Balanced Dressage: Our Philosophy, Mission and Values

1. Education
2. Compassion/ Empathy
3. Balanced Rider and Horse
4. Passion for the Sport,ethics and longevity

Learning the sheer fun ( as well as work) of improving the partnership with your horse to see them as a valuable ‘dance partner’, rather than as a mindless robot.

With this, we teach horse and rider to move their body more like a ‘centaur’ rather than two individuals bodies.

We break this teaching into small chunks, to make it understandable for horse and rider, with in hand/ ground work, as well as under saddle.
We bring clarity to this with an emphasis on seeing this partnership blossom.

For Anke, this is always an amazing journey, no matter how far up the training scale my riders and horses were – or are!

We focus as well on helping the horse to move better and improving their self-carriage, from twisting hind legs to opening the chest , through lifting their back and improving ‘kissing spines’ as well as better hip rotation…. often this helps the horse’s confidence, then improves the shying or balking behaviours.

The “Icing on the cake” (for Anke) is then showing a horse in a competition, jumping with more confidence, in a Dressage test where the horse shines and has a spark that is evident, or after a eventing competition, when the horse returns sound and excels in all three phases.

The Goal? Both horse and rider are at their peak and enjoying the sport!

1. Types of Education

Understanding of the partnership between horse and rider is like learning a new language- louder doesn’t mean clearer.
Understanding the difficulty that might need to be overcome retraining muscle groups eg from a OTT (Off the Track) race horse to Dressage, is like switching from being a marathon runner to competitive dancing.
We also rework muscle groups hampered from incorrect training
Bad fitting tack and misuse are also part of our work.
Trust issues – this causes a lot of behaviours and needs to be a part of the Big Picture
Anxiety eg moving into a new yard
Over taxing horses and riders asking too much, too soon or at a young age

2. Compassion/ Empathy
Understanding your horse biomechanics and influencing this through correct work in hand and under saddle
Influencing horse posture through exercise eg lifting the back
Opening the chest
Helping with hip rotation and placing of the hind legs
Correct rib cage rotation
Understanding horses limitations, unbalanced conformation or previous injuries, as well as anxiety issues
Practising small steps and learning to really “read” the horse.

3. Balance
The Rider position
On the ground, the in hand work, knowing how the rider’s posture influences the horse’s work understanding
On the horse, understanding the timing of the aids
When I can influence which part of the horse’s body
Why I want to influence the horse movement
What I need to work on, when I’m not on the horse, to get more even with my own physical balance
Having and understanding when things do gets ‘ lost in translation’ and miscommunication.
Learning patience

4. Passion
Balanced Dressage seeks to instil these values :

Developing ethics in the sport and longevity – for both horse and rider, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
A quest for knowledge, asking questions and seeing how it all comes together for both partners in the journey
A willingness to sometimes take a step back, to take a step forward.
Not always asking perfection of the horse, having fun and making it playful.
Having the welfare of the horse in mind.
Staying ‘fair,’ particularly when out in competition- Horses have a keen sense of ‘Justice’!
Controlling the nerves and the adrenaline so as not to try to get the upper hand or let ambition take over.