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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2003
    Location
    Home of "The Office", PA
    Posts
    945

    Default Everything you know is WRONG!

    Just for the fun of it...

    So I've ridden for most of my life and have ranged the disciplines from Western Pleasure/Eq, to gymkhana, to huntseat, to dabbling in eventing, and now to dressage. Almost everything...cues, positions, etc, transferred pretty well from one discipline to another UNTIL I hit dressage. Now it seems, everything I know is wrong!

    I was pondering this last night and here are some of MY differences. Before dressage I:
    ~Pulled the right rein to turn right, Pulled the left rein to turn left
    ~Pulled back on the reins to stop
    ~Followed my first trainer's mantra that riding is 80% legs, 10% hands, and 10% seat
    ~Cued for the canter/lope with the outside leg
    ~More than just a tiny bit of weight in the reins meant the horse is pulling on me
    ~Lower my hands to lower the horse's head

    UGH! My riding world is being turned upside down and I feel like I'm in the Matix! Thankfully, my horse is fairly green so he is picking the correct way of doing things a lot easier than I am!

    Am I alone here? What are some things that you thought you knew until you started dressage?
    Last edited by Dramapony_misty; Apr. 22, 2013 at 10:03 AM.
    The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2010
    Posts
    1,762

    Default

    Yep, that sounds about right. I won't bore you with the specifics, but coming from western/saddle seat/Arabian show worlds, it was a shock. My advice - just go with the flow. Your past isn't "wrong" it's just different. Accept that it will take you a while, even like a year, to squash your old impulses and ride dressage style. But if you give it an honest go, you will really like the results in your horse and you'll feel more accomplished as a rider! Good luck!!!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 13, 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    933

    Default

    As a hunter rider I was given a really nice dressage horse who didn't want to be a dressage horse any longer. He was free, with the condition that I rode with his trainer for about a month before I moved him to his new home.

    It was hysterical—I worked harder to achieve the tiniest little details than I ever have in my life (and not terribly successfully). And I spent the entire time hearing the trainer yell "Hunter Leg!!!" at me 20 times each lesson. I finally ended up with a bungee cord hooking the stirrups together from under the horse's belly so that I had to hold my legs in the correct position.

    Oh, and the letters around the arena.... She'd say to do something particular at a particular letter and it would take me 10+ seconds to scan the entire arena until I figured out where the bloody letter was. That trainer is now a VERY BNT now, and I'm convinced it's partly because she's got the patience of a saint (and a very good sense of humor!!!).
    "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2009
    Location
    Gladstone, Oregon
    Posts
    540

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dramapony_misty View Post
    Just for the fun of it...

    So I've ridden for most of my life and have ranged the disciplines from Western Pleasure/Eq, to gymkhana, to huntseat, to dabbling in eventing, and now to dressage. Almost everything...cues, positions, etc, transferred pretty well from one discipline to another UNTIL I hit dressage. Now it seems, everything I know is wrong!

    I was pondering this last night and here are some of MY differences. Before dressage I:
    ~Pulled the right rein to turn right, Pulled the left rein to turn left
    oPulled back on the reins to stop
    ~Followed my first trainer's mantra that riding is 80% legs, 10% hands, and 10% seat
    ~Cued for the canter/lope with the outside leg
    ~More than just a tiny bit of weight in the reins meant the horse is pulling on me
    ~Lower my hands to lower the horse's head

    UGH! My riding world is being turned upside down and I feel like I'm in the Matix! Thankfully, my horse is fairly green so he is picking the correct way of doing things a lot easier than I am!

