I'm here to call bull. I'm not even a year in to boarding at a dressage barn and taking dressage lessons and here are the biggest dressage myths that need to be debunked.
1) The training pyramid is
mostly entirely hogwash.
|photo via USDF|
You all know what it looks like. From day one, you see this thing plastered all over training books and how to magazines.
It sounds great, right? Rhythm first. Then relaxation. It's so logical.
Linear, you might even say.
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.
Since when is horse training linear? SINCE NEVER.
|photo via Shannon|
Yeah. I have been specifically criticized for this, but I usually work the relaxation/softness before rhythm on Courage. And by "usually", I mean EVERY SINGLE DAY. If I run him into a rhythm before I get him soft and relaxed, I've already lost the war.
Oh, and just you try to take a connection with a war horse before you have impulsion. Ha! That's called "recipe for creating inversion" or "just give up now".
In fact, Shannon over at A Work in Progress created an alternate training pyramid for me so I could stop ranting and yanking hair out by the roots.
And lest you think it's just ol' SB going off her rocker again, here's the post she did explaining WHY the pyramid is bunk. Read it.
But you know. As long as that isn't the entire foundation of your discipline. OH SNAP.
|this is fast. COURAGE GOING FAST.|
2) It never gets any faster.
It doesn't. It makes me batty when people are like "oh yeah once you get those basics down, you'll just fly right along.
Two things to say to that:
A) My dressage friends assure me that higher level dressage is exactly the same basics as lower level stuff, just with cooler random asides.
B) No. It won't. Because training still isn't a linear thing and it never will be for you or your horse. Some things come quicker. Some things come slower. Some things never come at all.
(no that wasn't innuendo. get your mind out of the gutter.)
It's a long, painstaking process that will consume your entire life. Eventually, you learn to be ok with this, or you quit. Speed is not a factor.
|we're working on the head twist|
3) You do need a fancy horse.
This one always baffles me. People are like "yo bitches any ol' hoss can do dressajz".
And like. No. No they can't. I mean, sure, any sound-ish thing can hack around intro/training levels and probably not get kicked out. But yeah, after that? No.
Really. What other sport IN THE ENTIRE WORLD do people say "oh just get any unsuitable thing and give it a whack?"
Not a single one.
So yes, You can hack it at lower levels with whatever, but realistically, if you want to do halfway decently, you need more. Courage is a thoroughbred. I'd even argue that he's a pretty damn nice thoroughbred. His current high score at training level is 67%, which I am perfectly happy with.
You know what's never, ever going to beat fancy warmbloods at fancy shows?
|slowly. so slowly.|
It's not weird or wrong or bad--it's the simple fact that suitable partners are going to be more successful at dressage than, you know, mules. (I'm not trying to pick on the long ears lately). Or... downhill quarter horses. Or whatever. The horse does make a difference.
(Oh and it also helps if you're not a pudgy one-horse-ammy, but what's a girl to do?)
I'm not even a year in to this whole dressage journey yet. I can see changes in Courage's mindset, muscling, and manners, and I'm excited for what's to come.
I just think we should be honest about how it's going to get here.