'DQ' usually stands for 'Dressage Queen,' but we like 'Dressage Quarter Horse' better.
March 21, 2009
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Dressage can benefit your American Quarter Horse.
Basic dressage principles give you tools to help you become a better rider no matter what discipline you choose. In fact, whether you ride purely for recreation or you’re hoping to be the next world champion, dressage principles can take you to the next level in your riding.
In 2005, Lynn Palm’s Palm Partnership Training had a “Quarter Horses in Dressage” class at Royal Palm Ranch in Bessemer, Michigan.
Although Lynn, an AQHA Professional Horsewoman, and her husband, master riding instructor Cyril Pittion-Rossillon, have run several schools and seminars on dressage and its principles, this was the first geared specifically toward Quarter Horses and their riders.
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The training focuses on perfecting the basics: the rider’s balance, the horse’s balance and the performance.
“Put your horse in balance before you ask him to do anything – that’s the key to dressage,” Cyril says.
“Our responsibility as riders is to try to do everything we can in our training to bring the horse back as close as we can to their natural way of movement. Why? Because then we make being ridden easy for them. And if it’s easy for them, they are going to be happy.
“Dressage focuses on correct horsemanship that promotes mutual understanding and respect between horse and rider,” Cyril says. “And that is what’s most important.”
How Dressage Does It
Dressage offers some distinct benefits, different from other disciplines.
“You cannot ride a horse properly if you do not have the correct position,” Cyril explains. “If you do not have the correct position, you do not have balance. We start all our programs talking about the rider’s position.”
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- There should be a vertical line from the ear to the hip and down to the heel.
- Another line should extend from the elbow through the hands and onto the horse’s mouth.
- Hands should be held over the withers, tilted halfway between horizontal and vertical, with thumbs on top.
- You should sit firmly on your seat; imagine sitting on your jeans pockets.
“This method of training isn’t just ours,” Lynn says.
“We’re following sound dressage principles developed for many years. It promotes happy horses and good ethics in training, period. It’s a tool anyone can use to make all-around, good horses, English and western.”