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Natural Dressage

Natural Dressage is the art of teaching horses to collect naturally by training them at liberty. By removing halters and bridles from the training and by only motivating your horse in a positive way, you allow him to experiment with his movements and discover his own natural collection – from shoulder-in to the Haute Ecole jumps.

The beginnings of Natural Dressage might look strange, with games like Chase the Tiger and mimicry. However, with those fun and simple games as basis, the horse will soon start to move towards more focused and energetic dressage work, simply because the games let him rediscover how wonderful it is to move in a proud and collected manner. Because that is the real basis of collection: not the fact that the trainer holds his horse with reins and other tools in the correct position, but the fact that horses express their feelings and thoughts through their body language. When a horse feels playful, proud and powerful, he will arch his neck, lift his back and bend his legs deeper; he’s showing the world all his strength and energy!
Collected walk with the cordeo Piaffe at liberty Left: Romy and Titum collected at liberty during a trip through the woods.

Right: Barbara is hidden behind Beau, who's eagerly experimenting with the piaffe!

That’s actually also what makes training dressage at liberty so easy: the only thing you have to do as trainer, is to make your horse feel proud and strong and enable him to express those feelings in his body language. That’s exactly what happened with Blacky and Sjors, the Shetland ponies who gracefully accepted me as their pupil: from friendly, slightly bored ponies who followed the cues of the reins with more or less acceptance they turned into active, really collected energy bombs who didn’t just start doing travers and passage, but also Haute Ecole jumps.
Gueriniere in cordeo

Real natural collection isn’t a way of moving, it’s a way of life. Allow your horse to love movement and he will start to love collection.

Have fun playing with your horse!

Blacky & Sjors
Miriam Nieuwe Weme

Read, write and ask more about Natural Dressage at the Art of Natural Dressage forum.
For info (in Dutch) on clickertraining and the book Vrijheidsdressuur: www.vrijheidsdressuur.info
© of this site, pictures and texts: Miriam Nieuwe Weme