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28May 14


Judging at the unaffiliated event at glorious Lanhydrock reminded me of a thought I have regularly, especially when a potential new pupil warns me about the fact that: `my horse does not like dressage'. 

I wholeheartedly agree that if ones aim is to do a decent enough dressage test at prenovice or novice level, as that is the standard which most riders aim for when eventing, dressage is thoroughly boring. Not just for the horse but also for the rider. As the standard of an intermediate, let alone an advanced, cross-country is seldom within reach , most riders don't think beyond that boring novice test.

Let us take a different approach. Your horse is going to get older and probably one day needs to slow down. There are several options. One is to just do some hacking or some local shows, which is fine if you are happy with that. However, it is possible to have another competition career, if you have done your homework right. Dressage isn't actually that boring if you change your view from training for a novice test to training to maybe do a medium test with some shoulder-in, a half-pass. Maybe even an advanced test with some flying changes.

Not interested? Feel free, but you are missing out. You think it's out of your reach? Probably not. 

If you think a little more long term and work seriously on your basics. Then  gradually dare to extend the comfort zone of you and your horse, it takes away the dead-end feeling and your horse will become interested and learn to like it. I can guarantee you that. The bonus is even better: higher marks when you do your tests at your events.

As I am not a show-jump expert, I can not be certain how this is similar for the show-jumping. All I know is that my pupils have always improved each phase of their performance dramatically, when taking both their dressage and their show-jumping serious and spend equal amount of time training for them. 










I just came by chance across your blog and I'm now working my way forward from May 2014. Thank you for this great source of information! Just one remark: I am always under the impression that the Brits (no disrespect intended) see dressage as a chore they have to do to compete in eventing, not as something that is the base for the horse's gymnastication and the foundation for each and every equestrian pursuit. To explain my point of view - I am German, celebrated my 70th birthday last Sunday, grew up in the "ländliche Reiterei" and was trained at the Westfälische Reit- und Fahrschule. Major a.D. Paul Stecken is my hero. :-) However, I am well aware that this isn't just a "Brit" issue and only too many riders worldwide don't adhere to those "old fashioned" standards anymore, regardless of nationality, in Germany as well. Best regards and keep up the good work Nora
Nora Brinker, 19th May 2020

Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

About Liz Barclay

Her love for horses together with her dedication made her into the trainer and dressage rider she is, today. She is versatile and inventive and likes a challenge; whether it is a technical training question, a confidence issue or a problem involving the management of the horse or pony.


My book 'THE FARMER, THE COAL MERCHANT, THE BAKER...' with the subtitle 'A Personal Impression of the Development of the Gelderland Horse World' has been received with more enthusiasm than I possibly could have hoped for. Click here to contact me and I will send you a copy. £7.50 + postage, or click here to order from Amazon.