The Horse Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been doing strictly dressage for the past year with my QH mare. She has arthritis and the physiology of dressage has really helped her out. She still gets hollow and resists the bit because of the contact I ask for and not driving forward enough from behind. I started out by doing basic English stuff with her but the attachment to dressage has turned me off from other disciplines that don't involve as much contact. Is this a legitimate concern? Is it good that I'm just doing dressage and never just hacking around without wanting to have her rounded..? I'm also concerned because sometimes 5 days a week I'm asking her to be on the bit.

sometimes I wish I could event but I think it'd be too strenuous on her joints (all the jumping). But I don't know if focusing on dressage is the best thing. Something about not being rounded in a dressage saddle bothers me. :)

what to do?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,212 Posts
I think cross-training is one of the most beneficial things you can do for the horse and for you. Unless your made is a saint, she's likely to get bored with the same old, same old. There's something to learn in every discipline that can be applied to your main discipline. Switching it up fixes boredom issues and allows lots of learning. While your mare may not be able to jump, she'd be capable of trail riding or something else on the flat! While being round is certainly very important, I think it's also important for the horse to become more reliant on leg cues and body cues, not just bit cues.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What other disciplines would be good cross training other than dressage??
I don't want to confuse her, but I still want to get her in shape without overworking her, and keep her sane and enjoying herself

Thanks!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,402 Posts
What other disciplines would be good cross training other than dressage??
I don't want to confuse her, but I still want to get her in shape without overworking her, and keep her sane and enjoying herself

Thanks!!!!
You don't have to pick up an entirely new discipline. You can keep doing Dressage, just don't keep doing the same things in the same way.

Take her out on the trails, use the grass as your arena, a treeline as your rail, etc. Work on your stretchy walk and admire the landscape, that sort of thing. You can still "do Dressage" without the little white arena.

Try ground pole exercises if she can handle that. Some horses (like mine) seem to really enjoy pole work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49,731 Posts
Even a dressage horse is not ridden on the bit all the time.
Sometimes a horse will be more willing to come onto the bit, and give to contact, if he knows that shortly afterward he will be given a whole lot of free rein. the ability to ride and guide your horse on a free rein is important, which is why it is given twice the amount of points in a test (the free walk)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,212 Posts
Go on some trail rides, focus on your equitation, etc. It doesn't have to be a drastic change, but you should not any away from trying new things...your made will thank you, and I think you'll thank yourself!
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,193 Posts
As Tiny said, Dressage horses are not on the bit 24/7. This is the wrong way to go about training - it makes a horse sour, and will cause soreness if you are expecting the horse to maintain a single 'frame' constantly.
My horses get worked on a loose rein some days, out on trails, at the beach, over cavaletti etc. In the arena, the frame is always changing. The poll high, nose in front of the vertical frame that you see Dressage horses in, when competiting, is very rarely used at home except in preparation for competition and establishing various work. In a training session, my horse will go anywhere for cruising on a completely loose rein, to quite deep, soft and round. It all depends on what you are working on at the time. But shifting the frame and contact is of upmost importance.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,212 Posts
Kayty and TinyLiny,
I'm glad you confirmed that for me because that was what I was going to suggest, but I don't have a drop of dressage experience!

OP, I will tell you what I know about my horse Rusty: We get along best when we take the time to just slop around and when I don't fight him for finesse. When I first got him, everything was an uphill battle. When I try to make him perfect, he gets upset. Fortunately, he's the type of horse that will just slow down and refuse to move when he's had enough. But other horses aren't like that.

I'm not saying that you do that, lol, but your mare may get frustrated when you keep persisting, every single ride, that she get on the bit. I think you both would be a lot happier to just go. Go on a trail ride and enjoy the nature. It's okay to work on finessing things, but you have to create a balance or you both will burn out. Don't turn away from other disciplines because they do not have the contact dressage does. They can teach you very important things that will aid you in your dressage training, or any training in that matter. Teach your horse to move forward even without contact, to listen to your seat and legs rather than your hands to slow down. Your dressage will go so much further.

I can tell you this: Rusty had problem after problem starting jumping training for the year he did it. First, he wanted to run out. Second, he had this horrible peanut-roll effect at the canter. Then he wanted to charge jumps. After that, he got lazy. Then, he got too strong again and started jumping way too early. And he wouldn't pick up his right lead.

He got injured, and he was off of jumping for a year, riding for six months. In the other six months, we strictly rode the trails and goofed off. We learned so much about each other then, and we build up this trust, a bigger one than before. When we got back to jumping again, I didn't know if Rusty wanted to jump anymore. But he LOVES it. He picks up his right lead just fine. He's strong to the jumps, but he leaves at the right time every time. I just know that he's not going to run out anymore. I told myself that if Rusty didn't want to jump anymore, that we would enjoy the trails happily. I held back Rusty to this jump, and he paused. I urged him forward, and that's when I knew. His ears perked right up to that jump, and he just flew over it.

^^I think everyone wants their horse to enjoy their job like this. I haven't done any special training or anything. My point is this: You will come along so much farther in your dressage training if you and your horse both enjoy it. And if your horse stops enjoying it, then you have done too much of it, because I think every horse has the capacity for some dressage.

I think once you hit the trails you'll realize what you've been missing. ;-)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
WOW.
By far some of the best responses I have ever received, and this is going to help me out SO much. Thank you!! I am definitely keeping this as a reference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
804 Posts
A purpose for 'training' a horse is to create an well rounded athlete, then at the very top levels they can specialize. Any horse should be able to wtC, jump a small fence, hack out. And putting a horse 'on the bit' helps with ease of balance/control, but they should be able to be 'on parole' at any point as well.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top