Tuesday, June 14, 2016


In my last post I touched on alignment in the Dressage Naturally system, and how alignment on a figure leads to balance.  Basically, lateral movement of the haunches and shoulders leads to alignment (straightness) on the figure, alignment leads to balance longitudinally, and balance leads to relaxation as the horse stretches through his top line and uses his back.  If the rider can stop, go, and do lateral movement aka move the shoulders or hindquarters without rein contact and then take a connection with the reins and do the same, then the last element needed to have a packaged horse is energy.

Energy from the hindquarters, coming through the swinging back to the connection with the rein, is the Holy Grail of riding.  I think though, that sometimes riders focus too much on the energy first without having a horse that will respond to go, stop and straighten from just the seat aids, then getting the alignment and relaxation, and THEN adding in more energy.  If all riding should begin in relaxation and end in relaxation, then the amount of energy added makes a huge difference to the softness and thoroughness of the horse.  Think about a remote control car with bent alignment.  First you have to straighten the alignment and make sure the brakes and throttle work.  Then you can add power.  Otherwise you are spinning your car in fast circles going nowhere. 

There are many different exercises in Dressage Naturally dealing with energy that I have found pretty simple and effective to either add more energy OR to deal with excess energy until you have some basic alignment and relaxation.  The really the big takeaway for me though, from DN, has been that without the base of a horse that can walk, trot, canter, halt, and laterally move shoulders/haunches on a free rein pretty quietly, adding in more energy is a recipe for a braced and not through horse.  


  1. But what if your horse already has energy? My mule is a giant, crazy ball of energy. I'd like her to be calm and relaxed and I am certainly not trying to add the energy, but it's there.

  2. That is where the natural horsemanship element of Dressage Naturally comes in. By using ground exercises to get the horse focussed and relaxed, and then under saddle exercises that work on relaxation, then alignment/balance, and then adding in more energy. Also, I remember in the videos a couple of exercises that specifically targeted the higher energy horse that had to do with directing the energy sideways so as to give the horse a slight "escape" and then bringing the horse back into alignment. I have found the video section of DN super helpful and the first trial month to subscribe to videos is really cheap. Hope that helps!