Young dressage rider, coach, groom, Flinchlock Release therapist and first time breeder in New Zealand. Very enthusiastic to learn all aspects of the equine industry, currently working towards my H Pony Club Certificate, judging, course designing and higher levels of coaching. I run a small livery in the summer (while away from uni) schooling horses and selling on behalf. My ultimate goal is to be an equine and equestrian physiotherapist and Olympic level dressage rider.
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According to you, what is the key to be precise in the figures of a dressage test ?
As just a navigation aspect if you horse is straight, supple and through, imagine riding you test on train tracks and keeping the horse between them. A well planned and well prepared test is beautiful to watch but hard to ride as it is riding every single step with precision and getting the most you can out of your horse. Corners for example are hugely underestimated by lower level riders and only til you watch a well schooled horse and a well prepared test (not matter what level) you will see just how much they are used. Best thing to do is watch top riders riding young horses and the closer you look you will be able to start identifying the half halts, making use of time and energy, preparation and therefore execution. My advice is hit YouTube and watch riders like Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester and watch how beautiful and accurate their tests are. Every little counts 👍
I have a problem with my hands always being low on the horse's neck. Any tips on how to fix that habit?
Take up the reins as normal keeping your thumbs on top and hold a whip between your thumb and rein with both hands. Super for keeping them level and keeping your thumbs up
I don’t have a lot of confidence when jumping, but I really enjoy it and it is something that I want to do in the future. Any tips on how to have more confidence?
Placing poles, grids and more gymnastic exercises are awesome since it really gets your eye working for striding. Odds are the more practice you have seeing a stride, the more confident you get. Even just putting down a few poles scattered around the arena/paddock and counting your canter stride between each jump really helps. Then start counting down to a pole even if it's just counting the last stride then build up to as many as you can! Once you've nailed that pop a tiny cross bar up etc etc. And remember it's suppose to be fun! It's extra fun doing it with a friend and seeing how many strides you can fit between poles, then seeing how few :)
Do you eat a certain way because of being an equestrian?
Luckily i can binge and eat all I want and not put on weight. BUT once I started working as a groom and rider at a grand prix dressage yard I had to look for food that was going to give me sustainable energy with high calories but low low sugar otherwise I would burn out before lunch. Also drink heaps of water, not fizzy or energy drinks. When staying at a 3+ day competition though, try and plan good healthy dinners but during the day eat what you feel when you feel, even if it's Maccas on the drive home haha!
Bit advice! My young horse is in a full cheek French link snaffle, and has started leaning on it a bit. Steering is great, and she’s not strong but I’m wondering what’s next to try?
Fab explanation below. Just to add that the action of the bit plays a big part too. The plate in the French link creates tongue pressure which brings the head down so can cause leaning issues for horses that like a lower carriage anyway. I would go back to a simple nutcracker action to bring the head back up as the action is on the bars. A hanging bit will create poll action which also lifts the head but is a stronger lifter than a nutcracker action. Maybe try a fulmer so you still have the cheek pieces but the bar pressure will help lift the head and the loose ring will just ease up your horse leaning on the bit quite as much, just a subtle difference :)