"Dressage" and jumping (long) - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 28 Old 04-10-2009, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Bleh. I know I'm really not explaining what I'm trying to say. I can see why you guys think I'm disagreeing, I suck at getting thoughts into words Please no one feel I'm trying to be insulting or argumentative, I'm just trying to explain my thoughts

I AGREE dressage/flat work/whatever you call it is neccessary to jump well. But riders and horses can competently jump well with good form without ever taking a single dressage lesson. Flat lessons with a good (doesn't need to be top level) trainer serve the same perpose, even if you think of it as lesser degree. No, maybe they can't do top level riding, but how many people can anyway? I/my horse certainly can't go off and do great at a dressage comp. yet he won several of his flat/jumping classes last week with his trainer out of 21 baby greens, and placed well with me. Someday I would love to try dressage, but that's not happening untill I am an adult and I hate that I am looked down upon at times on here because I don't take dressage lessons. Bleh, I should take a writing class or something, I cannot express what I'm thinking in words
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post #22 of 28 Old 04-10-2009, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 1dog3cats17rodents View Post
yet he won several of his flat/jumping classes last week with his trainer out of 21 baby greens, and placed well with me.

Baby green...was that hunter or jumper ? And at what height?


"With his trainer".......so the trainer was riding some or all of theses classes and again at what height and was that hunter or jumper?


"Placed well with me"

Again at what height and was that hunter or jumper? And how well did you place?
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post #23 of 28 Old 04-12-2009, 10:46 AM
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I am starting to think that you feel "Dressage" Is a higher class of flat work. While it is not.

Flat work is dressage - dressage is flat work. When you take flat work lessons at your barn, you are in reality, doing dressage.

There is no higher class here - until you branch to higher levels. But strong fundamentals in training level dressage essential - which is, basic flat work.
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post #24 of 28 Old 04-12-2009, 03:08 PM
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Good discussion! Here's my experience with all this...

I haven't been into horses all sixteen years of my life, so I've come to monumental realizations fairly recently at my barn concerning this topic. A few years ago at my old barn, which didn't really have a declared specialty, (it was like beginner through intermediate lessons in western pleasure, english pleasure and a little bit of hunt seat) we were basically taught what Gillian mentioned earlier. Luckily I rode at my friend's private barn at the same time so we could learn things on our own, but we totally had misconceptions on what a headset was, what being on the bit was, what collection felt like, and pretty much had never heard of bending. To us, flatwork was simply walk trot canter, and dressage was, (as MIEventer put it) a "higher class of flatwork". No, it wasn't even that, it seemed untouchable. Like unless you had the fancy saddle and the FEI coach, you couldn't even attempt it.

So then I moved to my current barn where eventing/dressage is the focus. The barn owner's mom has a ridiculously beast dressage history, and she's connected with all of the other dressage trainers in our area. I somehow managed to go for awhile without consistent lessons from anyone because I just wanted to do hunters with my seasoned foxhunter. Every once in awhile I would catch a short dressage lesson, (and not understand/pick up pretty much any of it) but I didn't really care because my horse was a sweet jumper, had a nice topline because of it, and I was very happy with what I had- at the time. Fast-forwarding to December, one of my friends at my barn gets a new horse- a thirteen year old dressage/jumper mare who she plans on getting to prelim with. A few weeks later, I find out that my eight year old is showing the beginning stages of arthritis in one of her back fetlocks, and my vet recommends that I find a new horse if I want to compete above 3'. A few weeks later she has her hocks injected, but still looks stiff. A horse chiropractor comes out a month later to realign her pelvis. Now she's moving better, but the damage has already been done. I'm not saying that if I had taken my dressage lessons seriously Lena would be completely sound, but I'm SURE if she was started with a solid and correct dressage foundation rather than jumping into foxhunting, she would at least be in a healthier state right now- like my friend's thirteen year old mare.

