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Are you riding or dancing?

I truly realized the difference between riding a test and dancing a test when I showed my first intermediate 1. I think when you get to that level you have to know and trust your horse a lot. I had shown my trainers 24 year old Grand Prix horse. I had only ridden him for 2 weeks prior to the show. The first day I showed everyone from the barn came to watch me I was so nervous, and I didn’t trust that the horse had my back 100% I wasn’t sure if he would do the tempis or be on time for the canter half passes to flying change. So I asked early for the half passes to change and got to the Centerline very soon. I got too intense with my riding. Got stuck in some pirouettes. Lost my stirrup in the tempis, and I was focused on doing the movements not flowing threw the movements. Enough said I scored a 55%.

The next day I said “I have nothing to lose and I learned from what I did wrong I doubted my horse today I wont! I will trust him” only one if the working students were watching. I warmed up by myself (I love doing that!) I felt calm and confident. I thought I can’t do worse then a 55% so I’m just going to enjoy myself. I rode like I had nothing to lose and smiled threw every movement. I remember every time I got excited to just get the movement done I started thinking “harmony Skye” I had a clean test and won my class with 7 other riders and scored a 64%.

Dancing is trusting your horse.

you need to just press with your leg and your horse glides over. It’s a small tap with the whip for more energy not taping every other stride. It’s knowing your horse inside and out so everything just comes easy. That’s the beauty of the test. That’s the 70% dance. If it’s too much work then your doing something wrong. If it’s not flowing and fun then you aren’t dancing. It doesn’t have to be a perfect test to be a dance. It just needs to be a flowing harmonious test. It can have mistakes, but it still needs to feel fun and easy with the mistakes. It should feel like your in sync with your horse. That’s what dressage is all about.

By Skye Simpson Dressage Shares Insight on the Sport

Skye Simpson is an FEI Dressage & Natural Horsemanship Trainer located in Banning, California.

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