Remember that dressage simply means "Training". You don’t need to work in a regulation dressage arena to "do" dressage. Every second you’re on your horse, you’re either training or "untraining"! So you’re always doing dressage no matter what kind of horse you have or what style of riding you’re doing.
Think about how you can continue to train your horse yet add some fun and variety to his life.
Carla Varasso writes: My friends and I, who like to hilltop with the local hunt club, use the phrase, dressage by the mile, all the time, referring to our rides on the trails. We use leg yielding, and haunches in/out when negotiating trees on the trails, and turns on the forehand when asked to open or close a gate. It’s quite fun, and of course it all comes in handy when negotiating questions on a x-country course.
My friend and I rode today — she on her very tall (16.1) QH — who is not going to run barrels because he is getting too tall. As she was riding around in circles she complained of his right shoulder drifting out — I (to my surprise and delight) was able to demonstrate counter flexion for her, and she tried it, and liked it very much — so did Jet, her 3 year old!!!!
Needless to say, I was proud of Chico for being such a good boy while we demonstrated.
I always tell my students, you really know when you understand something when you find that you can teach it to someone else — what fun!
Then we went outside and rode around the big hay field, and did our "dressage by the mile" — shoulder fore, some leg yields, and some upward and downward transitions — what a great day in the saddle it was!
A Happy Horse