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breezy17 04-29-2011 11:43 PM

Dumbest Issue Ever.. We can't do a straight line!
So, my first ever dressage show is in 29 days! :) The horse I am riding is 6 years old and has only been shown previously in western pleasure, but my trainer and I have been working hard to get her dressage ready. We are only doing intro tests A and B. We are decent at everything, except... we can't come in on a straight line! The horse stumbles around like she's drunk, and I end up hugely overcorrecting and it's obvious we're off. What should we do? Anyone else do this?

Citrus 04-29-2011 11:45 PM

Practice only riding straight lines, not along the rail.... aim for one post, as your horse keeps going, when you correct and the horse continues straight, over exaggerate your release..... do it all gaits. It worked for me.

MIEventer 04-29-2011 11:49 PM

It's not that dumb actually :) You wouldn't believe how many people cannot ride a strait line, so you're not alone :)

Make sure you are keeping your horse inbetween your legs, and your outside aids when you feel the horse "balking".

breezy17 04-29-2011 11:53 PM

Glad I'm not the only one! I'll definitely give that a try.. we do fine entering the ring, but at the end (when we have to turn and go straight instead of just walking in), we swerve like crazy.

MIEventer 04-29-2011 11:57 PM

Make sure you have your outside aids ready. You cannot leave any doors open. When you turn, turn with your outside rein at the shoulder, and your outside leg.

tinyliny 04-30-2011 12:09 AM

you will need to get more energy and drive out of her. I venture to guess that she is not used to being connected to the rein in the way that is correct for dressage. And she maybe has a WP jog? Gotta pick her up and get some UMPH out of her, even before entering the ring. It is much easier to ":string the bow" if there is some tension. I mean you can will have better connection to her through the bit if you have some push coming through the hind end, that way you can correct small deviations before they get big.

If you have ever sailed a boat you will know that it is really hard to steer a boat with no wind giving it forward imputus.

Kayty 04-30-2011 08:42 AM

As MIE said, this is definitely not a dumb issue. To tell you the truth, keeping a horse perfectly straight is one of the hardest things we have to do in dressage. Once you've got straightness, you can work on so much more.

We can't have straightness before we have a 'forward button'. Unless the horse is travelling with impulsion and in front of your leg, it is very VERY hard to keep the horse on a straight line.

To start with, avoid working right on the rail, work on the second and third tracks as much as possible. I try to avoid the outside track as much as possible when riding no matter what I'm doing. The more you work on the outside rail, the more the horse will learn to rely on it to follow.
Ride forward and really focus on keeping your own body straight and in line with a point on the other side of the arena. Focus on this point and ride strongly towards it.

If we are talking primarily centrelines, this is an issue many people have - myself included on my current green horse. We tend to think of the halt rather than riding forward. My suggestion is to not put the halt at X in when you are practicing at home, just ride straight and forward the whole way down. Often a horse will drift one way more than the other. My boy for example, tends to swings his quarters to the left. To correct this, I apply a gentle pressure with my left leg, slightly close my left thigh onto the saddle and use a touch of left rein. This way, you are VERY slightly in a leg yielding feel, but not to the point where the yield can be seen. You are simply applying a little more pressure to the side the horse tends to swing out, to discourage the swing before it happens.

breezy17 04-30-2011 08:47 AM

Tiny- You are very correct! We do have the WP jog, and it also took ages to get her to stop dropping her head down so far when she's on the move! But I like the sailboat analogy!

Kayty- You are right as well. I ALWAYS focus on "almosttimetostopalmosttimetostopSTOP" instead of "forward, forward, forward". We will practice on it!

AlexS 05-07-2011 01:05 AM

Not dumb at all, I too have a terrible time with this.

cloud9 05-08-2011 07:14 PM

Riding straight down the centre line is one of the hardest things you can do in dressage. Most of our time training is spent making the horse straight. Riding straight down the centre line is very important as this is the first time that the judge will set eyes on you and first impressions count for a lot. Make sure your horse is going forward. If your horse isn't going forward riding straight won't happen. You need to practise your turn and then go for it. Also, if all else fails look like you're enjoying yourself (even if you aren't) and give the judge a smile.

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