Many horses have a tendency to stiffen and hollow their backs when riders raise their hands up even slightly above that ideal position that involves having a straight line from the rider’s elbow to the bit.
Riding your lateral work in a forward rising trot can be a great way to add more reach and expression to the horse's gait. This is best attempted only after the horse is at least fairly solid in each of the exercises while ridden in a sitting trot. Shoulder fore, shoulder in, haunches in, renvers, and half pass can all benefit.
doing a shoulder in in a posting trot is a great way to add more expression and stride length.
If your trainer is not truly supportive.... find a better one! I am always baffled at how many riders stick with trainers who belittle them, and very often don't even really have their best interests at heart. Some trainers don't teach because they love teaching, but because they love to stroke their own ego!
There are SO many parallels between riding and lunging a horse. If you don't ask for and expect things on the lunge like obedience, rhythm, good posture and carriage, and bending on round and accurate circles, you probably won't get them under saddle either.
When walking your cross country course, always take note of any markings on the ground that might distract your horse from the fence - such as patches of dead grass, or areas where artificial footing has been added. Some horses don't care about those kind of things at all, but many do! Be ready to ride a bit more strongly if necessary, with your own focus and intent clearly on the fence you are approaching.
When working on jumping gymnastic lines, don't always just set up the typical cross rail, one stride to a vertical, one stride to an oxer. That may be the ideal introductory grid for a greenie, but the more advanced horse needs to be challenged much more than that.
The horse's energy flowing through a turn is similar to water flowing through a tunnel. Just as the outside wall of the tunnel is paramount, a good connection on the outside rein is crucial to a successful turn.
"Dressage experts spend much time talking about the physical issues of correct riding: which of the rider’s legs goes where, how the horse’s back moves, what the horse’s hind leg does and so on. It’s true we need to know these details about the physical aspects of riding, but we must not forget that dressage is all about the horse understanding what the rider wants him to do. I think the quality of any performance is determined 50 percent by the horse’s fitness and 50 percent by the rider’s degree of success in helping his horse mentally understand what to do from a light physical aid." ~ Steffen Peters
"Dressage is all about using the minimal aids to gain the highest result. If the rider sets his standards high enough and gives the horse a light aid that the horse understands, that is the sport ideal." ~ Steffen Peters
"I once had an instructor describe a half halt as a call to attention. When riding a laid back horse who sees forward as a waste of energy, thinking of a half halt this way will convince you that you need lots and lots of them." ~ Liz Chilcott
"I'd rather start with a horse that is careful and looking after himself than one that is reckless and out of control because the careful one will take care of you and can learn to overcome his fears." ~ Blythe Tait
"Many people, especially people who learned the wrong way, simply do not want to invest the time and energy to go back and learn the basics correctly. It’s even harder than learning the basics correctly the first time." ~ Elaine Hayes
"The lower leg I liken to a seat belt. You hop in a car, the first thing you put on is a seat belt for safety. Keep your lower leg forward, cover the girth when you are jumping, I don’t want to see that girth, it can act like a seat belt – you can brace against it. If something goes wrong, then as long as you are not in front of that lower leg, as long as your upper body is back behind that leg, then you can brace against being thrown forward." ~ Matt Ryan
"For many horses, the flying change can be one of the hardest things to learn. Regardless of the age of the horse, it is important to wait with the training until he is relaxed and trusts the rider." ~ Steffen Peters
From Facebook fan Joann Messersmith ~ "Contact is a living, breathing, elastic, relationship and communication with the horse. Nothing fixed. It's like holding hands with your lover as you walk, no yank or pull, but a pleasant feel for both."
"School figures should not be regarded as an end in themselves but rather as a stage in a particular aim, that of control of the horse. Initially, they will be practiced in the school but an early opportunity should be taken to perform them outside so that the rider may learn to cope with extraneous influences which can distract his horse and prevent it concentrating (for example, his horse not wanting to leave its stable or move away from other horses." ~ Wilhelm Muessler
"Try to do the work early then leave her alone. Being clever enough to leave the horse alone is one of the ways we get them to jump. Look at a horse free-schooling, the neck is down, the jump is classical. We want to leave them alone so we get that jump with us on their backs, and again, that is why we need that good lower leg to support us, so we can leave them alone and get that natural jump." ~ Chris Burton
"A good rider has a natural springing down of the ankles. The body is flexible. The rider maintains the same seat now matter how big the gaits. World class riders must do it by feel and mental fitness. Feel comes out of the seat." ~ Conrad Schumacher