In this professional rider interview, we got the chance to speak with Chrissa Hoffman, international Grand Prix Dressage Rider and USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist. From training tips to tack suggestions, she shares some of the things that have helped her successfully bring up over 20 dressage horses — five of which competed in Grand Prix.
Tips and Techniques From a Grand Prix Dressage Rider
While becoming a Grand Prix dressage rider takes many years of hard work — and a lot of patience — there are a few techniques that Chrissa Hoffman has successfully incorporated into each of her horse's training programs. Every dressage rider and their horse, no matter their current level or goals, can benefit from incorporating these tips and techniques into their own training program:
1. Understand and Speak Your Horse's Language
Every horse is an individual, so you need to understand how they think and process information during training. Being able to speak your horse's own language can provide you with invaluable insight that allows you to tailor your training approach to their unique needs.
Along with knowing their temperament, understanding and speaking the language of your horse also means being aware of how their unique body shape and conformation play a role in their training.
2. Incorporate Groundwork and In-Hand Work
Both groundwork and in-hand work allow dressage riders to train movements such as Piaffe and Passage from the ground. Without the weight and interference of the rider, horses are able to balance and find the rhythm of these movements much more easily. It also allows the rider to see how well their horse is learning and performing dressage movements and make any needed training adjustments.
3. Make Sure Your Tack Fits and Is Comfortable
No matter what part of the dressage training pyramid or movement you are working on, it's important that your tack fits your horse as comfortably as possible. A horse that is restricted or in pain will not be a willing partner.
To keep your equine partner comfortable, Hoffman recommends the Maxtra dressage pad.
Try the Maxtra Saddle Pad for Maximum Comfort and Versatility
The Maxtra Dressage Saddle Pad by Comfort Plus, which comes in both black and white, is designed with an open cell foam to deliver maximum impact absorption and dispersion — without the bulk. It features a high wither relief to help keep the saddle from pinching your horse.
This pad also features cotton quilting to help keep your horse cool and comfortable. Whether you are training or getting ready for a top-tier show, dressage riders will find that this classic pad is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
Find the Dressage Tack You Need to Love the Ride at Horse Tack Co.
At Horse Tack Co., we have a broad product range for dressage riders of all levels. Along with our collection of Maxtra saddle pads, we carry everything from dressage saddles to bridles and bits. You'll find everything you need to successfully school at home and then enter the show ring with confidence.
Have any questions? Our knowledgeable team is here to help. Just give us a call at 866-624-8225 or connect with us online. With our up-to-date inventory, quick checkout process and fast shipping, you'll be tack happy in no time.