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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
    Location
    IN
    Posts
    105

    Default Best way to teach yourself dressage w/o trainer?

    Here's my situation...
    I live in an area devoid of dressage. Truly. Western, contesting, hunter, jumper, saddleseat - all those are available, but there are no trainers to help guide or even trainees to pass on 2nd hand info.

    I have a nice dressage horse who knows far more than me. Any tips on good resources for learning dressage that don't involve traveling hours to find a trainer/attend a clinic? I don't have a trailer, so travel isn't practical at this time.

    Are there any good videos or books?

    I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
    Posts
    13,429

    Default

    jane savoie
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2011
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    215

    Default Try Lessons with Lendon

    I'd suggest Lendon Gray's "Lessons with Lendon.". It's a very straight-forward book of progressive lessons. One of the handicaps to learning dressage without a trainer is not having "eyes on the ground" to make sure your horse is moving correctly. Lendon has some great tips in the lessons to have someone watch you and your horse (and not necessarily even a person familiar with dressage), to make sure you both are doing the excercises correctly.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
    Posts
    4,041

    Default

    I really really really liked Sylvia Loch, I found her books to be fantastic, especially Dressage in Lightness. Lots of great visuals that really stuck with me and very user friendly, very methodical progression and what to expect at what stages, etc. Her DVDs left me a bit flat sadly, I much preferred her books.

    I also have a horsehero.com subscription, and I'm actually getting quite a bit out of it. Lots of great 10 minute sessions/schools to watch, lots of neat ideas.
    Worry is the biggest enemy of the present. It steals your joy and keeps you very busy doing absolutely nothing at all... it’s like using your imagination to create things you don’t want.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 12, 2005
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    3,767

    Default

    You might also like my site, it's really geared towards Eventers, but Dressage riders are welcome too! Check it out at:



    http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
    Facebook page



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2003
    Location
    somewhere. out there.
    Posts
    2,407

    Default

    All good suggestions above. I also suggest getting a friend to video you while you ride periodically because the visual feedback can illustrate problems you might not feel under saddle and give better clues as to how to fix it. Couple this with watching videos of good riding. USDF's "Up the Levels" can be a handy guide of what's expected.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2011
    Location
    IN
    Posts
    105

    Default

    Thank you all for the recommendations. With everything out there it's great to have a few directions to focus on and start with! This is very helpful.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2011
    Location
    Dutchess county, NY
    Posts
    914

    Default

    Get a flip. If you set it down at say A, you can see almost the entire arena and can just plug it into your computer to view.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9JzWZW1HlQ

    Thats just a short clip of the quality you get (remember the camera is sitting unattended) You can see if you stay in the middle of the arena how muc feedback you can get.

    Hope this helps



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2007
    Posts
    2,899

    Default

    I wish I got paid for mentioning this site all the time LOL!!! But horsehero.com is fantastic!!! They have wonderful videos with Laura and Dr. Bechtolsheimer, biomechanics videos with Suzie Peacock and Mary Wanless, also the Eilbergs. And yes, watching a video CAN make a difference to your riding. I had been studying the Suzie Peacock videos and using her suggestions and when I saw my trainer she was amazed by my improvement! I only get to see my trainer about once every four months as she is in a different state. So the videos have been wonderful for the months when I am on my own. It's only about 25 dollars per YEAR to join!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    Mirrors are great when riding alone. Video is good, but with mirrors you can see what is happening while it's happening.

    You don't have to spend a fortune, and sometimes can pick up used mirrors if you look long and hard enough.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,714

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by atlatl View Post
    Mirrors are great when riding alone. Video is good, but with mirrors you can see what is happening while it's happening.

    You don't have to spend a fortune, and sometimes can pick up used mirrors if you look long and hard enough.
    this is what I'm searching for now because I can make so much more progress at my instructor's place being able to see and feel correct in real time.

    I travel 5 hours for lessons, and instead of once a week, or once a month, I make the trek 2-3 times a year for short course intensive study. It works great for me, but not everyone can download muscle memory in that time frame like I can.
    I do continuously read, and books that are helpful just starting out are:
    USDF Guide to Dressage
    Sally Swift, Centered Riding
    Paul Belasik, Dressage for the 21st Century
    Paul Belasik, Riding Towards the Light
    Paul Belasik, A Search for Collection (because understanding the meanings behind the end result gives you better comprehension and decision making for the journey that leads up to it.