I'm so fortunate to have found an amazing dressage coach who understands how to correctly adapt dressage with my riding goals. Like, I'm not sure exactly what path I want to go down with my green OTTB, (eventing or hunters) so my coach is basically teaching me how to LOOK like a hunter rider, but ride like a dressage rider. In the process my horse in learning how to correctly use her back, (so I don't have to rely on something like jumping for her to have a decent topline) and not pull or lean into corners, and I'm not just perched up there! I also don't have to worry about Gracie going "flat", which was my main concern if I pursued hunters with her. The great thing about this too is that I can easily change my focus to eventing- because my horse will have had the dressage basics and only needs to be tweaked rather than completely retrained.

One thing that my coach always stresses about my training is that Gracie and I need to establish a "safety net" if we ever get into a sticky spot, and that would be balance. If Gracie and I are jumping around a course, (regardless of height) I don't want her to panic after a long spot/chip, or maybe we took a corner too tightly and she fell in, maybe I got left behind, whatever. I want her to allow me to rebalance ourselves if we ever get into a jam, and dressage basics are going to help us tremendously to achieve that, and not to mention, help us to BE balanced throughout the entire course!

Another note, there's an insane difference in jumping styles between horses with correct dressage training backgrounds and horses just broke w/t/c. I've seen the "weekend warriors" pop over a vertical with their trail horses in the ring, and the muscles that they use make them look like poo. Even the horses that are consistently jumped but don't have correct muscling, IMO they just have an easier time looking like poo. Not only is dressage important for teaching your horse HOW to move, but it teaches them WHAT to move too. A horse that can choppily w/t/c on the forehand is going to have an awkward deer jump, while a horse that uses his back and moves from behind is going to feel lofty and smooth.

IMO, it all comes down to this; if you just want to have an adequate jumper to have fun with at low rated shows, you decide what training you want to have. But if you've ever thought about pinning at an A+ show, daydreamed about jumping over that huge log that says ROLEX, or if you plan on having a healthy horse for a very long time, take some dressage lessons.

Last edited by kerplop; 04-12-2009 at 03:16 PM.
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post #25 of 28 Old 04-12-2009, 04:52 PM
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Well said kerplop! I'll be very interested to know how you progress with your green OTTB. I'm in the exact same boat with my 6 year old OTTB.
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post #26 of 28 Old 04-12-2009, 07:11 PM
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or if you plan on having a healthy horse for a very long time, take some dressage lessons.

I agree that Dressage is there to help our horses physically. We want to be well rounded, balanced riders - as we want our horses to be well rounded, balanced mounts.

It saddens me to see low level riders, not putting the effort into dressage like they should be. They go around with flat heavy horses, hollowed backs and jumping not so well.

But, that is because they are being taught that.

To do dressage - you it doesn't matter what saddle you are in. I know western people who do dressage in their western saddle.

It doesn't matter - dressage is dressage regardless of what tack you have on. You do dressage in a western saddle, Close Contact Saddle, A/P saddle and even a dressage saddle - no matter how you dress it, it is still dressage.

I know Barrel Racers to who take dressage lessons, and Reiners as well.

Believe it or not - Dressage was done by the Millitary Mounted Riders. Their horses were meant for war - but they rode and trained dressage. They did it, because it made their horses that much more efficiant and effective when needed.

Heck, how do you think the Lippizanner Stallions got started? They were war horses - and dressage made them that much more efficiant and effective on the battle field.

Think of what it does for you when you want to jump.
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post #27 of 28 Old 04-19-2009, 11:17 PM
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I think dressage plays a BIG role if you want to be good at jumping. George Morris has been saying that for ages. You don't need a pro. D trainer just a one who knows what it is.
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post #28 of 28 Old 04-20-2009, 03:03 PM
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That is right - and if George Morris was one of the creators of Hunter/Jumpers in North America, and he professes how important Dressage is - then Hunter/Jumpers should be focusing on that more so than going over fences.

If GP Jumpers who grew up in the Hunter/Jumper world - work on Dressage 6 days a week with their horses, and jump once a week - then lower level Hunter/Jumpers should see how important it is and accept the discipline.

If these big named riders and trainers stress how important Dressage is, then we as lower level riders should accept it.
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