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Moonstruck 05-26-2011 10:30 PM

So I'm Thinking about Learning Dressage
 
I am a completely GREEN beginner rider and had my first and only English riding lesson last Sunday at the age of 20. Which went VERY well! :D
I am curious about dressage because I heard that it is a good base to stem from when starting out riding. My trainer knows basic dressage (which is good enough for me because, well, there are no dressage trainers in Miami-Dade at the moment) but specializes in hunter-jumping. I'm completely open to anything, but I think dressage would be a great place to start for me.

I should also include that my fiance' and I are planning on moving to California in the next two years. So is this enough time to get my bearings as far as english riding goes? I know it's going to be an additional 10 yrs until I can be counted as an "experienced" horse person.

Living in the horse world will be SO MUCH easier once I leave FL. Everything horse related is usually more North of here, and right now I can't afford to just move anywhere for the sake of training and I do not have a car to travel an hr away to wellington to learn under a pricey yet beneficial trainer. (I am currently content with my present trainer so far anyway.)

So i guess I just wanted to know what you guys think about dressage for beginner riders and if its a good place for me to start (even though it will only be basic flatwork dressage) or what you think that I should do?

Valentina 05-27-2011 05:20 PM

Dressage means training - for both horse and rider. I personally believe every discipline should be started in dressage - then once you and horse have the basics down specialize from there. In the lower levels of dressage you are teaching the horse to move forward freely and light rein contact, connected from back to front.

So what does connected from back to front mean? The easier way I can explain it (quickly) is to give examples of a horse being connected and one not connected.

If you ask for a walk to canter transition and horse takes a few trot steps, then horse is not connected. At ALL gaits horse should maintain a steady rythmn with uniform sized steps, and being bringing their hind legs underneath themselves. This way when you're walking and ask for the canter the horse bends it's hocks - hind legs still stepping underneath itself somewhere around the mid belly) and to the rider it feels like the horses shoulders are lifting up and "as smooth as butter" the horse just nicely steps into canter. If the back to front connection is NOT there then horse is not underneath itself and instead some trot steps occur.

When horse is connect - say at walk - it is marching along at a steady rythmn. Rider asks for halt by pressing down (NOT forward but straight down and same weight uniformly) in BOTH stirrups while keeping both legs against horses sides, then rider rocks hips forward pushing horses hind legs into the reins. At that point the rider stops all movement with their elbows (NOT pulling back on the reins) and horse should stop squarely. Horses hind legs should NOT be behind their butt NOR underneath their belly, rather straight down from the hip.

When you and the horse are correctly trained when you move from one gait to another it's like soft butter - VERY smooth and effortless.

winstonsgrl 05-27-2011 06:02 PM

The main point of dressage is to be in harmony with your horse, and use aids that are bairly visible. It's like ballet for horses. To be a good dressage rider you need to move with your horse gracefully, and of course like I said earlier your aids should be bairly visible. In my opinion there is nothing more beautiful than a horse and rider working together and preforming a lovely dressage test. I think you would love dressage riding, and if you wanted to start jumping you should start gaining balance in dressage then you will have a better seat for jumping. :)

kitten_Val 05-27-2011 07:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moonstruck (Post 1047581)
So i guess I just wanted to know what you guys think about dressage for beginner riders and if its a good place for me to start (even though it will only be basic flatwork dressage) or what you think that I should do?

Moonstick, I was almost total beginner when I started last year (and my horses didn't have any professional training what so ever). Still we progress. (see my thread http://www.horseforum.com/english-ri...-winter-86981/ you can see my lovely seat/riding on 2nd page before I started lessons with my current trainer :lol:). So if you have a wish and work with the good trainer it's all possible. Not saying you'll compete in GP, but then who knows the future? May be you are very talented and can go that far. So the bottom line yes, settle down, find a good dressage trainer, and just go ahead!

Moonstruck 05-27-2011 07:24 PM

Thanks Kitten, your thread was very eye opening! It makes it a little easier to believe that with enough resources (a good trainer and enough practice) I can look forward to one day registering in my first novice level dressage competition! :)
And may I say what a great comparison between photos! You really improved a lot!
If I do just as well in my next lesson as I did on my first I may begin to question if I'm really a natural or not ;) but I doubt it!! I am sure that posting a trot for the first time is going to be straining to the eyes at first lol but I am hoping I do well..

raywonk 05-27-2011 07:47 PM

I am lost as to why FL is not horsy. I know lots of people down thier and lots that go down thier for the winter.

Moonstruck 05-27-2011 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raywonk (Post 1048373)
I am lost as to why FL is not horsy. I know lots of people down thier and lots that go down thier for the winter.

It's not that it isn't horsey, it's just that I personally don't want to live here anymore lol, I've been here my entire life and I want to live somewhere bigger and not so hot and boring. It's really out of personal preference, not whether it's horsey or not. I am overall limited because i do not own a car. So that is my main dilemma as far as location goes.

kitten_Val 05-27-2011 09:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moonstruck (Post 1048358)
And may I say what a great comparison between photos! You really improved a lot!

Thank you! My trainer definitely did what seemed to be impossible for so many people (including myself).

You are very young at 20, so personally I don't find it to be late start at all (in fact I started lessons later in life). :wink: If you like your current instructor just keep taking lessons with her till you have to move. BTW, as far as I know FL is very horsey during a winter: lots of people from here go to FL to compete. I'd expect there should be some very known trainers out there.

Moonstruck 05-27-2011 09:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kitten_Val (Post 1048436)
Thank you! My trainer definitely did what seemed to be impossible for so many people (including myself).

You are very young at 20, so personally I don't find it to be late start at all (in fact I started lessons later in life). :wink: If you like your current instructor just keep taking lessons with her till you have to move. BTW, as far as I know FL is very horsey during a winter: lots of people from here go to FL to compete. I'd expect there should be some very known trainers out there.

I guess I haven't really noticed ^^; I wish I had a car so that I could travel to local shows and prof. facilities. But again, before this I had like zero experience with horses or being around them. I don't have any friends who are into horses or family members. But I hope that once we get a car I could cruise around FL and see what I've been missing. Living on a 4mi x 3mi island for 14 yrs really didn't help either lol

Moonstruck 05-27-2011 09:44 PM

Double Post : But maybe in the future I can tag along with my trainer to some local hunter shows if she doesn't mind an extra hand :)


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