Dressage Horse Training: How to create elevation of the core

Hello Everyone,

Learning to ride dressage like many Americans (especially those of us out West) do–we buy a young horse and learn together, can require you to also be part detective.  I have my horses at my place and always have.  This concept of pony club and being part of a barn where you learn the horsemanship craft through immersion is foreign to me.  My husband, Kris, is my detective partner in this dressage journey.  We began our process taking in RFDTV and attended a Craig Cameron Clinic in Texas.  We have had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful trainers and one of the challenges has been our military career moving us around so we were always starting again with new people.  This is wonderful is many ways but one challenge is there are holes in the training process.

Over this last year, we’ve really felt frustrated by this mystery of having the horse lift their withers, core, belly.  How do we teach this to the horse?  I stopped wearing my spurs for a few years because I wasn’t sure what to do with them  and I didn’t want to waste a potentially helpful aid.  I have been using the heel of my boot to ask Donzer to lift a bit at the girth and he’s been giving my some response over the last year.  It all started to come together this spring when I rode with a clinician, Julio Mendoza, and he said he thought it was time to put my spurs back on.  And, like things work often, I came across this video by Art 2 Ride and it talks about the three ways to use the leg.  I am not the only rider with this hole!!

I have been taking time in my warm-up now and am spending about 18 minutes with different patterns and focusing on the response to the spur to lift the belly.  This is an education because Ava and Donzer want to speed up when they feel the spur.  We are starting to get some traction and I think this is going to really help with our trot work as well.  I’ll keep you updated and please enjoy this video that helped clarify the aid for me.

Good Riding,


Author, Out of the Saddle: 9 Steps to Improve Your Horseback Riding

Out of the Saddle



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