So I will be honest from the get go....dressage really is not my thing. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand why it is necessary and important, I'm just not the greatest at it. I did work with a dressage trainer (who advertised himself as an eventing trainer BTW....in the 2 years I worked for him I had about 3 jump lessons) and learned a lot, but I feel like my knowledge is kind of maxed out at this point. The trainer I ride with now hasn't had a formal dressage lesson in her life (long story), but I am switching barns soon. Anyways, I do flatwork with my gelding 3 days a week and jump 2, but I feel like our flatwork sessions are becoming too repetitive and I don't want him to get bored/crabby by doing the same thing over and over. So, with that being said, what do you all work on while you're doing flatwork?
We aren't doing anything higher than training level dressage. I have taught him how to work off his hind end and power with his butt and accept contact with the bit. Typically we do a lot of transitions on our "dressage" days, lots of circles, serpintines (I'm sure I've spelled this incorrectly :oops:), leg yields and turn on the forehand. I, as a rider, don't feel confident in my shoulder-ins or turns on the haunches and Blazer has never done it, so we are leaving those exercises out until I switch trainers. Anybody out there have any other ideas/exercises for us to work on? Ideally I'd like something that is going to help improve our jumping. And when we do FINALLY get to our first event, I'd like to have an AWESOME dressage round!
Thanks in advance! :D
Why exactly are you doing Dressage??
I don't know about your horse but mine mirror back to me so clearly what my thoughts and attitude is that I'd swear they were right there inside my head with me. If I'm doing something because I think I have to, he darn well knows it and we both suck at it.
I guess I shouldn't have said I don't like it. I just don't foresee mysf as ever being a high level dressage rider. I want to event. Eventin is part of dressage. I want my horse to engage his hindquarters and have a strong top line, and basic dressage can help me achieve this. I want to improve my jumping and dressage helps with that. I just feel like we are getting stuck in a rutt and I want it to be enjoyable for him; I don't want to do the same routine over and over. So I'm hoping others can help give me some ideas in exercises to work on, that's all.
Dressage is part of eventing, is what I meant to say. That's what I get for typing a response on my phone, haha
Even when I jump, I am working on my dressage.
I want my horse engaging his hindquarters, I want to be able to move him off my leg, I want him to go into the contact and having impulsion. It doesn't matter if I am doing flatwork or jumping.
There are heaps of schooling exercises you can do. Serpentine's, Spiral in, Spiral out, school figures, figure 8, transitions, trot poles, leg yield, Flexing, counter flexing, increasing and decreasing the speed of your W, T, C. Practice accuracy for your dressage tests (Change of rein, square halts, straightness, roundness of circles, etc) they are easy marks in a test to get and easy to throw away.
There are a few good book with exercises in them... 101 dressage exercises for horse and rider is a good one - you can even get it as an app on your iphone (if you have one, not sure about android). There is also 101 Schooling Exercises for Horse and Rider too. I use them whenever I am stuck for ideas when schooling my horses. :)
All of this will not only help your jumping, but is can also improve it. My riding coach is an eventer... he is also on the Australian National "A" Dressage Team. He has a team of horses prelim - 2* eventers (his 3* horse has retired) and a team of Medium - Grand Prix dressage horses. The eventers jump maybe once every 1-2 weeks. The rest of the time they do flat work, gallop work and trot poles. He is a big believer in cross training. The dressage horses get to jump and they also go out on trail rides. It keeps them fresh and allows them to experience different terrain. I use a similar training schedule for my eventer and dressage horse.
Definitely any of the 101 Exercises books. Personally I would start with the schooling one, as the dressage one is aimed at a higher level than the schooling book.
Also pole work! I love pole work, all sorts of different patterns can be set up from single poles, related lines, fans, squares, zig zags etc, and all are fantastic for strength and gymnastic work. As NaeNae said, don't overlook the simple ride out either, variety is great for a happy athlete.
Thanks! I actually think my trainer has a copy of the 101 arena exercises book, I will have to ask her to borrow it/check it out!
NaeNae87 and picup436 gave excellent suggestions!
Best of luck and have fun!
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