Rider

 

Training the Rider

Collection is at the top of the training pyramid.

 
Lusitano-RiderA Dressage rider requires training also, both physical and mental.   The exercises and routines he must perform with his horse are very strict and demanding from him as well of the horse.   An example of this is that the horse is not the only one that must appear and be relaxed while they perform.   The rider has to be so too. He must sit calmly and move with the horse like if they were one.   He cannot move from one side to the other or sit stiffly on the horse’s back.   The rider must be able to flow with the horses every movement.
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Lusitano-RiderCommunication between the horse and the rider is another important duty the rider.   This is also very relevant to their scoring.   The rider must use a minimum of natural aids like his hands, legs, seat and voice to control and instruct the horse to do what he has to do at a given time.   Artificial aids like whips and the like are not permitted in most events and are acceptable in others in an extremely moderate way.   In those where they are accepted they are very limited and must be soft touches rather than all out physical contact.   Most competitions consider whipping or striking the horse as abuse and the couple may be disqualified and penalized for doing it.
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Lusitano-RiderThe legs are the most important natural aid.   The horse learns to do things by feeling the push or movement of the rider’s legs in combination with subtle movements of the reins.   Too much of visible signaling is also considered negative and may shave points off the final score.   The change of the weight on the horse’s back is another signal which the horse learns to understand.   It is very important to understand the sensibility of the horse towards these aids before competing with it because he can misinterpret signs or movements and make mistakes.
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Lusitano-RiderCommunication between animal and rider are very important and must not be noticed by the judges for them to be effective.   Both the horse and rider have been practicing together for a long time.   So, when they start competing they should act as one and not as a man sitting on top of a horse.
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