Prepping for dressage
I plan on taking dressage lessons in the upcoming spring/summer (so excited!). I want to use what I learn on my horse. I really want to start prepping myself so I'm ready, I'm going to read as many books and watch as many videos as possible.
I've heard dressage takes a lot of muscle, so should I start working out or something (I know I have like no muscle :lol:)?
Also, I'm a little confused on bits that are legal in dressage. Are these bits okay?
I'm looking for options to change my horse's bit (right now she's in a kimberwick for jumping and a wonder gag for barrel racing... and she doesn't respond well to a regular snaffle :-|)
Sorry for all the newbie questions! I'm so excited, and I have a tendency to worry a lot when I'm nervous/excited :lol:
Definitely work on building up your core muscles.
And the first bit I don't believe is legal, but the second bit is.
The Dr. Bristol bit is no longer allowed in dreddage competitions. The second bit should be okay. The USEF is the governing body that sets the dressage competition rules. The portion on bits is D120 (pgs. D26-D28).
If correctly taught, dressage will reform a hard mouthed horse to move lightly and obediently from a snaffle. You should call your dressage instructor prior to your lesson and ask her what tack you will need, and if what you have is acceptable for the lesson.
Dressage doesn't take brute strength, but it requires a really strong core (abdomin/lower back area) for balance and absorbing the movement of the horse. It's more important to be flexible and toned. I've hear many dressage riders swear that Pilates was excellent for increasing the strength and flexibility they needed to be better riders. I've had good success with Tai Chi and Yoga. Running helps build your aerobic capabilities (needed for dressage).
I'm so happy you're interested in dressage! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And remember, it's really important to find an instructor who is knowledgable and can break the concepts down into easily understood parts. If you don't understand something, ask.
One of the problems with dressage is that it's extremely difficult to learn on your own. What I would start with is working on your position. You should also start thinking about where your weight is in the saddle (is the weight evenly on both seat bones, just one?). I would spend the time learning as much as possible about the rider aids and how those influence the horse. I would stay away from attempting to train the horse specifically for dressage. It's more important that you can use your body to help the horse, or get out of his way so he can do what he needs to do.
Good luck! I hope you love it. :)
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I've been a lifelong (50-plus years) student of classical riding so Welcome to Dressage!! It's a wonderful journey that never ends. You discover new things about your relationship with your horse at every turn. It's a process that will challenge you, sometimes frustrate you, but always gives you a sense of accomplishment. Just breathe and have fun!!
Thanks everybody! I want to take lessons at a barn that charges $55 for a private one hour lesson with a senior trainer and $40 with a junior trainer. The trainer I really want to take lessons with is a senior trainer, and so hopefully I'll be able to save for $55 lessons lol (If I like it I'm hoping to take 3 months of lessons so it'll be about $660 :shock:... and if I really like it, I'm probably going to want to take more... oh boy lol).
Good on you for wanting to give it a go!!
And just to note $55.00/lesson is VERY much on the cheap end of things for Dressage lessons, a top coach will often charge $80 + /40mins!!!!!
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