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Everything you know is WRONG!

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  • 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, 10:03 AM.
    The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.

  • #2
    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!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      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

      Comment


      • #4
        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.
        Originally posted by dizzywriter
        My saddle fits perfectly well. It might be a little tight around the waist, but I take care of that with those spandex things.

        Comment


        • #5
          Dumb phone...
          Last edited by Jane Honda; Apr. 22, 2013, 11:17 AM. Reason: Double post
          Originally posted by dizzywriter
          My saddle fits perfectly well. It might be a little tight around the waist, but I take care of that with those spandex things.

          Comment


          • #6
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

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

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              • #8
                Red pill or blue pill?

                Comment


                • #9
                  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!
                  Originally posted by Silverbridge
                  If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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                  • #10
                    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
                    ALP
                    "The Prince" aka Front Row
                    Cavalier Manor

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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
                      My Art - Equine and Pet Portraits

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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~

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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
                            Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              double post
                              Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                "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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  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.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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.
                                    Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      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).

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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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