Dressage challenge

Native Lover

Native Pony Fan
Jul 13, 2009
5,971
2,674
113
53
Lincolnshire,wheres the hills?
stores.shop.ebay.co.uk
#1
I have set myself 6 weeks to do my first walk trot Dressage test.... I am really not bothered what we score I would just like to be improving through out the year. I have a lovely instructor in Kath working with me weekly. I am setting tiny goals and working towards them this year.

So anyone who competes what should I be aiming for on my tests.? As a begininer to Dressage.
 
Last edited:

Skib

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
7,344
1,163
113
London
#5
I know that lots of people like competing and being able to measure their progress by riding local dressage tests. It is hard for people on NR to give a negative. But the social pressure to join in and to conform to some arbitrary norms isnt always good for the horses. We have seen MaryP and Ale both train their horses with this goal, with possible damage to the horses.
Positioning the head and establishing rein contact may not even be best in strengthening a horse. eml the RI so helpful on this board and myself were never taught to ride nor taught to train horses that way.
On the contrary we established movement beginning with the back of the horse, the hind legs - canter on young horses delayed in the school, and all the older horses doing a lot of work in walk to encourage the horse to bring its hind legs right under. By the time Ii got to another RS for proper dressage lessons, I was just told that the horses were moving forward fine for me. That was true and they did some amazing things for me but I doubt if we would have scored well at a local show.
We learned about contact by the feel in our hands, by adjusting the stride and the frame of the horse. My heart sinks at native ponies being set to this meaningless task. And it also sinks at the criteria for judging the lower grades of local dressage shows. It is such a nonsense.
 

carthorse

Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2006
6,511
2,046
113
#6
For goodness sake Skib, she's looking at walk trot tests not Grand Prix!

Positioning of the head & establishing a rein contact should always come from the horse being ridden forward & over the back. Done correctly it's beneficial to any horse as it strengthens the top line & abdominals & lightens the forehand. Done incorrectly, eg the head pulled into place & the rein being the governing aid, then it's detrimental but has no place in dressage anyway & would be marked down.

Many natives are actually very capable of low level dressage & find it easy & fun. No you don't tend to see them at GP, but then that really is the elite. I have seen natives out & doing well at advanced medium & I believe that in the States the was a welsh cob that was competing FEI GP.

You're making some flawed assumptions about dressage & the training behind competing. Like any sport there's good & bad, but then there's good and bad riding among non-competitive riders. You make it sound like you're unusual in encouraging a horse to step forward from behind & take an elastic contact forward - I can assure you you really aren't. And if you read up on what judges should be judging on you'd find that it isn't about a tight outline & tense horse - well not if you want decent marks!
 

Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
11,904
3,055
113
Visit site
#9
I know that lots of people like competing and being able to measure their progress by riding local dressage tests. It is hard for people on NR to give a negative. But the social pressure to join in and to conform to some arbitrary norms isnt always good for the horses. We have seen MaryP and Ale both train their horses with this goal, with possible damage to the horses.
Positioning the head and establishing rein contact may not even be best in strengthening a horse. eml the RI so helpful on this board and myself were never taught to ride nor taught to train horses that way.
On the contrary we established movement beginning with the back of the horse, the hind legs - canter on young horses delayed in the school, and all the older horses doing a lot of work in walk to encourage the horse to bring its hind legs right under. By the time Ii got to another RS for proper dressage lessons, I was just told that the horses were moving forward fine for me. That was true and they did some amazing things for me but I doubt if we would have scored well at a local show.
We learned about contact by the feel in our hands, by adjusting the stride and the frame of the horse. My heart sinks at native ponies being set to this meaningless task. And it also sinks at the criteria for judging the lower grades of local dressage shows. It is such a nonsense.
I'm not sure that this is exactly fair! I rode Ben at prelim level. We had a lesson every 2 weeks and in between his schooling we did lots of hacking, XC, jumping, showing, in-hand horse agility etc. We were true all rounders. I didn't ride dressage to conform to anyone, I did it because I enjoyed it and Ben enjoyed it too. It is true that when he became lame I went through a period of blaming myself for it, but in hindsight, the level of dressage I was asking him to do was completely appropriate for our level of ability. Most of the time we were working on simple transitions and contact. The most technical thing we ever did was a leg yield! I didn't 'damage' him because I had some wish to approve to others. It was an unfortunate injury with an unknown cause which has completely shattered me. So please don't place judgement on me and they way I have ridden my horse. It wasn't 'nonsense', we had an amazing time together and I have great memories of all our ridden work.
 

Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
11,904
3,055
113
Visit site
#10
I have set myself 6 weeks to do my first walk trot Dressage test.... I am really not bothered what we score I would just like to be improving through out the year. I have a lovely instructor in Kath working with me weekly. I am setting tiny goals and working towards them this year.

