"Dressage" and jumping (long) - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 28 Old 04-09-2009, 07:38 PM
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Dressage is the real name for "Flat work" or "Cross Training"

That's like calling a Window Washer a Glass Technitian - when we all know what it really it.

Or a Gas Tenant a Fuel Technitian. Waitress a Server.

It is what it is. You can cover it up as much as you like - but flat work is dressage.

LOL - I laugh at those, who do "flat work", at how upset they get with me, when I tell them what they really are doing is basic level dressage.

I also don't think they need so much "dressage" as they need basic flat work of working of the leg and being uphill, getting proper bend, control/pacing, and proper contact with the bit. Although that is basically what dressage is all about, I don't think that means a rider needs to do dressage to learn these things
That is what dressage is. And yes - in order for you to learn those things, guess what - you're doing dressage. That is dressage. That is what dressage is all about.

I always say, and have always said -


Again, and I will stress - if GP level jumpers, spend 6 out of 7 days, doing dressage with their horses *or as those who are in denial....flat work* ...there is strong theory behind this.

Because it makes the horse that much better at their job at hand - regardless of what height you are doing.

Dressage is simply good basic riding and most people do not even recognize it as "dressage" until the more "interesting" or "exciting" movements become apparent. A turn in a corner taken in balance ( no shoulder dropping) IS dressage just not often referred to in that term.

Most jumper riders simply call it flatting and for low level jumping fancy moves are not needed but a balanced horse is.

The problems will occur when serious jumping is considered. When the horse moves into the 3' to 3'6" height some ability to collect and extend will be required and it is here where the men from the boys are seperated. I have seen classes where a horse goes flying through a 2' 2'6" course almost out of control and if any degree of carefulness is expressed by the horse it will probably win, however that horse will fall flat on its face if it attempts to go flying through a 3'6" course. The horse will be flat and the needed arc to get over a bigger fence will be missing.

In a jump off while speed is important good judgement and a balanced horse is MORE important. You can't cut corners with speed and have the horse fall on its shoulders and expect to have your horse jump clean with only two strides out from the jump. So yes you can go fast but your turns will need to be bigger and you WILL lose time in that turn.

A perfect example is a show my boy was at. The class before his was at the 2'6" and the winning horse did the jump off in 32 seconds. My horse had an identical jump off course but at the 3'6" level and required a lot more care. My horse did the jump off in 30.5 seconds and actually went slower through the course.

He simple cut every corner available by skimming by jumps the other horse before him had to make a wide berth on. The only way he was able to stay in balance to jump the bigger jumps faster (while traveling slower) was because he could maintain his balance and collect when needed...and THAT is dressage or flatting.
Exactly, and great post.

I am disgusted at how many people show up at a Hunter/Jumper Show - compeating in the show ring, with their horses on the forehand, heavy on the front, flat, stiff, false frames - going around their courses not representing their sport to the best of their abillity.

I see it over and over and over - because riders are NOT BEING TAUGHT properly by their coaches.

Uneducated Coaches, turning out Uneducated Riders.

So the riders end up with holes in their education, and the horses end up with holes in their training. The only one who benefits, is the coach who gets the money in their pocket.
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post #12 of 28 Old 04-09-2009, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 1dog3cats17rodents View Post
However, although it's not called dressage at my barn, I do take usually one flat lesson a week, working on bending, leg yields, circles, and especially getting my big boy to work underhimself.
That's the way it was at all 3 barns I've been to... We did all those things, we just didn't call it dressage. It confused me when people here said you need dressage lessons to jump.
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post #13 of 28 Old 04-09-2009, 08:28 PM
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Again - if GP Jumpers ride and train on the flat 6 days a week with their horses, and jump one day a week - while us at lower levels are doing maybe 15 minutes to a 1/2 hour a day here and there and spend most of our time jumping..........

There's something wrong with the picture. There is something wrong with the coaching.
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post #14 of 28 Old 04-09-2009, 08:28 PM
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Before I had my own horse, I'd go to jumper shows to get my horse fix. At one show, I spotted one rider who was warming her horse up in a nice round frame. I went up to her and told her how refreshing it was to see at least one rider who gets it and one horse who isn't going to be out of work with a bad back by age 9. She won almost every class because her horse was so efficient with turns and adjustable for the weird distances. It's good stuff.
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post #15 of 28 Old 04-09-2009, 08:34 PM
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post #16 of 28 Old 04-09-2009, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MIEventer View Post
Dressage is the real name for "Flat work" or "Cross Training"

It is what it is. You can cover it up as much as you like - but flat work is dressage.

LOL - I laugh at those, who do "flat work", at how upset they get with me, when I tell them what they really are doing is basic level dressage.
I'm not disagreeing or "covering it up". Yes flatwork is dressage. Yes it is neccessary. I'm just saying I see no reason why people are told they are ruining their horses because they don't practice 2nd level dressage, or training under a top level dressage trainer, or blah blah blah. Yes dressage is great, but it is pretentious to act like the only way anyone can ever get that training is in a dressage setting. No, I can't go out and score well in low-mid level dressage, but I can still ride effectively and get my horse to move correctly (at least as well if not better then many of the "dressage trained" horses I've seen whether in person or online). Bleh, I suck at getting my thoughts into words
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post #17 of 28 Old 04-10-2009, 01:37 AM
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I agree completely with these posts about dressage or flat work being essential. When I was little (from when I started riding at 6, to about 14 years old) I rode at a hunter/jumper farm that taught NOTHING about the correct way for a horse to carry itself. All that was taught was how to sit pretty, ask for certain gaits, count strides, and two-point. Never even heard the word contact. I actually only started learning about how there is a certain way a horse should carry itself when I was riding, get this, western pleasure at a fancy Morgan show barn. I showed western pleasure but schooled on the flat both western and english, and did lots of dressage work. This was a totally new concept for me, and once I realized what I had been missing out on for so many years I was majorly ticked off.

