• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Rider and Older horse to start dressage without trainer?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rider and Older horse to start dressage without trainer?

    I'm a college student and recently moved my older gelding to be at school with me. I've been really interested in getting into dressage (have been in hunters/jumpers only) and wondering what I need to do to get started. The obvious answer would be to get a trainer, but the barn I'm at doesn't have a trainer, only boarding, and I can't get a trainer out to my barn right now. I may be in the position to trailer in to lessons in the next 6 months or so, but as of now no option for a trainer. Is there anything I can do to get started on dressage for a newbie horse/rider pair? I just have no idea on how to get started.

  • #2
    I don't know what to recommend to you for you and your horse. However, the best thing for your horse, and you, would be to take some lessons somewhere else - dressage lessons - for the next sixe months. You can bring what you learn home to your horse and to be frank, learning how YOU can ride correctly dressage on a schoolmaster would be just about the next best thing you could dream of for your new endeavor.

    Even if you could only afford it every other week, it would give you a good foundation to ride your horse with. Also, look for opportunities to do some barn work for reduced lessons. I'm not in your area so I can't recommend anyone, but I think this would be a win win option for you.

    edited to add: The place you find for the lesson just may be the trainer you will want to continue with with your horse. I did this very thing myself, and my new trainer began to come out to my barn and teach me and my horse there. I do barn work in exchange for lessons.
    My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


    • #3
      Ooh boy. It's going to be very hard to start without a trainer, as dressage can really only be taught with instruction from the ground, commenting on position, attitude, etc. You can really only develop feel with an instructor's help (so you know what you're supposed to be feeling), but after you know what it is you can remember it again.

      Perhaps you can focus on simple transitions, curving lines, and precision. Riding bareback can help your position and is a nice change in scenery in time to time. The most important thing is to not get mad at your horse, as just because it seems like the movement you're asking for is obvious, doesn't mean it is to the horse.


      • #4
        Yes, but even before movements her horse is going to need to learn how to move and carry himself differently - flexions, bend, straightness, using his back, keeping his back up, getting off the forehand, using the hind end, which includes lateral work etc. and I can't see her doing this without eyes on the ground. Its very hard to ride at first, and very hard to get the horse to respond correctly, also, and if she had some lessons on other horses she could learn herself what is correct and then get her horse engaged in a short time when she can get to a trainer. That's my take on it.
        My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


        • #5
          I would suggest Lessons with Lendon as a first book. It's really approachable. I'd also recommend that you download the intro and training level tests- not so much to ride them as to read the directives and what is being judged.


          • #6
            Back in the dark ages....things were very different

            I taught myself and my failed junior hunter very basic dressage from a book or two. We ended up quite competitive at novice and training level eventing usually scoring around 67% in dressage and often finishing on our dressage scores. So it can be done and he was as unlikely looking as could be imagined, barely 15 hands and red roan.

            The two books I found most helpful were "Make the Most of your Horse" by the late Jan Dickerson. She used to post here as VernaJan. When she died COTH posted an obit. I had no idea she had studied under Col. Ljunquist(sp?) The other book I used was an early one by Mary Wanless which FINALLY gave me the key to keeping my toes pointed FORWARD. Both are available used on Amazon.

            Now you have YOUTUBE!

            Jane Savoie has put some of the best videos on there and she has a great free newsletter and subscription website, Dressage Mentor. Her DVD's Half Halt Demystified are very helpful.

            The Janet Foy/Steffen Peters series from ESDCTA is also very good.

            There is also unfortunately a whole lot of crap on Youtube as well.

            For books: Lessons with Lendon mentioned above, Jane Savoie's Dressage 101, Janet Foy Dressage for the Not So Perfect Horse, Leslie Webb, Build a Better Athlete book and DVDs,and Betsy Steiner A Gymnastic Riding System Using Mind Body and Spirit

            ETA:I did not mean to neglect or disparage many more advanced books such as the Complete Training of Horse and Rider, Riding Logic, etc
            Last edited by carolprudm; Oct. 8, 2012, 01:04 PM.
            I wasn't always a Smurf
            Penmerryl 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.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Wizard of Oz's View Post
              I just have no idea on how to get started.
              Even if you can't afford lessons with a dressage coach, ask to audit lessons, training of (young) horses etc.

              Does your current barn have mirrors? or can you have someone video your rides?

              Once you establish a relationship with a local trainer you can likely ask for input with your own horse based upon video (there is also online instruction available based upon video but I suspect this is more effective once the foundation is there).

              In the meantime, work on fitness for yourself & your horse (how old is an "older" horse?) - H/J background - principles of flatwork are not that different.


