I just started dressage... - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 13 Old 10-22-2010, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 7
• Horses: 0
I just started dressage...

I just started dressage alone about a year ago. I have no trainer, I've just been reading and you-tube-ing the crap out of dressage. I've ridden hunters for 7 years, all with my Winston buddy, but now I'm tired of that. I just went to my first show in September, I won both of my Intro classes with a 74.5 and a 75.5. I think I want to try Training level next year, but I just don't know if I can teach myself all that. I can't afford lessons because my board is too high, and there's no other nice barns in my area. Suggestions/tips/advice? I would love to do as well on my Training Level tests as I (surprisingly) did on my Intro tests!
WinstonsMommy is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 13 Old 10-22-2010, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
Posts: 23,907
• Horses: 2
Can you work for lessons? Some people I know do it this way. I personally found trainer to be EXTREMELY helpful, but then I never did hunters and basically had no real training ever, may be the foundation you get there allows you to progress without one.
kitten_Val is offline  
post #3 of 13 Old 10-22-2010, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 688
• Horses: 1
I say print out the tests and ride them. You never know, what you did as a hunter might have given you a good foundation. If you can't afford lessons you might as well give it a try, what do you have to lose?

I do agree with ^^ a trainer is very helpful. I did very well in intro level (i had a trainer at the time) but when it came to training level it took me by surprise just how hard it was to get everything come together; mind i was on a spooky pony who got us disqualified from one of the test by spooking out of the arena because the flowers scared her). I don't have a trainer anymore and am busy working on the basics with my horse right now. i'd love to get back into training level some day but i don't think i'd do it with out some guidance.
phoenix is offline  
post #4 of 13 Old 10-22-2010, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In the saddle.
Posts: 5,157
• Horses: 1
Depending on the judge's qualifications, I wouldn't be relying too heavily on the judge's scores as a guage for where you are in your dressage career right now. Many times at lower level, local shows, judges with little or no qualification are used and the scores come out either far too high or too low.
The most useful thing is to get lessons from a reputable dressage trainer in your area. Even if your board is high, you can pick up another job, or work some boarding costs off at your stable. Where there is a will there is a way!
Other than that, always keep the training scale in mind and continue reading books by authors like Jane Savoie, Sally Swift, Charles de Knuffy, etc.. The critiqu section of this forum can also be a valuable tool.

Good luck!
~*~anebel~*~ is offline  
post #5 of 13 Old 10-22-2010, 07:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 851
• Horses: 4
Have you thought about recording your rides and critiquing them? I did this for a while when my trainer moved out west. I'd set up my camcorder and tape my ride, start to finish and myself and my horsey friends would critique it. I would compare it to my fave vids on youtube as well.

Not as good as a trainer, but I found it usefull! Good luck - I'm thinking about venturing into dressage as well, but I'm going from western to dressage!

~Lindsay~ Mom of 2, wife to the goldsmith, doula and childbirth educator in training, life-long horse dork
shesinthebarn is offline  
post #6 of 13 Old 10-22-2010, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 7
• Horses: 0
Thank you!

Thank you all for the replies! I appreciate the suggestions! I'm really enjoying dressage so far, and I'll be sure to ask you all questions as they come up! (I'm sure they will!)
WinstonsMommy is offline  
post #7 of 13 Old 10-23-2010, 01:10 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 41,070
• Horses: 2
It is really hard to teach yourself dressage, or any other discipline of riding. Did you teach yourself Hunters? If you can afford it, even if you only take a lesson once a month it would give you feedback on what you ARE doing and some new skills to work on for the remaining month.
I do, however, applaud you for your drive to learn even when the pathway is not easy.
tinyliny is offline  
post #8 of 13 Old 10-23-2010, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In Denial...
Posts: 1,679
• Horses: 1
Hi WinstonsMommy!

I'm in almost the exact same boat as you. I took "general" riding lessons for several years, stopped when my instructor at the time stopped giving lessons to get back into showing as a non-pro, and spring-before-last bought a younger greenie as a project, and got into dressage on my own. It's been tough teaching myself and Scout, but we are both making progress. We're certainly not show worthy (yet... if the opportunity presents itself and we're ready I'd love to give it a try), but I don't think I'm "ruining" him by a long shot.

