The bobbing  head

Some riders seem to sit rather well, straight and with their legs in the right position. But then the horse moves and the head of the rider bobs up and down…

What happens is the movement that has to be absorbed in back, hips, knees and ankles comes out in the head. It means there is too much tension in the Lees meer

Untwist yourself

Stand in the school and watch some riders from behind. Are they sitting straight?

A lot of riders lean to a side. Some have a twist in their waist, which means they lower their leg on the other side, while one shoulder is going forward Lees meer

Don’t look down

Humans have hands and use them for almost everything. And as our eyes are in the front of our head, we like to watch what we are doing.

One of my cherished trainers, John Lassetter from England, once let a group of pupils dismount during a clinic and crawl through the school on all fours. Lees meer

On your toes


‘Heels down’. I wonder if this is the most made remark in dressage training. And I think it is completely useless. But I’ll come to that.

If you stand on your toes in the stirrups, your upper leg and knee will come away from the horse. This makes you unstable. Some riders think dressage Lees meer

Leaning backward


A lot of dressage riders are leaning backwards. Some of them do it all the time, some just in the extended paces or a transition.

There are trainers who tell you to sit back more. And when you are tipping forward they are probably right to say so. But not further then the Lees meer

Leaning forward


Some riders lean forward. It’s not as bad as leaning backwards, but I’ll come to that later.

If you sit forward too much with your upper body, you can’t absorb the movement of the horse with your lower back which in turn will stiffen Lees meer

Follow the horse

It all sounds so easy: follow the movement of the horse. And when you see Olympic riders it looks easy too, even though their horses move off the ground so much. But how do you do it?

A couple of things are needed. Stamina, a supple back and loose hips. You need to be able to let go of tension in your body, without losing posture. Lees meer