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- - Learning Dressage (http://www.horseforum.com/english-riding/learning-dressage-20588/)
So to start I am new here. Decided that I was going to need some help learning dressage outside of my trainer. Never hurts to get extra help.
I rode for 5 years bouncing between riding once to three times a week through out that 5 years. Always hunter jumper. That was the focus of the barn I was at so thats what I learned. I had to take 3 years off due to broken ribs and money issues. If you look at my photos, while its anything but perfect the hunter look is still there. Leaning forward, using my reins more then leg, yeah all the bad habits I learned and was never trained out of. Fun times. Anyways, I have fallen into a chance to lease a horse, Emmy the one in the pictures, for nothing but labor. Problem is, she is a dressage horse. I know NOTHING about it. So I am taking lessons from a trainer Emmy's owner hooked me up with and its well... not going well.
I am having a hard time re-training my brain to remember to use the leg not the reins, to sit back, having longer legs is throwing me off balance, and my legs are not strong enough to push the horse the way my trainer wants me to. She is understanding that I am relearning but I think she is annoyed with me to a point. Since I am the first person to be riding her in months and when I started riding her I was just riding her not doing much but just riding so she picked up on the old way so all this stuff, while she knows what I am asking her I have to fight with her to get her to do things now. So not only am I learning something that I have no idea about but I have to fight with her also.
Ideas? Help? Anything?
It will take time, you're going to have to strengthen muscles you may not have used much before. Sit down and talk to your trainer about it. Do you mean it is the horse that you are fighting with? Perhaps she may not be quite the right horse for you, and you say the horse has not been ridden for months, it may be that the horse just needs time to get back into shape too.....I wouldn't do too much too quickly at this point.
I have been in the exact same position. Keep trying. I know how hard it is re learning to position your body, but the harder you work at it, the faster the rewards will come. If you are having trouble with leg strength then go to the gym and get prepared to be sore for a while. For your pulling problem, as dorky as you look, put a bucking strap on your saddle and use it! As for the balance thing, this is a trick that was basically the key for me: balance your head. If you lean forward, then your head falls off, if you lean right, your head falls off, basically if you aren't completely centered in the saddle, every stride, you no longer have a head because it wasn't balanced on top of your body so it fell off. The more you focus on your balance and keeping your hands still, the easier riding will become.
Also: if this trainer isn't motivating you and teaching you what you want, then switch. There are plenty of trainers. And never give up. If you can't find a coach that will help you, then get someone to videotape you riding, and sit at home and watch it and make a detailed list of things you want to improve and then fix them. Your horse will also help you. When you feel good to them, they go better. And if you feel good to them chances are your doing something right.
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