Question about dressage instructors... and more. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-19-2009, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Question about dressage instructors... and more.

As soon as we bring Zeus home I'm going to start taking dressage lesson on him. The barn I'm boarding at is next to a big dressage barn with supposedly fantastic trainers. I've never taken dressage lessons before and want to learn all that I can and really learn how to properly ride. I'll eventually be taking jumping lessons along with the dressage, but I'll be doing solely flat work for a while.

What should I be looking for in a dressage trainer? I want to be able to know whether I have picked the right trainer and I'm really learning the correct way. What should I be wary of? My first goal when he comes home is to get him to slow dawn and speed up though my seat and not have to rely on my reins. He is a great mover and has a wonderful natural way of carrying himself, but from the trial ride I was noticing that by relying on the reins I was causing him to brace against the bit. What can I be practicing when I'm riding outside of a lesson with him to accomplish this? I need to learn how to ask for certain things with my seat, and that will be the biggest obstacle. All the buttons are there for me to push with him, I just have to learn how to ask.

I'm always a bit scatterbrained so I hope you got all that, ha ha.
Thanks in advance!

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-19-2009, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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In my area there is only one English trainer to choose from so I can't help you with picking out a trainer, however,

I have been working on getting my horse to respond more to my aids with a concept called Ask, tell, ask. There is an article on it in either the March or April Practical Horseman if you want to read it explained by an expert but here is the basics

You start with transitions with in the gait. For instance, you have your horse walking on a lose rein and you begin pressing with your hips to encourage him to move faster, if he responds great, if not you tell him to move with your leg, and then ask again with the more your hips. Eventually your horse will learn to respond to the lighter aid. You can do it to transition within all three gaits.

The other half of the exercise is to practice the same ask tell ask principle to move between the three gaits. The added bonus of this is that doing all those transitions is great for building your horses muscles and helps him get strong enough to collect.

Hershey and I have practiced this only twice and already I am seeing great improvement in not only his responsiveness but also the way he carries himself.
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-19-2009, 04:52 PM
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Well, I would choose a trainer that will most help you with their way of teaching. Do you respond better to a trainer who yells, and wants excellance at all times, do you like a trainer who will be firm, but forgiving for mistakes? also, choose the person you click with. You can't get anywhere if you and your trainer can't be friends! Good luck!

Jumping a horse = Getting wings!
Why live on the edge when you can jump off?- Greenwood Horse Trials Tee-Shirt
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-19-2009, 09:55 PM
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If a dressage trainer ever tells you to pull, refers to a horse as stupid/a cow/etc, used any type of gadgets to ge tthe horse's face down (except on the lunge) over tightens any equipment or requires you to have a certain brand of saddle/bridle/everything then run far and fast.
You want someone who is going to give you positive feedback but at the same time isn't going to be afraid to tell you what you need to fix. You want someone who you can learn from, and be friends with as well. Also make sure that they are knowledgeable horse people and don't do anything "weird" or downright dangerous. Show up to the place, look around and watch a bunch of lessons. If it looks like something you'd want to be a part of then talk to them. If you see anything weird, or that your gut tells you is wrong, then get out of there.

Good luck!
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