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Ride the mind win the heart

I think dressage now days can create a lot of pressure on riders with young horses. You see 6 year olds competing Prix st George, and 8 year olds in the Grand Prix at CDIS. It can create pressure to get your young horse to that level quickly. Sometimes we don’t take into account how our horse is feeling about the work. There are also people who ride client horses, and the client wants the horse doing 3rd level or fei when the horse just isn’t ready.

I’m focusing on the fei juniors with dazzle. He is very comfortable at that level right now. Sometime just He breezes threw the test as if it were a training level. He’s been schooling it for a year now! Although dazzle has been asked many times to work outside of his comfort zone, and sometimes working outside of his comfort zone sets off an explosion of anxiety. Something I am still learning myself is to listen what my horse is telling me and how they are feeling with the work. I have a 6 year old who has come out everyday for 5 months ready to work and happy to be pushed and try new things. Then one day he gets ear Pinny with the girth and angry with the canter transitions. I realize that His back is very sore, and he may be a little ulcery. So I slow down from the 3rd level training, and focus on simple things to improve his collected canter like canter leg yields, transitions, canter loops, etc. he comes out struggling to collect his canter he is bracing and is very tight. I came to the realization that I shouldn’t have tried to push it threw I should have just given him time off and trail rides. Not school the dressage even if it was just the basics he needed a mental brake. So he gets a couple days off then goes to lunging and doing stretches on the ground. Then goes on a trail ride has a jump day. Then I do one day dressage work then he gets the weekend off. We as riders need to listen to our horses.

Horses need other things then dressage even if you have the happiest horse who is in love with dressage you need to do natural horsemanship, trail rides, pole days, etc

I’ve had my fair share of days where dazzle is angry and trying to run to the door. Super sour, but for the most part now he comes out happy. Dazzle schools 4 times a week dressage usually has 1 day in hackamore In field or outdoor arena. 1 day in the double bridle in the arena. 2 days in snaffle in the arena. Then has a trail day with a long walk bareback with just the halter. And a day off. Also a natural horsemanship day. If I have the time I try to do natural horsemanship everyday. Although sometimes with the sale horses I get ambitious and try to stay in the arena too long, and that’s when I problems arise. Always think about the horse and listen to what they tell you.

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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