Dressage in the Jump Arena

Sometimes, when you really want to get something done, you’ve got to overcome obstacles and improvise. And sometimes, we can turn the obstacles into tools that can assist us. 

Not every rider has access to a pristine dressage arena with letters and mirrors, and not every rider even has access to an arena at all! So in this week’s video, we have some exercises that you can do in the jump arena with your dressage horse, dressage exercises you can do with your jump horse, or just exercises you can do with any natural obstacle you find in whatever space you have the pleasure of riding your horse in!
 
Ride a series of circles and serpentines around your jumps/obstacles.
These give a clear purpose and diameter to your circle. 
Ask your horse to bend from poll to tail. 
This is a great exercise to get horse supple, focused and on the aids. 

Flying Changes
Do a circle and then pick a straight line, and ask for the change on the line. 
If your horse isn’t at the flying change level, ask for a simple change. 
 
Leg Yielding inside the jumps
This gives you a beginning and end to the yielding area as the jumps give you a physical barrier. 
If your horse is at the level, you can also execute canter half passes between the obstacles and the side of your arena.

Canter Pirouette
Finally, and this one’s a bit more advanced, but I love to practice canter pirouette around the wings of a single jump (or obstacle). 
Ride shoulder-fore along the front and back of the fence. 
 
Riding in unconventional spaces is all about using the obstacles and giving them a purpose. When we’re on our horses, we can ride dressage anywhere
 
So while this content is set in a jump arena, it’s not limited to it! Watch the video with myself and Natasha working around the jumps, but then use your imagination with your own space, and utilize the landscape around you to practice the moves you want to learn.

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