GUEST POST! What we should learn from dressage riders

I would like to say a huge thank you to Christa of Piaffe Style for this month’s guest post. I know you are all going to love it! Head on over to her website for training, competition, lifestyle, grooming & health tips & information. Her website makes me do lots of those little emojis with the heart eyes! Anywhooo….I am taking away from her amazing post. Here you go: What we should learn from dressage riders.

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Dressage riders are definitely admirable, there is no doubt about that. The discipline, focus and precision it takes requires years and years of practice, and the learning never ends. The fact is, that dressage is the base of everything – great basics in dressage can even help showjumpers and hunters to perform better.


All of us, regardless of our chosen discipline or level of riding, can learn something from dressage riders. And here are the best tips.

1. Forward fix

When the Queen of Dressage, world number 1 ranking Isabell Werth deals with a spooky horse, she encourages forward fix. If your horse is spooky, bolting or stays behind your leg, the fix is always forward. An attitude of “we won’t discuss this” is very important in this kind of situation.

2. A million transitions will bring a better rhythm

Whatever your discipline is, a steady rhythm is important. You can’t ride a dressage test, a showjumping course or a hunter course without a steady rhythm. Isabell’s solution is doing many, many transitions during your ride. Aside from your warm up, transitions between gaits, within gates and from one movement to another help you establish a good rhythm and a supple horse.

3. Don’t overwork your horse

Kyra Kyrklund, a five-time Olympian, says that you should not ride a horse longer than 45 minutes. “A horse can carry us for 45 minutes,” she says. She also adds that you should not work a horse until he is sour. Finish on a good note and give your horse many chances to be proud of himself.

4. Work on one thing at a time

You shouldn’t work on many things during one ride. Choose one thing to work on each day: canter transitions, trot poles, distance and so on. This gives you a chance to work on one thing properly and to devote all your time for that one thing. Kyra Kyrklund says that you have to practice one thing so many times that in order to get it right, you don’t need luck.

5. Discipline

Dressage riders are very well-known for their excellent discipline. In order to become good at what you do, stay disciplined! Practice the rein-backs, practice the scary jumps, practice… and practice more.

6. Stay safe

Let’s face it: horseback riding is an extreme sport. Keeping yourself safe by wearing a helmet, using safety stirrups, protecting your horse’s leg with boots – this is all very important in order to keep yourself and your horse from getting hurt.

7. Reward immediately

Horses have a shorter memory than dogs – it’s about 3-4 seconds. It’s important to reward your horse immediately after a good reaction. A reward can be a light pat on the neck or a step or two of relaxation on your part – let the horse know he did a good job and he’s much more motivated to do it again.

Conclusion

Even if you don’t do dressage on a daily basis, practicing certain movements and learning from dressage riders can make you a better showjumper, hunter or even barrel racer. Take some time to establish a great connection with your horse, and you will surely see a reward in a long run.

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Wow! I feel like I learnt something new, did you? I always strive to improve myself or my knowledge by 1% everyday and I certainly feel like I did reading Christa’s post. Thank you so much Christa!

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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Stay safe & God Bless!

~~International Cowgirl

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