07-03-2013, 05:43 PM
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Isolate ALL of your body parts. Your best exercise is riding without stirrups for an hour at a time. Start with one full hour at the walk. I was rewatching some Ingrid Klimke videos and she has said that you can improve your horse's trot but NOT the walk, so you also want that walk to be the most relaxed and rythymic as possible.
If you can ride somebody else's NON-Dressage horse you can work on your reining and position without compromising your horse's frame.
REMEMBER, Dressage is gymnastic training developed for the war horse. The horse became an extension of the soldier and also the solder's primary weapon, such as the Courbette, jumping and kicking backwards, meant to kill the enemy with just the horse.
Although the airs above the ground are not shown (except by members of some of the old schools in Europe,) ALL of the elementary movements are the foundation for them, and should be trained and ridden and developed to be almost 2nd nature for the horse/rider combination. It is a true joy when you think it and you horse does it. That's how it was with "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) and me, and I really miss it.