Goals of a Rider

In this article I wanted to discuss the goals of a rider. I find that in the dressage sport people are very competitive against each other. Now this isn’t everyone but it is quite a few. Ask yourself this… Who are you riding for? It’s not your competitor. You are riding because you love it. You are riding for yourself! Now I’ll be the first to say that I do have a competitive side but when I’m on my horse I’m only competing against myself from the previous day. Whether I’m schooling at home or in the show ring I am trying to perform better than I have before. I know sometimes when you are in the ring and you see a very nice ride going on you try to perform better but be better on what you have been doing. There is no need to rush. This sport is an ongoing learning experience. You will never know everything. Everyone one, including trainers, need trainers. Everyone needs eyes on the ground. You need to strive to be better than you are now, one step at a time, no matter who you are. If you find you are having trouble in an area of riding, work on it. Video yourself. It’s a great training tool to video yourself, even if you have mirrors. You will be able to see things you never thought were going on. I have had this happen to me several times, and I fix it.

If you need to work on your seat, make a plan for once a week that you will do only this. Your seat is extremely important when you are riding. You can control your horse mainly from your seat and if you find that you are having a hard time with it, then work on it. If you are working on connection then you need to practice it. Keep your forward aids and soft consistent contact. Lots of transitions making sure your horse stays steady in the hands will help. Is your horse tight in his back? Try to work a little deeper in the frame, not shorter, making the top line long so that your horse lifts their back. Break down your ride and find the problems.

Remember your basics. Having problems during your ride? Come back down to your basics. Is your horse off your leg? Steady in your hands? Listening to half halts? Just because you may be riding in a higher class doesn’t mean forget the basics. Top riders strive and drill basics on a normal basis. This is what creates the beautiful movements, less tension, and a working horse. The key to it is your basics.

Since you are competing against your self you should document your rides. Write down what has worked and what you are struggling with. After a week of noting things sit down with someone you are working with and let them know everything you feel like you need work on, what your unclear about, and ask them what they think would be good for you to do and exercises to work on. Never get discouraged. This sport is far from easy. Set your goals and stay focused.


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