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Help a newbie convert to dressage?

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  • #21
    I know someone who makes L'apogee saddles and they are very pretty and quite comfy.Similar to the Devacoux but made on a different tree.If you want her contact info for more details,then PM me.I am pretty sure you could get it in brown or black.

    Comment


    • #22
      Kucassb, I am a year or so into my journey from Hunter princess to Dressage queen and I am still using my hunter tack. I show too - it is very accepable at the lower levels to show in your hunt seat tack and attire. As much as I want to get new tack, I want to get the RIGHT tack, so am taking my time. Plus the cost is an issue for me at this time (we are doing a huge remodel on our house so $$).

      Your horse will probably change enough that you should probably wait a few months on the new tack.

      Mademoiselle, loved this quote - this is one of the reasons I have held off even shopping.
      "Dressage saddle shopping is like bikini or jean shopping, it sounds fun and exciting till you start trying them ... then it turns into a complete nightmare because nothing really fits."

      Comment


      • #23
        Twenty years ago I made the same switch you are starting now. I fell in love with dressage and never looked back.

        My advice is to find the very best instruction available to you. You need someone who is very good at and willing to teach the basics. By dumb luck I found that person at the beginning of my dressage education and have been so grateful for her. She was willing to help me modify my position and learn a strong foundation. I still use most of what I learned from the three years I rode with her every time I ride.

        One way you could find an instructor is through the USDF at www.usdf.org. Also find the biggest nearby recognized dressage show and find a few professionals to talk to about if they are taking students and horses. Remember that the very best riders aren't always the best at teaching the basics, but there are also some professionals riding at GP that will take and be able to help students of any level. Keep searching for the right person for you and your horse.

        If there is a USDF "L" program anywhere nearby you will learn a lot by auditing it. Also volunteering at shows, schooling or recognized.

        When I began my journey into dressage I had no horse, no money, nothing but a passion to learn. Later today I am showing my mare 4th level to try for another score towards our Silver Medal. It is a long journey, full of backward steps, frustrations and heartache. But it is the richest, most fulfilling thing I have ever done. Welcome to the dressage world and many happy rides on your journey

        Comment


        • #24
          I know you are a foam devotee but in dressageland people really do prefer wool. The fit for the horse is given more consideration than in hunterland. I have not seen a serious dressage professional in a Devoucoux or Antares. They make those for hunter people who want to dabble or eventerswho want to stick with the same brand as their jump saddle (who ride the equivalent of Third Level at the Olympics).

          My personal favorite brands are Albion and Black Country. I can spend and have spent plenty on a saddle but I prefer these brands because I think they are quite simply the best. Several Olympians entered the ring in London in an Albion.

          On a side note, h/j people have better boots for the horse. I skip the white polos and fluffy boots and stick with hard shell jumper boots unless I am in a clinic. It looks a little different than normal dressage wear but I want impact protection, not decoration.

          Dressage reins come in leather but I recommend hand stops. Rein length and maintaining it will be a big deal.

          Dressage people care less about appearances than h/j folks do. Of course there will always be mavens who ride First Level in a double and crank around ineptly while their trainer coos but for the most part if you can elicit some good engagement behind, a seamless connection and sit the trot well it is better to do that in full chaps and jumper boots than to be immaculately attired. I am more than happy to ride into a clinic in front of a big name in $50 breeches, a $30 SmartPak girth and a cheap snaffle, even though my horse is double-ready. Focus less on your tack choices and more on your half halt timing and dressage will open itself up to you.
          Last edited by meupatdoes; Aug. 22, 2012, 01:52 PM.
          The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
          Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
          Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
          The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #25
            Wow, lots more great info, thank you all!

            I will definitely take my time saddle shopping and I am quite sure - quite sure - that I will not be lightning any competitive venues on fire for ages (if ever, LOL) so if I can spend a bit more time in my current saddle and still learn a proper position etc than that is just fine with me. Although I do think my guy will look handsome in black tack at some point

            Thanks for the tip about the rein stops - I wouldn't have thought of that and I have a life long tendency to ride with my reins a smidge too long, so I imagine they will likely come in handy

            So, OK... I think I've got a handle on the tack now.

