# 4/28/2010. Taking the mystery out of dressage.

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1 Taking the mystery out of dressage. 1

2 How can I improve communication with my horse??? Theory comes first. Understanding the Dressage Training Scale Collection Straightness Impulsion Contact/Connection Suppleness/Looseness Rhythm/Relaxation 2

3 Judges use the training scale To evaluate your horse s training To score your test according to the requirements at each level You can use the training scale To form a better partnership between you and your horse, if you compete or if you just enjoy a drive down the trail Collection Straightness Impulsion Contact/Connection Suppleness/Looseness Rhythm/Relaxation 3

4 The first and most important step in the training scale Affects all steps on the scale Mental and Physical Relaxation allow the horse to step in the natural rhythm of each gait Walk Four Beat Trot Two Beat Canter Three Beat Rein Back Two Beat Rhythm and Relaxation The horse is working with his back Regularity of steps AND strides in all gaits and transitions Does the horse track up? 4

5 Rhythm and Relaxation Tempo is a key part of this step Tempo is the rate of repetition of footfalls in a gait, fast or slow Each horse has a tempo in which it can relax, balance and swing, depending upon it s confirmation, level of training and strength. Very important in training! Rhythm and Relaxation Regularity of steps and strides in all gaits and transitions Example: Trot to walk transition horse trots in the same rhythm and tempo, then makes a change to walk going forward in long, even strides. Collection Straightness Impulsion Contact/Connection Suppleness/Looseness Rhythm/Relaxation 5

6 Builds on rhythm and relaxation and cannot exist without them Lateral: Sideways Bend 6

7 Lateral Bend is the degree to which a horse can bend his body and neck sideways, on a circle or sideways. A correct bend is consistent from head to tail, horse slightly bent to the inside of circles and figures. Longitudinal Bend Looseness of the poll, neck, back and haunches allowing horse to stretch onto the bit The horse s frame/outline.. Should be able to be shortened or lengthened at will Should match th the work he is being asked kd to do Should not be a static thing a headset is not what we are looking for Goes along with the horse s level of strength and balance and the range he can show will increase as his training progresses 7

8 Frame changing with training Five year old Nine year old Clues to identifying Suppleness and Looseness: Mouth closed and mouthing bit quietly Tail swinging softly The horse allows itself to be driven forward, pushed toward the hand. Suppleness and Looseness in a young horse 8

9 Collection Straightness Impulsion Contact/Connection Suppleness/Looseness Rhythm/Relaxation Contact/Acceptance of the Bit Acceptance and response to the rein aids while in a round outline with a mouth that is relaxed A light, soft but constant contact, horse obedient and submissive Aids passing through a supple poll Contact/Acceptance of the Bit Good contact can be seen when: The horse s back is raised His quarters are engaged His poll is the highest point His jaw is relaxed His nose is a bit in front of the vertical 9

10 Collection Straightness Impulsion Contact/Connection Suppleness/Looseness Rhythm/Relaxation Energy, not speed Free flowing energy Lively active steps Impulsion 10

11 Impulsion Good impulsion is shown when a horse steps under his barrel and engages his hocks. The horse shows a desire to go forward Impulsion Collection Straightness Impulsion Contact/Connection Suppleness/Looseness Rhythm/Relaxation 11

12 Horses are crooked by nature Good training focuses on developing both sides and both hind legs of the horse so he steps through equally A horse is straight when the hind foot steps into the line of the front foot, on straight lines or on curved lines Collection Straightness Impulsion Contact/Connection Suppleness/Looseness Rhythm/Relaxation The Holy Grail!! When all elements are present, true collection can occur Requires strength built through correct daily work 12

13 Identifying Collection Look for: Lowering of the haunches Lightness of the shoulders and forehand Shorter and higher h steps More bend in the joints of the hind legs Withers look higher The horse seems to move uphill Neck more raised Head closer to the vertical Each step is being worked while training, with emphasis on laying a correct base for the pyramid, and confirming each step before focusing on the next one Questions on the Training Scale? 13

