How do i keep my mare at a dressage pace trot/canter?

When I ride her she always rushes when she trots, and tries to get away with an in-hand gallop when i want her to canter.

I recently got a great dressage book, and it has helped me a lot, but even still, I'm finding that she does not know what i'm asking of her when i ask for impulsion, and collection.

She was previously a barrel horse, so as you can imagine she tends to be quite speedy.

I was wondering if there were any tips you could give me with keeping that slower, more collected pace, as in dressage?

I would greatly appriciate it.

At this point I do not think that I am experienced enough to own her.

I always figured we would just learn together, but i cannot afford lessons right now and there is only so much learning you can do withut a teacher.

Once again thanks much to all the answers.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I could write you a novel. However, here is the short version:

    First, buy these books: USDF Guide to Dressage and Mary Wanless Ride with your mind essentials

    Okay. First, it will be near impossible to learn this without serious lessons. See if you can find a pony clubber who does dressage to give you lessons every other week for $20. I am sure that you can.

    Trot: You need to use every muscle in your body...feet flat, straight line head, hip, heel. When you post, use all of your thigh to hold yourself up...extremely light landing. Then, as you post, use your muscles to slow your posting to a pace slower than the horses movement. Think about windshield wipers...they are on high, and you want to turn them to if you slow your posting pace (stay up a touch longer and down a touch longer) it wil slow her trot. that is the quickie/helper...I mean, I can't give you everything...also, half-halts as said above.

    Canter...Mary Wanless is good at this. Keep your core tight and hips loose. move with the horse, but keep your core tight and think "lats down." Laterals are the muscles around the sides of your rib cage. thinkg of pushing them down into the horse..don't forget shoulders back. Also, canter in 20m circles...half-halt...keep steady outside rein and gentle half halts inside rein to bend her in and lower her head.

    Okay, that is my quick fix, but buy the books. Buy and watch anything mary Wanless you can. I went to her clinic once, and she was awesome. My USDF certified trainer went to England and study under her in her instructor clinic. So, a lot of the tricks and techniques of my trainer are mary's

    Again, please, pony-clubber doing dressage. She//her parents pay for an expensive lesson. Go watch her lesson, and then, pay her like $20 every other week to give you a lesson--will help sooo much!

    EDIT: Mary also uses a chewing gum analogy. Imagine you have gum on your but that makes it hard for you to post up and makes you stay down a little longer...tighten your core muscles and fight the urge to only post with the rhythm. Make the horse trot to your rythym. Dressage is all about you using your body to control tempo and movement. I think I have a video clip of Mary explaining this at her clinic, and I will try to post it for you. Check back a bit later. It will take me a bit to find it and upload it to right back...

    EDIT: Okay, uploading...just watched it...been a long time. You will hear her say wipers getting to the top of the screen...this means get all the way to the top of the rise. Hunt seat you barely post out of the saddl and it is almost back forward motion. Dressage is straight up and barely forward getting all the way up out of the saddle and over the pommel almost (think pommel). So, that is what she means. She also says front tendons up.that means the inside thight tendons...tense them and think of pulling them up to the top of your thigh. Like I said..there are so many components to dressage. the best I can recommend is the USDF book and lots of mary wanless books, even better dvds, if you can afford some used ones....okay upload at a whopping back in 30 min?

    Edit 3: is taking forever. I may not get back to you tomorrow. I am going to upload a video of my friend getting direction on cantering from mary too. she talks about really bearing your weight down (like I said use core and seat muscles to bear your weight down). Also, she talks about "rolling the ball back." She basically says that controlling the canter, thinking about moving your butt back, back, back is the most important part...that and bearing down. I think my friend Allie does great in this video. Again...may not be up until tom. It is LATE...check back later and tomorrow.

    Edit 4: Finally, You Tube has decided to finish uploading! Here is the link...listen to the chewing gum strings her slow his pace by slowing/using resistance in her post (note: this takes LOTS of muscle!!!)!!!

    Youtube thumbnail

    . The canter video is almost done uploading too (much shorter). Here is the canter video:

    Youtube thumbnail

    . Both are of my friend, not me, who is an excellent rider. I hope that this can help. Of course, some online advice and a couple of video clips are no match for lessons, but try to buy a bunch of wanless stuff and that usdf book. watch as many videos as you can. go to a super nice dressage barn and ask if you can watch some lessons...most people are flattered and don't mind. You may even find a place that you can work a little in exchange for a lesson. Even if it is on another horse, you can use the knowledge when you ride your own horse. Good luck, and stick with it! It is soooo good for you and your horse!


  • 1 decade ago

    You need to learn to ride a halfhalt. Look in your books, and see if you can find descriptions online. I can teach this in person, but it is hard to do in words only.

    A half halt is a rebalancing of the the horse using your body, seat and reins. This helps the horse stay up off the forehand, and therefore she can slow her paces.

    If she is a motorboat, and you are skiing along behind her (pulling on the reins) then you have no hope. You have to be the driver of the boat. Again, this is a hard concept to talk about; I do better when I can teach in person.

    If you cannot afford lessons, can you audit (watch) somebody else's lesson? Call a local instructor and explain your problem. See if you can clean stalls for a day or two and earn a lesson.

    If you can do half halts and shoulder in, you have half of dressage licked! A half halt is a very fundamental part of dressage.

    edit--Jessica D has a good handle on things; Mary Wanless is great at rating horses without pulling. So is Jane Savoie.

    I will admit it is easier to learn dressage on a horse you have to push rather than one you must constantly rate. I've had both! Once you learn to ride these high energy horses though, you get the best ride ever!

    Source(s): lots of lessons and clinics.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Wow! You've gotten some good answers! Horses rush because they are unbalanced, and half-halts are the way to get them in balance. I'll give you an easy way to teach your horse what a half-halt means.

    First, to do a half-halt, you simply hug your horse with your legs as you sit deep in the saddle, then squeeze the reins like sponges. That is a simplification but it is enough to start. Your horse will find it easy to ignore! So to teach her to pay attention, you will half-halt, and then the next step begin to ride a smallish circle, like about 10 meters. Then a little while later you will half-halt and the next step, ask for a transition to a different gait. Anytime you ask for for anything, half-halt the step before. Within a few days, she will feel your half-halt, and think, "Hey, something is about to happen, I better get balanced so I am ready." And that is all you want, for her to re-balance.

    Ride figures, like circles and serpentines and broken lines and diagonals frequently, and ride transitions frequently, too. Both while you are teaching your horse to half-halt and after she's learned. These are things that will develop your horses balance and responsiveness. You might try, for example, doing a transition at every letter around the ring. It's hard! but after a while you will find your horse really settles in and focuses.

    Good luck!

  • kohel
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Get sheets of ply picket and line them up towards the circular pen so she cannot see to the opposite aspect. Leave her within the circular pen for an afternoon with meals and water. She'll get used to being in there. Then begin operating together with her.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    well maybe you need to loosen your reins it might sound werid but it might be might and it might upset her and are you leaning back or forward you want to stay just right and make sure your are relaxed and you arent pushing your but out and you might need to sqeeze tighter with your knees hope i helped!

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