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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am hoping to enter a few more dressage classes this show season- all the very first and most basic test- and I was hoping for a bit of advice from those who, like me, may have started with no training and no clue. What do you think I should work on? Are there certain exersizes (both horse and human!) that you do for dressage? Anything that I should remember? Books I should read? Videos I should watch? Any and all advice is welcome, but please, no rude remarks. Also, please refrain from simply saying, "You should get a trainer." I don't have the money to do so. I will definitely be talking to my lesson instructor (who showed dressage) for advice as well, but at the moment, private lessons and/or trainers are too expensive. I will be going to the barn either today or tomorrow, so I will obtain videos of Rainy and I walking, trotting, and possibly cantering (if she's been good) then. If there's anything else I should get a video of, I can do that as well, just mention it. Thank you all for reading this, and hopefully replying. :)
(Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day)
 

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Hard to say what to work on with your horse w/o video and or/pictures...

But, some exercises for you - if your horse is quiet enough or you can have someone lunge you:
Try to take your legs (at the thigh) off the saddle, you don't have to hold them out for long, just pull them off, put them back... both at one time, then one side at a time (w/o collapsing your rib cage or falling hard the opposite direction). This helps loosen up your thighs and hip joints.
Put one arm at a time behind your leg (this helps to sit back properly and keep your shoulders back)... you can then bring the arm up and move it to the front, then to the back to help loosen and stretch your back and shoulders.

Those are the only ones I can think of right now...

I can completely understand your situation... trainers here are around $75 an hour! I can't really afford that either.
 

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And here's a video of Rainy and I walking, trotting and cantering.
YouTube - Rainy W/T/C
Dressage is not about doing but about THINKING of what you are doing.

On your first transition into the trot your horse was not prepared.

Throughout the trot you were a nice passanger but not very effective. No use of the inside leg to control where he is going and almost ran into the post.

As stated above there was no flexion to the inside and was at least 95% of the time counter flexed. There was no contact with the mouth and little use of the leg to get him to move out.

Dressage is not just sitting on a horse with the head in the general direction of being right and doing W/T/C.

One more thing .....when you allow the horse to continue in an improper poise you ARE training it to do just that...go improper.


The books suggested are good and you can also look at various DVDs.
 

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^she is not training her horse to do anything improper. She is an amazing rider. Her horse is only 4! And she had no training until last fall. (the horse)

If she rode that horse that way in the very lowest test she would be lucky to break 50%.

Comments would be.

Counter flexed
Unsteady head.
No impulsion
Transitions weak.

Final judges comment

Nice horse, looks willing but rider ineffective and horse needs lateral work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Well, Spyder, thanks for the input. I'll try to remember what you mentioned. First off, I'm quite aware she almost ran into the post. She was tried to go over the jump, and godhelpmei'mnotperfect, I was trying to prevent that, best I could. I'm also aware of what dressage is. I wasn't trying to do a dressage pattern or anything in particular in the above video, I was merely providing an example of Rainy and I riding. I'm sorry that wasn't what you were looking for, I guess. Also, by this:
"One more thing .....when you allow the horse to continue in an improper poise you ARE training it to do just that...go improper."
What are you trying to say? That I'm a crap rider for not having her headset correct the entire time and I'm 'counter bending' all the time? Thanks.

I'm tired of people criticizing and not giving helpful advice when I ask for it.

Edit: I'm also more than aware we're not ready to do a dressage class. That's precisely the reason I'm asking for advice now instead of two days beforehand.
 

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If she rode that horse that way in the very lowest test she would be lucky to break 50%.

Comments would be.

Counter flexed
Unsteady head.
No impulsion
Transitions weak.

Final judges comment

Nice horse, looks willing but rider ineffective and horse needs lateral work.
she wasnt doing any special, just walking troting and cantering. So obviously that wasnt dressage. Just showing what she does.
 

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Well, Spyder, thanks for the input. I'll try to remember what you mentioned. First off, I'm quite aware she almost ran into the post. She was tried to go over the jump, and godhelpmei'mnotperfect, I was trying to prevent that, best I could.
If you had an effective inside leg on your horse it probably could have been prevented. Also since he was already counterbent his inside shoulder was carrying him in the direction of the jump.


I'm also aware of what dressage is. I wasn't trying to do a dressage pattern or anything in particular in the above video, I was merely providing an example of Rainy and I riding. I'm sorry that wasn't what you were looking for, I guess. Also, by this:
"One more thing .....when you allow the horse to continue in an improper poise you ARE training it to do just that...go improper."
What are you trying to say? That I'm a crap rider for not having her headset correctly and I'm 'counter bending' all the time? Thanks.
No I am saying that being unaware that the horse was not straight is your job as rider and that it is an area that you need to be more proactive in correcting.

I'm tired of people criticizing and not giving helpful advice when I ask for it.
If you took your emotions out of the equation you would realize that you can gain insight through critizism. How that critizism is taken will determine how well you will do. You will get a ton of critizism when you DO go to show.

Edit: I'm also more than aware we're not ready to do a dressage class. That's precisely the reason I'm asking for advice now instead of two days beforehand.
I would hope you wouldn't ask for advice two days before so look at it this way, you have plenty of time to make corrections.
 

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she wasnt doing any special, just walking troting and cantering. So obviously that wasnt dressage. Just showing what she does.

And I was showing what any decent dressage instructor would think even if that instructor was in that arena teaching someone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you Spyder, for at least explaining what you meant, but it's just annoying when people's responses don't really help me much. I'm just a small town girl (living in lonely world...ech hem. hem.) who doesn't have a trainer or the funds to get dressage lessons. I'm trying the best I can, but as it's a small barn, I haven't seemed to get the so called 'basic' training- as in I don't know what you mean by half of that. Counter bending as in what? And flexion? If I've been taught these things, I haven't been taught the names.
 

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Relax. There was nothing mean or insulting in Spyders post - Only helpful information from someone VERY experienced in dressage.

Dressage is simply training. Anytime you do flatwork; Heck anytime you ride, you are doing dressage. Competitive dressage is a different matter. And you should always be striving for the best your horse can be - carrying themselves correctly doesn't only look pretty, it is also a healthier and more beneficial way for the horse to move.
 

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Thank you Spyder, for at least explaining what you meant, but it's just annoying when people's responses don't really help me much. I'm just a small town girl (living in lonely world...ech hem. hem.) who doesn't have a trainer or the funds to get dressage lessons. I'm trying the best I can, but as it's a small barn, I haven't seemed to get the so called 'basic' training- as in I don't know what you mean by half of that. Counter bending as in what? And flexion? If I've been taught these things, I haven't been taught the names.
Actually I understand.

I had to teach a 2 1/2 year old half arab to do dressage on my own with NO instruction other than 1 book that took me 2 years to understand. There were no message boards then nor DVDs.

Counterflexion is when the horse is bent opposite to the direction it is going. This results in a crooked horse and crookedness is the hardest thing to correct. Your horse is young and easily corrected but YOU must be able to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Which I'd like to be able to do- if I could get advice from people. I understand the critique/criticism is helpful, but how do I get her moving correctly? I've never been taught what she means by counter bending and such- and the whole moving correctly thing- I've never been told she's moving wrong. So what should I do? This is the reason for the post.

Edit: Just read Spyder's post: Thank you, Spyder. I've realized that 1. That's not the best example of our riding, 2. I should've moved the jumps before I took the video, and 3. You were just being brutally honest. I can respect that, as I'm the same way. Thank you once again. I hope I can improve to a point where I'm not ashamed to look at that video again. *blushes*
 
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