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Why should I dressage?

‘But I am not a dressage rider!’ is something I hear very often. A lot of people see dressage as something ‘fancy’, only reserved for elite riders on expensive warmbloods with expressive movement. However, the truth is that dressage is for everyone. The words ‘dressage’ comes from French word ‘dresser’ which means training. Yep, it really is that simple. To quote one of my favourite trainers Charles de Kunffy: ‘Whenever you ride a horse, you are training it.’

Dressage means obedience and manoeuvrability

because its history stems from training horses for the battlefield. Because, in general, if you found yourself on the floor, you were not making it out of the the battle… Now I am not saying that we are getting ready for a battle every time we get in the saddle but most riders have experienced some sort of ‘battles’ with scary plastic bags, horse eating squirrels, scary flower pots or fillers 🙂 The more you invest in training the correct responses from your horse (=dressage), the safer your horse will be and you will be able to enjoy riding more.

Dressage is a foundation for any equestrian discipline

As Chris Bartle, another trainer I admire a lot, put it nicely during a clinic I once attended: ‘In Germany they don’t have ‘flatwork’, it is called ‘dressage’.’ 😀

If you are a show jumper, you want to have a horse that can make balanced turns and is able to extend or shorted their stride on top of being athletic over jumps. If you are a happy hacker, you probably want to have a horse that that listens to your ‘stop’ and ‘go’ signals and can be easily manoeuvred around gates for example… and the list goes on – dressage (training) is applicable to any discipline as you can see below from the feedback I received from a lovely polocrosse rider I taught some time ago 🙂

Teaching ‘practical dressage’ for ‘non-dressage’ riders is probably one of my favourite things to do – seeing the riders have their ‘lightbulb’ moments and applying their newly found skills in their chosen equestrian discipline is the best feeling. 

Do you want to give dressage a go? Book your first lessons now with an experienced dressage instructor in Hertfordshire.

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