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eventerwannabe 09-17-2009 02:04 PM

Excercises to make a better dressage horse needed!
So Bear has been a hunter his whole life, but im going to do dressage on him too. He is super out of shape right now, so I know im going to do trot hills today (which I have to be careful about as he has four shoes and the only hills I have are grassy). I know better then to ask for collection while he is all out of shape, though. So what can I do to help him get into the swing of dressage?

I will get video of us riding today, then I can post it, which will give you guys a better idea of what he and I really need to work on. :)

I just want to know what I should work on today (and in the future)!

ridergirl23 09-17-2009 07:07 PM

dressage movements are ment to strengthen the horse, but the way a started my old horse was just to ask for a very small amount of using his back a little more each day, lol but you might want to get some other peoples opinions because i dont know very much about starting a dressage horse! good luck!!

roro 09-17-2009 08:01 PM

because he is an older hunter horse, if you suddenly change everything it may throw him off balance. I would say just do some gentle flexing exercises (a very vague term I know, you can search online to find one that best fits your horse), slowly and carefully. You can also work on brushing up your own position (seat is crucial to dressage-learn to ride with your seat more than your hands and legs) and sharpen his transitions. Do not expect or attempt a drastic change.

MyBoyPuck 09-19-2009 10:19 PM

I recently rode an older hunter. He was a big, stiff piece of plywood. The horse had no clue how to do anything other than move forward on the rail. If your horse is not already supple, I personally would start with suppling exercises. Get him used to moving off your leg by leg yielding or serpentines, bending around it on circles, spiral in and out on circles. Basically anything that encourages flexion and response to seat rather than reins. A supple horse will be one you can achieve results with once you start asking him to balance more weight on his hind end via half halts. If he's not supple, the half halts simply won't go through.

eventerwannabe 09-20-2009 01:50 AM

Thanks for the replies everyone!

Bear actually isn't that old, he is middle aged (13 years old). I found out that he did do a little bit of dressage a while back.

ridergirl23: Thank you for your imput. I will keep everything you said in mind.

roro: I really do need to work on my dressage seat, hehe. Bear remembered his dressage pretty well, though after he gets into better shape he will need to work on collecting.

MyBoyPuck: Luckly Bear isnt like the horse you mentioned! He is awesome at lateral movements and besides being a bit lazy (from being out of shape) he moves off my leg well. He sidepasses beautifully and leg yields well. I did a lot of figure eights which helped a lot and some spiral cricles, which he found fun to do (that's my boy!).

Thank you for the imput and I can post a video soon (making it right now)!

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