12 Tips for Christmas

Hey, dressage fans – long time no blog!  It’s been a strange year for me and I have neglected you somewhat, but I’m back and will be doing all I can to help you on your dressage journey for 2018.  Starting with revisiting my much loved Christmas tips.
A bit of festive fun and some useful stuff in there too …dressage tips
On the 1st Day of Christmas the Dressage Tipster said to me …

Guess“Above all else ensure that your horse is forward. As long as the horse goes forward, he will not have time to think of evasions. Whenever you get a problem of any description, think of my favourite ‘F’ word” 

 On the 2nd day of Christmas the Dressage Tipster said to me …

 Kur“Find your horse’s natural rhythm. It is unique to your horse. In the trot look for a pace that feels light and flowing, supple, smooth, and easy – feel the inner music and let your horse express himself. Try not to interfere once you find it, count the steps out like a metronome – tick tock, tick tock, tick tock!”

On the 3rd day of Christmas the Dressage Tipster said to me …

“Promoting relaxation in your horse is not so difficult if you know how.  How many of you think about your breathing when riding? I’ll wager not too many of you.  Yet this essential element of promoting relaxation when you ride is so easy to do!!!!  We can all breathe, right?  Spend one session thinking about your breathing, experiment with slowing the breathing and really using the stomach muscles to do so.  Getting uptight & anxious increases our breathing rate & transfers tension to the horse.
Learn to control your breathing, the better you breathe, the more quickly you’ll get relaxation and your horse will thank you for it.

On the 4th Day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

dressage tips“Make much effort to perfect the shoulder-in.  There is no exercise that will surpass this as a training aid for you and your horse.  In the shoulder-in hold your body against your outside elbow. It’s about controlling the outside – not driving the inside”

On the 5th Day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

dressage tips“Pay attention to the geometry of the patterns you are riding. Whilst concentrating on executing the perfect circle, you will be addressing many other issues, rhythm, forwardness, bending and flexing, your own position.  Think about the patterns you are riding and you will be surprised at how automatically the rest will come”

On the 6th Day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

“Good begets good – the quality of the following pace is wholly dependent on the quality of the present pace, absolutely no question about it”.  This made me think about Karma and how that might affect the Dressage Rider/Horse.  Happy athlete? – only if you are kind.  Willing partner? – only if he is your friend.
dressage tips
You should work hard to get results, but work harder at developing your relationship with your horse. The results you want will then come – That’s Karma!

On the 7th Day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

Slow Canter

“The more you slow down the canter, the more impulsion your horse needs.  If you raise the hands a little, you will slow the canter down and make the horse sit more.”

On the 8th Day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

dressage tips“Do not begin a half pass if the horse’s gait is not energetic. It is the impulsion that allows you to maintain the cadence and rhythm throughout the movement. The execution of the half pass cannot be improved! … success will depend on how it was started. Cease ALL ACTIVITY once you have initiated the movement. You should feel that the outside hind is carrying the load forward.  Sit still and go with the flow”

On the 9th day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

dressage tips“Only when you have perfected the transitions from canter to walk and walk to canter in a calm and relaxed manner AND you can ask your horse to strike off equally well anywhere in the arena, should you begin the flying changes.  You must take the excitement out of them and be sure not to allow your horse to run away after the change”

On the 10th day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

dressage tips“Above all the ‘turn on the haunches’, particularly if being used to prepare for a walk pirouette or half pirouette, should be forward. Think of your inside leg as the ANCHOR for this movement, sit to the inside and allow the weight to drop down the leg. Lots of half-halts to create the energy and trot the horse away from the movement to re-affirm the forwardness in the early stages of your training. Clear marching steps are paramount, you are not aiming for a pivot. Most judges for the walk pirouette, would prefer to see a larger turn that is forward, in balance and has good rhythm, than a pivoting motion!”

On the 11th Day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

Impulsion is maintenance of posture, cadence, energy & rhythm without being carried by the rider.
dressage tips
To create impulsion it may be necessary to drive the horse forward, increasing the tempo and then by maintaining the energy produced and reducing the extension and speed of the gait, you will create impulsion.

On the 12th Day of Christmas The Dressage Tipster said to me …

“My final and 12th tip is one for all riders, whatever your level, whatever your discipline.

Try to train your horse to be sensitive to the aids.  To be a truly good rider you need to refine your riding. Take the basics that your horse is well versed in and half the pressure you apply to ask.  dressage tipsGradually coach your horse to respond to very delicate aids; a brush of the leg; a slight vibration of the finger; a dip of the seatbone; an inclination of the torso. Less is more.  
Have fun with your horse!
Develop your relationship and take time to savour the freedom he gives you when you climb aboard

Be thankful


Hope you’ve enjoyed these quick fire Christmas tips.  I’ve been working hard on my mindset and will share my findings with you soon, in the meantime have a great Christmas,  I’ll see you in the New Year.

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster


oh, and The Crystal System Book is currently on offer at Amazon – £10.00 plus postage – great stocking filler for the dressage diva!

3 Responses

  1. Thanks, enjoyed and found very useful. Though I often have to help my horse be ‘calm’ first? Maybe proper dressage horses in training don’t anxt about everything. The rest of the tips are just great for me once she’s calm (then Forward. . . . then straight?) Though I do try for SI out hacking to help calm her, especially when we can’t do circles! Read your book 2 / 3 times, and tried following tips, goals etc. It was most helpful. Thanks

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