Help, New to Dressage!
I want to learn some Dressage to help improve my riding and help with my horse. For years now I have been taking hunter/jumper lessons and have been riding in them 2 times a week.
Last summer I bought my first horse and I started from square one hoping it would help with our jumping. He was a very high strung, anxious and nervous horse and I wanted him to calm down and relax so I had been working on flat work basics for a good 8 months (collection, extension, circles, bending, poles, cavaletties ect.) and he has been AWESOME. We have shown and won many pleasure classes and under saddle classes and I knew he improved greatly. My trainer and I decided a few weeks ago to try him over small fences again and see if anything we worked on had helped and it didn't. He is still rushing fences and either takes off or continuously swaps his lead/crow hops out of them then takes off for the next fence. I felt like all my work led to a dead end.
One of my friends recommended I try doing some Dressage exercises and seeing if that helps. I really want to try and help him as well as help myself. I am afraid that I am using too much hand and not enough seat. My problem is the Dressage trainers in my area cost way too much for me to even think about affording it . Is there any exercises or basic moves I can learn to help myself? or even books/websites/videos you guys recommend I take a look at?
Thank you in advance to anyone who responds! I really appreciate it.
I have this book called "lessons with lendon" I think it's pretty good even though I'm a strong believer in taking lessons from a certified coah. An excersize that I find it wonderful is when you take tour inside rein, bring it back to your thigh and play with your fingers. Almost like a double up circle but much more relaxed and with a slightly looser rein. I suggest that you only do this at a walk. Also, make sure your outside rein is long than your inside rein because if it is too short your horse will most likely become tense and unresponsive. You can send me a private message and I can give you some more excersizes but I'm tired and I have to get up early in the morning.
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Thank you so much! I'll defiantly give that a try tomorrow, I will probably be in contact for more exercises, thanks again :)
Your local library, secondhand bookshop, tack shop and even websites (ebay, online tack stores) will have many resources for you to buy and use. There are a lot of great books/DVDs out there that will help you learn dressage. Jane Savoie's youtube videos are really great as well :)
Several places on this web site I've discussed how to teach horse and rider Half Halts (HH aka almost halt but at last second continue on in current gait). Use them every 5-6 strides (ONLY works if done CORRECTLY as it's not just reins) to rock horse back on it's butt.
So in jumping, start with smaller jumps since larger jumps can intimidate a horse and mentally spin them up and get them rushing.
Then use the HH. As soon as you canter so a HH every 6 strides, before every corner, 4 times within a circle and start with at least 2 times BEFORE the jump and within 4 strides AFTER the jump. If at any time you do not feel the horse hestiate like they are ready to stop then halt horse immediately and make it stand ( my mare HATES standing hence when she's "punished" by having to stand SQUARELY and quietly she less likely to do her bad behavior - which for her is rushing, flying changes every stride or so, etc.).
Some days (especially in the beginning) horse will not have enough mind left to go back to jumping, so turn lesson into disciplined work consisting of listening to everything rider is asking horse to do and responding to it.
I believe the ruhing is a combination of one or both - either he's lost his mind - scared, excited, and/or he's unbalanced. When unbalanced, a horse tends to rush because they're falling on their forehand.
Thank you, I will defiantly read up on half halts and practice that for a while :)
I'm not exactly sure what is causing it, somedays I feel like its excitement and others I feel like he's scared. People have told me his past hasn't been so great so I know that might have some things to do with it. He really has come so far though, on the flat/ground anyway. He has done a complete turn around from the horse he once was. I'm just hoping that I can get him a little more balanced and with me learning more hopefully he'll calm down over fences too. Its worth a shot :)
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