It is our belief that ALL horses are capable of training for Dressage, in one form or another. Dressage isn’t, and shouldn’t be seen as, an elitist activity restricted to only the Warmblood horse or competitive rider. At its most basic level, Dressage training simply makes a horse safe and comfortable to ride, be that in the school or out on a hack. A soft and supple horse is easier to work with. Showing a horse how to carry himself correctly and adapt to carrying the weight of a rider will keep him fit and healthier and for longer; regardless of the activity you take part in. We believe that all horses and riders should be furnished with this knowledge.
Our approach is one based on humane and ethical training methods; we work with our horses not against them. Employing effective, traditional methods easily understood by the horse, without resorting to force, fear or pain. We do not employ the use of gadgets, draw reins or quick fixes, instead basing our work on sound, consistent schooling and a kinder, more sympathetic way to ride and train. There is no need (or sense!) in battling with your horse and hauling on his mouth, when we can show you how to effectively ride your horse from your leg and seat, influencing his body position with yours. Being “on the bit” isn’t just about the horse tucking his nose in – for a horse to be working truly in an outline and in correct, self carriage this first comes from the hindquarters and not by merely focusing on the head and neck.
Dressage also has many practical applications that are often over looked. A leg yield isn’t just a movement to be performed down the centre line at Elementary level but is also a useful tool when out hacking to get a horse to quickly side step onto a grass verge and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Likewise, a horse who can easily execute a turn on the forehand or on the haunches will make for an easier horse to ride through gated bridleways without the need for the rider to dismount; and a shoulder in is a useful tool to be utilised when dealing with a spooky horse. Lateral work is also used as a gymnastic exercise helping to strengthen the unlevel and/or weak horse, building up muscle tone and increasing the horses suppleness and flexibility in general. Proceeding only on veterinary advice, we have successfully rehabilitated many horses with various previous back/neck and lameness issues using lateral work and correct classical training.
We feel that a happy and comfortable horse is always going to be a more willing riding partner and do our utmost to ensure that the horses we work with are in the best place mentally, emotionally and physically. To achieve this aim we also work closely with other equestrian professionals including Equine physiotherapists, Equine Bowen therapists, Equine dental technicians affiliated to the BAEDT, barefoot hoof care practitioners and Lavinia Mitchell. Lavinia is an independent remedial saddle fitter whose help we always enlist should we have a saddle fitting query or concern. We use Lavinia for both our own and clients' horses, having seen tremendous improvements since using her saddles and cannot recommend her highly enough. For more information on Lavinia please visit her own website at www.laviniamitchell.com
Aylmore Classical Dressage work with a range of horses and ponies, of all breeds, shapes and sizes, offering ridden schooling for those from 12hhs and above. Mike in particular specialises in training the unconventional competition dressage horse, whether this be through schooling the horse himself or through lessons working with the horse and owner/rider, or indeed a combination of the two. Alongside his more conventional Warmblood and Thoroughbred competition rides, Mike himself also competes and trains a heavy weight cob and a Friesian! Neither of whom are your conventional dressage horse, competition or otherwise but, with correct classical training, both are progressing well through affiliated dressage and showing promise for the future. Mike and Tori also own a promising little Welsh cob gelding whom Tori, with Mike’s help, is currently bringing on for Affiliated Dressage in the future. Tori is also schooling a young Dartmoor pony on behalf of his owner at present with the intention of competing him at local level later this year!