            Do tell me about full seat breeches. Seems like they would be pretty "sticky," is that right? Is that the point of the exercise?!
            **********
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
            -PaulaEdwina

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
              Do tell me about full seat breeches. Seems like they would be pretty "sticky," is that right? Is that the point of the exercise?!
              Word on the street is they are "sticky."

              I personally don't notice much of a difference and generally ride around in skinny jeans. My "clinic" breeches are knee patch, not because of any philosophical reasons but because I can't feel the difference anyway so I won't get something new just because.
              The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
              Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
              Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
              The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

              Comment


              • #27
                I like kerrits breathe tight II full seats and tuff rider knee patch. I ride in both, and don't particularly feel a difference. the most important thing to me is that I can spread my flesh out of the way of my bones (in dressage, your seatbones and femurs are your primary communication tools)
                www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                • #28
                  I do hunter jumper and dressage.

                  I can tell you that dressage will give you abs of steel from sitting the trot. After several years of lessons, I feel like I am finally learning to sit deeply in the saddle and relax my legs. And I feel those abs the next day when we've been doing lots of sitting trot.

                  I have not splurged on this myself yet, but if you would like lovely dressage tack, you can buy beautiful sparkly brow bands to dress up your bridle. If your horse is solid black, you can probably get something quite dramatic. Can someone chime in with some links?

                  In terms of bridles, you can also have fun with a black bridle and white padding (which could be quite beautiful on a solid black horse).
                  Also, several barn friends recently came back from a show with black leather halters and colored padding - red, lavender. Very pretty.

                  Also - warning - dressage tack is very stiff! The bridle is stiff, the boots are stiff ... My smart pak bridle oiled up very nicely, but did not bend and flex the leather like I do with my hunter tack.
                  Enjoy!
                  My blog: Journeys in Riding

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Also - warning - dressage tack is very stiff! The bridle is stiff, the boots are stiff ... My smart pak bridle oiled up very nicely, but did not bend and flex the leather like I do with my hunter tack.
                    Depends on the company, Cavallo bridles bend & flex very nicely

                    & you can choose leather type & color, swarovski crystals (or not), reins

                    Then there are the boots

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Welcome back to GA, and I guess I will see you around the barn! The care there is still excellent, with lots of turn-out in nice pastures, and every horse gets groomed every day when it comes in from turn-out (big plus for those of us who can't get there every day). In addition, we have a lovely covered arena, the old outside arena you will remember, as well as a grass jump field. We also have regular clinics with outside clinicians, most of whom are nationally known. And the trails are still there...

                      If you aren't going to be showing or clinicing with a BNT anytime soon, I wouldn't worry about color, etc., of tack. And we have a plethora of dressage saddles at the barn you can probably try out - including Devoucoux's. Many of us just recently converted to Schleese saddles from other brands - we became believers when we saw how much nicer our horses went in the Schleese saddles, and all the riders feel their positions are so much better and they are much more comfortable in the Schleese saddles.

                      And there are lots of dressage bridles there of various brands, sizes, colors, type, etc. You can probably try out out a few until you figure out which size, color, style, bit, etc., works best for you.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                        Do tell me about full seat breeches. Seems like they would be pretty "sticky," is that right? Is that the point of the exercise?!
                        I'll put it this way. When we started sitting trot lengthenings, my instructor INSISTED that I get full seat britches so I wasn't sliding around in the saddle.
                        Janet

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Barn-Instructor

                          For an instructor, training and care, I really like Kim Schisler

                          http://www.stillwatersdressage.com/

                          She is great, and used to event/do jumpers before turning to straight dressage so will have a good idea of the path you are on.

                          Good Luck!

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                            In hunter/jumper land, I can watch an instructor for ten minutes and be able to evaluate whether they are any good or not. !
                            First, a good instructor is a good instructor, so a lot of your h/j criteria will still apply.

