Do you ever get the feeling that dressage training is just for an elite horse and rider? You feel like if you ride a Quarter Horse, an Arabian, a Haflinger or wear a Stetson and chaps you could never “do” dressage? The entire sport is shrouded in mystery and how could you ever presume to think that you might be one of the chosen few who will ever truly understand or see the light?
Yet lately every time you turn around you’ve been hearing how horseback riders from all different disciplines have been incorporating dressage into their training programs. It sounds intriguing and you shyly think, “How about me?”… “Can I?”…”Will I like it?”…”Will it help?”…”How do I get started?”…”Do I need special equipment or clothing?” Is my horse fancy enough?
Well…How about you? According to the USEF rulebook, the object of dressage training is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. As a result it makes the riding horse calm, supple, attentive, and keen thus achieving perfect understanding with his rider. Does that sound like something that might appeal to you?
Is there really anyone out there who doesn’t enjoy riding a horse who is relaxed, forward, rhythmic, straight, supple, and obedient? To be sure, the career dressage horse also has to show some other special abilities such as to collect. But we’re not taking about the wannabee Grand Prix horse here. We’re talking about your average horse-on-the-street. The one that’s fun to ride because he’s comfortable and cooperative.
Wouldn’t you like to be riding a horse that’s relaxed, obedient, and a pleasure to ride whether you jump courses, cut cows, do a reining pattern, or specialize in dressage riding? Wouldn’t it just be plain fun to have a horse that willingly and enthusiastically responds to the most refined, invisible signals?
Dressage training can help every horse and rider develop a nonverbal language-a way to clearly communicate with your partner so that you can begin to function as one. Don’t be afraid! Jump in and join the fun!