Training my horse beginner dressage
   

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Training my horse beginner dressage

This is a discussion on Training my horse beginner dressage within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Beginning dressage training for the horse
  • Dressage training beginners

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  • 1 Post By Shasta1981
  • 4 Post By tinyliny
  • 1 Post By Beling

 
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    04-13-2012, 09:46 PM
  #1
uii
Foal
Training my horse beginner dressage

Okay, my horse and I are really getting into dressage. I've decided I wanted to start him off really slow, and simpler, because I understand dressage is a slow process, and I realize I will have to be very patient. But, before we do some stuff, I wanted to ask a few questions.
Okay, so we're starting with something not too terribly hard. Standing square. I don't know if it's required at the beginner level, but I know it'll probably be best if he does it, in the long run. I am teaching him this but halting him, giving him a second or so to place his feet, then dismounting, and backing him up and moving him forward a step or two until he gets it right. Then I make a big deal of it, praising and patting him. Then I remount. I have to dismount because normally nobody else is down there watching me, and I want to make sure he completes the stand square halt correctly. He's catching on it, and is getting it on the first try more often now. I never place his feet for him by picking them up because I know he needs to learn to place them himself.
I am also going to work on free walking. I know it's pretty common, but I would like to master it pretty well. I know the horse has to put his head down, and the ride has to loosen contact with her reins, but keep a soft contact with the mouth. It's definitely not a lazy walk, but I'm a little confused on this one. I can't just pray he puts his head down. He needs to know how to do it, I can't expect him to because he doesn't know it! Also, with this one, is there a certain way he needs to place his hooves? I want to make sure I understand all of this fully before I teach him, so I know exactly what to teach.
Eventually, we'll be working on backing up. Because I'm down there by myself, I tried taking him up to three poles on buckets, laid in a rectangle with one short missing side. He went into it, and I pulled back on the reins, and squeezed lightly, and he backed up! I plan on trying backing him out longer each time, until he's completely out of the 'rectangle,' and backing away from it. But we're not quite there yet!
I also wanted to teach him to do a flying change, but that will come a lot later. He needs to pick up on the correct lead every time before we get there!
He's also picking up on turn on the forehand, but we aren't focusing on that at the moment. I don't want to rush him, but if he can do it, that's great!
Okay, I'm sorry for such a long message. My questions are:

Standing Square:
Is it required at beginner level?
Is it okay for me to mount and dismount like that while training?

Free walk:
Is there a certain way he has to place his hooves?

Backing up:
Could my technique possibly work?

Other:
Is there something I should teach him before these movements? (He's developed great medium gaits, with a fantastic bouncy dressage canter.)

If you could answer any of my questions, that would be great! If you have any exercises we could try to get him ready for one of these moves, tips, or even training techniques, please let me know.
Oh, and as a little side note, for if we get there, (and I understand it will take years to train this) What are collected and extended gaits exactly? And which should be taught first at which gait (I'm assuming extended walk, but I want to check.)
Thank you!
     
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    04-13-2012, 10:20 PM
  #2
Weanling
Do you not have access to a dressage trainer? Would be best, since accurate, timely instruction will be your best friend here. It sounds like no, so keep in mind that it make take even longer since you will be learning together on your own.

Square halt - Yes, definitely something to work on and set as a goal. I'm not sure what your horse's situation is but depending on how much (or little) muscle he has, this can actually be difficult for him. I say try it a few times and move on, especially if he gives it to you.

Freewalk - Are you familiar with Jane Savoie? I think her tips might help you! She can explain (and do) waaaay better than I can. In my opinion, the walk is the most difficult gait to get right. Maybe that's just me.

HOW TO DO A GOOD FREE WALK IN DRESSAGE | Jane Savoie

For backing up - not sure I'm following your method. Be careful about backing up. Good to to be able to do it and use to check-in on obedience level but I wouldn't spend copious amounts of time on it. Dressage is about forward!

I wouldn't even think about flying changes at this point.

Good on you for wanting to take things slowly and correctly with your horse. =)


Again, I don't know how remedial we are talking about, but I would work on shoulder-fore with him at the walk and trot. That is where your horse is moving on four tracks instead of two, and the shoulders will be a bit to the inside (and is the precursor to the shoulder-in which is on three tracks.) This will actually keep your horse straight.


All of this work is hard for him when done correctly which is why it takes so long!
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    04-13-2012, 11:39 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
I think it's quite interesting how you have thought each thing out and your approach to it is very reasonable and almost scientific.
However, dressage is more that a bunch of individual "things" that you teach the horse. It's more like a system. Think of it as learning how to do ballet. A person from the outside might think , Oh, I just stand tall and kind of twirl around.
But ballet has always been taught from a standarized progression; position one, two, then three, then four, then Plie, then jouie and so on. The reason it's done in this stepped manner is that one needs to know the bottom parts in order for the next ones to go on top. They aren't equal, so you cna't learn them in just any order.

And , since dressage is about training, even like training an athlete, you have to develop the strength to do the basics before you do the next things.

So, moveing forward, cleanly, rythmically, with lots of energy and freedom in the back is probably the very first step in dressage. Flying lead changes come along some time after that, with quite afew steps in between.

This is not to say that you cannot try working on backing up and standing square at a halt. Those things are good for any horse to learn, beacuse they are part of being a good riding horse, whatever discipline you would do.

And free walk is something you can work at, too. It's not a matter of where your horse puts his feet per say. It's more a matter of how freely and energetically; he is walking. Imagine him in the pasture and he sees you and knows you might have a treat. But, he is too lazy to run to you. He will, however , walk with long strides and at a rythm that isn't rushed but is NOT ambling. His neck will be down, his ears pricked forward and he will be using his neck to stretch outward, with his nose out in front of the vertical, very focussed onmoving forward. That is what you would want to start with for your free walk.
     
    04-14-2012, 10:21 AM
  #4
uii
Foal
I currently don't have access to a trainer, but thank you so much! I understand how to teach these more fully now! (Not that the topic is closed. All tips are always appreciated.) Thanks!
     
    04-14-2012, 03:15 PM
  #5
Weanling
I think many of us started with the idea that dressage was about "movements", like an obedience test, and it's confusing to discover they are indeed more like little tests, to see if your training and development of your horse is coming along correctly. The best halt, for instance, comes from good balance in the gait you're halting from, along with sensitive response to a well-balanced rider.

As for going slowly, don't worry about that. Be patient for sure, but try to progress a little every day. It will go slowly enough, believe me, without your trying to slow things down.
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    04-14-2012, 09:02 PM
  #6
uii
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beling    
I think many of us started with the idea that dressage was about "movements", like an obedience test, and it's confusing to discover they are indeed more like little tests, to see if your training and development of your horse is coming along correctly. The best halt, for instance, comes from good balance in the gait you're halting from, along with sensitive response to a well-balanced rider.

As for going slowly, don't worry about that. Be patient for sure, but try to progress a little every day. It will go slowly enough, believe me, without your trying to slow things down.
Thanks on that tip there! I'll be very patient, always! I'm already beginning to see a good amount of progress, so I'm thrilled! Thanks again!
     

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