Lise Roberts Dressage
 Lise Roberts Dressage 

Training Exercises

The following articles include training exercises and topics aimed at helping to clarify some of the finer points of dressage.

Serpentines

This is a good exercise to help supple your horse and encourage equal bending on each rein.  It consists of 3 or more (depending on the size of the school) half circles joined together with straight lines, giving you plenty of time to change bend from one side to the other as you cross the centre of the school.  It is also an opportunity for you the rider to think clearly about your bending aids as they need to change for each new loop (i.e. your outside aids become your inside aids and vice versa for each new loop).  Take care to maintain energy and rhythm and prevent any falling in or out on the half circles.  Change your diagonal each time you cross the centre line.  If you want to make this exercise a bit more challenging (and interesting), you can add a 10m circle onto each loop - making the serpentine into a series of 10m circles joined with straight lines.

A Perfect 20m Circle

The first point to remember is that a circle should be ROUND and should have no straight lines in it!  If the 20m circle is ridden at E or B, you should only be on the track for one stride at E and B, and not for any longer otherwise your circle will not be round.  If the circle is ridden at A or C, you should be on the track for one stride only halfway between the corner and E (or B).  The inside rein should indicate the bend, while the outside rein controls the amount of bend and the speed.  The inside leg stops the horse falling in (and gives it something to bend around) while the outside leg stops the horse swinging its quarters out in order  to avoid  bending.  The horse should make two tracks only with its feet - in other words, the back legs follow the same tracks as the front legs.  In addition to maintaining bend throughout the circle, it is vital to maintain the correct rhythm, and it's a good idea to count (1-2, 1-2 for trot, for example) in your head.  An additional tip for a perfect 20m circle is to count the number of steps on each quarter of the circle (i.e. E to centre line, then centre line to B, etc) and ensure each one has the same number of steps.

SHOULDER-IN

Quote from Jane Savoie: "Shoulder-in is a suppling, straightening, strengthening as well as an "increasing self carriage" exercise.  It supples the horse because it stretches and loosens the muscles and ligaments of the inside shoulder and forearm where the  horse passes his inside foreleg across and in front of his outside foreleg.  This suppling effect increases the horse's ability to move his forearm gynmastically in other lateral movements.  It is a straightening exercise because it enables the rider to place her horse's forehand in front of his hindquarters.  It strengthens and improves self carriage because with each step the horse moves his inside hind leg underneath his body and places it in front of his outside hind leg under his center of gravity.  By doing so, his inside hind leg gets stronger because it has to carry additional weight.  Also, in order to move his inside hind leg in this way, the horse must lower his inside hip.  When this is done, it contributes to the development of self carriage."

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Lise Roberts Dressage  

Rugby, Warwickshire
CV22 7RR

 

Tel:  07974 900892

E-mail: lise-roberts@virginmedia.com

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live for today, hope for tomorrow. 

The important thing is not to stop questioning."

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