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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    91

    Default New to dressage. Advice?

    I've hopped the fence from the foxhunter/hunter/jumper world to dabble in dressage. As a newbie I'm clueless really, I don't even have half the letters memorized.

    What advice do you have for someone just entering the dressage world? Do's and don'ts, whatever you have- I'd love to hear it.

    Also if you could recommend some simple dressage books that would be lovely. I am currently reading "The Elements of Dressage" but don't know where to go from there.
    Professional COTH lurker.
    Horses serve as a balm for the disquieted soul, and somehow allow even the most lost to feel at home in their presence ♥



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Posts
    226

    Default

    Read "The Complete Training of Horse and Rider" by Alois Podhasky, and remember that the answer is always behind (don't try to ride your horse from back to front)!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
    Posts
    24,408

    Default

    That's a very long dry book to start with. Try Lindquist's PRactical Dressage Manual



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    1,089

    Default

    My best piece of advice would be to watch and take as many *good* lessons (and clinics) as possible. Ideally take lunge lessons, and ride with an eye on the ground as much as possible, that can be a barnmate giving you feedback (mainly on your position and aids).

    While books can be helpful in understanding general concepts, you will only learn to ride while riding : ).

    I like the "Gymnasium of the Horse" by Steinbrecht, but that's not an easy read. "The Principles of Riding" by the FN are a nice, condensed version of the basic concepts.
    "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 30, 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    239

    Default

    I hate to sound like a clueless doofuss (but I'm going to!):

    Who are the FN? I'm also looking for good books...



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
    Posts
    24,408

    Default

    FN is the hoity toity way of saying 'the national organization that governs dressage in a given country'.

    Or in other words, the national federation. In our case, the USEF (with the USDF having certain parts of the game, such as instructor certification).

    The trend in recent years has been to have only one organization per country running horse sports; the international organization (FEI - international equestrian federation) only wants to deal with one organization per country, the Olympic committee wants that too. So the concept of FN.

    The national federation runs competitions from training to fourth level in the USA. Higher level tests, such as PSG-Grand Prix, are run under the FEI rules (a sort of gross simplification but gives you an idea).



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2002
    Posts
    2,251

    Default

    If you can buy or borrow WAZ's "A Matter of Trust" video series I highly recommend that.
    Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
    Posts
    75

    Default

    Find a GOOD trainer - one that has a history of riding and training in dressage. Not a hunter rider that claims to ride dressage (nothing against hunter riders!). I always try to find a trainer that has actually trained their horses to grand prix. I also watch a few of their lessons to see if i like their style and see if their students improve in their lesson. Lastly, and probably most important, i watch how they ride their client's horses. My biggest piece of advice is to be patient. Dressage is not an instant gratification sport - although the smallest of breakthroughs can make your day. Find someone that can work with you on your position, do lunge work without stirrups, and work on the basics. yes piaffe and passage are beautiful to watch and half-pass is really cool, but don't rush - it has taken people years to just get a good seat much less do the fancy stuff (Spanish Riding School students are on the lunge without stirrups for two to three YEARS before they are given the reins). I can't emphasize enough the importance of a good qualified trainer. Remember, the fact that "anyone can be a trainer" as a German instructor told me one time, anyone can claim to teach dressage when they may not be the least bit qualified. The Practical Dressage Manual is a really good book as mentioned earlier. I would also recommend anything by Jane Kidd - she's a pretty good writer and her books are easy to read - plus her pictures are fabulous.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,819

    Default

    In my experience the toughest thing a hunter/jumper rider has to re-learn is POSITION, POSITION, POSITION! For so long you've been taught to ride in two point or go forward, and dressage is completely different! It is a very hard thing to retrain and I second, third, fourth the suggestions to find a very good dressage trainer, preferably one who has worked succesfully with hunter/jumper folks.

    Best of luck to you and welcome to a great discipline!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2009
    Posts
    79

    Default

    Where are you in Virginia? Several good trainers in the state, even more bad and terrible ones.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2008
    Location
    Hot Springs, VA
    Posts
    692

    Default

    Get a good trainer and have fun!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2009
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Posts
    14

    Default run

    Run far away, as fast as you can.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Species_8472 View Post
    Run far away, as fast as you can.
    lol your funny



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