Should I switch to a more advanced horse?
I have been half-leasing a QH the past three months and riding her in my lessons. She is not trained in dressage. She's a great school horse because she doesn't spook easily, she tries to please, and she needs strong cues to get moving.
At the end of this month she's leaving the farm because her owner is taking her away.
The past few lessons and practice sessions have all been about putting her on the bit. She's not trained to do it. So essentially I had to teach her. Over and over again, over and over again I practice with her.
I still can't ride a complete 20 m circle with her remaining on the bit. It's true everytime I ride she is getting the concept faster. There is tiny progress.
I read on this forum that the best way to learn dressage is to ride an old retired dressage horse. A horse that's already trained and knows everything, a horse who can teach me, not me teach it. So, I get doubtful and a little upset that I am riding an untrained horse.
Now that she's leaving, I am relieved and hoping to get a more experienced horse. The riding school has profiles of their school horses on the website. Only one of them is described as a dressage horse. But it also states that he is suitable "for more advanced riders".
My instructor at first suggested him and told me I could watch him in other lessons to see what kind of horse he is. She teaches other students on him and she said he likes to "go", and that if I let him, he would break into a canter every chance he gets.
So I thought, okay I'll watch him. The next day, though, my instructor announced that the school will get another QH to replace the one who's leaving, and my instructor said this "nice school horse" will be fine for me.
So once again I am feeling frustrated because in my imagination, I see myself eternally riding a horse who doesn't know anything about being on the bit and me teaching him. Not exactly what I had in mind when I began my lessons!
What do you think? Am I being impatient and unrealistic? Am I being foolish and looking for a shortcut?
I think you should be careful with this horse that's "experienced" because he could just be a hot head and not suitable for someone that is still learning dressage.
Are there other options in the area? I think you should find a level headed trained in dressage horse that is going to take care of you.
I think your trainer doesn't understand your goals but is wanting to keep you safe and match up your abilities with this "nice school horse"
So I would look around, even if you have to go away from your current school if there is a chance to lease something that can really teach you and help develop your skills.
how long have you been riding dressage?
The level of a schoolmaster that can teach you something, depends on what level you are riding presently. If you've been struggling to get the last horse on the bit on a 20m circle for some time, I'd say that for now, you really just need to find a horse that knows how to work on the bit and can do some basic lateral work so you can have a feel of it. Getting a more advanced schoolmaster, say one that has flying changes, more advanced laterals and developed a reasonable level of collection, will be fairly un necessary at this time.
Sky, I also agree with you. I think I need to find more barns/horses I can learn from.
I've only been learning dressage for those 3 months. Gosh it feels like 3 years.
Thanks for the advice guys. I will email my instructor and talk to her about it, now that my head is clearer.
If you've only been learning dressage for 3 months ( assuming once a week lessons) it's no surprise you can't get the horse 'on the bit' for a full circle.
Has your instructor mentioned whether you're encouraging the horse to carry themselves properly and accept the contact or are you working on getting the nose down?
What level are you at elsewhere in your riding?
I personally would go for the quieter horses. I actually enjoyed learning as I taught prin although there were some frustrating times when it all comes together its amazing!
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Is your half-lease horse still used for lessons? Are those the beginner lessons? If the horse is used for beginner lessons all the time you won't progress much, because what you do today will be undone tomorrow by someone not knowing what he/she is doing. I also agree with Kayty that riding high level horse is very beneficial only if you know all cues yourself. :wink:
Since you lease and not own you are somewhat flexible in what you can chose to ride (given they have different level horses in barn). Personally I'd go with 1st or 2nd level horse that is NOT in beginner lessons.
Yes Kitten_Val, the horse IS used for beginners. That's why I'm feeling so frustrated. Everytime I ride we make pathetic progress because the rest of the time she's being ridden by others.
I believe it's time to think of another barn..this barn only has beginner horses. The trainers have their own show horses not used in lessons. Thanks Kitten.
Prinella, I am taking two lessons a week. I think my instructor is teaching me right.
I'd look into a different barn personally. In my experience very few trainers lease out own show horses, but in my area several dressage barns offer such "barn" leases as well as lessons on schoolmasters, although I assume you have to prove you can ride passed beginner level :-) ).
I think beginner horses are saints and absolutely great to use for learning basics (that's what I use for my jumping lessons - just a solid BTDT mount that is nearly not as flexible and responsive as my own mares, BUT will teach me the basics without me worrying about doing something wrong), but not the great option to progress when you have everything in place.
The way I see it, first, you learn to ride along with the horse. With that in mind, the best thing you can do is ride a lot of horses, different types, until you are fairly comfortable with all of them. You learn a deep, independent seat while you develop the balance and muscles you need. You don't try to change the horse so much as go along with him while you jump, trail ride, ride patterns, gymkhana. You get the idea!
The next stage is the influencing of the horse, getting him on the bit and so forth, attention to his rhythm, his balance, his attentiveness. For this, I believe riding ONE horse is best, a horse who will not be ridden by a lot of different kinds of people. How else can you learn whether or not he is learning? It's at this point when a schoolmaster might be helpful, to learn the feel of what is correct. But just learning to "push the right buttons" has never been helpful in my experience. I think every horse develops his own "buttons."
Riding can be such an expensive sport! But maybe it's time you try to find a horse you can lease, or perhaps share, if you can't get one of your own.
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