dressage, what's the use? Convince me? - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 73 Old 08-31-2019, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by lostastirrup View Post
...And as someone who frequently "just gallops trails" the dressage work is a bacon-saver. And the know how it gives you to fix broken horses by being hypersensitive to balance and placement of the horses feet and general disposition is imperative if someone wishes to become a rider well suited to many disciplines.

I swing up on pony and I could tell you exactly how he's feeling by his back before walking off. I can also soften him with my seat if he is stiff and I can fix a spooky day, or a hot day by the walk work alone. The dressage gives the rider and the horse the basis of communication, a silent, subtle way of conversation.
Nice to know dressage gives one the tools to fix a horse who is "broken" - although what that means is problematic. Good to know that as someone who hasn't studied dressage, I cannot work with a horse who has issues - although I've done nothing but since I started riding.

Good grief! Are dressage riders the ONLY ones who can swing a leg over a horse and tell if the horse is feeling tense or troubled or resisting? I think NOT!

"The dressage gives the rider and the horse the basis of communication, a silent, subtle way of conversation."

Because without dressage, a rider DOESN'T have the basis for silent, subtle conversation? Don't tell Bandit. He thinks he carries me along as his senior staff officer. We talk all the time. Just not in the language of dressage.

Good riding - riding WITH the horse - is taught BY horses. Every time you mount up, you have a chance to learn FROM THE HORSE - about communication and teamwork and how to be one with the horse. Or not.

For the OP: THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO RIDE A HORSE. Never forget that. There are many good ways, and your best teachers will ALWAYS be your horses. If in doubt, listen to them. Over & out. I'm off this thread.
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post #32 of 73 Old 08-31-2019, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
...but my 2 years of dressage lessons help a lot on having a horse that I can maneuver in small or big ways that is so helpful out in the big world.
Tiny, before I'm off the thread, I gotta add this: Bandit and I ride between the cactus all the time. I could not count the times he has said he was willing to go somewhere I thought it was impossible for him to get through, yet he has ALWAYS gotten us both through unstabbed.

No human can direct a horse across tough ground better than the horse can do it himself - assuming the horse has had a chance to learn. I don't care if someone is a GP dressage rider. If they want to cross desert on Bandit, they had best shut up and trust him. He is better than any human. And yes, that is something we had to work on. In the desert. It cannot be learned in an arena.
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post #33 of 73 Old 09-01-2019, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Tiny, before I'm off the thread, I gotta add this: Bandit and I ride between the cactus all the time. I could not count the times he has said he was willing to go somewhere I thought it was impossible for him to get through, yet he has ALWAYS gotten us both through unstabbed.

No human can direct a horse across tough ground better than and your point the horse can do it himself - assuming the horse has had a chance to learn. I don't care if someone is a GP dressage rider. If they want to cross desert on Bandit, they had best shut up and trust him. He is better than any human. And yes, that is something we had to work on. In the desert. It cannot be learned in an arena.
And your point is?
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post #34 of 73 Old 09-01-2019, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
"The first sentence is simply not true....But the principles of being in physical balance and subtle communication with your horse are UNIVERSAL. The principles of dressage DO NOT require using a bit." - @Avna

It is absolutely true. If you sign up for a dressage clinic, you do not expect to herd cattle. You do not expect to be told to get off the horse's back. You do not expect lessons in riding with slack reins while the instructor shouts "Get out of his mouth!"

Being in balance is pretty universal, but what does that mean? Do you lean forward to place your balance above the horse (forward seat) or teach the horse to shift his balance back, placing it under you (collection)? Do you sit on a horse or perch? If you truly want to feel balance with the horse, stand in the stirrups. Any failure to anticipate and match your horse's balance will throw you visibly forward or back. But that isn't dressage. If I buy a book on dressage, I know what to expect - and it is NOT to get out of the saddle & lean forward! It will not teach me to use the bit the least possible. Pretending otherwise ignores the entire history of dressage.

I am not in any way denigrating dressage. Done right, it is a beautiful sport. Done with tact, it can unite horse and rider. That is great! But it is not THE ONLY WAY to unite a horse and rider, or to "communicate", or to get a responsive horse. It is merely one of several ways of balancing, developing and communicating with a horse.

"They inform ALL activity. They are in essence a way of centering, being focused and physically aware."

No, no, NO! It is A way. It doesn't inform "all activity". It doesn't inform all riding, even. My goals in riding include using the bit as infrequently as possible. That is NOT traditional dressage theory.

A guy who loves weight lifting wrote this in support of those who run:

"But I must admit, Iím happiest when Iím in the gym. For that brief moment (OK, two hours), all my problems and worries disappear. Itís just me and that weight. No BS, no people with agendas, stress, judgment, bill collectors - just me and that weight...Everything else just fades away and I can just focus on the task at hand. And its really easy to focus when youíre holding 200 lbs. over your head. But Iím happy. Some people play golf, some people collect stuff, some people work on stuff in the garage and some people just watch TV. Me, Iím happy in the gym."

He is right. We get that focus, that satisfaction, that feeling of oneness with our world, in many ways. For me, riding comes close - but it will never match how I feel on a long run. Riding comes close because there are two of us, working as a team, and when we achieve unity it is glorious! We don't achieve it always. Running and lifting weights is sometimes just work too. But when a sport you love clicks, it unites you with...reality? The world? The environment?

And for many, dressage is a way of riding that does that. And that is wonderful. With the right horse and rider, alone, no one around, no top hats, no judges, no adoring crowds - when it clicks, it is wonderful. I don't doubt it. Bandit and I have moments where our minds are in agreement and our bodies work together and for a brief time, we are one. It is almost as good as a long, successful run!

