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Dressage: Foundation for All Riding Disciplines
ES 420

Instructor: Cathy Hanson



       This required course is designed to help you understand the biomechanics and structural balancing of a horse’s movements.  Once that understanding is achieve, then applied, the student and horse can focus on the basic dressage exercises which lead to advanced performances.

        The student learns to move the horse’s body correctly and efficiently so that gaits and muscular conformation are improved.  Instructor Tammy Fifer, a 20-year-veteran of dressage competition teaches “Classical Dressage”, first teaching the student to “observe” then practice. Her easy-to-understand teaching style assures when it comes to dressage, you can do it!

              I. Introduction
                  A. Explanation of Terms and Phrases
                  B. Glossary
                  C. Questions
                  D. Tasks

            II. Laying the groundwork
                  A. Learning to Look at your horse
                        1. Identify problems
                        2. Identify strong points
                 B. Checking tack Fit and Appropriateness
                 C. Questions
                 D. Tasks

            III. In-hand work
                  A. Moving the horse's body
                  B. Moving parts of the horse's body
                  C. Loosening and Strengthening
                        1. Chain of Muscles
                  D. Questions
                  E. Tasks

           IV. Longeing & Longe-Lining
                  A. Get him going
                  B. Show and Tell
                  C. Speed, Relaxation, Rhythm
                  D. Ground Poles & Cones
                  E. Questions
                  F. Tasks

               V. Rider's Seat
                   A. Balance in your Seat
                         1. Hips
                         2. Seat Bones
                         3. Legs
                  B. Balance in you Upper body
                         1. Torso
                         2. Chest & Arms
                         3. Head
                  C. Hands
                  D. Questions
                  E. Tasks

           VI. Horse and rider exercises
                   A. Doubles & U-turns
                   B. Corners & Squares
                          1. Turn-on-Forehand Under saddle
                   C. Circles and Spirals
                   D. Figure Eights
                   E. Questions
                   F. Tasks

          VII. Lengthening & collection
                  A. Questions
                  B. Tasks

         VIII. Lateral work
                  A. Simple Leg Yield
                  B. Counter Bend on Circle
                  C. Half-Pass
                  D. Questions
                  E. Tasks

           IX. Arena craft
                  A. Know your Geometry
                         1. Circles & Squares
                  B. The L E T T E R S
                  C. Important Strategies
                  D. The Test and Scoring
                  E. Questions
                  F. Tasks

           X. Common problems and fixes
                  A. Won't Turn
                  B. Won't Stop
                  C. Spooks
                        1. Jumps, bucks, rears, runs off etc…
                  D. Wrong Lead Consistently
                  E. Counter Bends
                  F. Too Fast
                  G. Drops Shoulder
                  H. Pushes into my Leg
                   I. Questions
                   J. Tasks

         XI. Dressage as an art form
                  A. Refining Your Skills
                  B. Showing for Fun

        There is one requred textbook for this course:
                  • Centered Riding, by Sally Swift

         There is one suggested textbook:
                  • Dressage Basics by Sandy Jacobsen

                 These books can be ordered at the College Book Store
: http://www.horsecoursesonline.com/college_bookstore.html

        There is no completion deadline for the course.  The student works at his or her own pace.  The student will not be "locked-out". 

         The grading scale for this course is as follows:
                 90-100%  =    A
                 80-89%    =    B
                 70-79%    =    C
                 Below 70%     Fail

        You are strongly encouraged to communicate via email with the instructor. Ms. Hanson is available as an instructor and mentor to assist you in meeting your goals for this course.  If at any time during this course you change your email address, please be sure to notify the instructor and office right away.
        Do not use text messaging shorthand or acronyms when communicating with the instructor.
        Please include full name and address in all correspondence. 

        Many lessons require written assignments or essays.  They should be submitted as an attachment to an email using Word or a similar word processing software.
        Please be sure to include full name and email address on all documents - not just in the email message. 
        Proper grammar and spelling will be graded.
        Do not use text messaging shorthand or acronyms - this is college level work.

        Access to a horse is required.
        The ability to make and submit a video of you performing exercises described in the lesson is required.
        All assignments and quizzes must be completed.

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