1. Look forwards.
It’s easy to get distracted by what’s immediately ahead of you, and by your horse itself. Make sure you’re focusing on the path ahead and that you know where you’re going.
2. Sit upright in the saddle.
New riders have a tendency to keep their bodies low and close to the horse. Try to be confident and ride with an erect back.
3. Heels down.
You might have heard this shouted by an instructor before. It doesn’t mean you should just pull your toes up; you need to adjust your weight so that your heels are lower than your toes.
4. Don’t put your feet too far into the stirrup.
This is a reasonable response for first time riders – they want to feel their feet safely lodged in. This can get your feet stuck if you fall off, and makes it harder for your to balance.
5. Your horse is not a machine.
Most riders start out because they love horses. Always remember that riding is about working with your horse, not forcing it to do what you want. If you work with this idea of mutual respect, you’ll learn faster and better.
6. Have your elbows at your side.
Another tendency for new riders it to lift their arms. You’ll have much more control and will be able to communicate with your horse better if you keep your arms at your side. This allows you to handle the reins better.
READ MORE: How much it costs to build an indoor arena.
What Do Grand Prix Dressage Riders Do Differently?
A study of a variety of different skill-level riders recently found two major observable difference between Grand
Prix dressage riders and the rest of us.
Number One: They spend more time warming up.
On average, a novice rider spends 25 minutes warming up with their horse before a ride. A Gran Prix rider spends 34 minutes on average.
However, the reason for this is that Grand Prix tests require more preparation and effort, so it naturally requires a longer warm up than a novice test. Do the amount of warm-up that feels right for you and your horse but as you progress, remember that skilled and well-trained horses still require proper preparation on the day of a test.
Number two: They have incredibly steady hands.
When a dressage rider is keeping their hands steady, they are extremely skilled at maintaining the distance between their hand and the horse’s bit.
Here’s an amazing fact: that distance will only shift by 1.5cm during a ride. That’s pretty incredible when you consider how much the horse and rider move.
Great dressage riders learn to balance their body with their horse and counteract movements so they can keep their hands extremely steady.
This is something to focus on during training – a steady hand often leads to greater control in general.
To see some of our horse arena photos, download an EquinaBuild brochure here.
Aerial Footage of Castlemaine Buslines
The bus depot at Castlemaine is a great building that we’re proud to have erected. They service their local community with school and transport busses all year long.