Why Use Dressage?


Why use dressage training one might ask.? There are so many schools of thought in the training of the horse.  Even more so  in our contemporary world are advertised  new methods endorsed somewhat  by their entertainment value along with the promise  that a horse can be trained in a very short time.  However, if one examines closely,  many of these  methods use some form of  basic dressage. Although dressage training does not promise quick results.  Quick results are dictated by using shortcuts which means something has been cut out. These shortcuts will prove to be detrimental.   For example, if you left out 30% of the bricks in the foundation of a house to save time,  it would prove to be disastrous later down the road.

Dressage is a French term meaning “training” and its purpose is to develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider.  Time is necessary to develop not only muscle, strength, and suppleness for athletic ability but also time to develop an understanding between the horse and rider.  You would not expect to have the ability to perform a skill in three days perhaps not even three months or even three years.  You would not expect to speak Chinese or any unfamiliar language with another person in a short amount of time.  Learning a new skill or new language takes time for the horse  as well as it does  for a human.

Now you may still wonder why use dressage training especially if you have no intention to compete or no interest in this discipline.  Let’s go back to the definition of dressage previously cited.  It makes no mention of competition or dressage being a separate discipline. It is about making the horse the best that he can be and about the relationship with his rider.  Albeit anyone who rides a horse would like to obtain such results.  Dressage is a good foundation for any discipline.  Your horse does not have to be a prospect for Grand Prix dressage to receive benefit from the training.  Any breed can learn the lateral movements.  Lateral movements are what creates flexibility in the spinal column of the horse.  This flexibility is most beneficial in  making the horse not only more athletic but more comfortable and prepares him for the weight of the rider.   Therefore it is not necessary to exceed in dressage to reap its benefits. Collected movements are reserved for those horses more suited for such advanced work.   If you master at least the lateral movements, your horse will be much better for it.



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