Dressage with Patience

Working Back to Front

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When starting the young dressage horse, the main concern I have is keeping him moving "back to front." By this I mean his hind end is the motor and needs to be pushing his whole body forward into the bit. If the horse has learned to carry the bit and stay in a frame while lungeing, he should easily soften to the bit when pushed up to it. This does not mean that he needs to be on the vertical or in a perfect frame but just submitting to the bit softly when contact is made by pushing him to it when going forward. However, in order to accomplish this you must first teach him rhythm and help him build strength.

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Training the Young Dressage Horse

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I have started many young dressage horses under saddle, and I am very particular about how I go about it. From the very first moments you start handling a young horse, you are teaching it principles that will one day affect how it responds under saddle.

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Achieving Rhythm and Relaxation in the Dressage Horse

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The dressage pyramid or training scale provides a guideline for all dressage training, although the principles carry over into any discipline. It starts with the basis of Rhythm and Relaxation, then progresses to Suppleness, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, and Collection. Rhythm and relaxation are the most important aspects of dressage training and must be achieved before progressing.

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Ground Work Basics for the Young Dressage Horse

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When I train young dressage horses, I start on the ground. In this article, I will give you some of the basics to do your own ground work "The Dressage Way".

Some people like to teach a horse to lunge in a round pen, but I like an open arena so they learn to respect the line and the person lungeing. Some times when horses have been only trained in the round pen they will take off and feel like they can run free when in open spaces.

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Why Dressage?

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For many people who watch the upper level dressage such as the amazing Totilas, it's is like a dream. It's something to watch, but you never think you could be that Gold Medal rider. I was that person years ago, thinking Grand Prix dressage was just for the elite and very wealthy, and that watching the lower level dressage is like watching paint dry. It just wasn't for me. Then I got into eventing with my wonderful jumper who could ace a cross country course, but we had no choice but to do Dressage-ugh!

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