                            If you see a lot of horses "behind the vertical", if you see a lot of gadgets, or if the instructor spends more time talking about hands rather than seat and leg, those would all be bad signs.

                            If I werre moving into a new area and looking for a dressage instructor, I would ask a judge (or several judges)for recommendations.
                            Janet

                            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              WRT tack, I expect the first thing you will change is the bit.

                              The most common dressage bit is a KK Ultra. You could wait and see what your new instructor suggests, but if you are burning to "buy something" to mark your transition to dressage, start with the bit.
                              Janet

                              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #35
                                Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                Word on the street is they are "sticky."

                                I personally don't notice much of a difference and generally ride around in skinny jeans. My "clinic" breeches are knee patch, not because of any philosophical reasons but because I can't feel the difference anyway so I won't get something new just because.
                                Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                                I like kerrits breathe tight II full seats and tuff rider knee patch. I ride in both, and don't particularly feel a difference. the most important thing to me is that I can spread my flesh out of the way of my bones (in dressage, your seatbones and femurs are your primary communication tools)
                                Interesting. I got a pair of full seats (from a well meaning relative who didn't know the difference) and wore them a few times just to see what they were like, years ago. I remember thinking they were beautiful, but I couldn't ride in them! I felt completely glued to the saddle... but maybe things have changed as that was a million years ago. Time flies
                                **********
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                -PaulaEdwina

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                  Do tell me about full seat breeches. Seems like they would be pretty "sticky," is that right? Is that the point of the exercise?!
                                  Most people wear full seats because the added friction helps you stick with the horse's movement, especially on big movers and bigger movements. Personally I dislike full seats because what you gain in "stickiness" you lose (or at least I do) in adjustability. Also, with full seats I never feel like I can really get my legs/hips to open up enough to get deeply into the saddle -- I just always feel cramped and stuck and diaper-butted. I do want to try the FITS brand because I've heard their full seats eliminate some of these issues, but in general, I don't ride in full seats, and I honestly don't have a problem sitting in knee-patch breeches. But I'd say 99% of the people I see at dressage barns wear full seats and a substantial number swear by FITS. The people who switch to FITS seem to love them so much they then won't wear anything else, so I'm keeping an open mind about them.

                                  I am also a hunter rider turned dressage rider so it may be left-over preferences from that. In addition to refusing to let go of my knee patch breeches, I still strongly prefer a minimalist dressage saddle with a close-contact feel.

                                  Related to the "sticky" concept, I'd say the only place I do prefer my tack/attire to have more grip is the reins. The leather ones are lovely but I prefer and ride better in reins with more grip. I tend to ride with my hands a little too soft and open and hence my reins are always getting too long.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    Originally posted by LShipley View Post
                                    I do hunter jumper and dressage.

                                    I can tell you that dressage will give you abs of steel from sitting the trot. After several years of lessons, I feel like I am finally learning to sit deeply in the saddle and relax my legs. And I feel those abs the next day when we've been doing lots of sitting trot.
                                    Oooh, that sounds like a good thing. I spend *way* too much time driving a desk these days, so any exercise that works those abs would be a huge plus


                                    I have not splurged on this myself yet, but if you would like lovely dressage tack, you can buy beautiful sparkly brow bands to dress up your bridle. If your horse is solid black, you can probably get something quite dramatic. Can someone chime in with some links?
                                    <squeals> Seriously?! OMG, sparkly brow bands would be *awesome*... links, please!!!??!?!?!

                                    In terms of bridles, you can also have fun with a black bridle and white padding (which could be quite beautiful on a solid black horse).
                                    Also, several barn friends recently came back from a show with black leather halters and colored padding - red, lavender. Very pretty.
                                    That does sound lovely. Horsey is black with a tiny white star and two hind socks. I love the idea of a subtle padding for him... (but how do you keep white padding white?)


