It’s snowing, my horse has an injury so no Dressage for me!
Actually, no, this is an opportunity for you to consider all the other element outside of the actual riding that you need to perfect. There are many things that you should work on out of the saddle – ground work, horse/rider relationship, mental strength and training reflection. The mental aspect of dressage is crucial. Spending time honing the ability to think about 100 different things at once is time well spent.
- Firstly try to replay your riding in your mind
- What was good about it?
- What was bad?
- What do you need to change?
- What do you need to practice more?
By doing this, when you are in the saddle it will teach you to focus on feeling what is happening so that you can analyse it later.
And I don’t mean whilst cooking dinner or fetching the kids from school, I mean take time out, sit down and replay the videos in your mind. You may look like you are sitting doing nothing, but these images are crucial to being able to visualise how it should be and that will help you get there.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
Belief: Be able to believe you will overcome any difficulties you might face. Picture your success. Be certain of your attainment of it.
Patience: Success doesn’t usually happen quickly. We should be grateful for this, success carries with it burden, and we need time to prepare for the responsibility. Don’t give up so easily and don’t expect instant gratification.
Readiness For Change: You must be ready and willing to change yourself. It is ridiculous to expect success when you refuse to make changes that will enable your success.
Everything I post has the word balance in it somewhere. Ensuring you are ‘in balance’ with the horse whilst he is constantly changing centre of gravity takes time to learn.
The trick is relaxation of the lower body, which includes those buttocks as mentioned in an earlier post. The upper body remains upright, supporting itself.
You should strive for the lower body to be completely independent of the upper body. Feel like you could unscrew yourself from the waist and separate the two parts. Aids with the legs should absolutely not affect the upper body.
You can achieve this by noticing whether you are collapsing in the upper body with the effort of the leg aids, if this is the case, re-establish your position and try again until your leg is able to go ‘on’ and ‘off’ independently of the rest of your body. Once again, you could be putting in too much effort!
It will take much practise, but just being aware of when you have achieved it and more importantly, when it is all going wrong will help you get there.