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1dog3cats17rodents 04-09-2009 05:14 PM

"Dressage" and jumping (long)
Rather then steal certain other threads, I'm creating a new thread based of others. How much dressage do you think one needs to jump? I've never taken a single dressage lesson (and don't have any opportunity to) However, although it's not called dressage at my barn, I do take usually one flat lesson a week, working on bending, leg yields, circles, and especially getting my big boy to work underhimself. Then, my other lesson is 15 mins flat work, 15 mins jumping. I'm only jumping <2'6" on my 16'3" horse, and will be doing so for several months. Even after that, I doubt I will jump over 3ft.

My opinion is that this is plenty. I don't think people need a professional dressage trainer if they ever want to jump, I think they need a trainer who works on the flat, and the rider has to be wiling to practice outside their lesson, not just excersize. Also, form, striding, and carriage should be valued over jump height. With that, I think jumping is no problem, IMO it's not reasonable to say a horse and rider should be 2nd level dressage just to jump. What do you think?

LacyLove 04-09-2009 05:38 PM

i pretty much do the same thigns you do. and i jump, so i agree with you =]

Equuestriaan 04-09-2009 05:38 PM

Well, dressage does help with your jumping. I had 5 years of strictly flatwork before I ever started to jump.

MyBoyPuck 04-09-2009 06:04 PM

I feel that training level dressage skills are more than enough for horses that are not planning on making a grand prix career out of jumping. However, what I've run into over the years is finding a good all around instructor. At least in my neck of the woods, hunt seat instructors tend to dismiss dressage as useless and endless riding in circles, while dressage folks would never consider jumping and find it equally silly. I guess it's the horse version of the classic chocolate/peanut butter conflict.

I've taken lessons from many different hunt seat instructors over the years and never once heard the word "contact". At the lower levels of riding, most will not teach you a thing about getting a horse to use itself well on the flat. It's all point and shoot. The only reason I learned anything about dressage was because I was leasing a rather hot TB. The only way to keep him together mentally was to ride him on the bit. Once I was aware of all the dressage offers in terms of cross training, I was really peeved at all the money I wasted on those useless lessons on hollow backed horses. It also explains why I always seemed to be riding school horses with sore backs. Dressage really does play a large part in getting your horse to use himself correctly over fences. Thankfully with the popularity of eventing, more well rounded instructors are popping up, but there are still a lot of "experts" out who would not recognize a horse being ridding on the bit if it trampled them.


1dog3cats17rodents 04-09-2009 06:11 PM

I like your post! I agree with everything you say. Many/most hunter trainers do kinda teach point and shoot. But although I think riders should learn alot more then that, I also don't think they need so much "dressage" as they need basic flat work of working of the leg and being uphill, getting proper bend, control/pacing, and proper contact with the bit. Although that is basically what dressage is all about, I don't think that means a rider needs to do dressage to learn these things

JustDressageIt 04-09-2009 06:13 PM

I believe that every horse should have a good base in dressage before jumping, i.e. collect/extend, leg yield, shoulder in.
The higher you want to jump, the more dressage you should practice.

mayfieldk 04-09-2009 06:13 PM

Jumping is just 'dressage with speed bumps'. You can never do too much in my opinion. Well trained flat horses can easy go around a small course because their strides are easily compressed/lengthened; but most people focus on jumping because that's the 'fun' part.

I'll put it this way... I've never looked at a show jumper and thought, 'wow, that horse has done too much dressage/flat work!' Lol ;)

Usually I think JUST the opposite!

Spyder 04-09-2009 06:26 PM

Dressage is simply good basic riding and most people do not even recognize it as "dressage" until the more "interesting" or "exciting" movements become apparent. A turn in a corner taken in balance ( no shoulder dropping) IS dressage just not often referred to in that term.

Most jumper riders simply call it flatting and for low level jumping fancy moves are not needed but a balanced horse is.

The problems will occur when serious jumping is considered. When the horse moves into the 3' to 3'6" height some ability to collect and extend will be required and it is here where the men from the boys are seperated. I have seen classes where a horse goes flying through a 2' 2'6" course almost out of control and if any degree of carefulness is expressed by the horse it will probably win, however that horse will fall flat on its face if it attempts to go flying through a 3'6" course. The horse will be flat and the needed arc to get over a bigger fence will be missing.

In a jump off while speed is important good judgement and a balanced horse is MORE important. You can't cut corners with speed and have the horse fall on its shoulders and expect to have your horse jump clean with only two strides out from the jump. So yes you can go fast but your turns will need to be bigger and you WILL lose time in that turn.

A perfect example is a show my boy was at. The class before his was at the 2'6" and the winning horse did the jump off in 32 seconds. My horse had an identical jump off course but at the 3'6" level and required a lot more care. My horse did the jump off in 30.5 seconds and actually went slower through the course.

He simple cut every corner available by skimming by jumps the other horse before him had to make a wide berth on. The only way he was able to stay in balance to jump the bigger jumps faster (while traveling slower) was because he could maintain his balance and collect when needed...and THAT is dressage or flatting.

MyBoyPuck 04-09-2009 06:58 PM

Dressage is simply good basic riding and most people do not even recognize it as "dressage" until the more "interesting" or "exciting" movements become apparent.

I guess it's just the word "dressage" that puts some people off. I find I get a much warmer response when I refer to the flat work as cross training. I haven't done any real jumping with my horse yet, but use the d-word moves daily to improve my horse. When I first got him, being a typical ex-racehorse, he didn't like to pick up his right lead and had a very hard time staying balanced for even a few strides. I spent weeks strengthening his left hind and right front legs using shoulder fore and haunches in. I now have a horse who will pick up whichever lead I ask for and is fairly balanced on each.

While I personally appreciate that dressage is the ultimate horsey tool box, I now call it cross training when I'm with non dressage folks.

JustDressageIt 04-09-2009 07:07 PM


Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck (Post 285784)
I guess it's just the word "dressage" that puts some people off. I find I get a much warmer response when I refer to the flat work as cross training. I haven't done any real jumping with my horse yet, but use the d-word moves daily to improve my horse.

Great response!!

For future reference, I use the "d word," as you so eloquently put it, to refer to schooling on the flat - whether it's in an english saddle, western, or none at all.

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