My dressage education - what should I know? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-17-2011, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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My dressage education - what should I know?

I used to be very active in playing the saxophone, and even started college as a music major before deciding I didn't like it. But it taught me a very important lesson: when you get into something, you should know both its history and what's going on with it in the present.

I just started dressage this year: I'm an intro level rider after being a hunter/jumper for 2 years. So as far as dressage, what are some big names I should know? Current trends? What else should I do other than take my lessons? Obviously, attending live shows and going to clinics will help. And obviously, working out and doing things like pilates and ballet to improve my balance. But am I missing anything? Can I be doing anything else? My goal is to one day get into eventing. But so far I know the least about dressage.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-17-2011, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesandskis View Post
So as far as dressage, what are some big names I should know? Current trends? What else should I do other than take my lessons? Obviously, attending live shows and going to clinics will help. And obviously, working out and doing things like pilates and ballet to improve my balance. But am I missing anything? Can I be doing anything else? My goal is to one day get into eventing. But so far I know the least about dressage.

Big names at this point are unimportant.

Trends are irrelevant.

The most important thing you need to know right now is to understand the horse and get a feel for what it is doing underneath you.
~*~anebel~*~ and DuffyDuck like this.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-17-2011, 04:30 PM
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I am a dressage rider and am always happy to see new people take an interest. Dressage, even lower levels, can look deceptively easy but it takes constant dedication and a willingness to accept positive critique and hard work.

The best thing you can do is to work with a sucessful, qualified dressage trainer who can help you in your riding skills and help you teach your horse movements that will condition and strengthen him. Dressage benefits the entire horse but only if the horse is started out with good basics which a good instructor/trainer will help you to build on. You really need someone who knows what they are looking at while you ride so that you do not develop bad habits in your seat and also so you do not allow the horse to work in an unbalanced manner that will hinder him from developing the musculature needed to carry himself in a collected frame, eventually. Good luck to you.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-17-2011, 11:16 PM
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Big names at this point are unimportant.

Trends are irrelevant.
Correct.

OP, dressage (thank God) is not like hunterland. It is not a mounted fashion show.

If you want a peek at what dressage is all about, buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Training-Horse-Rider-Podhajsky/dp/0879802359
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-17-2011, 11:37 PM
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I do not think there is anything wrong with reading up on "big names". Many of them are long gone, such as Xenophon, and Baucher, Podharsky.
There are just a whole bunch of great writers out there. The book recommended above is a good start.
Learning how dressage went from training as mostly a military art or something that "gentlemen" did to better themselves, To a modern sport.

But while reading, keep in mind that you are just starting so not to get ahead of yourself.

I like Sylvia Loch. her books make references to the historical development of the art of dressage. I also like Phillipe Karl. Just throwing around some names.
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-18-2011, 10:27 PM
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I think the biggest things you need to know on the horse are forward and relaxation. As an intro rider (I am an Intro rider on my IDA team, I took a 3 year break from riding and even though I was schooling first and second level tests at one point, I could definitely use the practice at a lower level again.. taking breaks is not good for your riding career!) you do not need to worry too much about collection. Judges will not expect it from you, and if you focus on it instead of what the judges are looking for, you could end up hurting yourself. Look for your coefficients for Intro Test B - Submission (acceptance of steady contact, attention, and confidence).. Basically relaxation, the horse should be relaxed, forward, alert while maintaining a steady contact.

Also your position is going to change, you are not as forward in your seat. You must straighten your back, hands above the withers, elbows bent and close to your side, leg long with heels under your hips, shoulders above your hips.. I had a hard time (after my break) sitting back, but you can feel an immediate change in the horse when you are leaning further back, it really helps them sit back on their haunches and raise their topline.
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