    Am I alone here? What are some things that you thought you knew until you started dressage?
    That I could actually ride.
    Quote Originally Posted by dizzywriter View Post
    My saddle fits perfectly well. It might be a little tight around the waist, but I take care of that with those spandex things.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2009
    Location
    Gladstone, Oregon
    Posts
    540

    Default

    Dumb phone...
    Last edited by Jane Honda; Apr. 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Double post
    Quote Originally Posted by dizzywriter View Post
    My saddle fits perfectly well. It might be a little tight around the waist, but I take care of that with those spandex things.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2009
    Posts
    1,727

    Default

    The fun part is that you never stop feeling like you don't know anything! I'm about to make my PSG debut and sometimes I wonder if I have any business riding FEI at all. I'll glance in the mirror or see us on video and I'm like "Dang, we look like we know what we're doing!" but inside I know I've only scratched the surface. That's what makes it addicting though... There's always more work to be done. Other riders WILL think you're insane though because you will get huge thrills over things that they just do not understand. For example, of all the cool and fun movements we're getting to do right now - piaffe, pirouettes, tempis, etc - I think the coolest thing EVER was the day I reeeaaally felt my horse respond to a half halt from my seat in the canter. He has a really tough canter and used to be a total freight train so it was like the heaven's opened up and the angels sang to us. I still get giddy every ride over it


    9 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    10,423

    Default

    Having been introduced to dressage early in life, it was just here. BUT! I was eventing. Then when sanity took over, and I started doing dressage dressage, I was appalled at all the "normal" ways of an achieving an end that I had learned. So the education is ongoing, endless, and fascinating.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 1, 2008
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Red pill or blue pill?


    5 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    6,039

    Default

    A lot of my basics were already there - and I believe correct basics (other than contact) apply for every discipline, at least for lower level dressage.

    Now, the amount of seat needed in specific ways? Not as much.... but I know I'm finding a lot is in there from my early years of riding, and I'm re-learning it. It's amazing how much of my seatbone use is instinctive in how I want to use them - and how much trouble I'm having with them anyway due to physical limitations from a major soft tissue injury in my back last year.


    I think *good* dressage instruction is different from 95% of instruction in the US. I don't care what saddle you're riding in, though, because good and correct dressage instruction, at least for the lower levels of dressage, can and does happen in all disciplines. Now the amount you need to learn upper level work - I'm at the tip of that iceberg and it does get more detailed and specific than taught in other disciplines, and I love the comments about how you'll always feel like you know nothing. I have to keep looking back and seeing improvement in order to avoid being frustrated by how much more there is to learn!
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 30, 2006
    Location
    The Isle of Wight
    Posts
    729

    Default

    Now I'm really scared to take my first dressage lesson this weekend... AAGH! I'm a hunter rider There will be no jumps there... What shall I do?

    Just Kidding - Hopefully, I will learn better flatwork and using my aids more correctly so that the green bean and I can communicate better



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2013
    Posts
    191

    Default

    Learning to sit down and back! I came from hunters, and I felt like I was going to fall over backwards! Now I can't imagine sitting in that forward seat all the time...I have a bad back, and dressage is so much more comfortable


    2 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
    Location
    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
    Posts
    14,465

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dramapony_misty View Post
    Just for the fun of it...

    So I've ridden for most of my life and have ranged the disciplines from Western Pleasure/Eq, to gymkhana, to huntseat, to dabbling in eventing, and now to dressage. Almost everything...cues, positions, etc, transferred pretty well from one discipline to another UNTIL I hit dressage. Now it seems, everything I know is wrong!

    I was pondering this last night and here are some of MY differences. Before dressage I:
    ~Pulled the right rein to turn right, Pulled the left rein to turn left
    ~Pulled back on the reins to stop
    ~Followed my first trainer's mantra that riding is 80% legs, 10% hands, and 10% seat
    ~Cued for the canter/lope with the outside leg
    ~More than just a tiny bit of weight in the reins meant the horse is pulling on me
    ~Lower my hands to lower the horse's head

    UGH! My riding world is being turned upside down and I feel like I'm in the Matix! Thankfully, my horse is fairly green so he is picking the correct way of doing things a lot easier than I am!

    Am I alone here? What are some things that you thought you knew until you started dressage?
    I think when you get really wonderful at dressage... you'll find that you go back to doing all those things, just maybe with a slightly different accent.

    It is not dressage to have a horse be heavy in the hands. Many dressage horses happen to be so, and sometimes that is how some horses need or want to be ridden. But there are also dressage horses that are light in your hands, and lightness is still something to seek as an ideal... IMHO. I personally choose not to tolerate a horse being heavy in my hand.

