Maribeth Dunlap Dressage

Dressage Coddiwomple Blog

Components of a Good Position

Posted on April 1, 2017 at 11:25 AM

Components of a Good Position

By Maribeth Dunlap

May 2006 (Revised April 2017)


The position of the rider is perhaps the most important thing when studying dressage. It is from a correct position that allows us to positively influence and affect our horse. It also allows us to be in balance within our own bodies so that the horse can move in better balance. When we’re in good balance then we can better stay out of our horse’s ...

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Longeing Tips

Posted on April 1, 2017 at 11:20 AM

Longeing Tips

By Maribeth Dunlap

May 2007 (Revised April 2017)


There are many benefits and reasons for longeing. Longeing is an art itself and it takes many years of good practice to become effective. Longeing is meant to prepare a horse mentally and physically for under-saddle work. With the use of proper and correctly adjusted equipment, longeing can strengthen and help condition muscle, it can teach the horse the commands, and...

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Work on the Longe - Developing the Seat

Posted on July 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Work on the longe - Developing the Seat

By Maribeth Dunlap

July 2012


"Longe lessons on a safe and experienced horse are a great means of improving your position, a fact I cannot stress enough, as this is the most beneficial way to develop and improve a more balanced and independent seat." Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg


Work on the longe is a time honored tool of classical dressage. Longe lessons provide the student rider an...

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The Rider's Position & Effective Use of the Seat

Posted on April 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM

The Rider's Position and Effective Use of the Seat

By Maribeth Dunlap

April 2010


Dressage is a French word that means "to train". Dressage is centuries old and dates back as far to the Greek Philosopher, Xenophon, who wrote the book, "The Art of Horsemanship". Dressage is considered classical because it has stood the test of time, it is enduring, and still relevant today. Much study, experimentation, and research has gone into the devel...

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Perfect Practice

Posted on March 17, 2009 at 12:15 PM

Perfect Practice

By Maribeth Dunlap

March 2009


I often give my students homework, usually something that we’ve been working on together, and something that they need to practice. I usually say something to them like, “remember, just don’t practice it - practice it perfectly.”


What is the difference between practice and perfect practice?


When learning a new skill, it takes ...

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Busy Hands

Posted on February 11, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Busy Hands

By Maribeth Dunlap

February 2009


Busy hands are usually the result of an ineffective seat. When the seat is not secure, or is unbalanced and out of position, the rider must use crude aids, larger movements with the hands and often the arms to try to control the horse. Any rein-aid that is not supported by the seat, becomes a rein that pulls, holds, or gives unintentional half halts and signals to the horse. This ultimately ...

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Becoming A Thinking Rider

Posted on February 1, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Becoming A Thinking Rider

By Maribeth Dunlap

February 2009


Over the many years of riding, training, taking instruction, reading and learning, I have learned and have adopted, in my own style, a systematic way of training and a systematic way of thinking. One step in the training process builds upon another. One exercise leads to the next while listening to the needs of the horse, feeling the horse, unlocking resistances and blockages that...

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Motivation and Maintaining the Momentum

Posted on December 1, 2007 at 11:25 AM

Motivation and Maintaining the Momentum

By Maribeth Dunlap

December 2007


This time of year, during the holidays, it can be difficult to maintain our focus on our riding and training. An additional distraction for me is the onset of cold weather. I’m not too fond of the colder months in central Pennsylvania and it can be difficult for me to leave my warm, cozy house for the great wintry outdoors. It is funny though, because ...

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Work on the Longe - Developing the Seat

Posted on October 1, 2007 at 12:10 PM

Work on the Longe

By Maribeth Dunlap

October 2007


There are many benefits and reasons for longeing. Longeing is an art itself and it takes many years of good practice to become effective. Longeing is meant to prepare a horse mentally and physically for under-saddle work and should be approached in a step-by-step, systematic fashion, building one step on top of another. With the use of proper and correctly adjusted equipment, longeing ca...

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Riding Accurate Arena Patterns

Posted on September 1, 2007 at 11:30 AM

Riding Accurate Arena Patterns

By Maribeth Dunlap

September 2007


There are three basis gymnastic tools that a rider can use to train a horse:

1. The seat and aids

2. The movements

3. The arena patterns.


Riding accurate arena patterns is a very important concept to the training of the horse and rider. This is not just a dressage concept either as it is very important to ride corners, turns and...

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