lessons: dressage vs. "plain English" - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 113 Old 08-30-2013, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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lessons: dressage vs. "plain English"

I have been riding horses for about three years now, mostly on my own. I feel pretty competent with the basics, but I often get frustrated by my lack of finesse. So I want to take lessons. I'm wondering what the differences are between beginning dressage lessons and generic English lessons (English pleasure?). I've heard that dressage is good cross-training for endurance (which is what I ultimately want to do), and I want to be able to do it with my current and future horses. Sorry, I don't know that much about the different types of English riding...I'm just trying to figure out what kind of lessons I should take. :) Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 113 Old 08-30-2013, 07:42 PM
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I think dressage is good for any kind of riding, reeally

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post #3 of 113 Old 08-30-2013, 08:23 PM
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The issue with english is the different types of seats...more forward for hunters/jumpers/eventers and pleasure, more balanced/deep for dressage. In truth you can't go wrong in learning either one at your current level and dressage is used in basic hunter/jumper/eventer training in any case. If you ride in a dressage saddle and later go to an event saddle, the change won't be too severe, but, if you go from a dressage saddle to a flat english saddle, like an equitation version, the change may be more dramatic.

Isn't endurance riding usually done in a western saddle?
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post #4 of 113 Old 08-30-2013, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tlkng1 View Post
Isn't endurance riding usually done in a western saddle?
Sometimes, though not really at higher levels. I've seen mostly endurance saddles, specialized, or dressage, but that's in my very limited observation. :) I think I read that Western saddles generally put weight too far back for long distances.
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post #5 of 113 Old 08-31-2013, 09:01 AM
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I personally think dressage basics would be more beneficial. it helps develop a rider to sit evenly on yhe horse, it helps the rider understand hiw your weight affects the horse, it helps thr horse learn to move away from subtle pressure, and teacges the horse to carry its weight more evenly balance (instead of dragging itself around on the forehand).

I've found that dressage helps significantly on trails. I shift my weight and we can bypass the tree limbs sticking out, or I can balance my horse with some small half-halts with just my seat before the steep hill so my horse doesn't trip. I watch my friends on their horses and they struggle to control the horse to go through or around obstacles.

I've found that there are a lot of people without the skills that call themselves hunter or huntseat trainers. The dressage trainers aren't too much better, but at least you can look up their show records on centerline scores, or check their trainer certs, to verify what they tell you. I recently met an HJ trainer that has never ridden english, ever. Never jumped. She teachea kids to jump. I question how much someone knows when I see something like that.
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post #6 of 113 Old 08-31-2013, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, core. :) I would definitely appreciate that subtle control on trails as you mentioned.
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post #7 of 113 Old 08-31-2013, 01:48 PM
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For me dressage is flatwork and jumping is jumping...I don't have any other form of English to worry about. Flatwork is essential general riding and for balance in jumping and so is the basis of all riding for me. Dressage is just the refinement of the ridden aids.
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post #8 of 113 Old 08-31-2013, 03:50 PM
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We UK people (and Europeans in general) that are taught in approved riding schools or in an approved way start out in what you call basic dressage seat and for me its the foundation for everything else - you then adapt that general style for jumping or higher level dressage if you decide to go in that direction
Not sure how it relates to endurance though I have a friend who competes in both dressage (lower levels) and endurance on the same horse
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post #9 of 113 Old 09-01-2013, 09:17 PM
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Good basics are pretty much the same no matter what name they are taught under. The basics for the horse are the foundation that leads to specialization and the Basics for the rider allow for specialization. Without solid basics both horse and rider will come undone, it is just a matter of when and how spectacular the crash will be.

There are a Lot of jumper riders who can ride `dressage` coaches under the table. They are beautiful to watch, and their horses do so well. I personally think Eventers know more about real riding than Dressage ( as in Big D Dressage) riders do. I would look for a coach who has students and horses in all 3 disciplines. Has a Happy, freindly, welcoming barn full of content riders and fat, shiney, sound, happy horses. Get some Good Solid basics. I also want to say that just because they can ride does NOT mean they can teach.
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post #10 of 113 Old 09-02-2013, 06:56 AM
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Teekin - The upper level eventers are just as good at dressage because they take dressage lessons from qualified dressage instructors. It's not a closed system where eventers only train with eventing coaches. They'll use whatever trainer (dressage or eventing) will help them succeed the most.

If the OP doesn't want to jump, why would taking lessons from trainer who's entire barn jumps be ideal? Or were you trying to imply only eventers know dressage?
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