    The outside leg will in many ways go back to being part of your canter depart... but as haunch control rather than so much as the primary cue.

    Your horse will bump lightly against the reins to stop... but again that won't be so much the primary cue, which will come from your body... just as it would for a good western horse.

    You're incorporating a new chunk of vocabulary... but it will all harmonize back in time.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    4 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2013
    Location
    Hopefully at the barn
    Posts
    432

    Default

    The cue for canter. I always thought it was half halt then inside (althouh for some horses, outside) leg... It never occured to me to half halt, move inside leg to girth and outside leg behind girth, sit upUpUP, life inside rein slightly squeeze with legs, kiss, and say canter (if kiss noise didnt reinforce seat and leg aids enough). But then, I also didnt ride such persnickity horses back then
    Tack Cleaning/All-Things-Tack nut
    ~DQ wanna-be~


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2009
    Posts
    1,905

    Default

    I went from hunt seat to saddle seat to dressage. What I have found is that dressage (in the classical sense) seems to be the most natural in terms of communicating with the horse. Speaking his body language and gaining suppleness. The buttons pushed and not pushed seem to be the easiest for the horse to understand with the least fussing by the rider. He has to be balanced and on the aids to instantly respond correctly thru transitions and changes of direction. The more I ride classically the less I consciously have to think about what I'm doing. It just "feels" right. As always JMHO
    "I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted". - Anonymous


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2009
    Posts
    1,905

    Default

    double post
    "I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted". - Anonymous



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2011
    Location
    the Armpit of the Nation
    Posts
    3,170

    Default

    "Whaddya mean there's more to it than sittin' pretty?"
    "I've been riding all my life! This can't be THAT hard!"
    "I can get ANY horse round! Whaddya mean that's not on the bit! 'Course it is!!"
    "Straightness, throughness, YADDA YADDA YADDA...hey, why can't I sit this trot?"

    The sheer detailed understanding of what the goals are and then getting this body to do them was, IS such a challenge.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Posts
    594

    Default

    For me getting rid of the tight, base-of-support leg and replacing it with a softly-draping leg has been the eternal quest!!

    I think one of the things with dressage is that an aid is never a blanket statement. Everything depends on context. The answer to any given question isn't a sentence, it's an essay. The complexity is sometimes overwhelming, but it's also why I love dressage.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2011
    Posts
    1,442

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oldernewbie View Post
    Yep, that sounds about right. I won't bore you with the specifics, but coming from western/saddle seat/Arabian show worlds, it was a shock. My advice - just go with the flow. Your past isn't "wrong" it's just different. Accept that it will take you a while, even like a year, to squash your old impulses and ride dressage style. But if you give it an honest go, you will really like the results in your horse and you'll feel more accomplished as a rider! Good luck!!!
    This is exactly right. I come from the Morgan show world, so dressage was a complete and utter shock. But, I've found that the dressage training DOES transfer back into those worlds, and it's helped me ride every horse a whole lot better. My new mare does Arabian main ring hunter pleasure and show hack in addition to the dressage/sport horse classes, and her hunter work is a TON better for it. Actually, just about all of the Morgan/Arabian main ring hunters in our barn take dressage lessons as well as doing the main ring stuff.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2011
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5,076

    Default

    Ain't it the truth. The reins thing was almost my Waterloo in classic dressage!

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2006
    Location
    ONTARIO CANADA
    Posts
    1,399

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jocko View Post
    Red pill or blue pill?
    Blue pill please?

    Sympathetic instructors help! I found a para coach who can teach me to do things correctly and work with my not always cooperating body and help figure different cues.

    Oh and a patient horse rode a mare who was utterly confused when my leg was spasm/doing its own thing and we ended up leg yeilding the whole lesson cuz she thought i was asking. Now my handsome gelding(s) could care less even if i spur bump oppsie but my hands are less reliable and horses prefer spur opsie to whip ones
    Beyond the Ring-para dressage, training, coaching
    www.facebook.com/btrparadressage

    Proud Team Four Star Minion! Renegade for Life!



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