So anyone who competes what should I be aiming for on my tests.? As a begininer to Dressage.
I think that it is great that you are starting dressage. My feedback with Ben was always 'needs to be more forwards'. This was closely followed by 'nose poking". So my job was to get him working more actively and try to stop the nose poke. This didn't mean pulling him into a contact, it meant riding with a contact as I used to have very long washing line reins. This was a steep learning curve for me. For your first test I would concentrate on activity and accuracy. If you ride to your markers and make sure your circles are the correct size you will pick up more marks.
 

newforest

Tomorrow can change what happens today
Mar 15, 2008
25,461
8,887
113
A field
#12
I know that lots of people like competing and being able to measure their progress by riding local dressage tests. It is hard for people on NR to give a negative. But the social pressure to join in and to conform to some arbitrary norms isnt always good for the horses. We have seen MaryP and Ale both train their horses with this goal, with possible damage to the horses.
Positioning the head and establishing rein contact may not even be best in strengthening a horse. eml the RI so helpful on this board and myself were never taught to ride nor taught to train horses that way.
On the contrary we established movement beginning with the back of the horse, the hind legs - canter on young horses delayed in the school, and all the older horses doing a lot of work in walk to encourage the horse to bring its hind legs right under. By the time Ii got to another RS for proper dressage lessons, I was just told that the horses were moving forward fine for me. That was true and they did some amazing things for me but I doubt if we would have scored well at a local show.
We learned about contact by the feel in our hands, by adjusting the stride and the frame of the horse. My heart sinks at native ponies being set to this meaningless task. And it also sinks at the criteria for judging the lower grades of local dressage shows. It is such a nonsense.
It's hard for people on nr to give a negative- your whole post has just done that.
I can't speak for the people you have personally named as damaging their horses. How insulting and potentially upsetting that comment is.

I own a cob/native. She is schooled to a low level, dressage is schooling. ANY horse can be educated in self carriage within their limits, and the rider can be taught to ride and feel within theirs.
These proper lessons on proper horses is looking down on everyone else and assuming nobody knows how to school, ride and nobody has lessons on anything bar a rocking horse.
When I checked the cob she looked like a real horse, body, brain and mind of her own-a proper horse then. :rolleyes:
 

lauren123

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2007
2,910
966
113
East Yorkshire
#16
@Native Lover from one novice dressage person to another... Have fun, enjoy it and breathe!! :D

I know that lots of people like competing and being able to measure their progress by riding local dressage tests. It is hard for people on NR to give a negative. But the social pressure to join in and to conform to some arbitrary norms isnt always good for the horses. We have seen MaryP and Ale both train their horses with this goal, with possible damage to the horses.
I needed to reply to this. Considering this thread wasn't set up as a topic to have a debate over, it was to give advice and encouragement as most threads are. However I feel , first off all you had no right to single members out, this isn't Naming and Shaming! All the people on here do the very best for their horses Including the members you have pointed out above. I feel the comment you made is highly insulting to both members and to a lot of people who care greatly about their horses. I for one would be incredibly offended and very annoyed if someone suggested that I was damaging my horse due to social pressure and arbitrary norms.

There is a range of social trends and pressure from people. However I for one aren't into much of these. I dont do things due to social trends. I go purely on how my horse is and what he is happy in.
There was a time where Grackle nosebands and dutch gags were on a lot of horses near me as it was 'In'. I would never dream of putting him in a grackle because it looks ' cute'.
 

carthorse

Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2006
6,511
2,046
113
#17
@Native Lover from one novice dressage person to another... Have fun, enjoy it and breathe!! :D



I needed to reply to this. Considering this thread wasn't set up as a topic to have a debate over, it was to give advice and encouragement as most threads are. However I feel , first off all you had no right to single members out, this isn't Naming and Shaming! All the people on here do the very best for their horses Including the members you have pointed out above. I feel the comment you made is highly insulting to both members and to a lot of people who care greatly about their horses. I for one would be incredibly offended and very annoyed if someone suggested that I was damaging my horse due to social pressure and arbitrary norms.
Well said Lauren! I was very tempted to report Skib's post as offensive, but felt that as I wasn't one of the people named it wasn't really my place & I doubt it contravened forum rules.
 

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
7,922
6,392
113
#18
But the social pressure to join in and to conform to some arbitrary norms isnt always good for the horses. We have seen and Ale both train their horses with this goal, with possible damage to the horses.
You are more than welcome to speak to Ale's vet, he will put your mind at ease that his injuries were not caused by how he was ridden. Not that it's any of your business WHAT SO EVER and has no relevance at all to this thread.

How when you were writing that did you not realise how upsetting that would be for either of us to read or did you simply not care?

Best of luck to you @Native Lover you have completely the right attitude. Just go out there and enjoy yourself. That's what horse ownership is all about. And dressage is a lovely way of seeing some gradual improvement/ progression.
 

Tir

Active Member
May 10, 2017
90
171
33
41
#19
Well done you for giving it a go be warned it can be addictive.

In W&T test the most important thing is a willing forward horse and accuracy. Make sure a circle is a circle a corner a corner and don’t cut them.

But mostly importantly smile breath and enjoy it
This to a T.

I had never ridden a test when I first got my horse. I have just done my 2nd novice test, and it was all my work. So rewarding.

In addition to the above I love getting us to look as nice as possible, just gives a great 1st impression and makes me feel good.

Also if one movement goes not as well as you had hoped just ride the next one and hopefully it will be better.

Most importantly have fun with the journey to wherever you are going! Riding a supple, schooled and willing horse is a joy, but the quest to get there is amazing.
 
Likes: Ale