              • #8
                I'm with Ambitious Kate on this one. If you are very serious about getting this ball rolling, spend the time taking lessons on a schoolmaster dressage horse and shopping for trainers. Compelling reasons to do this, other than "it will help you learn faster":

                1. It might take you six months to find someone who seems to be speaking English when they instruct you. Not only are some dressage trainers total quacks, but some are good trainers who just don't have communication styles that will mesh with your brain or personality. If you start riding with a trainer on your own horse and with no experience in dressage, it can be tough to suss out whether you are fumbling/learning/experimenting or whether the trainer is talking nonsense that you can't understand. I've found that in H/J land, someone who sounds like they're talking nonsense is usually just a rotten trainer. In dressage land, it can sound like Greek and still be good advice. Even worse, the advice can make perfect sense in your head and you might still struggle to execute it! Finding a trainer who can explain something in a way that you can understand, and be patient while you try to get it, AND have the eagle-eyes to spot you doing it right for even a split second and say "That's it!" so that you start to get the feel, it can take awhile.

                2. It is SO helpful to get the feel of a made horse in a riding lesson, then take that feel back to your own horse. You need to be able to recognize those flashes of correctness/brilliance from your horse, and if you're stabbing in the dark about what the feels like, it's going to be very hard. Seriously, a few lessons on a schoolmaster can save you thousands of bucks compared to chasing an unknown feel.

                3. As n any discipline, you can learn a lot about the trainer by watching how they ride their own horses and how their clients ride their horses. That's a tough thing for trailer-in clients to see very often, so making a pilgrimage to trainers' farms would be a wise use of your time.

                Reading books and watching DVDs is fine too, but realize that it'll be limited in its application. If you have the money to spend, spend it on lessons first and foremost.

                In terms of "stuff you can do now that will benefit your dressage education later," hang up the dressage arena letters and practice riding accurately between and among them. Know where they are so that when your eventual new trainer says something like "at E, circle right" or "go across the diagonal, K to M" you don't have to devote tons of mental space to remembering where that stuff is. Learn how to navigate your horse down center lines, quarter lines, diagonal lines, and serpentines. Start reading some Intro/Training Level dressage tests and walk the whole pattern of the tests so you can start to get a feel for the geometry. Many noobs to dressage get scored down in the ring for not being accurate about where they make transitions or making circles too small. This is avoidable with practice.

                I would advise you not to buy any new gear--saddles, bits, bridles/nosebands, show clothes, etc.--until you've got a trainer to weigh in on that. Otherwise you could end up spending money that you don't really have to spare on gear that you don't need. You'll also find that at the schooling and intro levels, a lot of the gear you used for H/J will be perfectly appropriate to get started.
                Last edited by jn4jenny; Oct. 8, 2012, 02:19 PM.
                Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                • #9
                  While reading is good,and I consider Jane Savoie's video's and writings among the most user friendly for the green, and not so green learner, getting instruction is just about the only way.

                  Taking lessons on a schooled horse is the fastest way. Position is critical, and our bodies lie to us daily about where and how effective our position is. So please, save yourself some frustration, and find a good instructor.
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                  • #10
                    A great book to get you and your horse started is "Lessons with Lendon". As a dressage newbie I found that book very helpful for developing the basics of rhythm, contact, bend, suppleness, etc. she breaks it into pieces that are easy to understand.

                    The other thing to do would be to look for a coach who has a school horse or two for you to take lessons on. You can take lessons with your coach, and then apply the principles that you learned when you're back home, working with your horse. I trailer in for lessons with my coach, but in the winter when the roads are icy, I leave my horse at home and ride a school horse. I consider those lessons just as worthwhile as when I take lessons with my own horse. It's amazing how a different horse can give you new perspective on a concept or movement.


                    • #11
                      Everyone here has posted great suggestions already, especially those about investing in instruction even if it means getting started on a horse other than your own. And jn4jenny's advice about finding the right trainer.

                      I'd add that auditing whatever clinics are happening locally is great for general inspiration, becoming aware of the principles at the heart of dressage, and picking up bits of instruction that may be helpful to you. Especially if you happen to come across a lower level ammie riding in a clinic with a good trainer.

                      When my horse was off for months due to injury I kept myself on track by taking lessons on a humble little borrowed horse with a good trainer, and I read a lot -- several of the same books that carolprudm recommends. The internet is also great (and free!) if you have in mind a few trainers that break things down in beginner-friendly ways. For example, Mary Wanless has articles on her website that are pretty accessible and are focused on how the rider's position can be used to make the most of the horse they happen to be on.

                      But nothing compares to firsthand experience of what it feels like when the horse is straight, moving into the bit, bringing its back up, and many other more subtle "aha" moments that happen as you learn in this discipline. If you feel those on any horse it will make it easier to recognize progress with your own horse.

                      Good luck!