Importance of Consistency and Routine with Dressage Training

Importance of Consistency and Routine with Dressage Training

Training happy dressage horses require a balance between consistent, practical gymnastic training. Also, extra-curricular activities keep the horse’s brain engaged and task-oriented.
While every horse should have a specifically tailored and intuitively directed training program. It is essential as a rider to have a core training philosophy that manifests as clear
expectations and a deliberate routine. Horses learn through consistency; the rider should be aware of this and incorporate it into their program to maximize training results.

In this article, I will begin by prompting the reader to consider their principles, expectations, and current training habits and beliefs.
After breaking this down, the article will cover the critical phases of warm-up, working, and cool-down.
Finally, I will cover the Importance of Consistency and Routine with Dressage Training.

What are your Dressage Training Principles?

When you begin your journey as a Dressage rider, you are taught to follow the Pyramid of Training.
This scale was developed by the German military and formed the basis of classical dressage. The scale is still considered one of the most important references for training Dressage horses today.
The scale comprises rhythm, relaxation, connection, impulsion, straightness, and collection.
Each component builds upon the one that comes before it and can be used to solve problems in training. Most problems that occur in Dressage training can be traced back to one of these core building blocks of the partnership.
While most riders are aware of the Pyramid of Training, excellent riders use the Pyramid of Training as a way of thinking.
It is their lens through which they view the horse and themselves constantly. Having this framework helps riders to deal with the endless possibilities and challenges that come from the individuality of each horse.
It gives them a constant, stable reference point for the confusing issues presented to riders.
The genuinely great rider not only uses the Pyramid of Training as a compass to keep their sails full of air but also aware of their expectations and individual differences as a rider.
Just as each horse is different, each rider carries preferences for the feel and way of going for their horses.
Knowing your preferences and even shortcomings about the training scale will set you apart from the average rider.

The Warm-Up

Importance of Consistency and Routine with Dressage Training - Warm up NorCordia
The first and potentially most crucial phase of the ride begins as soon as you sit in the saddle.
The warm-up serves to prepare the horse’s body for the demands of rigorous gymnastic work. The Warm-up slowly engage his mind calmly and kindly and allow the rider to assess his body, energy, and mood, before selecting the work for the most intense part of the training.
The rider should aim to have the horse stretching forward and downwards with a steady rhythm at all three paces for the warm-up.
Please make it a purposeful, relaxing, and low-pressure time for the horse to prepare for his work. Take the time to feel for correct swing and relaxation in the walk for at least 10 minutes before beginning the trot work.
The essential thing for the rider to do during the warm-up is to tune into how his horse is feeling.
Check the forward aid – is the horse moving happily off the leg, or does he require more encouragement on this day? Try gentle bending and see if he is particularly stiff on one
side on this day. Depending on the level of your horse, some gradual leg yields can help you to assess the horse and decide what needs to be done in the main training phase.
This is the chance for your horse to communicate with you and for you to set the intensity and requirements for the ride.

The Working Phase

After your horse is warmed up in walk, trot, and canter on both reins, the active phase begins.
You will have assessed the horse in the initial stage and can now proceed with working. The work can be whatever gymnastic activity suits the needs of that particular horse on that day.
In this phase, pay special attention to transitions, ask for more engagement and take a little more contact.
This phase is where you should be introducing new movements and engaging in the most challenging work mentally and physically for your horse.

The Cool Down

Importance of Consistency and Routine with Dressage Training - Cool Down NorCordia

NorCordia explain the importance of Importance of Consistency and Routine with Dressage Training – Cool Down

This phase is often overlooked by many riders, but it is key to keeping your horse sound and healthy for a continued career in Dressage.
Modern training now holds a real emphasis on the horse as an athlete, and for this reason, it is essential to allow your horse to stretch gradually,
cool down and slow his heartbeat.
He should be ridden in the same relaxed and stretching frame as the warm-up in all three paces to ensure the lactic acid doesn’t build up and cause
muscle stiffness in future training sessions.
Make sure to focus on stretching left and right; his muscles are soft and supple, and he can develop flexibility best in this phase.
Never get off your horse if he is still puffing or panting. If you have the option, take your horse for a loose reined walk around the property/along the road to give him optimal recovery
and reset time.

Getting the Right Balance Between Work and Play

There is a delicate balance between having a regular training program that builds muscle and fitness to keep up with the sport and maintaining a happy horse.
The key is to adjust training programs to suit the particular horse and stage of development.
Young horses benefit from regular hacking days, doing cavaletti work and groundwork to keep them engaged and prolong their longevity.
It is far better to have a young horse that is eager to work and enjoys being ridden with a steadier development than a horse that is pushed too fast and becomes
Incorporating the Pyramid of Training into extra-curricular activities proves to be a fun, creative challenge that will not only improve your dressage performance
but also your connection and partnership with your horse.

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