This forum is an excellent resource - there are some crazy-experienced riders, trainers, even judges who have helped me many a time.

Here are a few websites that have been helpful as well, assuming of course that you haven't already found them...
The Art of Classical Riding--Dressage Training for Horse and Rider
::: Sustainable Dressage - - Welcome to my Site about Sustainable Dressage! :::
Members dressage lessons - Classical Dressage
Classical Dressage Notebook - Putting Theory Into Practice

I've been watching some of Chris Irwin's videos on State Line Tack's website. He's a bit of a natural horsemanship trainer, but in the least NH way that I've ever seen, if that makes sense. I find most NH big names are lacking, especially when it comes to riding exercises (horses hollow, behind the vertical, asking for "advanced" movements and "collection" fairly soon after the basics are established, riding the head, etc.). Chris Irwin's Riding Concepts and Basics lessons are a lot more dressage-oriented, with the right emphasis on the training scale, solid foundation, correct biomechanics and moving the horse from back to front. I haven't watched his Progress and Collected videos yet, though... He's not a "D" Dressage guy, at least that I'm aware of, but his methods seem to be meshing well with my understanding of, well, everything, ha ha

Breed Dynamics | Horse Videos – StateLineTack.com Video Library

If you ever want to compare notes, discuss self-teaching dressage, theory, or anything, feel free to shoot me a PM.

Good luck!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
Scoutrider is offline  
post #9 of 13 Old 10-23-2010, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 7
• Horses: 0

I'm happy to meet you! Thank you for the tips! I did not teach myself hunters, I rode with the same trainer who's barn I'm at now for the entire 9 years I've been riding. I do believe that she is one of the best hunter/jumper trainers around here. However, she doesn't know anything about dressage, although she thinks she does! And I did too at first; I took a few lessons with her and after we got Winston's head down (shocker-that's not the first thing you try to do?? What?? :P) She started 'teaching' us to do an extended trot! Winston, being the wonderful, hard worker he is, did it for me, and I kept doing this 'training' with her until it came time to put the letters up in the arena...She had me put them in the totally wrong order! I found this out after researching on the internet about the tests. At this same time, she raised board by $60 to add paddocks for the horses that were too 'expensive' or 'naughty' (aka NOT Winston, so I'm paying for something I'm not using...) So that combination of things sent me on a search for another barn/trainer. The other barns around here are TERRIBLE trainer and stable wise. So I'm kind of stuck. Based upon all of these things, I've decided that all I want to do with dressage is Training Level, that's my goal, and I figured something I could do alone. Scoutrider, the book I found MOST helpful is the "Lessons with Lendon" book by Lendon Gray. It is geared towards people with no dressage training, just people who know how to ride basically (Western, English, whatever!) I swear by that book, it has been my most used tool in this endeavor! Thank you all again for your help! Keep it coming... I know
I'll keep the questions coming! :)
WinstonsMommy is offline  
post #10 of 13 Old 10-23-2010, 11:10 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: PA
Posts: 674
• Horses: 2
Welcome to the forum.

I'm in nearly the same boat... I switched from years of hunters to eventing. Dressage has been our sore spot. The trainer I'm working with at least has some knowledge of dressage (knows where the letters go), but is not helpful in training me and my green horse.

My finances are tight, but I've found another trainer about an hour away. She's great, but I only get a lesson once a month. In the meantime I tape at least one ride a week, she critiques them and suggests exercises. I do pay 5$ per tape I send her, but it's sooo worth it.

Primo and I also are moving up from the intro test... I know others say don't practice the test, but how can you know if you can do all the movements smoothly without doing so? I find practicing them, and keeping in mind I want forward, consistent gaits, with my horse balanced and relaxed over his back. I LOVE Sally Swifts books. Very helpful.
MudPaint is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to get started Haulinbass02 Trail Riding 24 11-04-2010 04:58 PM
How to get started.. Piggly9 Horse Talk 1 06-07-2010 02:38 PM
Hey everyone, just started and a little about me:) KaylaOscer1994 Meet the Community 36 10-06-2009 06:20 AM
Getting started? PonyGirl93 Eventing 4 09-10-2009 11:19 PM
HELP! Want to get started and of course.. I can't. :P IheartPheobe Western Riding 5 05-16-2009 09:55 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome