Tidbits from Christine Traurig

Earlier this month, one of the local dressage clubs hosted their annual symposium; this year’s clinician was Christine Traurig. My employer sponsored the event, and the organizers offered to let us bring the mobile unit to the venue. My coworker ran the mobile all weekend (because I went to Closing Hunt on Saturday) but I popped in to “help” on Sunday.

The symposium’s theme was “Through The Levels”, and they featured pairs of riders from Training/First Level on young horses to riders tackling the upper levels. I didn’t get to watch every session (because I did do some work), but I thought Christine was a great teacher. She challenged riders in a fair way and took time to explain her methods and reasoning to the crowd. I got the most out of watching the lower level riders and took away several nuggets of wisdom.

  • Young horses need a supportive leg and forgiving hand.
  • Young horses should be ridden in spurs so they get used to them.
  • Be patient! Wait to give cues until horse is ready. (This was one of my favorite pieces of advice. When I’m practicing a dressage test, I often get caught up in making the transition so prompt that it’s ugly. There’s no reason to hurry when you’re practicing- practice will eventually lead to quick and accurate transitions.)
  • Rhythm is the foundation of all dressage. Don’t forget about rhythm at any level!
  • Your arm and rein are one unit.
  • Transitions are finished when your horse isn’t in a hurry any more. (This was another favorite! I used to have a trainer who would tell me to “minimize the running” in transitions.)
  • Outside hand should stay low and back so you can set a boundary for the shoulder.
  • Your seat is the mediator between leg and hand; it has a supportive role. Young horses don’t have the back strength to be ridden with lots of seat.
  • Willingness to go forward must be present in all work.
  • When correcting a horse, make the correction an exercise, not an abrupt punishment.

While I didn’t have the full experience of auditing, I definitely got some good stuff out of the symposium!

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

7 thoughts on “Tidbits from Christine Traurig”

    1. Sure! One rider’s horse was having a difficult time- he was kicking out and bucking a little. The rider abruptly shut him down, which is when Christine asked her to redirect the horse into an exercise instead of a sudden punishment. I’m not sure what exercise the horse was doing when he began kicking out (because I wasn’t paying much attention to the arena just then), but Christine had the rider simply try to get the horse moving forward on a large circle.

  1. I love all that! But I did giggle at the part about not running into transitions. I have a 5yo OTTB and all I have to do is THINK about slowing down and he basically stops. Laziest. Baby. Horse. Ever!

  2. I love Christine Traurig. I just read a great article she wrote that has helped so many of my students so much. Great takeaways here! I especially like the last one, about making a correction an exercise rather than a punishment.

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