The Stay at Home Guide for Dressage Lovers

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has drastically changed our world in the last couple of months.  More and more folks are working remotely, or in some cases, on state-wide lockdowns. Some of you may still have access to your horse, while other barns have been shut down to the public to fight the spread of the virus.  Either way, you are probably spending more time indoors than usual. Avoid boredom and improve your dressage knowledge with USDF’s Stay at Home Guide for Dressage Lovers.

Read, and If You’re Feeling Creative, Write

Are you a reader?  Chances are, the quarantine is giving you time to catch up on all kinds of reading you’ve been putting off.  YourDressage has hundreds of articles, videos, photo galleries, and more.  Most of our articles are provided by equestrians just like you, sharing their stories with the dressage community.  If you’d like to submit your own story, shoot us an e-mail at yourdressage@usdf.org for details!  You can also browse issues of USDF Connection magazine online.  USDF members can access all issues of the magazine, but non-members can browse archived issues too! 

Use This Opportunity for Education

As dressage enthusiasts, we never stop learning.  What better opportunity to advance your dressage education than to use your time at home to brush up on all things dressage?  The USDF Education Library is packed with resources. As a USDF Member, you can log in to take online courses, where you will receive USDF University credit by completing them.  These 10 courses include riding sessions from past Trainers Conferences, a USDF L Education Program Course that counts towards USDF L Graduate Continuing Education (2 hours), and preparation for the Instructor/Traienr Program.  The USDF Education Library is also home to short courses, which are 25 topic-specific mini courses (most are four items and a short quiz), and are available free to members and non-members.

Search “Dressage on the Go” for audios, with everything from convention lectures and podcast interviews, or search “Ask the Experts” for videos and articles that answer common questions regarding issues many dressage riders face.

Listen to a Podcast (or 10!)

Now that you’re stuck at home, chances are you’re catching up on some of those things you’ve been neglecting (after all, when was the last time your house was deep cleaned?).  The Dressage Radio Show, which is the Official Podcast of USDF, is perfect for times like this! Just pop in your headphones and listen to interviews with trainers, riders, and figures in our sport, learn about new programs and developments in dressage, and much more, all while doing things around your house. 

Work on Your Fitness

How many days can you sit around before you start to go stir crazy?  As equestrians, not many! This is a good time to work on your fitness so that you don’t return to the saddle with the balance of a sack of potatoes!  Exercise Physiologist Julie Luther has a monthly feature on YourDressage for exercises specific to equestrians to improve your balance and fitness.  Most are short everyday exercises that you can do at home and don’t require extensive equipment.  Check out her articles for Rider Posture, Core Strength, Abdominal Bracing, and Balance & Your Core to get started. Your body (and horse) will thank you for staying active while you’re out of the saddle!

Learn Your Test

Have aspirations to ride at a new level this summer?  Or just want to improve your riding at your current level?  Being stuck inside gives you a great chance to really memorize your tests!  Different people learn different ways – are you a visual learner, audio learner, or hands on learner?  USDF has you covered! 

Our video On The Levels is great for the visual learners.  With narrations by international dressage riders, trainers, coaches, and judges, riders will demonstrate proper execution and some common faults while riding the tests.  The DVD version is available in the USDF online store, or you can stream it on our Vimeo channel (you can purchase the full version, or just specific levels, on Vimeo!). 

The TestPro app is perfect for dressage riders on the go.  Available in the Apple and Google Play stores, this interactive app is a great way to learn your test.  You can listen to audios while you ride, or practice drawing your test to help you memorize it. These days, we always have our phones with us, so having access to the tests at your fingertips is a must.   

Also, our test booklet is a handy resource all year long.  We currently have a bundle for the On the Levels DVD and test booklet available in our store at a discounted rate!

Want some tips for learning your dressage test?  Check out the popular YourDressage article “Know Thy Test” for some advice on ways to memorize those tricky movements. 

Binge Watch Videos

USDF launched a Vimeo channel last year, and it just might be our best kept secret.  In addition to On the Levels, we also have The American Training Program, past symposia and trainers conferences, Development of the Dressage Horse, Performance Through Fitness, and Lower Levels with Olympians, all available for streaming. 

Stay safe and let us know how you’re passing the time in the comments below!

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