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Finding Your Ideal Partner - Rebecca Rigdon

Dressage is a beautiful, elegant sport that unites horse and rider molding them into one entity; impossible to see the invisible aids giving by the rider and understood by the willing horse eager to please his/her rider.  This partnership takes years to form and shape.  However, your first step on this journey is finding the right horse for you.  Of course to be a good Dressage prospect you must find a horse with uphill conformation and a good active hind leg with elasticity.  But, first you must take a good look at your personality and you’re riding skills.   Honestly examine if you are a patient rider with enough skill to handle a hotter, possibly younger horse, or if you are a timid rider, just starting out and you need to develop more confidence than an older more experienced horse that will take care of his rider is more suited.  One must dive even deeper into their psyche to make a proper evaluation.  Examining the strong differences between mares, stallions, and geldings are very important in you’re search.  Most mares need a confident, willful, yet soft rider that is very patient.  As Kyra Kyrkland once said, “geldings you can tell what to do, stallions you ask nicely and mares you must submit a written request that will be rejected a few times and might then be accepted.”  I think this embodies the differences very well.  Please is the key!  However it leaves to important factors out, hormones and trust.  Mares because they are more willful, once they fully trust their rider, will give their riders 110% everyday fighting FOR them to please their rider.  Stallions have more hormones to contend with and are not good for non-experienced riders to handle.  Stallions form and strong bond with their riders as well, but they are more unpredictable and need a very confident, strong rider to guide them in the right direction.  Geldings are more like old faithful (whether that is good or bad) they are normally the most consistent from day to day and simple to figure out.