View Full Version : When should Dressage Training begin?
23rd Jan 2003, 05:24 PM
At what level would a rider normally start branching off into dressage training? (I mean, at what level of rider competency).
I know at my barn, the kiddies who want to become hunter/jumpers begin low jumps almost immediately after learning to canter. However, at my barn there is never any mention of dressage! ;)
Just wondering, since dressage is what I'd like to do (someday). :D
23rd Jan 2003, 06:02 PM
we always start dressage training right away pretty much, but then, we're a dressage barn...;)
as soon as the rider is off the lunge (meaning they can walk, trot and canter and steer on the lunge easily) and they have been able to steer, walk, trot, canter off the lunge then we start introducing lateral movements, on and off the rail by lateral aids, and then leg yeilding. at that point it's pretty much dressage training, at least as far as movements go, we train your seat from the beginning on the lunge so you pretty much have that set. Most kids seem to pick that stuff up in about a year or a little more. Adults are the same or faster (depending on if they've had previous riding experience, they sometimes go through the seat work faster)
23rd Jan 2003, 06:03 PM
After I learned to stay balanced at the walk, trot, and canter (both with stirrups, without stirrups, on a lead line with no reins or stirrups - you get the idea) I was told by my instructor that I could begin with the very basic dressage stuff. Now, everyones idea is different, but basic dressage includes walk trot (training level) while CONTROLLING your horse. None of the fancy stuff really.
Although Ive taken a break from my riding lessons due to my check book right now (current status is only recovering from buying Bonfire) it took me a few months to get to that point. It really depends on the rider's confidence and ability as well as your instructor's viewpoints. Some barns/instructors will not let you progress until you have been doing canter work for two years.
23rd Jan 2003, 06:39 PM
A guy I had lessons with many years ago had a pupil who he taught from scratch. I saw her when she had been riding for four weeks ! and she was already riding a schoolmaster very nicely in all paces on the bit.
So I think you can start dressage from the word 'go' if you want to. If you think about it, why teach a rider to ride 'badly' first and then teach them the right way ? Why not teach the correct way to ride a corner, the feel of a balanced horse, of a soft contact etc as soon as possible ?!
24th Jan 2003, 12:03 AM
I agree with cvb. Dressage is really a matter of doing things correctly from the beginning. It starts from the seat and moves through leg yielding and lateral movement, for example, and goes upward from there to collection, extension and other bending work....and further to piaffe, and so on.
It differs from jumping to the extent that there's really no clear point at which a qualitatively new thing is introduced (jumps).
Judging how prepared you are to move on depends entirely upon how well you've mastered any movement along the continuum.
24th Jan 2003, 08:25 AM
The first time you sit on a horse :D
Joking aside, everyone seems to think dressage is something difficult and mystifying and you have to be really good to do it. Dressage is all about the basic training of the horse (and rider), if the basics are correct the rest is easy. If the basics are not there everything is difficult.
Dressage is as much about riding piaffe as it is a rider learning how to sit correctly and ride the horse in a correct manner on a walk circle
24th Jan 2003, 11:17 AM
The word dressage comes from a French word meaning to school or train. In that case, as Lgd said, it starts from teh first time you sit on a horse! If we are bein gliteral, then even hacking or jumping is still dressage, as you are still (hopeful) triaing yourself and your horse.
The day you stop dressage is the day you stop riding!
24th Jan 2003, 06:31 PM
my instructor likes to call Jumping, "dressage over fences" :p
we've even ridden our dressage tests with a couple of fences in the arena. LOL.
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