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Readers on dressage: It should be a dance, not a battle

Readers on dressage: It should be a dance, not a battle
Readers on dressage: It should be a dance, not a battle

We've previously asked our readers for their very best tips and advice for dressage riding. We made a post on our Facebook, where readers with different forms of experience shared their top advice. We have gathered these tips in this article, so all riders, regardless of experience, can gain inspiration for how to train dressage.


Also read: Part 2: Can you do dressage on an Icelandic horse? Nils Christian Larsen clarifies the myth

Before you mount

Helena: Training doesn't necessarily happen with the horse. Your own physique is important for becoming a good rider. However, the most important thing must be to learn about riding through literature. Understand what you're doing and why before you do it in the saddle!

Margot: Learn where the letters are on the course, how many metres there are between them, and how the exercises should be properly executed in relation to them.

Focus on the rider

Bolette: Have a physical focus on the rider, as well as the horse. Blockages in the horse's body often originate from the rider.

Michelle: Correct your errors before the horse's.

Rebecca: Focus on your own errors - they embed themselves in the horse.

Readers on dressage: It should be a dance, not a battle
It's beneficial to familiarise yourself with the course from the ground before you start the exercises. Photo: Archive.

Once you're in the saddle

Linnea: Give way. I often find that horses are more inclined to offer exercises if you remember to yield and tell them right where it went well. Especially with the new exercises. The horses so want to communicate with us, offer themselves and do well, so I believe we have a duty to listen and reinforce that will. Push and release works well for me.

Sielja: Spend time developing a good, strong seat! Being a skilled rider requires dedication and good form - both in and out of the stable!

Maria: Take your time and do more than just ride the horse! Groundwork is a must in my world. It helps to strengthen the horse's body.

Melanie: 1) To get a good dressage horse, all preliminary work is important - including that from the ground. 2) It's about cooperation. A horse that doesn't find it fun and therefore doesn't want to cooperate doesn't deliver its best work - the desire must be there from both parties.

Pernille: Get instruction and lots of hours in the saddle and from the ground.

Hanne: Also get OUT of the sandpit - treks in the terrain are also training (underestimated training).

Stine: Don't focus so much on the horse's neck and head. When it uses the rest of the body correctly, the posture comes naturally.

Aino: Vary your training; ride treks in nature and do pole work. Never train the difficult, new exercises several days in a row. Start and finish all dressage trainings with exercises that the horse is good at. Training should build up the horse both mentally and physically. If you're "arguing" too much, you're breaking down the horse instead.


Also read: Creating the perfect halt

Remember the mental aspect

Melissa: It's never going to be perfect! Just do as well as you can.

Charlotte: Dressage should be a joy - not 20 repetitions or negative thoughts about the horse - bring joy and love when you're in the saddle, then even the not so perfect becomes fantastic.

Maria: Remember to enjoy the ride and that it doesn't have to be training every single time. It's okay for it to turn into fun, laughter, and cosy times now and then.

Irene: Take it slow.

Karen: Ride your horse, not your ambitions.

Freja: It should be a dance, not a battle.

Sara: Remember to smile and enjoy it!

Marianna: There is no quick path to beautiful dressage. It takes as long as it takes.

Readers on dressage: It should be a dance, not a battle
Regardless of which discipline you ride, it's always important to enjoy the ride. Photo: Archive.

Lisbeth: Stop chasing rosettes and learn the basics of riding - and it's very seldom your horse's fault.

Diana: Build trust with your horse - learn its weaknesses and strengths and push your boundaries together.

We hope you can use some of these tips the next time you ride dressage.

Also read: Portrait: Danish World Champion Daniel Bachmann Andersen


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