My second dressage lesson (video) I need work. :P - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 27 Old 05-20-2012, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Wow!! Those were fantastic articles!! I love that Jane Savoie, she explains things very well. You gave me a lot to think about core. I can't thank you enough for those articles! I think I am going to research more now about basics of dressage... Thank you!!

Dressage for me please!
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post #12 of 27 Old 05-20-2012, 01:13 AM
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Okay, you need to use your arms. Right now they're kind of floating (I'm ignoring the trainer) there needs to be an involvement of your arms. To GIVE to the horse, you open and close your elbows. When the horse reaches(or bobs) down your elbows extend, when the horse comes back up, they close.

You can even practice this sitting in your chair. Thumbs on top, follow the horse's movement. Now as you get better, you will do it from muscle memory but for now you have to remind yourself to be nice and fluid and supple (Jane SaVoie's favourite word :P) But when you ride at the trot, your arms stretch out down, when you sit, they close again. Otherwise you yank your horse in the mouth and not only is it kind of painful but it teaches your horse to evade the bit and not really get comfortable. When you walk, same thing. Open and close your elbows as they walk with that head bob. Same thing at the canter.

If you don't follow with your arms, then your horse will bob and hit the bit and he won't keep impulsion, he will start evading the bit via pulling the reins or going behind the vertical or gaping his mouth.

So once you get those arms sorted, then you'll be able to focus on your core. Your seat bones and your core are what you use most when riding. You can ride without arms and legs, they are important but without having a good core and using your seat bones they're kind of useless.

You use your seat and core to communicate with your horse. Your seat drives the horse forward, to steers the horse (as you become more sensitive about weight changing) and it cues the horse along with your legs.

So when you aren't riding, work on your balance and any kind of ab workout and you will be able to accomplish much more.

I want to see you stretching your legs down, keeping your arms close to your sides but willing to stretch and bring them back as necessary (regardless of rein length,) and your shoulders need to roll back and push down, opening up your chest. Your back needs to be straight, not arched out. When you hollow your back, your horse will hollow theirs since you aren't nice and supple and shoclk absorbing.. you actually start tapping or slamming down on your horse's back (especially at the sitting trot and canter.)

Good job looking up, that's one of the things I really mess up haha!

Now with all riding, you're working on keeping the horse bending and not bracing. You want to use your inside leg (I usually tap before I squeeze) to ask your horse to move into your outside hand. On greener horses I like to position my outside hand a little farther from the horse's neck. Your outside leg is a supporting leg. It has different roles depending on what you're doing, as you should know from riding in general :) hopefully!

Around 0:40 were you trying to sit the trot? I have sound muted so I can't hear the trainer or disturb anyone here.

See how your arms are yanking him around. If you work on your arms, they'll become quieter. Work on keeping your upper body quiet, and absorbing all of the movement in your lower half. You're probably bracing a little bit, which is why your upper half is loud.

You'll work on that over time :) But exercising off of horses will help tons! Yoga, Pilates, any exercise ball work, hiking, running, etc.

You need to sit back and drive the horse with your seat and your legs, right now you're leaning on your hands and bracing against the stirrups. Do you see that?

0:57-1:00 is great, see how your body is following the horse, your arms are following, your body is stretching up and your back is flat. See how loose your hips are? I think you were trying to trot and your horse wanted to walk, but that looseness is what you want all of the time.

Notice how after that lovely 1:00, your horse begins to lose impulsion and he isn't going his usual speed. That's due to the reasons listed above (bracing, bopping him in the mouth, loud on top, etc.) so you'll notice when you begin to get more comfortable with that sitting trot, he'll keep his impulsion :)

You'll get there :) You have a lot of potential!

1. Work on your abs and balance off of the horse
2. Practice using your elbows to give and take from the horse as to follow its movement
3. Practice sitting on an exercise ball and keeping your back nice and flat
4. Maybe ask your instructor to put you on the lungeline so you can practice riding without hands

Hope I helped, I'm beginning too and learning lots (and currently not with my horse atm).

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #13 of 27 Old 05-20-2012, 09:07 AM
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I re-read the part about why you chose this trainer. Keep taking lessons from her if that is what you can afford and are comfortable with now. But supplement it with reading and videos. I'm sure others on here have good suggestions for books and videos. My favorite is "Centered Riding" by Swift. The author explains how to use your body and how things should feel when correct. It's a good book for any discipline of riding and focuses on basics.
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post #14 of 27 Old 05-20-2012, 03:04 PM
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Yes, and 101 dressage exercises. It focuses on building up the 6 steps from the basics. Also has a bit on rider fitness.
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post #15 of 27 Old 05-26-2012, 12:20 PM
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Smile Great Start... stick with it

First of all, you are very brave & show a great willingness to learn by asking for feedback, even harsh... so good for you! Secondly, you have a great start on your riding seat, you sit up well and have a nice leg.. you just need more time in the saddle.

