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This is a discussion on Question within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        06-24-2010, 10:50 PM
    Question Question

    I have a friend who recently bought a VERY sweet Arabian show horse. Before she got him, he was a top-notch international competitor. He did jumping, dressage, etc. She has retired him because he's totally burned out. Just the sight of a show ring makes him tense. My friend mostly rides Western (but does know basic English) and has no experience with dressage. Sometimes she accidentally cues him for a fancy step. If any of you could explain some cues that might have been used to train him, it would be a huge help! She doesn't need the fancy stuff and doesn't wanna stress him out making him do them.
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        06-24-2010, 11:26 PM
    Green Broke
    Most of the time they are the exact same cues as the ones western riders use, jumpers use, and almost everybody (in general) Im guessing he can piaffe and passage... personally I don't know the cues for those yet, but I think I would have to know what you mean by 'fancy steps' to be any help, sorry!
        06-24-2010, 11:30 PM
    He goes into the piaffe all the time. Idk what the other steps he does are called. He does all the stuff that a top dressage horse would need to compete. She knows how to do side passes, basic forward, back, turn, that stuff.
        06-24-2010, 11:36 PM
    Green Broke
    I would be guessing she needs to use her seat more. It might take her and her hrose a while to get used to eachother and theyre aids. But he's probably super sentsitive and when she asks him to trot or canter she is probably giving to strong of an aid, you would be surprised at how horses feel the tiniest changes in our body.
        06-25-2010, 08:34 PM
    Trust me, my friend is VERY aware of her movements. She knows that she is giving a clear cue to him. She just wants to be able to determine what exactly it is. She's an expert horse trainer. She's just never dealt with dressage before. She trains western pleasure, trail competition, cutting, barrel racing... They're a different world from an international dressage/jumper.
        06-25-2010, 10:17 PM
    Originally Posted by ridergirl23    
    But he's probably super sentsitive and when she asks him to trot or canter she is probably giving to strong of an aid, you would be surprised at how horses feel the tiniest changes in our body.

    Actually I would say she is probably giving a very light aid.

    If the horse was trained properly the lighter the aid the more collected they will be to the point of piaffe or passage.

    To the OP

    I would say that if your friend is not aware of dressage aids she is probably trying to be too careful and piaffe/passage aids are just barely light pricks with the spur that are felt by a sensitive horse before they even touch his body.
        06-28-2010, 02:11 PM
    I talked to Connie. All her horses are trained to that level of sensitivity because it's easier for her to ride them that way. She never shifts her weight unless she intends to cue the horse for something. She never swings her feet. She never plays around with the reins. She knows that if she raises the reins slightly (less than 1/4 inch) he will collect himself and get ready for the next command. She says that sometimes he will start a piaffe when she's just sitting on him talking to someone, not doing anything. I looked online for cues that might be used and she is not doing anything remotely like the ones I've found.
    I'd like you all to understand and consider her abilities. She does not ride dressage, but she is a horse expert. She's been gentling horses since before my parents were born. I watched her take a filly from untouchable to loving everyone in a week's time. She's trained horses in every western discipline. She knows basic English style riding. All I was asking for was a cue that would be likely to be what Barney is understanding as her asking for piaffes. He gets extremely stressed at even the thought of performance steps after 15 years of living in competitions. He hated it and is completely burned out. She just wants to avoid the things that cause him stress.
        06-28-2010, 04:55 PM
    Allow me to say something here if you will. Western and dressage are two separate ball games. One encourages less movement of the hands, and light movements of the legs, more muscle-horse communication, rather than western, reins-bit, and direct leg movement; if the horse is trained in the 'normal' fashion. But that's a bit besides the point.

    What I'm trying to say is. I don't think she's trying to be too careful. I think that Barney is honestly confused with what he should be doing, and that Connie doesn't know how he was trained, thus is only doing what she knows to try and figure him out. He's probably just a very sensitive horse, and very responsive to movements of any sort. I hate to go off a breed, but I can say from past experience that Arabians are very sensitive horses and react to things very very quickly and well.
    Not every horse is trained the same way either, you have to keep that in mind. Let alone, a horse professional won't always know everything about every discipline of riding. Susan made it very clear that she knows Western and basics in english. Yes, you might say that dressage is the basics for all of riding, doesn't mean that all the cues are just simple to explain and figure out, if that was so, everyone would be doing it!

    Honestly though, if a horse started to piaffe while I was sitting on them, I would be confused too. I would start thinking, as Connie probably is, 'ok, what did I do? Where are my legs placed? What are my hands doing?' if anything becoming MORE aware of what I am doing with myself when this happened.

    cues, dressage, training

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