lessons: dressage vs. "plain English" - Page 3

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lessons: dressage vs. "plain English"

This is a discussion on lessons: dressage vs. "plain English" within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    09-09-2013, 05:57 PM
Originally Posted by Corporal    
I forgot the name of which Itnl USET Jumper, but he rode Showjumpers in two Olympics and then switched to driving Racing Standardbreds for 30 years. It's like that with musicians where someone begins with one instrument, then sometimes switches to a different one and finds that's where they want to stay.
Enjoy, whatever you do. =D
Neal Shapiro is who you are talking about. He competed in one Olympics, at Munich in 1972, and won the team silver and individual bronze for show jumping. He is out of racing and has been back in show jumping for about 15 years in NJ. A very nice man and great trainer.
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    09-09-2013, 06:04 PM
Take lessons and have fun. If it were me, I'd much prefer hunt seat lessons to dressage lessons. I prefer the balance and feel of a forward seat and have no desire to ride in the style of dressage. But you may be different - so take lessons, ask lots of questions from your instructor, learn the hunt seat style of riding, and feel free to try something else when the opportunity arises. Good luck!
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    09-09-2013, 06:18 PM
Originally Posted by Corporal    
It's great that you want to take lessons. Since you've already ridden horses without them, I would advise that you start English Pleasure at the barn where you sister takes Western, if she likes the barn. Part of horses as a hobby is a social element and you two could travel to lessons together and encourage each other.
Yes, the longer any of us rides/trains that more we appreciate Dressage. It's just a fancy title to define the obedience and gymnastic training of horse and rider, made sometimes snobby by an emphasis on the first syllable. =b
Speaking as a past riding instructor, there are probably some bad habits that you will need to eradicate before you tackle Dressage. You probably have a chair seat, no feel for the horses mouth and no understanding of a deep seat and weight cues. UNLESS you can find an academy that starts you on the lunge for 6 months to train your seat and keep your hands away from the reins--you might not like that right NOW--I wouldn't want to teach you basic Dressage on "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) if he was still around, bc you're not ready. You REALLY have to be dedicated to begin your lessons like this, and I get the impression that you want to learn to ride AND have fun. I believe that you can do both, and then see where you want to go with your riding. There is NO perfect form of riding and lots of us like to use our horses for multiple sports. If there is a Dressage academy close by, it will still be there later if you want to take lessons there.
I forgot the name of which Itnl USET Jumper, but he rode Showjumpers in two Olympics and then switched to driving Racing Standardbreds for 30 years. It's like that with musicians where someone begins with one instrument, then sometimes switches to a different one and finds that's where they want to stay.
Enjoy, whatever you do. =D
Alwin Schockemöhle did it too
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    09-09-2013, 06:26 PM
Yes, I know I have bad habits. =P I think my main problem is that my shoulders and arms are stiff. I tend to hunch over, I guess. And I'm still trying to find the sweet spot for contact...there's so much to think about! *brain explodes* Anyways, my teacher said I have a good position having not taken many lessons, the main things to work on are my upper body stiffness and heel position.

Thanks for the tip about keeping my heels down, by the way! I'll have to try that next time I ride.

Good analogy with the musical instruments. I played violin for 4+ years before switching to viola. I guess it's the same principle. :)

I'm going to see if my instructor would let me have my lesson on my mare sometime. We both need training.
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    09-09-2013, 06:57 PM
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
Alwin Schockemöhle did it too
I was thinking USA team members, but should have remembered Alwin Schockemöhle.

Back to the original topic...
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    09-10-2013, 02:08 PM
Green Broke
Oh boy....don't get me started on that...I also took generic English lessons first and then switched to Dressage and found out that I don't know how to ride at all......my toes were turned out which is a no-no in Dressage...I was posting behind the vertical....another big no-no....I had piano hands...huge no no in Dressage....

It's almost as though generic English is a sloppier version of Dressage (no offense) but then again it depends on your instructor as well...

The good news is that this can all be corrected with a great Dressage Instructor...look for someone who has had proper training (USDF training/certification, trained by European master instructors etc).
    09-10-2013, 02:18 PM
Frlsgirl, your instruction was poor, NOT English Pleasure, in general. I taught WP, EP, Beg. Jumping, Beg Dressage, and Military (bc we were CW Reenactors for 26 years.)
I taught my EP students to be balanced at the posting trot and NOT behind the vertical. I am a pianist and can differentiate between correct hands at the keyboard (cupped and weighted at the heel of your hand) and riding (soft with thumbs up.) I pushed correct hands, the width of the bit, and soft--I had many ways to retrain this bc too many students started EP somewhere else and had really no feel. I nagged about toes forward until I was blue in the face, OR, they trained their toes forward. I explained the whys of everything I taught. ALL, with lessons year round outside--I had no great place to teach for 10 years.
I'll say, again to the OP. Take a group of EP lessons at the place where your sister takes lessons. Review your progress and consider your next step. You don't have to sign up for a whole semester, like in college. You can start and stop at any time. If you find a trainer that is also an instructor, that's a great idea, too.
Understand that I LOVE Dressage, as a means to an end. I'm not as excited about just riding Dressage bc I have other horse aspirations, including driving in my future.
Not everyone who hangs out a shingle knows how to teach it. I recommend to the OP that she spend some time REALLY looking into a qualified Dressage program before just jumping into it. Also, I wouldn't worry too much about the actual discipline that a rider studies. When I see someone ride any style correctly and beautifully, I would love to take a few lessons from that someone even if it's SaddleSeat, or Reining, or Calf-roping, which are some disciplines which have never really excited ME, bc ALL riding disciplines show just how much your horse gives back when trained and ridden correctly.
I think that is what the OP really wants.
    09-10-2013, 02:29 PM
Green Broke
Corporal, I'm glad that you are clearely a great English instructor who works on all those important details. Most English instructors in my area, are not like that. They think that if you can sort of sit on a horse in all three gaits, then you are a good rider :)
    09-10-2013, 02:33 PM
Thanks. My teacher was pretty great and I didn't want to let him down.
Where do you live?
    09-10-2013, 02:42 PM
Green Broke
Corporal - I would rather not say...but the area is heavily dominated by cowboys in Western saddles :)

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