14 Preparing for your Dressage Test What you must know before embarking on this journey. Know Your Test! Read and understand the purpose of the test and what is being looked for at that level 14

16 Read, understand and FOLLOW the instructions! Understand the directives! Be clear about the starting and ending point of each movement Know the number of seconds to halt and the number of steps for the rein back Read, understand and FOLLOW the instructions! Understand the directives! Be clear about the starting and ending point of each movement Know the number of seconds to halt and the number of steps for the rein back Read the rulebook and understand what is required in each gait and movement 16

17 Understand what the collective marks mean Gaits Walk, trot and canter if called for Good paces must be exhibited If one pace is incorrect, the score will be affected Example: Uneven steps at times during the test may affect the Gait score Impulsion How the horse moves forward Whether the movements are elastic Whether the back is supple and relaxed How the hind legs are engaged Does the horse track up? Is energy and desire to move forward there? 17

18 Submission Fulfillment of the criteria of the test Cooperation Harmony, lightness and ease of movement Acceptance of the bit Lightness of the forehand Harmony Could be more submissive.. 18

19 Driver Does the driver seesaw reins? Is soft contact sustained throughout test? Balanced? Good posture? Driver Quiet, organized and workmanlike? Does the driver help or hinder their horse? Is the horse prepared properly before each movement? Going off course it happens to everyone what to do? 19

20 Know The ADS Rulebook! Descriptions of what is expected at each level is in the rule book Explanations of each gait and how they are judged d is in the rulebook The ADS rulebook is your driven dressage bible, it s available free online, study it! Things to know and do.. You have 90 seconds after the bell rings to enter the ring You can use your voice and whip appropriately during your test Accuracy is important, it shows off your horse s training and shows focus and concentration Leave the ring as called for on your test sheet, usually a working trot Leave the ring at A Questions about preparing for your dressage test? Ready to jump in? 20

21 Strategies t for Success Have a clear mental picture of what you want Mark the correct behavior when it happens as a reward Be consistent in your requests and your rewards WIIFM? 21

22 Training for Dressage Before training begins.. Make your horse as comfortable as possible Does he have enough. Exercise? Turnout? Training for Dressage Make your horse as comfortable as possible Adjust his diet for his work Have his teeth done on a regular basis Feet cared for on a timely basis Chiropractic can work wonders! Drive with your aids, not with corrections Have a neutral contact When correction is necessary, correct, then reward by lightening i your contact for a second Go back to your neutral contact Drive with your aids, not with corrections 22

23 Training For Dressage During daily training, the need to stay active must be instilled in your horse Training for Dressage Encourage your horse to be a body mover instead of a leg mover Training for Dressage Teach your horse to respond to your aids promptly Teach your horse to respond to your voice aids Don t use your horse s mouth as a brake! Use your hands to shape and guide your horse 23

24 Whoa means Whoa! Teach your horse to stand when working with him on the ground Work on this every day, on the ground and in the carriage He MUST stand still when asked and he CAN learn this skill through consistent work Training for Dressage Rein Back Teach your horse to back on the ground from your voice Work on this daily when you are handling your horse Use your voice to back in harness so your horse understands your request and don t PULL your horse back, guide him back, step by deliberate step Training for Dressage Don t change equipment just before a show If you have a show harness, use it the week before the show, and the bridle every day before the show. Work at home on how long and what warm up routine works best for your horse 24

26 Rein Aids The jobs of the outside rein are to: Control the amount of bend Regulate the tempo Lengthen and shorten the horses frame Straighten and assist with balance Rein Aids The jobs of the inside rein are to: Indicate direction, flexion and bend NOT TO STEER! Keep the horse soft and supple Questions on Basic Training Strategies? 26

27 So little l time! Much more to cover but don t want to overload you! 27

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