With my new horse my eventual goal is to jump. He's a FANTASTIC jumper and can EASILY school four foot. BUT, we'll be taking strictly dressage lessons until we've reached the point where we're both ready to start jumping, and even then, we'll start slow and still mostly do flat work. I'm so excited to have learned just how important dressage is and can't wait to start my lessons.


I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it
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post #18 of 28 Old 04-10-2009, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 1dog3cats17rodents View Post
Rather then steal certain other threads, I'm creating a new thread based of others. How much dressage do you think one needs to jump? I've never taken a single dressage lesson (and don't have any opportunity to) However, although it's not called dressage at my barn, I do take usually one flat lesson a week, working on bending, leg yields, circles, and especially getting my big boy to work underhimself. Then, my other lesson is 15 mins flat work, 15 mins jumping. I'm only jumping <2'6" on my 16'3" horse, and will be doing so for several months. Even after that, I doubt I will jump over 3ft.

My opinion is that this is plenty. I don't think people need a professional dressage trainer if they ever want to jump, I think they need a trainer who works on the flat, and the rider has to be wiling to practice outside their lesson, not just excersize. Also, form, striding, and carriage should be valued over jump height. With that, I think jumping is no problem, IMO it's not reasonable to say a horse and rider should be 2nd level dressage just to jump. What do you think?
I 100% agree with you! That is the exact same thing i do to.
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post #19 of 28 Old 04-10-2009, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Equuestriaan View Post
Well, dressage does help with your jumping. I had 5 years of strictly flatwork before I ever started to jump.

I had 11 years of flatwork before i started jumping haha
dressage is very important in almost all disciplines :)
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post #20 of 28 Old 04-10-2009, 10:02 AM
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I'm just saying I see no reason why people are told they are ruining their horses because they don't practice 2nd level dressage, or training under a top level dressage trainer, or blah blah blah.
I don't recall anyone saying that you have to have 2nd level dressage, nor train under a top lovel dressage coach.

You must have dressage under you, in order to jump.

Jumping is Dressage with speed bumps. The evidence is there, with those who show up at comps and have strong basics of dressage under them, are beating those who do not. Plain and simple.

Horses who have their rides focus allot on dressage with their horses, are cleaning up in the competative ring, and are progressing higher and higher and higher in levels.

Plain and simple.


If you look at the world of Eventing. Look at the dressage tests for Beginner Novice, and Novice.

Now - in accordance to those dressage tests, take a look at the height of fences they are jumping. Nothing exceeding 3'0".

Now, look at Training Level. Look at their dressage tests. Much different. They are in accordance to the heights they are jumping.

Continue to do this from Prelim to CIC**** and CCI****.

Vast differences in levels of dressage, and heights of fences from Beginner Novice/Novice to 4 star.

Because the dressage has to coincide with the heights of fences - designed by the masters such as Jim Wofford, Davidson's, O'Connors and the list goes on.


It creates an all round, developed, balanced mount. And it creates a rider who can use their aids independantly, efficiantly, effectively, with balance and strength.

If you even attempt to Event, with little basics of dressage - you will not place.

Our Masters stress time and time and time again, how important dressage is. Because there is strong evidence to support it.


No one here said you have to train 2nd level dressage just to jump 2'3" - 2'6", 2'6" - 2'11". No one said that.

But it is clear evidence, that when a horse is plowing around heavy and fast and flat, that there is lack of education in the dressage department.

Be FAIR to your horses. Be FAIR to you.

The heigher you go up in heights, the more dressage you must put into your horse and yorself. Doesn't mean you have to train 2nd level movements, but I'll tell you what - it sure does help.

You don't have to have a Top Level Dressage coach to do this eiter - but lets be honest and frank here. How many good "All Round" coaches are there out there? Slim to none.

Another beef of mine. Too many coaches thinking they can teach everything. But that's another topic.

Venture out there, venture out of your little world of lessons at your barn. Venture OUT. Go to clinics and audit them. Listen, watch, observe, ask questions. Ride in clinics if you can. You can obtain so much!

Take what you've learnt and bring that home with you.


No one here is telling you, that you have to go to 2nd level dressage to jump - that is an over exaggeration or have to have a top level dressage coach - another over exaggeration.

What we are telling you, is that dressage shows its evidence of proper training, education, in both horse and rider. The evidence is there.

I have cliniced under 4 star Rolex Eventers, and whenever a student has an issue, they always stress - go back to dressage.

Jim Wofford stresses it in his columns. David and Karen O'Connor, Ian Millar, Beezie Madden, George Morris - all of them, and the list goes on - tell their students that dressage is the fundamentals to good riding. Without it, you are doing an injustice to both you and your horse.

I've heard it. I've read it. I've seen the evidence.


I am no top level dressage competator. I do not train under some top level dressage coach. I compete Novice/Training eventing - and I am not doing 2nd level movements.

But I'll tell you what - I focus on dressage more so than anything else. We have our issues and things to work on - BUT - I know my horse can jump. I know I can jump.................but I want to make that jump just that much better.

If it wasn't for dressage, we'd look like others out there - not representing our sport, and their horses, to the best of their abillities.
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