Starting dressage training...

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Starting dressage training...

This is a discussion on Starting dressage training... within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    10-17-2010, 07:09 AM
Green Broke
Starting dressage training...

Next year for the SANEF shows, we are going to enter dressage as well as jumping. It'll not only be great fun, but great experience and good training for the horses.

Love Story has had very little dressage training, and since I am also very new to it, we deffinitly WONT be doing anything major lol. Anyway...

We had our first dressage lesson, and we worked on getting them onto the bit. Love has never done it in her life, but she was quite amazing. I got her onto the bit for two whole strides, which is an achievement, and my instructer got her onto the bit at halt, a bit at walk, and half the arena at trot. Im very proud of her. She is very lazy though, and moves sluggishly, so I am going to use a dressage whip, which of course will only be used when strictly nessecary.

I just wanted to share our first lesson, and ask for advice on how I can improve myself and Love regarding dressage?
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    10-17-2010, 05:08 PM
Rule number 1

Stop trying to get the horse " on the bit".

Rule number 2

Any instructor that focuses on this to the point that it encumbrances more the 10 % of the beginning lessons should be avoided for they do not understand dressage at all. At best the theory on what "on the bit means" without actually making efforts to achieve it is all any beginner dressage rider should be shown.
    10-17-2010, 08:46 PM
I agree with Spyder. Your instrutor doesn't sound like one I would go back to myself. From the way you descibe it, I can just see what your instructor was doing to get her on the bit (I use this term very loosely in this case) and that was cranking her head into a headset using hands. You can't do it this way. You have to ride the horse correctly from the back to the front, and when you have it correct and it all comes together, then the horse will come up onto the bit herself. Cranking her in with the hands is not on the bit, it is poor form.

Dressage is more than the vertical headset - like Spyder was implying.
    10-17-2010, 09:09 PM
'On the bit' is wording that is very easily misinterpreted. 'Excepting the bit' is much more acurate in explaning what really happens, As the horse is excepting the pressure of the bit without yeilding Its head(ie. Putting his head closer to the chest, stargazing, and bracing against the bit).
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    10-17-2010, 11:54 PM
A horse that is accepting of the bit is not always 'on' the bit. Being on the bit comes from a horse that is working through from it's hindquarters, has a rounded and supple back and accepts the bit. If you are missing one of these, then your horse is not on the bit. There is a lot more to it than that, but it is not just headset or acceptance of the bit.
    10-17-2010, 11:59 PM
Green Broke
Good luck!
    10-22-2010, 01:15 PM
Here is a video on Rider Position that may help.

    10-24-2010, 02:49 PM
Hey I think taking lessons is a great. I take it your first lesson was a group one? As far as working with an instructor and getting your horse to accept the bit and working from behind, its alot of work, got to build those muscles (both you and your horse). Don't be disappointed that it will take awhile to build the muscles necessary to have your horse work from behind and on the bit. All in good time. Lots of leg and seat. Good luck with your lessons and ignore ppl that want to bring you down and not encourage your endevor. Ask your instructor what you can work on at home to help build the muscles you and your horse need. Do your homework and your lessons will be more productive. Like exercise you and your horse can't do this type of training all the time, you will be sore and so will your horse. Oh and have fun learning :)
    10-30-2010, 02:37 PM
Green Broke
Thank you everyone for your feedback, I appreciate it.

Im sorry, I phrased something wrong. When I meant we focused on it, I meant for the "training part" of our lesson, which was only about 10 minutes. The rest was focusing on our general position and hands. I found out that I am way to hard with my hands, so I need to fix that.

My instructor explained to us also that we can't simple use our hands and force the horses to accept the bit (thank you all for explaining that term to me), but that we must basically "drive" our horses into our hands by getting them to work from behind.

Once again, thank you all. Do you have any more advice I can use?
    10-30-2010, 02:51 PM

If Love is sluggish, and you spend a lot of time working in an arena and working to get her onto the bit, you might want to mix it up with other things. Can you hack out? Can you just let her have a short gallop, even in the arena? Can you and your friends play some games? Thinks that will keep the horse lively . Incessant dressage training will make her bored and resentful about it.
For you, if you can ride up and down hill, this will help in YOUR seat and strength. Go over some little jumps, too. Relax, have fun and smile!

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