Try riding without your instructor and just experimenting on your own a bit (assuming your horse is okay with a little experimentation and won't freak out-- try different ways of sitting the trot for instance and see what feels balanced for you-- try being very loose in your back/waist and then try tightening your abs and feel the differences for yourself... what works best for you?).

Jane Savoie has a great image for keeping your hand still at a posting trot-- you move your hands up and down like you are using an old fashioned washboard (as you post up, you push your hands down the washboard to keep them still while your body moves up).

I like how positive your instructor is but agree with other posts that she focuses on the 'headset' vs. having the horse 'come through' the back and engage with the hind end. Has the horse had much dressage training? It will be hard for you to learn dressage without having an opportunity to ride a horse that has at least some dressage training.

Ask your instructor to help you with your seat and balance-- she may be able to help you with this a lot even if she isn't the best at training you for dressage. Having a good seat (able to go with the horses movement, use your hands independently of your seat, stay in balance) are all essential basics you'll need for dressage. Later, you'll learn to influence the horses movement with your seat as well.

Oh, and I forgot to say... when your instructor says 'heels down' or push your heels down, this can cause a rider to brace against the stirrups, which you don't want to do. In dressage you really don't need your heel down, just level is ok. You want that feel of your legs wrapping around the horse and some instructors think they can get this by asking you to get your heels down... this never worked for me and in fact sometimes resulted in pushing my seat out of the saddle. It might help to think 'toes up' a bit vs. 'heels down' but if either of these cues cause you to brace against the stirrup or push you out of the saddle, then don't use them.

Last edited by ebrides; 05-26-2012 at 12:26 PM. Reason: addition
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post #16 of 27 Old 05-26-2012, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much everyone! Since then a lot has happened, Mouse was a lesson horse that used to know dressage but forgot a lot, even my instructor had trouble getting him on the bit.

Since then however, I have actually become an instructor at my barn!! I teach young children, just walk and trot and that kinda stuff. Since I'm an instructor I get to lease my own horse! The BO brought over a horse from the other barn and she's an arab who is trained in everything from dressage to jumping. She's beautiful and I love her already!! She is a little fat and out of shape since she was out of work for 6 months due to an abscess I believe. However, she has the smoothest gaits in the world which :) only thing is since she has been out of work for a while she's a little ouchies on her front right foot, I think due to gaining muscle and such. As soon as I can, I'll post a video of her!!!!! Shes BEAUTIFUL!!! Im beyond blessed :)

Dressage for me please!
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post #17 of 27 Old 05-26-2012, 09:57 PM
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Let me just state, for the record... You are out of your mind.
You've been "riding for a few months". That's a direct quote from you. I'm going to let you know... Anyone who would willingly put you in a position to give lessons is horribly irresponsible. You are going to get someone seriously hurt.
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Last edited by Allison Finch; 05-27-2012 at 03:49 AM.
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post #18 of 27 Old 05-27-2012, 05:25 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, were going to start getting rude? "you look like a naturally talented rider", that's a direct quote from YOU. I've been training for teaching under my trainers and they have no hesitations about putting me in this position. By the way, how dare you insinuate that I am going to get someone seriously hurt. I will not stand for this blatant disrespect! I do respect the knowledge you have presented to me, but the video you see is on me riding dressage, not my teaching abilities. You have no idea what I am able to do in that area, so do NOT say that I am going to get someone hurt based on nothing at all besides the fact I have been riding for almost 8 months.

Dressage for me please!
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post #19 of 27 Old 05-27-2012, 07:49 AM
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If you were teaching people on their own horses or trying to teach any sort of higher level stuff, there'd be an issue. But teaching kids to do the very basics on some school ponies, with supervision from qualified instructors, go for it girl! BUT, please make sure that you are definitely covered under the school's insurance - if a kid comes off and gets hurt while you're teaching, you may need to come up with a very large sum to cover the kids medical expenses if you're not covered with insurance.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

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post #20 of 27 Old 05-27-2012, 08:36 AM
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I started teaching by helping getting beginners on the school ponies to the ring, fitting helments, adjusting stirrups, tightening girths, etc. and then progressing to correcting postion, reinforcing safety rules and leading games while assisting another instructor in the ring.

If that's what you're doing that's one thing. Still surprised that you're doing it with your amount of experience, but as long as you're under the supervision of another instructor, no major red flags.

If you're doing any more than that, yes, then I seriously question how anyone with 8 months total experience can be either be safe or effective teaching and there are BIG red flags.

Not saying any of this to beat you up or make you feel bad about your progess. However, you need to be aware that this is going to be a fairly typical reaction to your teaching arrangement and you and your instructor need to be prepared for it.
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