    Books, mirrors, videos and prayer will only get you so far so fast. you really need to find someone, somewhere you can connect with, even if it's just once a year.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2006
    Posts
    1,513

    Default video feedback

    I endorse the videotaping idea, both for you personally to review and to send to trainers for feedback. I think Heather Mason offers this service and am sure others do too. Some friends of mine who are experienced in dressage (upper level riders) are kind enough to give me feedback on particular issues I'm having, and it is very helpful.

    I also second Horse Hero, it's the one single non-trainer source that has improved my riding (Susie Peacock's rider position videos totally rock)...
    http://behindthebitblog.com
    Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
    BTBbrowbands.com
    Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders



  13. #13

    Default

    All of the above contributions are great. I learned Dressage from Henry Wynmalen's book of that title, starting when it first came out in about 1954. I was not alone in having this book as my only resource. I remember a picture a few years later in Western Horseman of a woman in Alaska seated on her horse, reading this book (which was set on top of a fence post). There are many fine newer resources, but the feeling in this book is still unmatched for me.

    I learned only a couple of years ago that, before writing the book, Mr. Wynmalen was a war-hero pilot who was so badly injured that it was amazing that he was able to ride. That feeling of what must have been his trememdous draw to Dressage permeates the book.

    In more recent years, I have appreciated the books by Paul Belasik.

    These two authors may not offer as much on form and process as others, but for me they get at the essence of why we do Dressage, and are a good reminder not to focus on technique and goals at the expense of the partnership between humans and this amazing animal.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 12, 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    29

    Default

    People are going to think I work for Savoie, lol, but I cannot say enough good things about her "training a happy horse" series. I used to watch them while doing laundry. They are pricey, but I believe you can probably get them from a rental service, and I am definitely going to contact Netflix and tell them they should get them in. I only got through the first several, but watched them over and over and it helped sooo much. I love how she uses normal horses with different body types. I wish I had the series still on loan, I would review even the first couple tapes a few more times.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2006
    Location
    North of the Frozen Tundra, but I can see it from my house.
    Posts
    1,296

    Default

    When I have been without a trainer I watched Dr. Klimke's videos. I would watch then frequently with the sound off, just studying the riding. When you can get to a clinic, get your ride videotaped to study later. My trainer is in another state. I have had short bits of problem areas taped and put on video sites, then we can watch together and discuss over the phone. It is not as good as when she is here and we work together, but it is quite valuable still.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 13, 2008
    Posts
    5,608

    Default

    I have often used the reflection in the truck windows when I ride by to check my position . Free and before and after every ride when leaving and returning to the barn ... I just ride by the windows so I can always SEE what I look like and make sure that I am maintaining the position I am aiming for.

    That and many of the other things mentioned above.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 12, 2004
    Location
    No. VA
    Posts
    683

    Default

    Subscribe to one of the online clinic things, read some books (USDF recommended reading list is good place to start), and get that flip so you can video and self-critique.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2010
    Location
    Land of Enchantment
    Posts
    824

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carolprudm View Post
    jane savoie
    I'll second that - get her dvd series... Its so clear and you can email her with questions which, btw, she actually answers unlike so many BNT's out there.

    Then when you want feedback you can attend her clinic and comehome with homework to burn

    She is so encouraging, constructive and yet firm. She puts dressage for amateurs in a whole new category.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2010
    Location
    Land of Enchantment
    Posts
    824

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FocusCalmPatience View Post
    People are going to think I work for Savoie, lol, but I cannot say enough good things about her "training a happy horse" series. I used to watch them while doing laundry. They are pricey, but I believe you can probably get them from a rental service, and I am definitely going to contact Netflix and tell them they should get them in. I only got through the first several, but watched them over and over and it helped sooo much. I love how she uses normal horses with different body types. I wish I had the series still on loan, I would review even the first couple tapes a few more times.

    I split the cost with a friend - I agree its the best investment I've made heretofore..



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 13, 2008
    Posts
    5,608

    Default

    she actually answers unlike so many BNT's out there


    Better yet, they cannot get on your horse and sink a pair of spurs in AFTER you have asked them to please remove their spurs FIRST before getting on in the first place ....



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