several years ago mind and I have improved massivly since then. Unfortunatly stan is no longer with us.

My main problem in the second photo is that I am gripping with my knees and conciquently drawing my heel up. This is one of my on going issues that is not helped by having showing saddles as showing saddles can feel very pricarious if a horse has a tantrum.

Out of interes how big do you think he is?
    02-27-2011, 07:03 PM
That totally explains what I was seeing. In fact, when I looked at the photo you showed of the show saddle, my exact thought was, "that looks really hard to stay in. I would feel really precarious in that saddle"!!! No wonder!

He looks like he is 14. 2 , no more than 15 hh. He looks like a lot of horse in a little package. He is a Cob? Some of the British Isles horses are not familiar to me except in books.
    02-27-2011, 07:09 PM
Green Broke
He only just measured in at 14hh on his tippy toes. He is a Purebred connemara!

I've XC'd in a show saddle and regularly jumped pride in one. Makes sure you have a secure independant seat if nothing else and it teaches you how to stick to a horse like glue.

Alot of horse in a little package bery aptly described stan, he was a pony with an enormous ego, he knew he was beautiful and he knew he was something special. He had a diva attitude! He did enjoy chucking in a buck or 3!

I'm now going to have to ride a 4 yearold warmblood in a showing saddle. I fully expect his reaction speeds to have me on the floor several times due to the saddle, but if I want to show at top level then I have to use a show saddle and I can't afford 2 saddles!
    02-27-2011, 07:25 PM
Green Broke
For the original poster If you look at that second photo of mine, you see a smooth arch from his wither to his poll, his neck and jaw is not tense or resistant. The whole picture looks to be flowing well, he is tracking up and his back end is being used well, he has raised his withers (you can see this because his wither is much higher then his bum but his shoulder is still free and unrestricted). His back end looks to be connected to his front end and not trailing miles behind. He is using his stomach muscles to support his back.

Now that is a very basic level of dressage, by no means is that an advanced dressage horse but hopefully you get the idea of what I'm looking at in those photos!
    02-27-2011, 07:53 PM
Originally Posted by faye    
no knee rolls, low profile so that it doesnt distract from the horse, straight cut to show off the shoulder.
Yeah, I've never seen the one you posted before. However I still wonder why the flaps for the one on horse looks more forward than the actual saddle pic. Although horse pic is pretty small, so it may be deceiving me. :)
    02-27-2011, 08:08 PM
Green Broke
Kittenval I think what you could be seeing is a loop of reins, Not sure? But I can assure you that that is the saddle I was using.
    02-27-2011, 08:21 PM
As far as the pic of the darker bay connemara, it's beautiful. He looks a little strong in his contact and a little strong and tight in his neck. He sure believes in going forward, LOL. To the OP - you see the horse's legs make a parallelogram that clearly reach forward. And instead of looking like he has straight sticks for legs, you can see a bend at the knee and hock. That's really good. You can also see his hips and shoulders are moving.

If one hind leg is reaching forward, you can look for 'A big V', an upside down V that goes all the way up to the horse's body, so it doesn't look like the horse's hocks are stuck together, so his hind legs aren't separated to the hock, but right up to the body. And as much as possible, the hind legs are not kicking out behind the horse too much.

And as they say, 'the hind legs could be better on this horse, but not by a whole lot' (LOL - it's pretty darn good, in other words).

What is important at this level, this horse has mastered, lol, at least in this picture. As his training went on he would have become more supple and carry more. But for this stage of training it's very nice.

While a show saddle will teach you to stick like glue by hanging on with yoour legs, I am not sure it allows you to develop a deep supple seat - that is in common between the two pictures. It puts you on top of the saddle, but doesn't appear to help you sink down into the lowest point of the saddle and have a supple, deeper seat.

And I bet you can buy a used dressage saddle over there in Britain, and save a lot of money, of course you still have to have SOME dough to do that, LOL. I had a lot of trouble affording equipment when I was young, but I just waited around for a deal.

I've used a number of different dressage saddles over the years - each one is a little different, but the idea of the dressage saddle is to let the rider get down into the lowest part of the saddle and stay there while staying loose and supple in his seat, and to let him not grip so hard to stay on, but rather use his knee, thigh and seat as aids.
    02-27-2011, 08:30 PM
Green Broke
SLC, dressage is not our main discipline and I don't have a spare 800 lieing round to buy dressage saddle for the very rare occassion that I actualy do dressage, not when a half decent show saddle costs in the region of 1200.

Stan was a very strange shape, his show saddle had to be custom made because we tried every single saddle my saddler could get his hands on, that included most of the brands available in the UK and not a single off the peg saddle fit him, so a 2nd hand saddle would not have been an option.

Yes stan could get rather strong, there was 600kg of pure muscle and when Fit he was a handful and a half.

You can't sit into a show saddle, there is nothing to sit into. However It does give you very very good balance and alot of the UK's top dressage riders and eventers started on show ponies (and thus in half panel show saddles).

bad, dressage, good

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