Dressage/Flatwork

Basic dressage or flatwork develops your horse’s balance, impulsion and rhythm. It teaches him how to go straight on lines and how to bend on corners..

Dressage is the highest expression of training where horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements. it develops obedience, flexibility and balance in the horse, and is therefore the basis for all other equestrian disciplines. The ‘Pure dressage’ competition is for teams of three/four riders of any age, who ride a Novice level test in a 60m long arena.

Flatwork/warming up

Warming Up develops your horse’s balance, impulsion and rhythm. It teaches him how to go straight on lines and how to bend on corners. However, you will now be looking for a different emphasis in your riding; your horse must be rounder, more bouncy and flexible. He must carry his weight on his hindquarters because that is where he pushes off from, and that’s where the power comes from!Remember to always do flatwork before jumping to warm your horse up and get him supple. Do several minutes of posting trot to warm your horse’s back muscles before you do sitting trot or canter and he will carry you more comfortably.One of the most important things your horse must have or develop is impulsion. This means he must push himself forward with energy. It doesn’t mean rushing faster, it means controlled energy. You create energy with your legs and push it forward to your hands which contain it, gently. You will often hear people saying a horse should be more “forward”. What they mean is that the horse should show more impulsion. They want to see the horse stepping in under himself, with his hind feet either in or in front of the prints of his front feet. To you, your horse should feel as if he wants to go faster but is listening to you and feels really light in your hands.

For more information on Dressage and latest Test for 2019 please go to the IPC website dressage section: https://www.irishponyclub.ie/index.php/dressage-conbined-training