                                    [/QUOTE]Also - warning - dressage tack is very stiff! The bridle is stiff, the boots are stiff ... My smart pak bridle oiled up very nicely, but did not bend and flex the leather like I do with my hunter tack.
                                    Enjoy![/QUOTE]

                                    Hmmm. I wonder why that is? Is is a function of the dyeing process, do you think? I will suffer gladly wrt to the boots, but I am pretty fussy about what my horse wears, and he is a sensitive type so stiff leather would rub him in a heartbeat
                                    **********
                                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                    -PaulaEdwina

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by alto View Post
                                      Depends on the company, Cavallo bridles bend & flex very nicely

                                      & you can choose leather type & color, swarovski crystals (or not), reins

                                      Then there are the boots
                                      Oh, boy... that all looks pretty darn yummy! Looks like I could do quite a bit of damage to my wallet on that site (which is fine, LOL, and is pretty much the kind of link I was hoping for, haha.)

                                      Thank you SO much!
                                      **********
                                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                      -PaulaEdwina

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #39
                                        Originally posted by DownYonder View Post
                                        Welcome back to GA, and I guess I will see you around the barn! The care there is still excellent, with lots of turn-out in nice pastures, and every horse gets groomed every day when it comes in from turn-out (big plus for those of us who can't get there every day). In addition, we have a lovely covered arena, the old outside arena you will remember, as well as a grass jump field. We also have regular clinics with outside clinicians, most of whom are nationally known. And the trails are still there...
                                        Thanks! I was impressed with all that has been done since I left. It was always a pretty place... but boy, the new covered complex is just unreal And my guy is going to love the turnout It is good to know the trails are still there, too!

                                        If you aren't going to be showing or clinicing with a BNT anytime soon, I wouldn't worry about color, etc., of tack. And we have a plethora of dressage saddles at the barn you can probably try out - including Devoucoux's. Many of us just recently converted to Schleese saddles from other brands - we became believers when we saw how much nicer our horses went in the Schleese saddles, and all the riders feel their positions are so much better and they are much more comfortable in the Schleese saddles.
                                        I saw the Schleese info on the website... tell me more about that. I am all about making the horse comfortable (and if necessary sucking it up myself, since I figure I will probably be sore for a while learning the new position anyway, LOL.) What is it that makes such a difference and is the fitter coming back anytime soon??

                                        [/QUOTE]And there are lots of dressage bridles there of various brands, sizes, colors, type, etc. You can probably try out out a few until you figure out which size, color, style, bit, etc., works best for you.[/QUOTE]

                                        I saw some very pretty bridles - complete with those sparkly brow bands <drool> yesterday. Yummy!!!
                                        **********
                                        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                        -PaulaEdwina

                                        Comment

                                        • Original Poster

                                          #40
                                          Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                          I'll put it this way. When we started sitting trot lengthenings, my instructor INSISTED that I get full seat britches so I wasn't sliding around in the saddle.
                                          Haha, that is not a bad idea, I think. I am all for setting myself up for success if possible

                                          Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                          First, a good instructor is a good instructor, so a lot of your h/j criteria will still apply.

                                          If you see a lot of horses "behind the vertical", if you see a lot of gadgets, or if the instructor spends more time talking about hands rather than seat and leg, those would all be bad signs.

                                          If I werre moving into a new area and looking for a dressage instructor, I would ask a judge (or several judges)for recommendations.
                                          That's a very good idea, and of course what you say about BTV and gadgets makes perfect sense...

                                          Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                          WRT tack, I expect the first thing you will change is the bit.

                                          The most common dressage bit is a KK Ultra. You could wait and see what your new instructor suggests, but if you are burning to "buy something" to mark your transition to dressage, start with the bit.
                                          Believe it or not... horsey already goes in a KK Ultra (yes, we buck the hunter trends and often show in a loose ring) so apparently we are all set on that score!! (Says the girl who is trying to figure out how to justify a spiffy new bridle, LOL.)
                                          **********
                                          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                          -PaulaEdwina

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