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Dressage Essentials

with Fleur

In this program we start by refreshing the basics and learning to use precise clear aids, which is essential, no matter what level you are riding. Follow each season and learn how to build up dressage movements step-by-step. By the end, your horse will feel like an extension of your body and mind, which is an incredible feeling!

Dressage Essentials

with Fleur

Follow each season starting with the basics and learn to build up movements step-by-step.

Start your adventure here!

Spring Season

Spring has sprung! In this first season you will learn which parts of your horse are influenced by your body and how to train your horse to become more responsive to 'light' rider aids. 

Download our quick reference cards for each lesson to keep you and your horse on track!

Spring: Lesson 1

The Six Connections

  • Invisible box
  • Six connections
  • Lego Man
  • Barbie Doll
  • Rider body corresponding with horse’s body
  • Neutral place of relaxation, halt

'Lego Man & Barbie Doll' - this analogy keeps your rider position consistent.

Imagine knowing the answer before you’re even asked the question? In this lesson, Jenku will teach you the ‘Six Connections’ and help you to clean up your riding using a simple 'Lego Man and Barbie Doll' analogy which will stick in your mind forever! It all begins with the Invisible Box, where your horse learns to 'find neutral' and a place of relaxation. What follows are simple exercises done either at a halt, or on the spot that will help Fleur later in more complex ridden work.

So what are the 'Six Connections'? Jenku explains that your arms, legs, shoulders and pelvis correspond with the horse’s body. Everything above your belt controls what’s going on in front of the girth. Everything below your girth, controls things behind the girth. Approaching riding in this way, your horse becomes an extension of your body, which is an incredible feeling!

Spring Fleur 2 - Nose to Wall
Spring: Lesson 2

Nose to Wall

  • Dead to the leg
  • Light and responsive
  • Leg aids
  • Dressage conformation
  • Balance
  • Rider lifting heel
  • Rider balance
  • Leg yield
  • Loosening back muscles
  • Travers
  • Using seat like a pendulum

Help your horse become responsive to 'light' leg aids in leg yield and travers.

Is your horse dead to the leg? In this lesson, Jenku will teach you how to help your horse become light and responsive to leg aids. This is helpful for Fleur, as she doesn’t have ideal dressage conformation and can get quite strong if she loses her balance. It’s easy to get into the bad habit of squeezing madly with your leg, lifting your heel as you do so. This ends up disrupting your balance and - before you know it - you’re standing on the balls of your feet.

Leg yielding, using the wall of the arena as a guide, is an excellent way to help Fleur soften through her back, and at the same time, train the leg aid. Instead of constantly driving with her leg, Tracy uses light pressure in time with Fleur’s hind leg as it steps across and under. Then, as a seamless progression from leg yielding using the wall, Fleur and Tracy move into 'travers'. Tracy uses her body as a pendulum to help Fleur take bigger steps. Fleur’s back is relaxed and so she’s able to use her abdomen to bring her hind leg forward and under. Textbook!

Spring: Lesson 3


  • Engagement
  • Foundation for advanced dressage movements
  • Balance
  • Releasing lactic acid
  • Click and reward
  • Precise feedback
  • Rider position
  • Soft elbows
  • Quieter way of riding

'More engagement' is every judge's favourite comment. Let's improve!

If you feel that you’re doing everything right but that your horse is still not engaging, in this lesson, Jenku will show you how to set up your own body so that your horse can consistently engage its inside hind leg correctly. Fleur and Tracy have been a good team for over a decade and are keen to do advanced dressage movements with grace and balance. This means regular schooling and fine tuning but schooling should not be torturous for your horse.

Getting the results you want means allowing your horse to stretch and release lactic acid build up in between short bouts of schooling. Sadly, horses are often held in a contracted frame for too long until the lactic build up is so extreme that they act out in order to get some relief. Tracy schools Fleur on the circle until she offers the engagement that Tracy is looking for. She clicks and rewards Fleur immediately, giving her very precise feedback. Tracy loves this quieter way of riding, and so do her horses. as they are motivated to keep trying to give the right answer.

Spring: Lesson 4

Shoulder-In to Renvers

  • Shoulder in
  • Renvers
  • Counter curve
  • Connecting mouth with swinging hind leg
  • Breaking down movements
  • Flexibility
  • Relaxation
  • Continuous nature of circle
  • Stress-free ridden work

Learn how to use your rein aid to influence your horse's hind leg.

You know you’re a bit of a dressage geek when you get excited about the connection between the inside corner of your horse’s mouth and her outside hind leg. In this lesson, Jenku shows how 'shoulder in' to 'renvers' can be achieved quite simply by breaking down the movement into manageable chunks. Tracy and Fleur start by playing around with the connection between the inside rein and the inside hind leg. This disengages Fleur’s hind legs and is a great movement for flexibility and relaxation.

Then, while riding 'shoulder in' on a circle, Tracy cues Fleur to pick up a counter curve on the circle to change the bend in and move into 'renvers'. Even for Tracy, a top level dressage rider and trainer, this is a light bulb moment; ‘the feeling of connecting Fleur’s mouth to her inside swinging hind leg is amazing. This concept is helping me in other movements, like in half pass if I feel like I need more crossing I have a new button - it’s like magic!’

Downloadable Quick-Reference Cards

Lesson:The Six Connections

Stand your horse next to the mounting block level with the stirrup - ‘tsk’ & reward for standing quietly and relaxed.
Lesson of the hand. Raise the bit upwards into the corners of your horse’s mouth with your hands. Hold until your horse stretches down - ‘tsk’ & reward.
Lateral flexion. Turn nails upwards and bring hand to opposite shoulder to fl ex the neck - ‘tsk’ & reward. Repeat 5 times on each rein.
Six connections. Think about your own body and which parts of your horse each corresponds to when applying an aid.
Turning the shoulders. Bend your elbows, think ‘Lego man’ arms, and swivel your waist, think ‘Barbie Doll’. Repeat on each side.
The aim is to understand the roles and be in full control of each part of your own body so that you can be clear and consistent with your aids.