But...it is not a universal anything. And if the OP wants to learn to go across country, some modest jumping, going fast, then learning the Forward SYSTEM of riding would be a better match. IF she can find someone who teaches it and doesn't just teach a "jump seat". The reality is she may need to learn what is available and adapt it, on her own, when she knows more and can experiment. The best way to learn riding is often to ride with the best instructor you can find be it western, dressage, barrel racing, whatever.

But if her ultimate goal is going fast across rough ground, then traditional dressage is not the best match for her goals. It may be the ONLY match in her area, though.
Hi



I ride without a bit (neck reining also). I only make contact with the horses head when he doesn't respond or turns around without me asking to do so... My instructor teaches me to use my body to control the movement (like pelvis movement, horse responds to that! The way I sit in the saddle, where I look at.) I like this kind of riding. I tried English (bit, always contact) and it doesn't make a good fit for me personally. I think a good equestrian should learn the finessses by asking the horse to do something with as least contact as possible. If I pull the rein, sure my horses head wil move, but that's because I am pulling it... If I move my pelvis bones and he moves, that's because he understands. :) I like that.



I have a trainer now that teaches me western, I am gonna stick with her for at least a year and then re evaluate and see what I can learn/do. :) Maybe learn to ride on some other horses too, try some new stuff.
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post #35 of 73 Old 09-01-2019, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
And your point is?
I think you have a good horse there! But not all horses are like that. Horses have personalities, just like humans do. I can imagine someone having a horse that does not care that much about the rider... ;)
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post #36 of 73 Old 09-01-2019, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
Honestly not trying to be argumentative here. Eventing came about as a competition based on military testing, which at the time included dressage. This was about suitability for military horses and riders - it wasn't like they were thinking hmm, we should include dressage since it is necessary for good jumping. Rather, dressage was necessary for drilling on military parade grounds.
Foxhunting predated dressage as a discipline, and that was the first formal cross country I believe. Edit: perhaps steeplechasing came first.
https://www.fei.org/stories/history-...st=2&content=2

For jumping you need the ability to steer the horse well, to get the horse to shorten or lengthen strides as needed between fences, and to stay balanced with the horse. Those were part of fox hunting before three day eventing or formal dressage training came about. You can teach the horse how to shorten or lengthen and gain balance in the arena with dressage exercises. You can also teach the horse these things outside or on a course. People didn't always have the use of arenas for training horses.

The horse world is massively bigger than dressage and rather than seeing all horsemanship under the umbrella of dressage training, I see dressage as a small branch on a very big tree.
So, a horse is not capable of jumping without hitting stuff on itsself?? I really thought you can let the horse decide when to jump and then just balance on it? :s

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #37 of 73 Old 09-01-2019, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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Also, the way I sit in the saddle: I sit straight (I use my abdominal muscles I guess? also not a problem, I have been doing lots of different sports, so fit rider ;) ), with my legs relaxed, toes in the stirrups, feet held kinda horizontal. When the horse adjusts itsself, I automatically do so too. I don't really think about this, it all goes kinda naturally. Sometimes when I am really focused and analyzing what the trainer says and what the horse is doing at the same time I accidentaly shove my body up too much. My trainer always alerts me. I think it's quite logical that you would not bump around on a horses back :p... If I am out of tune, the horse also adjusts it's trot (really sweet horse). He teaches me ;) I also don't let myself fall in the saddle (hello, it's a living creature underneath you...) or use the horse to lean on, jerk on the reins for suppport. That would be not cool. If I loose my balance, I grap the pommel and push myself back. The horse also gives a lot of feedback, when I lean a tiny bit forward while riding he goes faster and alerts me to my bad position. :)

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #38 of 73 Old 09-01-2019, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Jolien View Post
I tried English (bit, always contact) and it doesn't make a good fit for me personally. I think a good equestrian should learn the finessses by asking the horse to do something with as least contact as possible. If I pull the rein, sure my horses head wil move, but that's because I am pulling it... If I move my pelvis bones and he moves, that's because he understands. :) I like that.
Done correctly, contact doesn't involve pulling on the reins at all. It's like holding someone's hand while you walk. You feel each other there the whole time, but no one is getting pulled on.

Learning on a loose rein has a lot of positives, though. You will develop your seat and balance without depending on the reins. You can always add more contact later when you're further along. For some of what you want to do -- especially jumping -- you'll likely find contact to be necessary, eventually.
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post #39 of 73 Old 09-01-2019, 08:29 AM
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Quite a bit of this circular argument is about semantics -- just words.

While there are many things you can do with a horse, and each of them entail using a somewhat different set of cues, the horse itself, emotionally and mechanically, and the human body itself, does not change. Hence there are many ways in which all these disciplines are more alike than they are different.

There are places where dressage and western riding meet in the middle (geographically, in Iberia). And places where they have diverged so much they seem utterly unrelated.

Very basic dressage will teach you in a direct and focused manner things that can be applied universally. And I will stand by that statement.
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post #40 of 73 Old 09-01-2019, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Quite a bit of this circular argument is about semantics -- just words.

While there are many things you can do with a horse, and each of them entail using a somewhat different set of cues, the horse itself, emotionally and mechanically, and the human body itself, does not change. Hence there are many ways in which all these disciplines are more alike than they are different.

There are places where dressage and western riding meet in the middle (geographically, in Iberia). And places where they have diverged so much they seem utterly unrelated.

Very basic dressage will teach you in a direct and focused manner things that can be applied universally. And I will stand by that statement.
It’s because English is not my mother tongue. 😉 I sometimes see by your reactions that my descriptions are not clear. Also I noticed that everybody has a different idea about what certain words or terms might include (like dressage). I am motivated to become a good equestrian so I will do whatever is necessary. If I understand the purpose and see the need of it I will do it and take lessons in whatever I need. 🙂
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The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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