Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Club: Dressage Style

You know, the funny thing about moving up here where there is absolutely NO dressage instruction is that I am finally reading all of those training books that are cluttering up my shelves. Really reading, not just skimming through wishing my horses looked like the illustrations (the "correct" pictures, not the "your dressage horse looks like a camel" picture). It's amazing how much more I appreciate the written word when other avenues are closed to me. I've hit an inspired week (probably because of that clinic I signed up for isless than a month away), so I pulled out a few of my favorite books and a few old Dressage Today's to brush up on where exactly a coming five year old should be, and where I'd like to be by this summer's shows.
Go get your own book....
I love Klimke's Basic Training book. While it's not the best book for fixing mistakes, it's a wonderful book for making sure that my young horses are on track. I don't want to become one of those people who has a 10 year old horse who still cannot canter with a rider because "Oh, she's just not ready yet...". Phooey, I say. My ponies are just as ready as any of Scott Hassler's young horses. Or close. At least that's what I imaging we look like (FEI five year old test, here we come! Or Training level. Either one, really...).

So what is a poor dressage addict stuck in the UP wasteland of speed event and pleasure horses supposed to do when she runs into a problem? Enter my second favorite book (stolen from my sister over Christmas break. Merry frickin' Christmas....)
If you don't own this book, you probably hate your horse.
I you ever want to ride a dressage horse, like dressage, train dressage, or have just admired the Blue Hors Matinee freestyle that cycled through the internet a few years ago, you need this book. I can't just sit down and read through it, but as soon as I'm having an issue (why is Delight's shoulder in funky?) I can read the "shoulder in" chapter and voila, the answer lies within. Somewhere. Ok, so maybe it takes a few reads through to really get it, but the point here is that this book is helpful.

Now for my "Just for Fun" book. Every where you read there are people crying "oh, you'll ruin your young dressage horse if all you do is train" and "Everyone with young horses just rush them through training to the show ring. Probably with Rollkur"... So I vowed to not fall into that trap (which leads to the 10 year old who cant canter because trailrides are more fun... But that's a whole other blog post). So what will shake up my young horse's routine without letting their training fall by the wayside? Jumps!
Oh, I can't jump...
Perfect. So what, I just place poles around and trot over them right? If only someone wrote a book of exercises for this....
Ta DAH! Now don't fall off!
Ah, another of my favorites. It doesn't have any ground breaking information, but its written in such a way that poor little ground-pole-neophyte-me isn't just going to scrap cavaletti day in favor or more 20 m circles.  Also, I'm trying a 'jump' lesson with a resident trainer at my barn. Now, I realize that really I'm just paying for someone else to move the ground poles and jumps for an hour, but at least it'll be fun for Delight and I to try something new....

Worth it?
So the next addition to my equestrian library is going to be "Dressage for the (no so) Perfect Horse" by Janet Foy. Now, I love Foy as a judge; I feel she's fair and (most importantly) encouraging to those of us with "non traditional" horses, like RC. Since we cant all start on big warmbloods - or, in my case have to learn to train on a cheap horse after starting on my big beautiful warmblood- I love it when a judge doesn't always knock a "5" mover into the 50% ranks. So, who wants to buy this book first, then let me know if it's a 'must have' or just a 'would be nice' type of book?

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