Alex's Dressage Tips


Thoroughbred’s / hot blooded horses are particularly prone to anticipating. If you haven’t felt the jog behind in the medium walk after the free walk before the working trot, then you wouldn’t understand the frustration. At the time it feels like there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do about it.

When we see the strides shortening and changing tempo, with the rider noticeably lightening their seat then we know there’s a probable jog coming. One jog / breaking is better than two and two jogs / breaking is better than three. 
Each time I see one then the marks go down!
So if you’ve jogged 5 times in a free walk on a long rein please don’t be expecting a high mark.

There ARE things that can be done in your training and at home.

1. Ensure you’re not feeding too much. If in doubt contact a nutritionist from your horse feed company and they will happily advise you of the correct amount to feed.

2. Don’t make him fitter than he needs to be.
3. Vary your work. I can give hundreds of different ideas for this, so should your trainer, so please ask him/her.
4. Don’t just vary your work at home but vary the tests that you compete at so your horse isn’t expecting the same movements in each competition environment.
5. Warm up in an effective way, for the right amount of time for the occasion. Allow sufficient time to loosen off and for him to allow you in, but not too much so he’s tired and has aching muscles, as they are more prone to resist contact.
6. Possibly bring a companion to the competition to help settle him.
7. Mental attitude (of horse and rider) is a limiting factor when deciding the level that you compete at. Start where you’re comfortable at, then gain confidence before you progress up the levels.
8. Reduce tension tips …..

Some horses are naturally more ’on edge’ than others.
The level of anticipation in a test is directly related to the connection, throughness and elasticity to that contact. So the more you are able to ‘get into your horse’ with your seat, the better. The more you pilot, the more likely you’ll need a parachute!!


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